After much deliberating I'd managed to narrow it down to one panel each and I went with the French Terry loopback knit, as both kids were actually in need of washable pullover jumpers. Buying for a purpose which can't be fulfilled by the fabric stash is OK (right?!), especially when the fabric is just fantastic and unlike anything you own already.
For P, I was tossing up between the Snow Tiger and the Fox but eventually settled on the tiger, which he has since declared is his favourite animal and the subject of his current "inquiry" at school. Nice one mum!
The fabric is a lightweight loopback terry. It's as soft as can be and feels like it should be made into baby clothes. It comes as a set size panel with a selvedge on all sides and the image at centre bottom. The absolute challenge in dealing with these panels is in choosing a pattern and designing a garment in order to utilise the image to its best potential. I'll confess my extreme cutting nerdiness and say that this puzzle was a big drawcard for me!
I'd have loved to make a hooded pullover such as the Rowan Tee, then considered using the Greenstyle Shawl collar pullover pattern that I have. But it became clear that if the panel was to be used for the whole front there would never be enough for either the back or sleeves, let alone a hood.
I was also aware that these panels aren't cheap and I didn't want to try a new pattern on an expensive piece of fabric, so you know what I did of course: Oliver + S
The pattern is the Nature Walk Pullover. I haven't made the top in almost 4 years, although I've used the pants part of the pattern many times over, and for many purposes (school shorts, swimmers, disco pants, elephant costume, Evel Knievel jumpsuit...). The more I thought about it, the more perfect the pattern seemed. There's a pocket, which is a must for this kid, but it's behind the front panel which meant my tiger wasn't going to be stitched on or covered up. Most importantly it's designed for colour blocking, which is what you have to do when you don't have much fabric!
I drafted off the size 7 with size 8 hem and lower sleeve length then puzzled and puzzled to get it all on the panel. The bottom section of the pullover is double layered both front and back. This provides the pocket at the front, but at the back is technically optional and could be left off.
But P is a kid who seems to really feel the cold. The terry knit is relatively thin and as a single layer is more like a thick long sleeved tee than a jumper. So I was going to make that double layer work somehow....
The inner back panel was made by using the small side sections that were left after cutting the lower front panel centered on the tiger. They were joined with the narrowest of seam and just made the width. You can see the selvedge of the fabric was all that was left for the seam allowances:
In my excitement of washing new fabric I hadn't paid much attention to how I pegged the fabric on the line and my panel was a bit skewed and warped. That only complicated the cutting puzzle further! I ironed it and smoothed it flat as best I could and thought I had it all correct. But, when I came to basting the two front panels together at the side seam it was clear that one side of the inner panel was half an inch shorter than the other.
The lower hem would normally fold up and meet the inner panel, overlapping by a half inch or so. The shortness on one side left an opening or "hole" in the pocket so I used a tiny remnant scrap to patch it.
Just on a whim I'd cut the sleeves with an extra inch of length at the hem and I'm glad I did!
I didn't want to lose any of my tiger by doing a double fold hem as per the pattern, so I cut a 1.5" strip of fabric, finished one edge with the overlocker then stitched it to the hemline right on the selvedge edge, making a hem facing finish.
So, effectively, I've added 1 inch to the total body length as well.
He kinda likes the kangaroo style front pocket!
The grey sweater knit is quite thick and matches the doubled terry panel thickness perfectly. It was a leftover form my nephew's knight hoodie and was just the right amount for the upper body and sleeve panels.
The final leftover scraps from the Bambiblauw panel, when arranged flat, only covered about two thirds of an A4 page. Like I said, you've got to love a cutting puzzle - or have really small kids!