A most snuggly hug from Auntie Esme

Hello lovelies. I hope your week has been better than mine. I wont be dwelling, because I know you're all here for the sewing and not for my grief, but I had to let my little furry catternweight move on from this world on the weekend. My husband and I are still trying to accept the reality, and goodness knows I should be well used to the reality, having assisted hundreds of other pet owners over my career to do the same with their darlings, but nonetheless one of the loves of my life is gone forever, along with a sizeable chunk of my heart.

So when one needs comfort, one not only needs comfort food but comfort clothing, and what better than a big, warm, snuggly wool jumper with a collar that one can escape into when reality is just a bit hard to contend with.

This is the Style Arc Esme top, and the photos were taken by the lovely Anna for me last week. I wasn't a very inspiring model I'm afraid, so she did very well.

The Esme is designed for heavier knits. I used a lovely thick wool blend from The Cloth Shop, an inky, slightly marled navy knit with a smooth front and fleecy back. The big star of the Esme is of course the collar. It is cut on the bias and can be worn folded up or down, and has a cool little split at the back. Very 60's.

This is a size 12, as per my bust measurements, and as you can see it is rather oversized. I don't mind at all as I really was aiming for an oversized top, but for a sleeker fit I'd probably size down. The shoulders are quite dropped, which again I really like. I decided not to do the hi-low hem or side splits on this version, instead making the back the same length as the front. I find that tunic length does nothing flattering for me - whilst my bum is not small I find hiding my bum and hips under swathes of fabric is not a good look....

A couple of weeks ago I saw Marie Fleur's lovely Bento Tee sweaters, and decided I simply had to have something equally cool and minimalist with front pockets for myself. I already had purchased the Esme during one of Style Arc's PDF sales (from their Etsy store) and decided it wouldn't be difficult to draft the front pocket detail myself. I then decided to just do one, modelling it after a similar top I found on Pinterest.

I measured where my hip bone would be and made a horizontal cut on the pattern at this point, on both front and back pieces at the same position. When cutting out the fabric I then added a 1.5cm seam allowance to both the top and bottom pieces on front and back. The back piece I simply stitched straight back up using the 1.5cm SA. I cut a pocket piece using the fashion fabric for the pocket bag, and a much lighter black wool knit scrap for the pocket facing, so it wouldn't drag the pocket opening down. I applied fusible knit stay tape across both sides of the seam across the pocket too. Strips of knit interfacing would also work perfectly well. I then attached the two pocket pieces to their respective locations using a 1cm SA, exactly how one would doing a side seam pocket. This meant when I attached the two front pieces together at the horizontal seam using a 1.5cm seam allowance the pocket seams would be nicely rolled in. A much better tutorial on how to add this sort of horizontal seam pocket can be found on the Colette website via this link.  I found my walking foot absolutely indispensable for sewing this chunky knit and getting all my seams perfectly lined up. I did the main sewing on my machine, and did a variety of different types of seam finishes with my overlocker - some seams I overlocked separately and pressed open to try to minimise bulk, others I overlocked together.

The only other adjustment I made was my standard forward shoulder adjustment. I just moved the notch on the sleeves forward too and it worked a treat so I really was overthinking my sleeve alterations in my previous Hemlock post!

I can't tell you how pleased I am with this top. It is so warm, loose enough to have a few layers underneath and I think very chic. I've used the pocket a surprising amount (phone, tissues, chocolate), and am still a bit torn between whether I should have done two rather than just the one, but I love the look of just the one.

Right now it's still covered in the hair of my baby. Each day the pain of losing her eases a little as a few more hairs drop off. I just can't bring myself to defluff it.