As soon as the Monroe Turtleneck was released by Tessuti I knew I had to make one. Luckily for me my grandmother bought me a serger for my birthday this year which made the whole process so much easier. This was the perfect project for me to learn how to use it as the pattern is so simple and also free!  I made two of these in a week and have plans to be making a few more for next winter.

I had worn my  RTW black turtleneck so often in winter under jumpsuits, with skirts and jeans that  I knew I’d get so much wear out of the Monroe Turtleneck. I bought the black  fabric from the Life with bird Fabric sale for $4 and was eager to use it on my new serger.  I figured that even if this sew went horribly wrong, and my serger cut it all up, I wouldn’t be too upset as the fabric cost me so little.  Luckily it did work as this is such a warm fabric and the top is super comfy to wear.

The Tessuti instructions are comprehensive but aimed at someone with a knowledge of knits and a serger. As  I was completely new to knits and my serger I had my copy of Stretch, by Tilly and the Buttons, open the entire time for some extra help. I had no idea where to start when I opened the machine as I had limited knowledge of how a serger works. I didn’t know what a differential feed was or how I was even meant to start threading the machine, not to mention I was also very intimidated by the blade and was sure I’d cut into the fabric accidentally at some point. Tilly’s serger set up advice was a life saver.  It helped me to thread the machine and work out how to adjust tension and stitch width. I didn’t get it perfect in my first attempt, my black version of the monroe top, but I’m ok with that. Now with a little more practice I am so much more confident using the machine. I would definitely recommend the book to anyone new to stretch fabrics and an overlocker because even if they don’t intend to use the patterns the technical advice is so useful.

The only alteration I made to the pattern in my black version was to add a centre back seam. This was more out of necessity than style design as I didn’t plan my fabric layout well and needed to cut the back into two pieces. I also cuffed the sleeves as I don’t have a twin needle and thought the zig zag hem I did on the bottom didn’t look as nice for the sleeves.

This pattern was such a joy to sew that I started cutting up the next one in a green merino from The Fabric Store the day after I finished my first one.  By my second attempt I’d sorted out all my tension issues and had some cutting practice so finished the entire garment in one afternoon.  I hadn’t even finished the hemming, but was too excited to wait so wore it the next day under overalls.  It is so warm, just perfect for a Melbourne winter,  and such a different colour to what I normally wear. I ended up hand stitching the hem using a catch stitch which made for a clean but subtle finish, even though it took a little longer to complete. Since the rest of the process was so quick it was kind of nice to slow down and finish it with a bit of hand stitching.

Pattern – Monroe Turtleneck – Tessuti  – FREE

Fabric – Life With Bird fabric sale (black) and merino from The Fabric Store (green)

For me I find the most exciting part of a costume party is the brain storming and creating a costume. With Halloween just around the corner here is the the costume I made last year – the evil Queen of the Forest.   As I was studying in year 12 last year, and halloween fell just prior to my final exams, I had very little time to dedicate to making a costume. This costume was quick and easy and the perfect study break project. This costume had three elements, a black dress out of the wardrobe,  a black cape I sewed  and the crown I made. 

For the crown I first found this blog post with a similar idea and based mine off this. This project was great as it is  unique and worked really well for the costume. I followed the steps detailed by Jessica Andersdotter and then added some small black hair elastics to the sides of the crown and placed bobby pins through them so that I had a way of securing the crown to my head throughout the entire night.

For the cape I adapted this pattern using fleece for the body, hood and lining and a wide ribbon for the closure. The thick fleece was a little bit of a pain to work with as the seams were so bulky but the warmth was needed for the Melbourne weather, that always unpredictable around October. I used the basic idea and construction to then make exactly what I wanted. I modified the hood so it was less drapey and to reduce bulk as I used a heavy fleece. To do this I just rounded off the point at the top of the hood so it was more fitted to my head. I also shortened the cape section to make it about a mid length. I made two of these to match with a friend and it took about a day to complete both.

Happy Halloween!

Cape

Fabric- Spotlight Fleece

Pattern- modified from this

Crown 

Instructions here

Materials- twigs from my backyard and other materials from Spotlight