Today in Never Been Knit I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to share with you Jacqueline Cieslak's new book - Embody. A capsule collection to knit and sew that has just been released in conjunction with Pom Pom Magazine.
As a long-time sewer and new-time knitter I saw previews of Embody popping up on my Instagram feeds some weeks ago and was instantly smitten with the entire project, and so I couldn't wait to post about it here, as soon as I heard that Outlaw Yarn would be getting in copies.
I love that Embody is a world where sewing and knitting come together - something that I'm surprised to not see happen more often. I adore that it’s plus-size inclusive, the patterns are fully customisable and that the capsule wardrobe is the epitome of fashion versatility and sustainability.
Spoiler alert: I love it all!
Jacqueline Cieslak is a designer, teacher, and maker based in the US. Her passion for knitting and sewing, and her inclusive, welcoming attitude to her crafts all come together in Embody.
Empowering makers to create clothes that honour their bodies is at the core of Jacqui’s designing practice, and this shines through in her debut book. These are the same personal values that I work and live by in my own wardrobe styling and body confidence work at New Boots and Panties, and so I love it when I come across mirror-minded designers and makers!
Embody consists of three infinitely adaptable patterns — two knitting, one sewing — with bespoke instructions to create customised, perfectly fitted garments designed to be the foundation of any maker’s me-made wardrobe. With included variations resulting in as many as 25 unique pieces from the three cornerstone patterns, this book encourages makers to think of a pattern as the starting point for their own creativity — a skill that will change how they approach any given pattern.
Embody comes with a code to allow you to download the printable sewing patterns on A4 or A0 format.
SUMMARY OF THE THREE EMBODY PATTERNS: WOOLFORK, DEREN & ELSOM...
A timeless and elegant loose fitting dress with handkerchief hem that works perfectly in lightweight, natural fabrics like linens and cotton.
It can be sewn as a dress with or without sleeves, and includes the options for a tie and pockets to add extra versatility and to allow you to play with shapes. It is the perfect shape and cut for laterying both over and under. I’d really love to put tees or shirts underneath the sleeveless dress.
Having read over the sewing pattern and instructions, I’d say that the pattern is beginner friendly. No zips or tailoring to be dealing with. Just a lovely simple panel pattern that is designed to be worn freely, pulled on, and skims over the body.
A knitted top pattern to cover your every need. I adore the simplicity and classic lines of the Deren, and has really made me look at the knitted tee as a wardrobe option that I’d never have considered before...and now REALLY want to try!
As a big sucker for anything cardigan, I simply love the Deren cardigan variation, in the pictured green and with buttons and I’d like to replicate this entire example.
A beautiful long, draping shawl, with interesting textures that you can wrap, wind and fold a multitude of ways. The secret to capsule wardrobes is in the layering and this shawl is the perfect way to add depth, interest and added dimension to your collection.
I adore the Embody pattern collection because unlike so many others out there, the fact that there are only three, and that they are designed to be mixed and matched, layered, and played with makes them so very accessible and versatile.
Rather than being daunted and overwhelmed by a whole collection of sometimes 10-12 pieces, with each made of a different pattern, with Embody you’ll very quickly come to grips and become familiar with the style and construction three designs.
Once you’ve made each pattern once, repeat makes with variations will become a breeze and start to feel like instinct. And as you wear the finished items, layering them up and playing with proportions and shapes, you’ll become increasingly inspired to make your own alterations to the patterns and customise the patterns to work for you.
Finally, whilst I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate how plus-size friendly this is, and what an ambassador for Body Acceptance Jacqueline is.
Finally, something that I like the most about this collection is how the designs are simple, sophisticated, classic and not hyper-feminine in their styles.
Of course what colours and fabrics you make these patterns in is up to you, and the capsule could be made with bright, bold, patterns and colours. However as a plus size woman I constantly know and feel pressure in the eyes of the world to dress super-feminine all of the time, often being made to feel quite infantile and pigeonholed in the way I'm expected to present. Don’t get me wrong, I love a tassel, tutu and bright colour as much as the next person, but it's exhausting when it feel like the only socially acceptable way to dress as a fat woman.
Embody’s collection, in its earth tones, simple shapes, and natural fabrics, on the other hand, feels very grown up and sophisticated. Never old, stuffy, or boring. Just classy, elegant, natural and sexy without being sexual.
I’m so excited to get some linen and sew up a Woolford dress over the coming long weekend and from there build my own Embody capsule wardrobe. There's so many beautiful options and shapes to be made - I feel truly inspired from reading Embody, which is how personal style and fashion should make you feel!
Embody is sustainable, inclusive, capsule, fashion done right and other pattern makers and designers in both the sewing and knitting world should take note. More of this in our making communities, please!
Embody is available now at Outlaw Yarn, both in-store and online. Pop in and see the Outlaw team and they’ll get you set up with all of the yarns that you need to get you going on the enclosed knitting patterns and, as always, are on hand to answer any questions or troubles you may have with your projects.
I'm Lou, an Ōtautahi based personal stylist and craft-lover, and this is Never Been Knit - my journey from complete knitting virgin to...well, let's find out together!