When I took on the test for the new Itch to Stitch Medellin Top and Cartagena Cami a couple weeks ago, everything was blue skies and balmy 70 degree temps. Winter seemed far away, and life seemed to be going along pretty swimmingly (cue ominous music here….) The kids were in a good school routine, I had some fun projects to concentrate on, and, most importantly, the time to devote to them!
As a nod to the coming winter, I chose to make up the Medellin in a merino wool knit, and the Cami in a double brushed poly, deciding the combination would be perfect for nursing when the cooler weather hit.
Just as I was finishing both pieces, however, the Paradise “Camp” fire spread throughout our county, destroying the homes of so many dear friends and coworkers, damaging my workplace, and taking the lives of too many people. We spent a sleepless night unsure of whether the fire would expand to our town, and another couple days deciding whether we could remain in our home, given the extremely poor air quality.
Our beautiful fall was instantaneously transformed into a cold, perpetual dusk, as the smoke blotted out the sun, and ash rained from the sky. After the second day, we decided that all plans needed to be put on hold, and that we could not continue to stay, as my kids were struggling to breathe (due to premature lungs- even at 8 they are still adversely affected by environmental allergens and smoke). We were fortunate to have some friends up north who offered to take us in, and we left as soon as we could.
The Medellin Sweater
Which brings me back to the sweater- boy was I glad I made it in wool! I’m not accustomed to the winter in the Pacific Northwest, and the cozy top (made with merino from The Fabric Store my mother in law picked up during a trip to New Zealand last year) was just what I needed to help transition to the sudden cold.
I made the size 0, not grading out for my hips as I sometimes do- the top ends at the high hip, which is not where I tend to carry my extra hip inches! The construction was straightforward and included quality tips, like adding stay tape at the shoulders and using clear elastic to stabilize the gathers at the side.
Even without a cami, I find the top secure enough to wear on its own without risking exposure, though women with bigger busts may feel differently. My only disappointment on the top is the bottom band- it got a little wavy as I serged it on. A wash may take care of that problem, and though I haven’t had a chance to do any laundry since we left, but I’m hopeful.
Taking photos away from home was its own challenge, but fortunately, there are plenty of cloudy days around here (those make the best lighting conditions!) and my friend has a very pretty backyard!
The Cartagena Cami
As far as the Cartagena Cami goes, the style is exactly what I want in a simple under-layer- slim fitting (this one did require grading out for my hips to a size 2), with a flattering back scoop. Kennis has done all the calculations necessary to get a perfect stretch on the fold over elastic, so this would be a great first project if you’re looking to try out FOE for the first time.
I used a double brushed poly fabric from Boho Fabrics- I only ordered a yard of this gorgeous print, and I’ve been waiting to find the best use for it. This cami was a wonderful match for the pattern, and I even have about a half yard left over, that will have the honor of staying in the scrap bin until I find the perfect way to use it (maybe raglan sleeves?).
The only thing I would change about the construction of the Cami is to swap out the method of sewing the straps together for the use of a ring and slider, like I used while constructing the Julia Cami (which is similar, but much more flared below the bust) so I can adjust them perfectly every time (other nursing mama’s will understand how things tend to change over time up top!).
A small way to help….
Honestly, this blog post was a little challenging to write, as I’m still very much shaken and saddened by what has happened with the Camp Fire, and so much remains to be rebuilt that it feels trivial sometimes, to talk about sewing and fabric. However, I realized that my little blog might be a small way I could help, and so, I’m going to match and donate 100% of what I make in affiliate earnings from the sale of these two tops, to local families that have lost everything as part of the fire.
If you’d like to support this effort (or just want to grab the pattern!) the Medellín will be discounted to $8 during the first week. The Cartagena Cami will be listed as $5, with no discount during release.
As always, thank you for your support, and even if you don’t decide to purchase, all prayers are appreciated!
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