The Almost Perfect Turtleneck (using Seamwork Neenah and Gertie’s Knit Sweetheart Top)

I’m nearly there with creating my perfect winter top, using two of my TNT patterns for knits: The Knit Sweetheart Top from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual and the Seamwork Neenah Dress. Read on to find out what hasn’t worked so well, and what I’ll change next time!

I’m trialling a new location for indoor photographs: my bedroom. The door by the big windows I used to take pictures by is now partially blocked by dolls houses that are a hassle to move. This location isn’t as light but at least it’s part of the house that is always tidy and presentable. No kids allowed to make a mess in here!

Anyway, less about the picture location, more about the top. I knew I wanted to try the turtleneck from the Seamwork Neenah pattern as it looked like a traditional, high and close fitting turtleneck that folds over. I realised that this is what I wanted after having a go at sewing up the Megan Nielsen Rowan and realising those modern, low turtlenecks are not for me, thank you very much. That top was never finished and will have a new neckline to be turned into a summer top, methinks.

I’ve made the Seamwork Neenah dress and variations using the cowl neckline multiple times (see here, here and here), but never tried the original turtleneck version. Well, now I’m wishing I had as it’s everything I was after! Snuggly and cosy on a cold day, but not too tight to feel restrictive. I love a turtleneck for going under dungarees so this is just perfect for me.

Frankenpatterned green ribbed turtleneck using Knit Sweetheart Top and Seamwork Neenah

What I’m less keen about with the Neenah pattern is the fit through the bust and underarm. There’s a fair amount of fabric there which is fine for a looser fit, but I wanted something much closer fitting, and for my body I’ve discovered I can’t beat the fit of the Knit Sweetheart Top in that area. It has much higher armscyes than many t-shirt style tops which gives a better fit there for me. So, yet again I frankenpatterned the Knit Sweetheart Top with another pattern. I did also use the Seamwork Neenah pattern for the arm length and cuff (but made the cuffs deeper) as I love the length of the sleeves on that pattern.

Now, something did go a bit wrong when I went to sew my shoulder seams up as there was a total mismatch between the length of the shoulder seams after cutting the Seamwork Neenah neckline in. Not sure what went wrong there, but I clearly need to pay attention to this area and true the seams when drawing out my final frankenpattern for the next version (spoiler, I definitely want to make this top again!). You can see the mismatch below:

Frankenpatterned green ribbed turtleneck using Knit Sweetheart Top and Seamwork Neenah

The pink strip is a narrow bit of ribbon I overlocked on top of to stabilise the seam. This is my favourite method of stabilising knit shoulder seams. So much easier to handle than clear elastic and it looks better too. I snip off any hanging ribbons in RTW clothes and save them for this purpose.

Anyway, I ended up just trimming the excess off the back neckline so it made a smooth curve to join the front and hoping for the best. It seems to have worked out just fine, anyway.

But I said this was only an Almost Perfect top, so what’s not working? Honestly, it’s the fit. I worked off the patterns I traced years ago when my measurements were a little smaller, and I’m thinking I should really have gone for a size 8 rather than a 6 for the Knit Sweetheart top portion as that’s definitely where I am now. I might have got away with it in a much stretchier fabric, but this one only has 40% stretch and the lack of room–especially over my hips–is making itself known with an awful lot of wrinkles there.

Frankenpatterned green ribbed turtleneck using Knit Sweetheart Top and Seamwork Neenah

You can see above and in the following picture how the fabric is riding up at the back as there isn’t enough to cover my backside!

Frankenpatterned green ribbed turtleneck using Knit Sweetheart Top and Seamwork Neenah

It’s not a disaster as this top still looks great under my Jenny dungarees and my many Cleo dresses, but it does mean I’m unlikely to be wearing it out over a pair of jeans like in these pictures. Not without some kind of a waistcoat or gilet to cover those wrinkles, anyway.

You can also see in these pictures how the thin fabric shows up every lump and bump of bra strap and jeans buttons. Not a great look. It’s actually reasonably warm with the ribbing, but not really a winter weight fabric. I think it would be much better suited to a looser, more summery garment. I have over a metre of fabric left so I’ll have to figure out what to do with it in this line. Maybe something for Lauren?

I should just mention, I do love this top despite the fit issues and slight polyester feel of the fabric (it’s meant to be a cotton blend, but there’s definitely some poly in there–I can tell my how it’s pilling). It’s partly down the colour which one of my absolute favourites. I think my nan would turn in her grave if she saw me wearing it as she was really superstitious and would never wear green. Fortunately I’m a proper atheist and don’t believe any of that nonsense, so I shall wear green as much as I want to! Prepare to see many more green hued garments hit the blog this year 🙂

Frankenpatterned green ribbed turtleneck using Knit Sweetheart Top and Seamwork Neenah
Yay for green clothes, even if we can’t go down the pub for St Patrick’s Day this year!

I’m definitely going to have another go at sewing up this top, and will trace out my frankenpatterned pieces so I can use them for all sorts of winter tops and dresses. Next time, though, work from the right size to begin with and use a stretchier, thicker fabric! This is a note to self as I probably won’t get around to making again now until the autumn. Pay attention, future Anna!

The deets

Pattern: A mash up of the Knit Sweetheart Top from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual (affiliate link) and Seamwork Neenah.

Size: KST 6, Neenah M

Fabric: A cotton blend ribbed jersey from Minerva, bought 2 years ago and no longer in stock

Modifications: see write up for how the two patterns were used together.

I’m not going to cost this one properly as I’ve used both these patterns multiple times and can’t currently be bothered to try and work out how much that means they’ve cost per time used. All I will say is at £3.99/m for the fabric and using under 2m, it probably came in at under £10 all in. Not bad!

On the Sewing Table:

The eagle eyed blog follower may note I’m a day later than my new normal of posting on a Friday. That’s because I decided to dedicate yesterday afternoon to cutting out all the pieces for my Butterick B5526 shirt, henceforth to be known as my Art Gallery Shirt as I’m using a gorgeous Art Gallery Fabrics cotton. It took a while, as you can probably imagine with a classically tailored princess seamed shirt. I still have the interfacing to cut and some pattern markings to transfer, but it’s a great weight off my mind to have all the pieces almost ready to sew. I need to get this blogged for Minerva before the end of the month so I’d better get sewing pronto!

Fortunately I’ve felt better and better this week after a bout of illness and post vaccination lurgy, so I’ve been getting on with the red corduroy Jenny trousers. They are now all in one piece (love that moment when all the many pieces of fabric finally become one!) and just need the waistband topstitching, button and buttonhole and then the hemming. I’m seriously toying with the idea of making some deep, faced turnup cuffs. We shall see… I’m planning to get it all sewn up by the end of the weekend so I’d better make a decision fast.

If I have time tomorrow I’ll also be cutting out the lining for my McCalls M6517 raincoat so I can check the fit before cutting the outer. It’s only four pattern pieces so shouldn’t take long.

I’m so glad I’m brimming with ideas and energy again. Can’t wait to get sewing on that shirt!

And I should be back on Friday when I will hopefully be sharing the finished Jenny trousers, providing I’ve had a chance to get some decent photos. If not then I’ll find something I haven’t yet blogged from last summmer, I promise 🙂

See you soon!

Anna x

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