Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Paprika Patterns' Jasper Sweater

Hey guys, I think I found a new favorite sweater!

I've been slightly intimidated by stretch knits for a while though. While I almost always have great successes with stretch knits, I shy away from them still for some reason. When I saw Lisa of Paprika Patterns post about her Jasper Sweater design long ago, I knew I had to have one!

While this pattern is designed for heavier-weight stretch knits, I purchased my fabric online and apparently can't read because it mentioned that it was lighter weight in the description when I bought it. Initially, I wasn't as excited about the grey fabric when I received it (fearing it looked too much like a subdued leopard print) but it grew on me and now I want to wear this hoodie every day!

Let's take a closer look:

 This pattern came together really, really easily. If you're fearful of stretch knits, please do buy this pattern! The notches led the way the entire time and even though I wasn't sure at times how things would go together during construction, I didn't have any problems. The grey fabric actually now reminds me of sea coral!
 Believe it or not, I chopped off 3" of the sleeve to make the cuff hit mid-hand. I guess being 5 feet tall, I have short arms!

 Close up of the single-welt pockets. Lisa had a slightly different way of sewing them than I have done before so I did have to pull it out a few times before getting it right, but I actually like her process better. Maybe, sometimes I simply just can't read and that's why I was temporarily confused. I get too excited and sometimes my own knowledge gets in the way.
The way that the hood is constructed is really inventive. Looking at the patterns I was like, "How in the world will this go together?!" but I love what she designed.

I can't say enough great things about Lisa - not only is she super nice and helpful, I am super-impressed that she is entirely self-taught. A few years ago, she was just experimenting with clothing construction and design and now she's got her own PDF patterns out! In my opinion, she completely surpasses anything I have ever designed, proving that schooling means very little when it comes to natural ability.

In my opinion, being self-taught allows her to be more creative when designing patterns. So often in design school, people are hounding you for not doing things "the right way" and allowing little room for expanding on an idea. I'm assuming she has none of those roadblocks like I do which is awesome. We need more designers out there like her!

Also, let me nerd out for a quick moment about the beautiful serged insides!

I don't know what it is - maybe I am a snob in many ways, but so often I see people all over the place using their sergers incorrectly. I see them using it to finish off an exposed edge on a knit and that's it. No faux coverstitch, not using it on insides, just a raw, serged edge flapping around in the breeze. It's like if I did a hem and just did the hem only with a serger and left it like that. It just looks unfinished to me. That's fine if it's an intentional design detail but as a whole on everything you make? No.

I have found for me with stretch knits, I prefer sewing them with a zigzag stitch on my machine, then going through and chopping off the excess on the seam through my serger, sealing both edges of the fabric at once. The zigzag stitch allows me more room for error as I can pull out mistakes far easier than starting with just a serged edge. Ideally, you would sew entirely on your serger with a stretch knit, but I am also one who likes to "break rules" if you come up with something that works better for you.

When I pulled this sweater off of my machines, I went "Look how clean and professional this all looks!" But then I realized... I actually am a professional. Whoops. I tend to forget since it seemingly was such a struggle to get to this point (and I know I always have more to learn). You always know what you started off like but sometimes don't take the time to give yourself credit for how far you've come.

Anyway..... Lisa is a fantastic designer and I highly encourage you to pick up one (or all) of her patterns! I also had the privilege of testing out her Jade Skirt pattern almost 2 years ago now (has it actually been that long?!) and that's a great pattern too! Her directions are clear with nice illustrations and she's always posting additional how-tos on her blog about her patterns. I love that her designs are clean and simple but also unique. They are edgy designs that definitely stand out and you can always make them have your own flair to them.

I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

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