It started with a top. This top, to be precise:
Suddenly I had visions of a wardrobe filled with long sleeve merino tops – warm, moisture-wicking and odour-repelling.* A few online orders later, and I had enough merino jersey meterage to begin my wardrobe plan (more on the other garments later).
To recreate the Country Road top, I chose a 180gsm merino jersey in ballet pink from The Fabric Store – the perfect match for the Named Paola Turtleneck Tee. I have already made this pattern in a cotton/spandex blend, and am pleased to report it performs just as well in a merino knit. The only real difference in construction was using a water-soluble stabiliser when twin needling to prevent tunnelling due to the lightweight nature of the fabric.
I certainly achieved the top of my dreams in style, but not performance. This is totally a rookie error – being new to sewing with merino jersey, I ordered some in 180gsm and some 200gsm weights, assuming they were adequate weights for tees. The 200gsm fabric was a dream, but 180gsm was just a bit too thin for my taste.
I am really, really cold in this top! This could be down to my temperature regulation issues, but it is also pretty transparent. I rarely wear any clothing that isn’t opaque – choosing undergarments that won’t show through is such a pain. All this means that as beautiful as this top is, it just won’t get worn.
This pretty much follows the usual pattern when I try to copy RTW: I think I’m saving money by going DIY, somehow cock it up, and get annoyed and buy the RTW version anyway. As disappointed as I am by this top, at least I know to look out for merino jersey only in weights of 200gsm+. And if you think this top would fit in your wardrobe, wear a size 42/44 in Named and feel the cold less than me, give me a hoy – I’d rather it go to someone who will use it than sit in my drawers unworn (I only wore it once and obvs will wash it!). EDIT: has been claimed
Pattern: Named Paola Turtleneck Tee
Pattern details: Classic, semi-fitted turtleneck tee with full-length sleeves and a turtleneck collar. Available as a PDF download (A4 or copyshop) or a printed pattern, sizes 32-50.
Fabric: 1.5m x 150cm premium merino single jersey 180gsm – Ballet Pink from The Fabric Store. 100% merino, 180gsm, 19.3 micron
Other materials: Clear elastic to stabilise shoulders, from Aliexpress. Wash-N-Gone soluble stabiliser for hems.
Mods: Size 42 bust and shoulders, 44 hip
– Added 2cm length to the hem and sewed shorter hem allowance for more length
– Pressed shoulder seam allowances back (personal preference, pattern says towards front)
– Only hemmed sleeves to 1.5cm, not 2cm
*This is really a thing. Wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture before it starts to feel wet against your skin (technical term: hygroscopic). Its natural breathability means it can whisk moisture away to regulate temperature and reduce body odour, hence its ideal use in hiking and mountaineering clothing.