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Short & Sweet - A Me Made May Special

Sunday, April 30, 2017


All photos taken by me & posted on my Instagram.

Knitting - The Boothbay Cardigan. It's chilly here you guys!

Sewing - Juniper cardigans and Laneway Dresses.

Cooking - roast chicken and veges.

Drinking - Coffee.

Learning - About boobs, hehe. More specifically, how fascinating it is to fit different bust sizes. My next pattern has multiple bust cup sizes within it, so it really has been an interesting journey. Let's hope it doesn't all go horribly wrong...

Hoping - I don't get sick again.

Wanting - more time in the day.

Enjoying - crisp morning walks down to the trampoline.

Collecting - leaves.

Listening - to rain.

Watching - bad reality T.V and The Halcyon.

Smelling - wet autumn leaves.

Wondering - how the chickens got out. We were going to let them out of their rather large (for that matter) run for the winter, but they escaped a few weeks ago. I'm just not quite ready for the season of 'poo on the door-step' just yet. Oh well... it's just chicken poo...

Wearing - My new dress pattern, The Laneway Dress. Sign up to the newsletter to be the first to know when it's ready.

Grateful - for cosy winter fires and computer back ups. The big computer I do most of my pattern work on decided to fry it's hard drive on Friday morning. Ugh.

Loving - Mary Reynolds. I discovered her recently and am slightly obsessed. Her book is currently winging its way to me.

Buying - fabric for samples.

Baking - Savoury muffins (with a twist). Note - make sure they're actually cooked next time.

Plus, it's nearly Me Made May! Ummmmm... tomorrow.

If you're not sure what all the fuss is about, you can read Zoe's post here. If you want to get involved, we've lined up some lovely prizes for each week of May including a beautiful prize pack from Miss Maude and SewBox.

'I, Jen of Jennifer Lauren Handmade, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I endeavour to wear at least one me made garment each day of the month and take a photo. I also endeavour to finish one knitted garment by the end of the month'.

I know I failed fairly miserably with the whole 'taking a photo everyday' thing last year, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to give it a good go again this year. And yes, finishing a knitted garment in one month? For me? It's a big call. But hey, go big or go home, right?

Or... just stay at home and knit.

Or, you know, buy that last ball of wool you need so you can finish your OWLS jumper. That'd do it.

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The Juniper Cardigan Sew Along - Choosing the Right Size

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

In today's mini-post, I'm going to be talking a little more about the sizing for the Juniper Cardigan and how to get the right size for you.

The Intended Fit:

Juniper is a cardigan, it has more wearing ease built into it than my previous knit patterns because it's designed to be worn over the top of other things. Specifically, it was designed to be able to comfortably wear one fitted long sleeve layer under it. So, a long sleeved Gable Top/Dress or a Bronte Top would fit perfectly underneath it.

The bust on Juniper has a very small amount of built-in negative bust ease (aka, it's smaller than your actual measurements). The waist on the cropped version has zero ease (it's the same size as your waist) and the long line has positive ease at both the waist and hips, while still giving you a lovely silhouette.

With this in mind, you can hopefully get a better idea of how Juniper is intended fit VS how you want it to fit.

How do You Want it to fit?

If you're wanting your Juniper to go over the top of a strappy sundress, you might want it more fitted than it is, so sizing down from your usual size could be a good starting point to get the fit you're after.

If you want to layer that baby up as much as possible, sizing up would be advisable - and don't you think having a looser boyfriend long-line style would feel rather cozy?

Extended Measurements for a custom fit:

When you download your Juniper Cardigan instructions, you'll see on page 4 that there are a whole bunch of extra Finished Garment Measurements so that you can easily grade between sizes for a custom fit.

If you have a cardigan that you love already and want to mimic the fit of it, use the Extended Finished Garment Measurements to grade the pattern to fit exactly those measurements, taking the guess work out of how your final cardigan will come together.

Let me know if you have any other questions about choosing the right size! Otherwise, next up, we'll be dealing with everyone's favourite topic, boobs.

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The Juniper Cardigan Sew Along - Choosing Notions

Friday, April 21, 2017

There are a few other things, besides fabric, that you will need to make Juniper, and I know that at least a few of you will be a little worried about trying to find fusible knit interfacing. But don't worry, read on...

Fusible Knit Interfacing

For some of you, finding fusible knit interfacing may be a challenge, I certainly thought it would be here in New Zealand. Surprisingly enough though, I did end up finding 2 different kinds in Spotlight.

The first one cost approximately 1 million dollars, came in a neat little box and had enough for a postage stamp (okay, I might be exaggerating there, but for the price, there may as well have only been a postage stamp amount in there. You don't need a lot for Juniper, but still, that price tag, yikes!). The other one, the kind I ended up buying, was living deep down in the interfacing-bin-of-doom amongst all the other interfacing. If you've ever been to the bins of doom at Spotty, you'll know what I'm talking about.

However... if you know you're not going to be able to find any, you don't technically need your interfacing to be a knit interfacing.

Yes, you read that correctly. 

Most of the neckband on Juniper is eased into the cardigan, except the button section, which is where you put the interfacing. So, you don't need any of the stretch in the knit to fit that section into your bodice. It matches exactly to that part of the cardigan, meaning you don't necessarily need the give that you get with a knit interfacing to make the cardigan fit together. You can use a lightweight woven interfacing here.

So, why did you tell us we needed knit interfacing then? Well, it's good practice to use it if you have it - knit interfacing is designed for knits after all, so if you have access to it, I would recommend using it. It does leave your knit fabric with a little more give around the button band area, helping it to lay flat and hang/sit slightly better, while giving the button section more stability. 

Want to know a secret?

Well, let's go back to that knit interfacing I did find (not the 1 million dollar one). It was thicker than I would have liked and while I used it perfectly fine on the navy/mustard version of the cardigan - the sample that used the fabric weight that I drafted the pattern in - the cropped versions? Both of those were made using heavier fabric, 250gsm, and when I trialled the knit interfacing, it was too much for the button band and it ended up making it bubble in a not-so-nice way. So I used plain, light weight woven interfacing for both of those and they turned out beautifully.

So there you have it. If you only have woven interfacing, you can use it on Juniper with lovely results. Don't stress :)

Also, it's a good reminder to test your interfacing on your fabric first.


The number of buttons on the supplies list is really only a suggestion - you can use as many or as few as you like. In fact, if you've been paying attention, you may have noticed that the blue patterned cropped version actually only has 5 buttons on it!

The buttons I used were vintage glass buttons. I took them off their card to take a pretty instagram photo (of course) and then promptly lost one. So, five buttons it was.

Some of my testers used more buttons, some less, but at the end of the day, it's completely up to you what you choose to do. The only thing I would recommend is not going above 1.5cm diameter, otherwise your buttons may look out of proportion to the button band.

Clear Elastic

To keep your shoulders where they should be over the lifetime of your cardigan, as opposed to slowly drooping out of shape, adding in some clear elastic to the shoulder line is a good idea.

You could also add twill tape or ribbon if that's what you have to hand, but be careful of the weight you choose as you could make the seams bulky, and since the shoulder area is where the detail of the pattern is, you may wish to avoid this.

You can purchase your Juniper Cardigan pattern here.

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Colour Combination Ideas, A Mini Post - The Juniper Cardigan Sew Along

Monday, April 17, 2017

Now that we've covered what kind of fabric we are looking for when making the Juniper Cardigan, we can go wild with different colour and pattern combinations. This is most definitely one of my favourite things about sewing and Juniper really is the perfect canvas for this.

So in today's mini post, I'm showing you a few different colour combinations that I've been dreaming of - spring-time subtle in duck egg blue and autumnal greens with copper accents. Oh, and I really do need the first one in my autumn wardrobe too - time to hunt down some fabric me thinks...
A cream and rosey-maroon long line Juniper Cardigan with elbow patches
 A subtle spring-time blue Juniper Cardigan with a cropped bodice and 3/4 length sleeves
 Mixtures of green with copper buttons and leather elbow patches. A perfect autumn Juniper Cardigan.
 Classic mustard and grey - keep the cardigan shoulder line simple and clean by using the same colour for the sleeves and bodice.
 Dark honey mustard and light blue - so 70's, so right.
 Have fun with bright, graphic prints and pops of colour - Juniper is the perfect canvas for having fun with fabric.

Which colours are you thinking about for your Juniper Cardigan?

If you'd like elbow patches on your next Juniper, you can download the free patch pattern here.

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The Juniper Cardigan Sew Along - All About Fabric

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Let's kick off this Juniper Sew Along with our very favourite topic, fabric! I've said it before and I'll say it again, no two knits are equal. There are many many different variations, some subtle and some not so much, that can make your garment a success or a bit of a flop (quite literally floppy).

As I mentioned in the Juniper Cardigan Introduction video, this time I did something a bit different by filling you in on the exact fabric I used to draft and fit Juniper. It's really useful information when it comes to choosing the appropriate fabric for Juniper, to the point that I actually can't believe I haven't done it before! Knitting patterns do this 99.9% of the time so that you can get as close a result as possible to the modelled item - for Juniper, I used a 100% merino jersey knit, with a weight of 200gsm. This is the fabric I used for the long line navy and mustard sample.

So let's talk more about this in depth - in the 'suggested fabric' section of the instructions, I mention that you need a stable knit that has a minimum stretch percentage of 30% and a minimum weight of 180GSM. Let's break that down and figure out exactly what that means...


I think what annoys me most about buying knits online is when the weight is described as being 'light weight' or 'medium weight' etc. It's vague and not really all that useful when lightweight to one person can mean something completely different to another, especially if you're new to sewing with knits and don't necessarily have a reference point for what exactly light/medium/heavy weight means.

This is where GSM comes in. GSM... wha?!

It means grams per square metre. For those who don't use the metric system, I imagine that the conversion would be something like ounces per square yard (OSY??) and I'm sure there's some fancy maths to to convert this...

The reason being specific with weight is so important is because it can alter the outcome of your garment. If it's too heavy it could droop, not have enough stretch, make seams bulky (which for Juniper you want to be wary of with the shoulder curve). If it's too light, you risk loosing the style lines as there may not be enough oomph to help the design and shape stand up.

So, Juniper was drafted with a fabric that had a weight of 200gsm. I'd recommend the minimum weight being 180gsm - this is roughly the standard weight of most common cotton/lycra blends - if you've used any of the Art Gallery Fabrics, Robert Kaufman, Lillestoff etc cotton/lycra blends, this is generally the weight they will be. While these can obviously change and vary, you can bet that more often than not, they'll be 180gsm. And you can always email them to ask.

Depending on the stretch percentage of the fabric and how happy you are with bulky seams, I think going up to a weight of 300gsm would leave you with a nice looking, warmer Juniper cardigan. I personally haven't tried a fabric this heavy, the most I've gone up to is 250gsm, but I would feel comfortable using a 300gsm fabric if I found one I loved.

Grey merino interlock, both fabrics are 250gsm.

Stretch and Recovery

For Juniper, you want a minimum stretch percentage of 30%.

If you take a 10cm length of your fabric and can stretch it to at least 13cm, that means that you have a fabric with 30% stretch and the more you can stretch it, the higher the percentage of stretch.  You need this minimum amount of stretch to make sure you can ease your neckline in and so that the cardigan fits to your shape well (Juniper does have some negative ease built into the bust and no ease in the waist of the cropped version).

Once you've stopped stretching, you do also want that fabric to go back to it's original size - this is how well your fabric 'recovers' from being stretched. If it doesn't ping back, or you can poke holes in the fabric with your finger and they stay there, you might want to consider a different knit fabric.


This leads on from recovery - how your fabric behaves, being stable vs droopy (or maybe you can describe it as flowy?), can have a big effect on not only how easy it is to sew Juniper up, but on how the garment will wear over the course of the day or evening.

I probably wouldn't recommend a slinky knit for Juniper. The fabric needs enough oomph to be able to showcase that shoulder line. A slinky knit is not only much harder to sew with (it can slip around a lot under your sewing machine), but it can have a tendency to droop over the course of the day. This is fine if you're making a cardigan that is designed to be drapey, but it's probably not as ideal for Juniper.

Bonus useful thing - Fibre Composition

This is a personal preference, but I tend to stick to fabrics with a high percentage of natural fibres when I buy knits -  either cotton/lycra blends, 100% wool, or wool with a small amount of acrylic etc. They're easy to work with - especially if you're new to knits - they generally last longer and they are nice to wear, especially against the skin because they let the body breathe.

I really dislike polyester knits. I've tried to like them, but I just don't. And, there's this.

I know some people love them and wouldn't be without them, but I am not one of them. I find them not that nice to wear (a body needs to breathe, especially the upper part), I don't find that they last all that long before pilling (with little spider-web type threads coming off) and they smell funny, no matter how many times you wash them (and I guess washing them lots isn't a good idea anyway!). Maybe it's the type of polyester knits I've had access to in the past, but I just don't like them.

What about viscose or rayon knits? Well, they're technically both the same thing - it's just marketing that makes you think they're different - and while I don't find them as yucky as straight polyester (they do originate from cellulose or plant fibre but they are technically man-made because of all the processing that goes on) they tend to be very slinky knits that don't have a whole lot of body. So, I don't think they'd be a great fabric choice for Juniper, unless you want a drapey cardi.

So, what should you look for? If a fabric has ticked all of the above and is called something like jersey or interlock, you'll probably have a lovely fabric to make Juniper with.

If you have any questions or want to know whether a specific fabric you have in mind would work for Juniper, send me an email or link to the fabric and I'll let you know!

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The Juniper Cardigan - Sew Along Details (plus see Juniper in action!).

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Hello everyone,

Well first of all, thank you SO MUCH for the amazing response to Juniper! I've had so many lovely emails and comments over the past week since it was released. I'm not going to lie, it can be a nerve-wracking experience to release something that's a little different to the norm, but the reception has been beyond amazing.

Today I am announcing what we'll be covering in the sew along, and I've recorded a short little introduction video for you. Not only do I get to show you what the pattern looks like on a moving person, but I talk a little more about the pattern itself and introduce you to some of the things we'll be discussing during the sew along.

If you'd like to skip to various topics throughout the video, here are the different start times...

0.01 - Introduction to the Juniper Cardigan
0.55 - The details: saddle shoulder, bodice and sleeve length variations
1.43 - Fabric ideas
4.12 - The intended fit and choosing your size
6.17 - Skill level
7.15 - The Sew Along
8.17 - See both versions of Juniper in action!

Sew Along Topics -
And the part where we sew...

Juniper posts will go up one to two times a week, hopefully that'll allow me to blog about things that aren't sew along related as well. If there's anything else you'd like to know about, send me an email and I'll try to add it in for you either in the right order or at the end — jen at jenniferlaurenhandmade dot com.

Also, remember to use the hashtag #junipercardigan so I can see all of your amazing creations (and add you to the pattern round up if you'd like to be included!) and tag me on instagram.

Talk next week,

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