Grainline’s Driftless and skinny Anitas

At the beginning of this year, I made a pledge to not buy any new clothes in 2016. I told a few nearest and dearest (my ‘sponsors’ if you will) but for the most part I’ve kept the decision on the down low. Honestly, I wasn’t actually even sure I could do it, but so far so good. Just to be clear, fabric and shoes aren’t part of this ‘no buy’ pledge so things could be a lot tougher and tighter, but it still represents a pretty big shift for me and my shopping habits. 
There are a bunch of reasons why I decided to set this personal goal and I think that, as a sewer, they’re all pretty obvious ones. Reduce the stash, reduce the waste, save money and see how it affects my sewing habits. I sew a lot and I’m lucky enough to do it for both work and pleasure. But (like my shopping habits) I’m often spontaneous and end up making (also buying) things because I want rather than need them. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t actually think this is a bad thing because some of my most favourite makes have resulted from this impulse and I bloody LOVE that about sewing. As I once said here, I love the idea of trying something that may or may not work and learning a few new skills along the way. But I was definitely curious to see if making this choice would change both the way I sew and what I sew. Well, short answer is that it has and hasn’t. The warmer months were always going to be a piece of cake. Like the dressing part, I find summer sewing infinitely easier and my wardrobe very much reflects that. I knew the challenge would come in the cooler months and that’s where I found myself right now. I rarely plan my sewing but I’ve been going through my patterns, Pinterest, Instagram, magazines and everything, taking stock of what I have and what I think I need. Last winter, I think I wore jeans pretty much every day in work and play. I had no winter dresses, no winter skirts, and by August I was muttering under my breath to those jeans like they were the annoying friend I didn’t want to be friends with any more.
So my very first winter make (well, actually second) were these  black Anita Ponti Pants. Forgive the crappy, blue-tinged iPhone pic. These were tricky to photograph not least because I was photographing them on myself. Like these two, I made them more leggings than pants and just basically fitted the hell out of them. The fabric – our Nero Coated Ponti – has a subtle sheen that gives it a neoprene/wet look without the bulk and because I wanted them to bunch around my ankles, I added 20cm to the length.

And so onto Grainline’s Driftless Cardigan. I looooved this pattern from the get go. I am a HUGE fan of the cardy and all its layering virtues so after stalking all the other ace Driftless’, I set my fabric finding goals on a beefy knit, something with both texture and body. The fabric I eventually chose is actually the wrong side of Secrets of Charcoal Lace (also available in Ivory) – so we’re calling it double sided! It’s a bonded grey knit with cotton/wool/nylon and acrylic lace.

Because it’s bonded with the lace, there’s actually very little give or stretch so I wasn’t sure it would actually work. But hey (and yay!) it did! I went with the smallest size which gives nicely fitted arms and instead of slipstitching the front band closed, I just went with the lazy option of overlocking. The only other change I made was to shorten the sleeve length by an inch. I went with view A, sans buttons. I may or may not add some down the track, so I ironed on some lightweight fusing on the  lower button band in case I change my mind down the track.

From a review point, I can tell you that this is a pretty fantastic pattern. Not only does it look great but it comes together quickly and the instructions are true to Grainline’s form – clear and easy to follow. I will also tell you to try really hard to avoid making mistakes with a knit because unpicking a fabric like this takes ALL the patience and uses ALL the swear words. 
I’m wearing my new Driftless with (yet) another Mandy Boat Tee. My kid stole this one, so it’s pretty much exactly the same but longer in both body and sleeves.