Hello friends! It’s well into Autumn here now. The leaves are changing into glorious shades of red, gold and brown, and the dark is coming on a lot sooner. With that comes the kind of cold that makes me long for casseroles, soup, doonas and cosy sweaters and socks. So it also seemed like a fitting time to work on a new genre of patterns, using fabric that I’m not all that familiar with – like The Enid Sweater, by Jennifer Lauren Handmade. I purchased the PDF pattern on Etsy as I was intrigued by the promise of a simple construction method, and a vintage look with the V-neck collar. I had some secondhand fleece on hand, and some matching ribbing also purchased secondhand, so it seemed serendipitous.
So let me first talk about the fabric, as I realise I have a tendency to talk more about the pattern than what went into it. The first iteration I made was in a non-stretch fleece and this was something of a mistake. The pattern was directional and so I couldn’t cut the bodice on the bias. This makes it somewhat difficult to get in and out of this blue-green version. Despite having made alterations to the fit, this lack of stretch did present a problem. As did the subsequent lack of stretch in the ribbing which I hadn’t understood needed to be quite a bit stretchier. So, when I came to make the second version, I was fortunate enough to find fleece with a bit more stretch at a local Op Shop, and there also sourced some ribbing that was a good deal stretchier. This worked a lot better as a result. However, I have now sourced a walking foot and for future versions I would recommend using an equivalent to help manage the bulk.
Then comes the all-important matter of fit! When I made the first muslin of this sweater, I was startled to discover it was too cropped. As someone who’s default adjustment for all top patterns is to remove at least an inch, this was shocking. I ended up having to add length to the bodice in order to make the ribbing sit over my natural waistline and not expose my stomach. I had also done a toile in a size 10, and so went up to a size 12 in the final versions. But this was still too tight around the biceps and waist, and as a result I let the seams of those areas out to ¼” to make room. To finish it off I lengthened the sleeves by ½” in order to prevent the cuffs riding up when I moved.
I did find the instructions were quite comprehensive for the pattern, but even so I struggled to understand how to insert the neckband. I did some digging on the internet and found a How to Sew a N Neck T-Shirt tutorial by Melly Sews on youtube, which was immensely helpful. I also find it much easier to insert collars and neckbands before I attach sleeves and sew side seams, so I stuck to that with this pattern as well. I think the one downside about the V-neck is that it’s quite hard to overlock the inside edge once the pattern has been put together. It might be worth overlocking the neckline before adding in the collar, but that will need to be saved for future experiments.
Overall, I think this pattern would suit a beginner with some basic experience in constructing garments. With a video tutorial on hand the neckband isn’t too challenging, and through doing the sleeves and side seams all in one in can make the sleeve insertion an absolute breeze. I love quite a few aspects of this pattern, from its finished look to the cosy fit and how versatile it can be for either wearing around the house or wearing out and about. You can also customise it quite a bit with fabric and ribbing choices, which makes it quite fun for something so simple to assemble.