I’ve been inspired by the fabulous turtlenecks doing the rounds and decided to make one of my own. My Ottobre magazine stash provided the pattern (Ottobre 5/2016 #5 – vintage lines ribbed sweater) and the fabric was an old purchase from Joelle’s Fabric Warehouse on eBay.
There’s not much to be said about this make, because the pattern is just that good. The only change I made was to substitute the short, pleated sleeves for the standard long sleeve of pattern #8 in the same issue. Ottobre is a great resource for everyday basics, and the patterns are consistently well-drafted – they sew up without issue and the instructions, though concise, are easy to follow.
I wish I could say the same for the fabric. You might recall I was unimpressed with the quality of the knit fabric I used in my Tessuti Mandy Tee, and this fabric (from the same seller) was perhaps worse. It pilled after a wash, and was so off grain I had great difficulty correctly aligning the pattern pieces.
In these cases, the best strategy to find the grain is to cut a rectangle of fabric large enough for one pattern piece, hold it up in the air, folded in half along the selvedge, then give it a good wiggle until it lays perfectly in place with no rippling. (I find it easier to manipulate the fabric if you just hold the folded end, rather than trying to hold all four corners as in the linked tutorial.) Tracing a vertical rib line did not work for me, and produced a very wonky front piece that I had to turf. Sometimes it’s best to just let the fabric tell you what to do.
Anyway, it turned out pretty well when made up, with no shifting side seams or wonky hems. You might notice a few minor drag lines emanating from the collar – sewing collars and neckbands in knits with low stretch and recovery is always a balancing act between not gathering the fabric too much at the neck, and trying to keep enough tension so the neckband or collar lays flat without flopping. Obviously this wouldn’t be so much a problem in an actual ribbed fabric that the pattern calls for, but I’m pleased with my effort in a 100% cotton single knit.
This tee was a surprise hit, and I liked it so much I even quickly whipped up another turtleneck tee! (Named Paola Turtleneck Tee, yet to be blogged.) I’ll leave you with a little treat for anyone who is interested in pattern drafting – one of the things I really like about Ottobre is their large size range (34-52). Rather than evenly grade up plus size patterns without considering how proportions change in real bodies, in sizes 44-52 Ottobre have included more bust shaping than in the smaller patterns, as you can see in the image below. Now that’s drafting!
Pattern: Ottobre Autumn/Winter 5/2016 #5 – vintage lines ribbed sweater
Pattern details: This beautiful, snug-fitting sweater is reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn’s style in her 1950s movies. Sewn from rib knit, it has a mock turtleneck collar and short sleeves that are detailed with small inverted pleats. Available as a traced magazine pattern, sizes 34-52.
Fabric: 1m x 180cm mid grey marle combed cotton jersey fabric from Joelle’s Fabric Clearance on eBay. 100% cotton.
Other materials: Clear elastic to stabilise shoulders, from Aliexpress.
Mods: Size 42 bust and shoulders, 44 hip
– Substituted short, pleated sleeves with long standard sleeves from pattern #8 in same issue. Took a couple of mm’s from side seams at underarm from new sleeve to match armscye.