Looking back on the past few years, I've come to view February as the month of comfort. Two years ago it was sweatpants, and before that, it was robes. There's something about the month, between the shortness of days and the fact that it's smack dab in the middle of winter, that makes me want to hunker down, wrap myself in something soft, and stay cozy.
When I'm particularly in need of comfort, I always grab a turtleneck. Personally, I've found that when my neck is cold, my whole body is cold, so a turtleneck is an obvious choice. It's a t-shirt with a built-in scarf and neck warmer, and honestly, who can't see the benefit in that?
Turtlenecks are also amazing layering pieces for winter. You can put them under dresses to transition your fall and spring clothes to cooler months; you can wear them under jackets and blazers; you can put them under big wool sweaters to have a soft barrier between you and scratchy yarn. And they are super quick to sew! So it was a clear choice for us to make them our theme for February when time is short and comfort is key.
For the past few boxes, we've been doing some bold colors and patterns. But for February, I wanted to go more neutral and soft. A bit of lightness for the longest and darkest days of winter. This lead to icy whites, soft blues, and some hits of pink and green. All in silky, soft knits that feel amazing to wear.
So, with that teaser, let's take a look at the boxes!
Sew Essential Box: LB Pullover from Paper Theory
Sometimes when we put together our themes, it's really easy to find a few patterns, but that fourth one eludes us. And there's always a moment of celebration when a new pattern pops up that completes the set and allows us to put the boxes into place for you.
Such was the case for the LB Pullover from Paper Theory. I really wanted to do turtlenecks but struggled to find the right patterns. Then, this fall, Paper Theory decided to release all their patterns in paper format, and I got to do a little happy dance.
I really love the LB Pullover for so many reasons, not the least of which because you can make it in both knits and wovens. The loose, boxy style gives an effortless and relaxed look. Plus, it makes it super easy to fit! It's an amazingly quick sew - just four pattern pieces - and you can make it in so many fabrics and styles that it's bound to become a tried and true in your handmade repertoire.
For the knit version, the pattern calls for stable, low stretch knits, making this top great for beginners. It also allowed us to play with some knits that we haven't used before, and we think we've found some beauties. So let's take a look!
- Ocean Blue Cotton French Terry - The sister to the roasted pumpkin fleece we offered in our hoodie boxes, this french terry has a looped back and smooth jersey face. The flexible drape will give just the right amount of structure to the pullover, while the color - a muted blue-green that oozes calm - will keep you cool and serene. Pair it with jeans or sweatpants for a hint of color on cold February days. A gorgeous knit!
- Ivory Anti-Pill Polar Fleece - We've never offered polar fleece before, but a fleece turtleneck seemed so snuggly and plush, that I couldn't get the idea out of my head. This snowy white fleece is soft and breathable, with a shearling-like fuzziness on the right side. The moderate drape will give structure to the turtleneck and some swing to the boxy shape of the body. Designed to resist pilling, it will stay lofty through wear, which is ideal because you won't want to take this pullover off!
- Grey and White Striped Dot Double Knit - I saw this fabric on Instagram and knew I had to use it! A true double knit, the one side consists of gray and white stripes while the other features a polka dot pattern. Truly unique, this fabric still manages to be surprisingly light and supple, like your favorite midweight jersey. With the most drape of the three options, this will give a slouchy look that's perfect for lounging. Pick your favorite side for a patterned top, or mix and match for a look that is truly one of a kind. If you're brave, you could even go for a reversible top!
Sew Select Box and Sew Curvy Box: Nikko Top from True Bias
The Nikko Top is the turtleneck that started this whole month for us. It's classic, customizable, and oh so flattering. True Bias really has a way of making basics that are chic and modern, and this pattern is no exception. Paired with jeans or even a comfy pair of Hudson Pants (also from True Bias) and you have an outfit made for lazy Sundays. Paired with a pencil skirt or dress pants, and you have a work-ready top warm enough for cold offices. It's a wear-with-everything, go-anywhere type of wardrobe staple that will get so much use!
The great thing about the Nikko Top, as well? It's got extended sizing in paper format! That way we get to use it for both our Sew Select and Sew Curvy Boxes. Both contain fabric for making the top version of the pattern, not the dress, with luxurious fabrics that feel amazing against the skin.
The fitted nature of the top - requiring no less than 70% stretch - means it's ideal for layering, especially under cozy sweaters. It also means that I wanted to use knits that had great recovery and stretch, but also enough body to not show bras right through the bodice. This led me to some amazing medium weight jerseys and rib knits. So let's dig into them now!
Sew Select Box:
- Black Double Brushed Poly - We couldn't do a whole month of turtlenecks and not offer a black version. The ghost of Steve Jobs wouldn't allow it! This double brushed polyester, which has the softest hand you're bound to find in a knit, makes a perfect choice. It's got amazing stretch and recovery, a soft drape, and medium body. The brushed face will feel so cozy in the turtleneck and the black color will be elegant and understated. A perfect wardrobe necessity!
- Evergreen Cotton-Modal Jersey - Our favorite t-shirt knit, this fabric is beefy yet soft, silky yet not clingy. The modal adds a lovely sheen to this fabric and the cotton gives it good weight, a must on cold winter days. And the color is heavenly. Darker than some of the other options, the green is serene and lush, like pine trees on a snowy day. A lovely fabric for a lovely top!
- Blush Pink/Ecru Striped Bamboo Jersey - Something about turtlenecks makes me think stripes, and this color combo is so fun. A light blush pink and a heather ecru cream aren't the first hues you'd expect for a stripe knit, but they coordinate so well with each other! The soft tones create a subtle contrast that will turn this turtleneck into an instant wardrobe maker. Wear it under jackets and sweaters on cold days and by itself on the warmer ones. No matter how you style it, it will look amazing!
Sew Curvy Box:
- Petal Pink Cotton-Modal Jersey - Pink may not be the first color you think of for winter, but this pale hue feels cool and quiet, just like the season. The fabric itself is silky with a hint of shine to add some sparkle to the short days of February. And the addition of cotton gives some heft to the fabric, making it ideal for cozy loungewear. Soft and supple, this fabric will become an amazing turtleneck for all your layering needs!
- Grey/White 4mm Stripe Bamboo Cotton Jersey - As I said for the Sew Select Box, I couldn't get the idea of stripes out of my head. This striped jersey is medium weight with a soft, dry hand and amazing stretch. The evenly spread stripes vary from gray to white for a look that is subtle but impactful. The icy colorway feels just right for the middle of winter and allows you to pair it with brighter colors, like a bright necklace or bold cardigan, for an outfit that feels modern and chic. A gorgeous fabric!
- French Blue Cloud Rib - Rib knit is an amazing option for this top because of how much stretch it has without losing its shape. This rib, a bamboo-cotton blend, is soft and stretchy and so lovely. The blue color is muted with a hint of gray, like blue skies in winter. And on the heavier side of medium weight, this fabric will become a warm and wearable turtleneck sweater that will look stunning for every outfit.
Sew Indulgent Box: Rise and Fall Turtleneck from Papercut Patterns
The Rise and Fall Turtleneck is actually two different variations on the theme. At first blush, it's hard to tell, but looking at the line drawing, you'll see that the Rise version is a mock turtle (in that the neck only rises) with a fitted bodice and sleeves. The Fall version is more relaxed, with a full, fold-over turtleneck that falls from the neck, a dropped shoulder, and loose fit.
Two different looks mean you can choose which style you want to sew with our box: a fitted layering piece or a relaxed sweater-like top. Both are utterly stylish and versatile and will fit right into your handmade wardrobe. And both can be styled with jeans, dress pants, or under dresses for a winter outfit that is all about comfort and warmth.
For fabric, we wanted options that could make both versions sing, and we landed on sweater knits that are anything but ordinary. From wools to cables to silk modal, these fabrics are pure luxury. Here they are!
- Chantilly Cream Rayon/Cotton/Modal Sweater Knit - This fabric has a looser weave than a traditional jersey, and the yarn is a little bit bulkier, making it the perfect combination of t-shirt and sweater. With rayon and modal, it's got a semi-fluid drape to accentuate the slouchy look of the Fall version. And with great stretch and recovery, it works well for the Rise variation as well. And the bright cream color, almost snow white, means it can be worn with practically anything. Say hello to your new favorite sweater.
- Royal Blue Merino Jersey - We couldn't do this box without using our favorite type of wool. Merino wool is soft and not at all scratchy, plus, it's machine washable! And when transformed into turtleneck, it will become your new favorite top. The royal blue color is a slightly bold yet soft and will be the perfect tone for the winter season and beyond. A simply gorgeous fabric!
- Light Gray Solveig Cable Sweater Knit - I did a little happy dance when I found this fabric because I couldn't believe how perfect it was. This sweater knit has cables ready made for you so you can create a hand knit sweater with your sewing machine. The gray color is ultra versatile, and the soft hand of the fabric, a rayon-polyester blend, will keep you snuggly and warm. A dream of a fabric to brighten your February days! *Note, this fabric is backordered and will ship approximately a week late*
For our Tried and True series, we are going all the to March 2020, and the weekend dresses we did. The dresses are all loose-fitting with gathered skirts that are easy to wear around the house or out in the world. They also happen to layer really well with turtlenecks! So check those out if knits are really your cup of tea.
In addition, with the new year only weeks away, we're prepping a brand new series for 2022 that we think you'll love. If you subscribe to our newsletter, you'll be getting more info soon, but make sure to check back with us to see what 2022 will bring to Needle Sharp. I'm incredibly excited about it!
Until next time. . .