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Gemma’s Southbank Sweater

Well, it seems Hayley has done it again! A box full of lovely treats as a gift to myself for valentines (because who doesn’t want a gift of fabric, at any time?) The main fabric is just an entire gift itself, I cannot begin to describe how beautiful it is! So deliciously soft, please know I did spend a good half an hour just stroking it while reading through the magazine as soon as I received my box! I knew whatever I made would most definitely fall into the secret pyjamas category, and so the hard task to decide what to make began.

I fell in love with the fabric immediately, it’s such a striking colour, yet still quite feminine in design with the rose print – a good balance without being overly floral, so a total win. However I was a little apprehensive as to whether that much orange would suit me, being a pale redhead, and so decided to play it safe and think about making a top. 

I’ve been trying to make more separates for my wardrobe (which is hard given my love for a jumpsuit!) and think about things which can be layered, especially as I’m very prone to feeling the cold!

I was excited for this make, as i’ve been finding it really hard lately to dress in me-mades with the cold, rainy (stormy!) weather, and felt this fabric was perfect to create something that could remedy that. I’ve also been going through quite a lot personal wise this month, so wanted something that would be fairly simple to sew, and not take too much brain power – sometimes all you need is a few hours to yourself to make things feel better.  That’s the joy about sewing, the feeling of accomplishment when you have an item you have made yourself is such a good one.

As is often the case when I’m unsure what I want to make, I headed to The Fold Line to have a browse through their pattern database, and fairly quickly found the perfect pattern that ticked all my boxes – the Southbank Sweater, by Nina Lee. Available in 3 variations, you can make a sweater or sweater dress, and isn’t too complicated to make. I did briefly consider whether I should make the dress version, but the uncertainty about the colour ruled in favour of the sweater, and I decided to go with the cropped version, thinking it would be great with either high waisted jeans or under dungarees.

I haven’t sewn one of Nina Lee’s patterns before but they have definitely been on my radar, and after making this one I will be checking out her others. It really was a simple make – I had it cut out and sewn in a couple of hours! I love having cuffs on the sleeves, as it makes the arms fairly long reaching over my hands (well, on me anyway!) which I really like, and along with the roll neck collar, both add to the cosy factor of the sweater. I’m not usually a fan of roll necks, as I don’t like anything close fitting around the neck, but this is a good roomy collar, and I have no problem getting it over my head. 

One thing I did tweak was the hem – when finished I tried it on and felt it was a little too short in the body for my liking, so decided to add a bottom band to add a little more length. I think this was a great move as it matches with the cuffs, and looks like it was a purpose design feature – I hope Nina doesn’t mind! I also took the suggestion from Hayley to use the ribbon in the box as a tag on the inside, which not only looks great but reminds me which is the front and back!

I love this fabric, it’s so warm and cosy and I’m so happy with my pattern choice as I now have something I can wear when it’s cold! I can highly recommend the pattern, instructions were well illustrated and clear, and I love the illustration Nina has drawn of the Southbank on the pattern packet – such a nice detail. 

I already plan to make more of these sweaters (in a heavier sweatshirt fabric would be even cosier) and can’t wait to make the dress version – it has pockets! Just what you need to be wearing on a cold winter’s day!