I had agreed with myself not to buy any more patterns for a while and then, what do I see, but this gorgeous Jasper Sweater by Paprika Patterns. Well, I couldn't help myself and, what's more, I don't regret it!
The main fabric I used for this was hemp/cotton knit, bought on a recent excursion to the Margaret River Hemp Co. in Fremantle with the One Year One Outfit (OYOO) Perth crew. This fabric has a lovely natural colour and feel. Unfortunately it doesn't pass muster for the OYOO challenge as poorly thought out local laws don't allow hemp to be grown here. I hope this changes as hemp is fantastically sustainable and has a very low environmental impact. The fabric is also really nice and smoking it doesn't get you high, or so I'm told. This one metre length cost me $12.95. It wasn't quite enough for the Jasper, especially after some pre-washing shrinkage, so I hunted around and found a piece of cotton knit fabric that I had dyed with Eucalyptus leaves during a natural dyeing course some time ago.
During the dyeing process the fabric was folded, clamped with popsticks (from ice creams) then dyed, Shibori style, in a pot of boiling eucalyptus leaves (species unknown). I forgot to take a photo of the uncut piece, but it was similar to this onion skin-dyed sample I made on the same day:
I used the dyed fabric for the collar, the welt pockets and as a backing for some Alabama Chanin style reverse appliqué on the back of the jumper. I used ribbing fabric for the cuffs and bottom band.
I used the Angie's Fall stencil from the Alabama Chanin website. When I last looked it was free to download, but it now costs $8. I traced a flower from my computer screen at the size I wanted, cut the stencil, then placed it here and there on my back pattern piece. I used watered-down acrylic paint applied with a sponge brush to stencil the pattern on the fabric. This is a quick method that I've used before with good results.
I took the back piece on holiday with me recently and stitched away in a very relaxed manner with coffee or local wine to keep me going. Lovely! I used a double strand of brown thread for the stitches. It was fun to cut away the appliqué and see the Shibori pattern emerging underneath.
Once the back was done and I was home again, I made up the jumper. I was impressed with the drafting and the instructions and I'm pleased with the fit.
The epaulet on the collar is a nice touch. I found a handmade clay button in my button drawer that was perfect. I can't remember where that came from, but possibly my Mum made it during her pottery spree.
You can see the eucalyptus dyed fabric on the collar in these pictures. I'm hoping it doesn't look like I spilt my breakfast.
So, a new pattern, unfamiliar hemp fabric, natural dyeing and reverse appliqué. So much creative fun packed into one garment! Sewing is the best.