Jungle January Jenna

Clear back in July, quite a few months ago, though not that many postings ago, I mentioned the effect that my work situation was having on my wardrobe thoughts. At that time, the thought was that I’d be going into the office for an indeterminate length of time, but that there would be an end-date. I ended up doing better than satisfactory work on the project I’d been assigned, and was granted a fairly significant promotion. I’m enjoying my new work, but bringing it back to wardrobe thoughts, now not only am I going into the office on a routine basis, I’m now a manager. I’m in Portland, so the dress-code is decidedly unstuffy, but the new circumstances do have me putting a certain amount of thought into my future wardrobe additions. I’m definitely not going to go beige, so the challenge is to make office-appropriate attire that still fits my general retro-inspired/vintage aesthetic.

On top of the different needs I’ve developed over the past few months, I’ve also had a serious reduction in my sewing time. I’m still sewing, but instead of #isewpastmybedtime, more often I’m trying to #wakeupandsew, and I can only do that on the days that I don’t have to wake up and run like a maniac to get to work. This also explains my serious lack of blog posts of finished work recently. It’s good motivation to actually slow down a little bit and make sure that what I make will last: I can’t count on having the ability to constantly be cranking out quick makes. Layers are my friend this winter; it’s been an extra icy one for my area of the world. I’m very glad to be able to sew with real wool and knit bulky weight alpaca sweaters. Those things are hard to find in stores compared to the amount of polyester/poly blends that look like they should be warm, but then let you down when you step outside. I actually have been doing a lot of knitting, though it rarely makes it to the blog. I should try to get more pictures of my finished knits. Socks, in particular, are fun, easy, and so, so practical.

With layers being so useful in an office, and a need for plenty of office-appropriate clothing that embraces my personal style, I decided that a Jungle January sweater would be a fun and useful project. I’ve had the Muse Patterns Jenna Cardi almost since it was released, but I’d never got around to making it up. I even had it traced off and had never got around to cutting one out and putting it together. It was the perfect pairing for this leopard and rose print sweater knit from my stash.

It seems a little more of a relaxed fit than I was expecting. The pattern does have a point in the instructions to customize the fitting which should be useful when I make more and have to deal with how different fabrics behave. I don’t regret not making this more snug since the fabric isn’t overly stretchy and I wouldn’t want to make the buttons gap. I also haven’t washed it yet, and I’ve noticed that sometimes knit fabric stretch out during construction and then will recover after a washing. I could probably wear a sleeved shirt under this, which for the winter seems like a good plan. If it doesn’t shrink down with washing, maybe I should try a size smaller on the next one I make. I think the back is a little long too. Did I shorten it? I think I didn’t. I shortened the sleeves…a lot.

Overall, it was quick and easy to put together. I can’t believe it took me so long to get around to making up this pattern. It is well-drafted; the instructions have a nice amount of detail; overall, it feels like something that could easily pass for ready-to-wear. Of course, it’s much easier to get the right color, fiber content, and fit that I want by making something instead of buying it, so I might never have to go searching the stores for sweaters again. Yes, I do knit, and not always with overly chunky yarn, but it would take absolutely forever to knit something at this fine a gauge. It’s nice to have the option to sew a sweater in an afternoon when needed.

The skirt I also made. This is the skirt from Butterick 6285, the Gertie pattern with the skirt/wrap blouse. This is a fun skirt. It’s full, like a circle skirt along the bottom, but the fullness at the top is contained by multiple double-pleats. It’s a great pattern, and while it’s unusual, it’s so wearable that I think I could get away with making at least another one or two without anyone noticing that I was reusing the same pattern. The length is office-perfect too. The fabric is a cotton jacquard; I’ve used other colors of this same tablecloth-like fabric here and here and here. Hmm. I need to plead your indulgence as far as the wrinkles in the skirt. I didn’t iron it, and I should have. I actually made this skirt for the summer with a cute little cherry-print sleeveless blouse that still needs to be blogged. It’s definitely a summer blouse, so having this sweater as a winter-wear option will make the skirt much more versatile.

Thank you to Ace (he’s 7) for taking these pictures for me (and for avoiding any editorial comments about my outfit for this one). He took quite a few more, but he had just discovered how to spin the lens to zoom in/out so a lot of what he captured was either out of frame or out of focus. He needs more practice, but he looked adorable.

2 Comments

  1. Christine Schwab

    This feels very you…nice to see you posting again. Best of luck with balancing all you have going on. Kudos to your photographer. I love the digital age.. a young person can snap hundreds of shots so you can select ( or delete) at your choice. My kids had to practice with film….that got expensive and depressing and took so long. I think you two make a great team!

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  2. Kate

    These looks wonderful on you! I have made a couple of that skirt, it’s such a great pattern. The pleats sit so nicely. I have two in different sateen prints. I can tell you that to the lay person/non sewer it just looks like a regular circle skirt type deal – most people don’t look at the design lines that closely! I would happily make a third, if I could find some fabric like yours, which is actually what I was planning for my second one but couldn’t find.

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