New Book: Plus Size Fashions – An Interview with Jill Hanratty & Giveaway



Plus Size Fashions by Jill Hanratty

This is the second stop of Jill Hanratty’s blog tour to introduce her new book, Plus Size Fashions. This is a collection of fashion garments that Jill has designed for the plus-sized woman. Yesterday, Jill began her tour by visiting with Ellen Gormley of Go Crochet, and in addition to asking great questions, Ellen was kind enough to give us Jill’s background and also to share a photo of Jill. Be sure to visit Go Crochet if you missed the first day of the tour.

Plus Size Fashions is a collection of five fashion garments. The collection contains two jackets, one short-sleeved tee, one long-sleeved pullover and one sleeveless shell top. I am giving away a copy of Plus Size Fashions. If you would like to be included in the drawing, please read the interview and share a comment about Jill’s book before 6pm EST on Friday, November 19. I will randomly select the winner. Good Luck!

Swinging Pearl Jacket

The green, classy jacket featured on the book cover is the Swinging Pearl Jacket, and I have a set of questions for Jill about the jacket.

Swing Pearl Jacket from Plus Size Fashions by Jill Hanratty

TB: This is an elegant jacket that can be worn to work or to dinner, but it is still relaxed enough to be worn casually with jeans. It can really be dressed up or down depending on the accessories chosen to complete the look. How did you see this jacket being worn, and who did you see wearing it?

JH: My taste generally runs to classic designs. If you put the effort into making a garment, it is nice to be able to wear it in 10-15-20 years and still look great! In fact, this jacket is one that I can envision wearing over and over and over, because it is so basic! The style is not limited to any one age bracket, either, so that adds to the design’s timelessness.

TB: I really love the fit of the Swinging Pearl Jacket, especially the set in sleeves. One of the biggest complaints I hear from plus-sized women about crochet patterns is that a lot of designs for plus-sized women have drop shoulders, but they want the option of set-in sleeves. When they do find a pattern with set-in sleeves, they sometimes have issues with the placement and depth of the armholes. How do you determine your armhole placement so that your garments fall from the shoulders and have proper drape?

JH: It drives me crazy to see ill-fitting armholes in plus size garments! Of course, not every woman is built the same, but I do try to shape armholes so they will lay properly on the body. Keeping the shoulder width of the design within the range of normal shoulders makes a difference. I then try to use increases to add width at the sides rather than adding too much depth (length) to the armhole. I also like to use a shorter, wider sleeve cap, and add length to the sleeve underarm. This helps to free the sleeve to move without pulling the garment away from the body.

As a back-up to my theory, I prevailed upon two plus-sized friends who were kind enough to let me measure some of their clothes to compare with my calculations. They even let me take my tape measure to the clothes they were wearing on a few occasions!

TB: What makes this a pattern for a crocheter with an intermediate skill level? Are there any advanced techniques that are needed to complete this design?

JH: This is an intermediate pattern because of the shaping throughout the jacket. There is nothing very advanced at all in the pattern. In fact, it might be a good pattern for someone who is looking to move up from an easy pattern for the first time. The stitch is simple and even the scalloped edges along the jacket fronts are part of the jacket, rather than a trim stitched on at finishing!

TB: What type of technique do you recommend to sew the seams to assemble the jacket?

JH: The mattress stitch is my favorite way of seaming: keeping the pieces to be joined adjacent to each other, working on the right side of the garment, and stitching back and forth between pieces with rows or stitches aligned. The benefit of working with the right side facing is seeing that the seam is turning out well. I LOVE Knit Klips as an alternative to pins to hold the pieces together while I work!

TB: I am really intrigued about the bamboo/wool yarn that you used for this jacket. The stitch pattern you used produced a solid fabric, but the fabric still contains a nice drape and appears to be lightweight. Can you describe how the yarn cooperated with this design?

JH: This jacket needed great stitch definition because it is such a solid fabric. The Red Heart Bamboo Wool was perfect for that—the stitches pop and the fabric has nice body and drape at the same time! (—and this yarn comes in such amazing, rich colors!)

TB: I have to say that I believe this will be one time where the smaller ladies will be jealous of the plus-sized designs. Do you have any plans to create these same designs in smaller sizes?

JH: Thanks, and I have to agree! I certainly would do so if the demand arises!

Thank you for answering my questions and allowing me to share your new book, Jill.

Please follow Jill through the remainder of her blog book tour to read more about
Plus Size Fashions. The schedule for the remainder of her tour is below.

Day 3 (Nov 17): Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby —
Day 4 (Nov 18): Jennifer Cirka —
Day 5 (Nov 19): Lisa Gentry —

If you missed the first day, here is the link to the first stop of Jill’s tour.

Day 1 (Nov 15): Ellen Gormley —