How much pattern is too much pattern?
I have finally made the LB Pullover, a pattern by Paper Theory that I bought not long after it was released and has been patiently waiting for the right fabric to present itself. That fabric was in fact sitting on my shelves all along and the two just had to meet in my mind.
I bought this baby blue sweater fleece when I was writing 'No Patterns Needed' back in 2015. Each section of the book has a colour theme, and though I wasn't 100% sure of the designs, I went round London pretty much buying every fabric I could find in those colours, so I would be equipped with the right materials when it was time to make the example garments.
So I bought three metres (!) of it from a shop on Goldhawk Road, but as it turned out, it wasn't appropriate for any of the designs in the blue section of the book, so it just ended up being a small section of this toile, which I do actually love and wear a lot. Still, that's a lot of 'remnant.'
I love the colour, but felt that combined with the comfortable texture might come out looking like a giant flump or a baby's sleeping bag. It needed something to take it firmly into the realm of grown up clothing.
My Mum & Dad gave me a Speedball Speedy Carve block for Christmas, so I looked about for some surface pattern inspiration and found this ASOS jumpsuit, which I'd pinned to my Personal Sewing Inspiration board a long time ago.
I laid the fabric out and roughly mapped out how much of it I'd need to print to make the LB Pullover, with my trusty assistant Danny.
Having cut some simple skinny rectangles of the rubber, I did a bit of testing. I tried fabric paint first, but it produced fairly faded uneven prints.
I bought proper block printing ink, again from Speedball, and got much better results (towards the bottom of the fabric scrap)
It was really hard making a random looking pattern. I think the human mind is compelled to create regularity and symmetry - at least mine is. Anyway, I worked as hard as I could to overcome my natural programming.
It was equally as hard to find the right area of the printed fabric to lay the pattern pieces on, and I did end up wasting a bit of fabric to get it looking right.
After I'd cut the pieces out, I held them up against myself in the mirror and ended up adding in a few more prints to fill in some of the gaps.
The pattern is a dream to sew, super quick and it is so cleverly drafted it's really impressive. Think I might actually be in love with the arm scythe, if that is possible.
And this is the result. A super comfy, nicely fitting sweater that looks a little bit 'fashion' but really feels like wearing pyjamas : )
I experimented with going OTT on the surface-print front, wearing it with a recently finished Archer Shirt and my new favourite trousers, Persephone Pants in wool suiting (that is actually probably polyester!)
I went out to take some photos on the sunniest day of 2019 so far, and I had no location in mind, but when I started roaming my local neighbourhood I started noticing that it is full of blue doors! It turns out Plaistow is practically the Chefchaouen of Britain. For some reason I decided to make my sweater fly, and had way more fun alone on a Saturday morning in a garage yard than any person should. Check it out, a magic sweater!
Here are some shots so you can see the nice design of the sweater.
I do love this outfit, though I think in reality I'm more likely to wear this sweater without a shirt underneath, and possibly with skinny black jeans.
It's nice to know I've got a smart 'layered up' winter look to run to though. Oh, and I need glasses now! Just for going to the cinema, driving and reading signs in stations really, but I do like the look.
Welcome to Newham, hot bed of fly tipping, or centre of large scale street sculpture, depending on your perspective.
This sweater was sort of a 'toile' as I'm planning to make the LB Pullover in some fabric I designed and had printed on Spoonflower. I think I have finally learned my lesson that I should try a pattern in not-super-expensive-one-off fabric at least once before I cut into the good stuff!
But actually, I love this sweater so much, I like that such a simple block print elevated the fabric into something special, that of course I consider this a 100% wearable toile.