After 10+ years of sewing, I find that it’s quite hard to just sew something right out of the pack. I just get this itch to add a twist or change even a small detail, or downright hack the life out of a pattern. Case in point, the Fibre Mood Nala top.
This is from the very first issue of Fibre Mood magazine. If you’re not aware of who they are just yet, check out my review and more details here.
I can call this my ‘name day (or saint day) jumper’, as I bought the fabric with the money my mum now gifts me for my birthdays specifically to get fabric or something sewing related. I have a mad amount of fabric so I try not to add to my stash if I can help it, but I always want to get a small piece as almost a souvenir.
So let me tell you more about how I hacked this jumper.
SAVE THIS FOR LATER ON PINTEREST
BALLOON SLEEVE QUILTED TOP FABRIC
As I was mentioning above, I was in a fabric shop in Copenhagen last August, rummaging through the fabric remnant bins. I like to think that I might be saving some unloved fabric from wherever fabric shops send their end of life pieces. Grabbing a bargain in the process doesn’t hurt either.
When I saw this piece at the bottom of the bin, I was immediately drawn to it. I liked the colour, which fits into my wardrobe palette and I could match with loads of other items. I also liked the quilted texture that provided a great point of interest, but also will be quite warm.
When I buy new fabric, which happens very rarely nowadays, I always try to match it to a project then and there. If I can’t think of something to use it with, I don’t buy it. Alternatively, I might also be in search of fabric for a pattern I already have. So I immediately looked up the Nala pattern from Fibre Mood to check if my piece would be big enough. It was, just, so I snatched it right away.
As it was in the remnant bin, I have no idea what it is, but it feels polyestery. There are two layers of a thinner fabric that sandwich a spongy middle so that it’s actually quite thick, but still soft. And it’s definitely quite warm.
HACKING THE FIBRE MOOD NALA INTO THE BALLOON SLEEVE QUILTED TOP
Nala is a loose-fitting top with rounded neckline and cute elastic, eye-catching details in the bicep area.
I had initially planned to make it just as the pattern intended. However, after adding the elastic, I did not like the look at all. Also, it felt slightly uncomfortable along the bicep. I also tried a version with elastic at both the lower end and upper end, as well as just the lower end. I didn’t like any of these options.
However, the previouly tried elastic gathered wrist looked quite nice, creating a balloon effect in the sleeve that looked great in the slighter structured fabric.
As I had to join up two pieces for the sleeve, I decided to make it a design feature, and topstitched the seams to bring it out. I love the effect!
I also had very little fabric to work with, so the overall top ended up a tiny bit shorter than I would have liked. I would also have wanted to add a waistband, but unfortunately, not enough material left. The sleeves are a tiny bit short too, but again, not enough fabric. It really doesn’t bother me, as I tend to push them up anyway.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE FIBRE MOOD NALA HACK
The fabric is slightly stretchy, so I used the overlocked for the main construction. However, it also sewed very well with a regular sewing machine, which I used to topstitch the neckline and seams on sleeves. Also, I machine-gathered the sleeve at the wrist, to be able to join with the cuff piece. The hem was overlocked and topstitched down very narrowly, to preserve length.
STYLING THE QUILTED BALLOON SLEEVE SWEATER
I finished this top in early September last year, just before we left for our California holiday. And of course, it came with me on that trip, where it got loads of wear. It was my main long sleeve top, and it did keep me warm and stylish, even if I do say so myself.
The best part was when a few people asked me where I bought it from and I could turn around and say I made it myself.
It got a lot of love since as well, and I have been wearing it loads this winter. In fact, the current tally is 11 times. And I know that because I count what I wear every day in my spreadsheet (read more here).
Here I styled it with some of my favourite winter bottoms, the pinstripe wool culottes and a pair of suede block heel ankle boots. I like that the short jumper works really well with the high waist and v-shaped waistband. I like to add the leather jacket as it offers a bit of an edge to a quite neutral outfit. It’s a bit of a squeeze to get the sleeves in the jacket, but luckily int these case, the jacket is quite roomy.
I also wore it with high waited jeans, with leggings and trainers for a totally sporty look, and with a pleated black skirt.
PATTERN: Fibre Mood Nala, size M
FABRIC: quilted polyester, 1m
ALTERATIONS: omitted elastic, added 15cm sleeve length, added sleeve cuff
Hips: 98 cm (38.5in)
Waist: 72 cm (28.5in)
Bust 88cm (34.5in)
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PATTERNS WITH STATEMENT SLEEVES? LOOKING FORWARD TO HEAR FROM YOU IN COMMENTS.
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This is so cute though! Love this length on you tbh. And these sleeves are brilliant!
Thank you so much, Abbey! I think the length balances nicely with the volume of the culottes.
I have exactly the same fabric, but it´s grey, and I loved this project! Quick question, did you add some width to the sleeve, or just gathered the existing sleeve? Thanks!
Thanks! No, I didn’t add any width, just another piece in length. I would recommend doing a two piece and topstitching the seam, as it gives a bit more structure to the balloon sleeves.