Wrist Warmer Grail

Heatherymakes grail thumbholes (5)To have a reliable t-shirt pattern is like gold dust and this pattern is an absolute favourite. I wear jersey tops most days, which means that my previous incarnations of the Grail are some of my most worn items of clothing. Both are holding up to the rigors of life really well, and I’m delighted that both the chosen fabric and the pattern is so trustworthy.

Part of my job involves walking winter beaches and counting birds. This is, as I am sure you can imagine, completely wonderful, but I do often end up with very cold hands. Wearing gloves reduces my ability to write, and oftentimes I find myself with one glove on and one glove off to enable me to make the necessary notes, but it’s not very pleasant!

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Last week when I was doing the survey, my first this winter, as I pulled my top over my hands I realised that a good solution to my problem would be to make a top with wrist warmer sleeves. I knew that the Grail is reliable and has great potential for hacking. This here is my first attempt with this: the Wrist Warmer Grail.

The fabric is the same as my first Grail. I bought more in the same colourway when I realised how much I loved it. And I do! Utterly adore it. It’s thick and sturdy feeling, which means it’ll keep me warm as toast, and it makes it a bit easier to sew too. I also know that it’ll hold up well through 100+ washes and will add to my growing repertoire of useful clothing.

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There were a few adaptions required to make this into a wrist warmer version. Firstly, I extended the already lengthened sleeve by a further 6cm, making the pattern piece 13cm longer than the original (I have long arms). I then added 1cm width at the end of this extension to prevent any tightness around my hand. I created a new pattern piece out of the last 10cm of the sleeve, to act as a facing to stabilise around the thumbhole.

My blue grail is fantastic, but it does sometimes feel a tad too wide at the bottom, so I narrowed this down by 2cm either side at the hem. I’m not sure it makes a significant difference so for my next version I might remove more. Looking at the photos, it also looks like I could take some width out of the back piece at the shoulder in future makes. The pattern was already 4cm longer than drafted, but I don’t think this is necessary.

Another change I made was to widen the neckband to 5cm, resulting in a deeper neckband. I really like the impact this has on the top. No other changes were made and I love the finished result!

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Sewing the wrist feature was interesting(ly difficult) and did require some guess work. The second attempt was much better than the first and the third attempt was better than the second. Golly, how many arms do I have on this top? Well, two, but one of the wrists is unpicked and redone. Shh!! The thumb hole is 7cm in length, which is the length from the top inner corner of my thumb to the part where it joins my wrist. I was worried the gap would be too small and it would squash my thumb, so I left a bigger gap than may have been necessary but I think it works perfectly.

I didn’t want the top to be too short as it’s intended as a warm garment, perfect for travelling or carrying out winter surveys. The long sleeves are deliciously warm and work with or without my thumb in the gap. The neck is the best I’ve done yet (I used my zipper foot to enable me to get nice and close for an invisible finish) and I am super pleased with progress. From adjusting the pattern to wearing it took 4 hours so it’s lovely to know that I can rattle one of these up in no time at all.

Heatherymakes grail thumbholes (8)Heatherymakes grail thumbholes (1)Heatherymakes grail thumbholes (3)Heatherymakes grail thumbholes (2)

Sadly, Vesta Patterns are no more. The company ceased trading a few weeks ago, and it is sad as this is a really great pattern so they clearly had good drafting skills. The premise is absolutely fantastic, and I wish the designers all the best in their next venture. I will continue to make more Grails, hacking and adapting to continue to make tops that really work for me and my lifestyle.

Worn with my Turia dungaree dress.

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