Black, White & Grey all Over

So far, June has been a thouroughly disappointing summer month.  Totally unlike the lovely hot weather we had last year, even though that was highly unusual weather.  June in the UK is quite like April, it rains on and off all month.  But this June seems to have been extra wet, which means I’m not gardening, so more sewing time!

Paper Theory Kabuki Tee in stripe linen

I’ve made a start on using the fabric I bought while in South Africa, it’s all washed and ironed and ready to use, and I’ve managed to find some patterns to go with some of the pieces.  One piece I’d bought with a pattern in mind, the LB Pullover from Paper Theory.  But – I changed my mind at the last minute and went with the Kabuki Tee instead.  The fabric in question is linen, it used to be black and white wide stripes, but after washing is now black and pale grey!

I quickly ran into a problem with the fabric though, I’d seen it in my head with the stripes running horizontally, but on laying it out on the cutting table realised the stripes ran parallel with the grain, so now they had to be vertical!  I really wasn’t sure if I wanted stripes running up and down.  I draped the fabric over my shoulder and swanned about in front of the mirror for a bit, to make up my mind, and eventually went with the stripes running vertically.  As it turns out, it was the right decision.

As with the last Kabuki Tee, I reinforced the pivot area with a scrap of fusible interfacing to give it a bit more strength, and I overlocked the insides as I sewed.  I have a feeling though, that the next one I make will have to be a size down, as my measurements continue to get smaller, I think it’s time to re-trace some of my patterns.  Now all I need is the right weather to wear the finished article!  I could wear it with a long sleeve tee underneath, but unfortunately all my winter wear is in the loft!

I prefer wearing this top with a more straight leg or fitted pair of trousers, jeans are great, but wide legs don’t suit it quite that well. Which is odd, because the chambray Kabuki I made before heading off on holiday looks great with wide leg trousers…

Kabuki Tee

 

I’m on a Paper Theory roll at the moment!  I’ve enjoyed making and wearing the LB Pullover this year, and the Zadie Jumpsuit had its christening this week on holiday in South Africa. It was lovely to wear!  The other pattern I’ve made is the Kabuki Tee.  It’s a loose, boxy, oversized tee pattern, designed for woven fabrics.  I’d admired the large sleeves and front detail, with the opportunity to play with direction with stripes or other patterns.

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Wearing my new Kabuki Tee on a beach walk

This first garment is a plain, I bought some grey chambray earlier in the year with the Kabuki in mind.  It’s probably a little stiffer than would be preferable, but I like the way it keeps the boxy shape of the design.  All the edges were overlocked after sewing the relevant seams to keep it all neat and tidy inside, and I topstitched the armhole/sleeve seams.

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Topstitched seam detail

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It’s a relatively quick pattern to make, the instructions, as with all the other Paper Theory patterns are pretty straightforward.  To make sure that there wouldn’t be any holes or inclination to tear once the corners on the front and back were snipped to allow for rotation and insertion of the sleeves, I interfaced that area with a scrap of fine sheer fusible.  It just gives a little more stability to the fabric that’s going to be weakened.

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I’ve worn the tee twice on my holiday in South Africa, and it’s been really comfy to wear.  Hubby doesn’t like the oversized armholes, says  need slimmer sleeves, but I like the look.  I’ve also made a version in viscose, just to see how it looks in a much more drapey, fluid fabric.  But I haven’t managed to wear that one just yet, so pics are non-existant!

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I dragged the other half to a fabric shop to stock up on fabric to refill my suitcase (having emptied it of loads of stuff I brought out for friends and family) and picked up a black and white wide stripe linen that will either be another Kabuki or possibly another LB Pullover.  I’m liking the idea of stripe manipulation…

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Jumping into my Holiday Wardrobe

I’ve been after a good jumpsuit for a while, and made one last year from a German magazine that Chris gave me.  I liked it a lot, but it needed more adjustments to be perfect.  I even bought more fabric to make another, but the summer disappeared on me and I thougth I’d wait.  I then had an idea to make a pattern from the top portion of the Sew House Seven Tea Dress and a wide leg trouser pattern (more than likely from a Burda pattern) and see if I could make something work.  But other things landed on my sewing table and I hadn’t got round to more than just think of the idea.  And then Tara from Paper Theory posted her progress on making a jumpsuit pattern available.  I thought I’d just wait for that, given how good her first foray looked last summer when she drafted one for herself.

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Navy linen Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory

The pattern was released a week and a half ago now, and I’ve made mine!!  Actually, if you look on Instagram there are some great examples of the #ZadieJumpsuit to be seen.  Lots of different fabric types, pattern or plain, and on lots of different people.  I started by tracing the sizes 14-18.  I’ve had a bit of a change in measurements lately, and can start sizing down! (yippee)  Checking the finished measurements against my current measurements, and knowing how much ease I can get away with, made me start the toile with the size 16, with no adjustments.  I already knew I’d need an FBA, just not necessarily in width.  Making the toile means I get a proper idea of how much length I need to add to the bust depth.  I also thought I might need to size down in the legs, as they’ve been getting skinnier!  The other alteration I thought I’d need would be to shorten the legs – but by how much?

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Can you see my whiter than white ankles in this shot? No? Need to shorten the trousers then!

I made the toile in an old duvet cover from the charity shop, and it ran up really quickly.  The instructions are really clear and easy to follow, with diagrams if you need them.  Once on, I knew I’d need that extra length in the bust depth!  Standing up straight, I marked the bust point with a marker pen, then I pulled down the front so the waist was actually on my waist and then marked the bust point again.  There was 3cm between the two points.  Voila!  Extra required bust depth!  The crotch depth was also low, like MC Hammer low! 😀  So I pinned up 4cm and it felt much more comfortable.  By doing this, I improved the look of the length, the trousers looked like they finished in the right place, so no chopping of leg length! Woohoo…

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So, back to the paper pattern, I drew a line perpendicular to the grain line on the bodice front that lined up with the lower marking of my bust point.  Then I cut along that line, stuck the bottom bodice piece onto a piece of paper, extended the grainline, drew a line parallel to the cut line 3cm away and taped the upper bodice piece to that line, lining up the grainline.  Then I marked a dart at the side seam, the point of which is 5cm short of the bust point.  Then I trued up the front line, crossing my fingers that I’d got the curve right!  I used the lengthen/shorten lines on the trouser pattern to shorten the crotch depth.  I also decided that when cutting I’d move the shoulder line to the 18 on the front, giving me another 0.75cm of length in the front.  Maybe I needed it, maybe not!  Time will tell once I’m actually wearing the jumpsuit on a regular basis.

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Boob wings in all their glory in this photo.

The nature of the fabric is also showing up one tiny flaw.  I do need to add some width to the bodice front.  Because of the cut of the bodice and the kimono-like dropped shoulder, I have little “boob wings”.  There is a triangular section of fabric running from the bust to where the armhole would be.  So I need to fix that before making another.  It didn’t show up so badly in the soft cotton duvet cover toile, so I thought I’d get away with it…

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My fabric is a 3m length of 140cm wide navy Irish linen, 137gsm.  It has a crisp handle, but is lightweight and hangs beautifully.  It’s been in the stash for a while, and I’d fogotten it was as crisp as it was, but I wasn’t going to buy any more fabric just yet.  It will soften with washing ( eventually) but will never quite loose that crispness.  The colour though, is great, rich and with lustre.

The cutting layout has you open the fabric to a single layer, right side up, and cut each piece individually.  This is because the designer is looking at the best way to cut the pieces with the least amount of wasted fabric, which, with the size and shape of the pattern pieces, is high.  So leave plenty of time to do the cutting out!!  And follow the diagram, or you’ll be caught short.  Seriously, I recon it took as long to cut the pattern as it did to sew the toile!!  However, I only had small bits of linen leftover, so it was the most efficient way to cut.

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Bias binding on the front, with extra stitching for the ties. Insides are all overlocked.

The pattern itself is easy to put together.  You have the option of making it “sleeveless” which really means a short, dropped shoulder sleeve, or adding the sleeve, which gives you long sleeves.  This means you can make this jumpsuit for cold weather!  I quite  fancy making a wool suiting version and wearing a poloneck like the Tessuti Monroe underneath.  The front of the bodice is bound with self bias binding, but you can make a bit of a statement if you go for a contrast colour or a different pattern.  The bodice is staystitched before the binding goes on, so there’s no chance of stretching the front.  The only thing I did differently was to overlock all the pieces before I started sewing, instead of neatening as I sewed.

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I really love, love, love this finished project.  It’s good to wear, shows no boobage when bending over (a critical aspect of any cross-over top) and stays put when moving about.  I double checked that one by doing a crazy lady dance in my sewing room.  In hindsight, I could probably easily loose another 2cm in the crotch depth and still have room to sit without squeaking.  It is a very forgiving fit!  The choice of size 16 was perfect, and while I could size down to a 14 for the width of the legs, this is a wide leg jumpsuit in a lightweight fabric, so no harm done.   I will also be removing about 3cm in the leg length.  Looking at these photos more shows that they are a tad long on me, you cannot see enough of that overwhelmingly white ankle, just about the same colour as my trainers!

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I’m heading home – back to South Africa – for three weeks over the Easter period, and this is going to be the very first item that goes into my suitcase!  Along with a large bottle of fake tan…  I hadn’t deliberately decided this time to make anything for the trip, so this is a bonus – mostly because I didn’t think the pattern would be available until the summer.  So, would I recommend it?  In short – yes.  I’ve seen it made by tall slim people, and by shorter, fuller figured people, and it looks good both ways.  I’m not the tallest person on the block at 1.65cm, but the proportions seem to work.  The fit is relaxed and loose, but you don’t feel like the saggy baggy elephant.  I have a feeling this will work on pretty much all body types.

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Now, will I make another?  Heck yeah!  I’ve just remembered a black 3m length herringbone linen that’s in the stash, bought 2-3 years ago when I first thought I’d like to try the jumpsuit trend.  Might even do the sleeves with that fabric, it has more body than the navy I’ve just used!  But first, I have a couple of Kabuki Tees I want to make, and some grey jersey that wants to be a Stellan tee, and make my first ever Style Arc trouser pattern, and I need to make two things for Daughter No2 that I toiled the week before last, and…..  BIBS!  I want to make a pair of hazel linen Burnside bibs to take with me!  Oh boy.  There is still the allotment and digging in of muck and starting of dahlias and sowing of seeds to do too.  Oh help.

Work in Progress Wednesday 4/19

A blog post!  Finally!  You guys have probably been wondering what on earth happened, radio silence for ages now!  Well, I’ve had my head down making kid’s clothes for a friend, and to help me to clear out those stash boxes of left over fabrics, and the weather lured me out of doors!  We had such beautiful, unseasonally hot weather at the end of February that I just couldn’t resist the siren call of the allotment!

It was luck that I hadn’t, to be honest, because now, at the beginning of March, I’m ready to sow seeds and plant stuff.  Even if the weather has reverted to it’s usual windy, rainy self.  So, now that the inclement weather is back, I’m back in the sewing room!  Last week I had a proper sewing day and made 7 Rowan Tees by Misusu Patterns!  It’s a free pattern for kids.  I traced the sizes from the 98 or 3 year old, up to the 7 year old & raided my stash of leftover ponte, double jersey and quilted jersey.  I made 3 of the smallest size, and randomly chose fabric and other sizes so I’d have enough for growing into, as well as fitting the older kid.  Those were all the remains of the fabric after making Toaster Sweaters, Talvikki Sweaters and the LB Pullover.  I’m very happy with my little pile, and will be distributing them amongst 3 kids.

 

 

 

But back on the sewing for normal humans – grown ups!  I suddenly realised that daughter no 2 would be home this weekend for the week – reading week at uni, and I’d promised a bunch of toiles ready for fitting!  Some patterns were ready to toile, others still needed to be traced – oops!  So I’ve made a start with a pair of shorts, and today cut the toile for a dungaree dress, 115 from Burdastyle April 2017, and traced and cut the toile for the blouse, 111 from February 2018.

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Dungaree dress 115

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Blouse 111

I also cut a top for my mum from her favourite Burda pattern (the fifth one this year!) and decided to experiment with viscose and the Kabuki Tee from Paper Theory.  I toiled that pattern in February in the size 18, but decided I could afford to size down one.  So, we’ll see if it works in viscose!  I’ve seen plenty of cotton, nani iro, double gauze and linen versions, but ot viscose.  Fingers crossed…  By the way, has anyone seen the announcement that Tara is releasing a new pattern – a jumpsuit – either this week or next?  I’m waiting with baited breath for this one, I really like the look of it when she made a version last summer.  Let’s just say I’m on tenterhooks, waiting to pounce and hit that “pay now with PayPal” button as soon as it’s live! *edit* it’s live!  Here’s the link if you’re remotely interested…

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Fifth version of Mum’s favourite top pattern to be made this year.

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Kabuki Tee in viscose. Mad or inspired?

It’s due to rain tomorrow, so instead of getting really, really muddy, I’ll stay indoors and start sewing those toiles!  I already have the fabric for the Burda patterns, so if I get those made up next week after fitting, it’ll be a good stash bust.  I also found the #sewbibs hashtag on Instagram this week, a good push to make that dungaree dress, and possibly to finally trace and toile the Burnside Bibs for myself??  I already have the fabric for those too…  It would tie in nicely with the other hashtag, #sewthatpatternnow.  And of course, #makeyourstash.  But I’ve been doing that one for a while now, and I’m only making very slow inroads into the stash boxes!  Mostly because I keep hoarding the leftovers!  Send help…

 

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My first daffodil! Well, Narcissus, really. So pretty!

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I’ll leave you with a picture of the Narcissus blooming on my allotment last week, before Storm Freya hit and flattened them, so I cut them and brought them indoors.  My first harvest from the cutting garden this year!

Simplicity

 

As promised – the woven version of the Paper Theory LB Pullover.  But not just one – two!  For once, the amazing top I saw in my head has actually lived up to expectations!  I cut the same size in this as I did for the striped ponte version, but I’ve added length to the front along the bust line.  This should result in a dart – which I did not want, so I rotated it to the hemline and removed the dart width from the side.  So now I have length, and no dart!  Yippee.  But I’m thinking I could have added another centimetre or two and it wouldn’t have hurt.

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LB Pullover from Paper Theory in herringbone wool and silk blend

The pattern is otherwise the same as the last one, with the exception of the collar/neckband.  This time it’s cut on the bias, which looks pretty nice with the herringbone.  The fabric, to remind you, is a silk and wool herringbone in sage green and ecru that I found in a local charity shop.  It’s really lovely to wear, soft, with great drape and warm too.  What’s better, I pop it in the washing machine with no problems!  I love wearing this top with my Birkin Flares, and it’s just as good with my Peppermint Wide Leg Pants.  It’s simple, clean and minimal.  Perfect.

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The length in the front is better, but could be adjusted again

 

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Version two is a fabric that’s been lurking in the stash since about 2006…  I’d been patting this particular fabric in my local fabric shop everytime I went in, but not buying it because it was expensive, and what was I going to make with a silk fabric that looked like a chunky wool weave?  Then it was down to the last metre and a bit and I had to make a decision, grab it or lose it forever.  Naturally I grabbed it.  But what to make?  That’s why it’s been sitting for so long, but this pattern got me thinking and I decided to use it up.  No, it’s not the most practical fabric in the world, but can I just say, it’s warm and snuggly and I love it!  And most people think it’s a knit, or wool!

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LB Pullover with narrow collar in woven chunky silk

There wasn’t enough fabric to ut that nice big floppy collar on the bias, so I opted for the narrower band, which gives a finish more like a wide crew neck on a tee.  I cut it on  the straight first, because, unlike the taller collar, there is no mention of needing to change the grainline for a woven.  It didn’t fit…  So I cut strips of bias the required width, stitched them together until it was loong enough for the pattern piece and started again.  It was still too short!!  AAAAHHHHH  I wasn’t going to add more bits of bias, you’d seen it and it would look messy.  And I couldn’t cut more, there wasn’t enough fabric!  So I stretched the bias.  It was on the back that I had the problem, so I ignored the shoulder markings and stole a bit of the front band for the back.  It works ok and looking at it, you can’t see a problem.  I checked the pattern pieces against each other, and there it is, the narorw band is shorter than the wider one.  I even double checked on the printed pattern, just in case I’d traced the wrong size, but nope.  So be careful if you’re making the narrow band top, your fabric might not have the give that mine did!

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I will be making more of these, but with a little more length added in the front.  It’s not that I notice it when wearing, only when I look in the mirror or see these photos.  The front definitely needs a bit more depth!  I’m looking forward to making some woven versions in summer fabrics and shorter sleeves – linen and cotton tops would be lovely to wear in the warmer weather.

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I had hoped to be running up a blue fleece version this week, but the remnant I have is just too short, so I’ll have to make something else with it.  The downside of getting fabric you didn’t specifically order/buy!  I guess it will have to be a kid thing.

A Cautionary Tale

I was hoping to be showing off more Japanese sewing projects this month, but I was left slightly dejected after the poor turnout of the last project.  I had had such high hopes for it – and that top looked amazing in my head.  So I was really unsure of what direction to take next, and ended up just cutting out a stack of fabric instead.  That’s why Wednesday’s post was full of kid’s clothes, that’s what I concentrated on this week.

Once the kid’s clothes were done, I was going to reach for the next pile, which included 3 Ogden Camis and 3 new tops for my Mum, using her favourite Burda pattern.  However…  I got slightly distracted with all the hoo-haa on Instagram regarding Indie pattern designers “ignoring” a large part of the market by not catering to people with larger measurements.  I watched loads of stories, read blog posts and IG posts and generally got lost down a deep rabbit hole!

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LB Pullover by Paper Theory

Now I’ve been following Paper Theory for a while, I liked the Kabuki Tee when it came out, but thought it might be too roomy for me, and look tent-like, so I left it.  Since then, Tara has added a pullover and shirt pattern to her offerings.  Hers was one of the stories I watched on IG, and it made me want to do something.  She’s a one-person band with seriously limited resources, but wanting to do better.  This is where my compulsive desire to “help” popped into the picture.  I decided I’d like to help, but what could I do?  I’m not exactly rolling in excess funds, I have no experience in drafting properly for “plus size”, cannot use a computer drafting program and am not in London.  However, I can buy her patterns.  I can offer to be a pattern tester for the current upper range of her patterns.  I can do what I can.

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So I bought the Kabuki Tee and the LB Pullover as PDF patterns, and instantly sent the copyshop version off to the other half to print at the office on the plotter!  Cheeky, but if he’s going to insist on spending 12-13 hours of his day there, I need to get some advantage!!  According to the measurement chart, I’m the size 18 for tops.  I always go with bust measurement for tops etc, and hip measurement for bottoms.  The waist I can take care of afterwards!  I also checked the finished measurement chart.  For the LB Pullover, the size 18 has a finished bust measurement of 128cm, that’s 20cm of extra.  Now normally I’m comfortable with 120-125cm finished width on tops, so this wasn’t too much more.  Maybe for a knit I’d be happy going down a size…  The size 16 is 123cm, so also falls easily within my comfort zone.  I traced both sizes & went with the 18 for my first time.

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I have in the stash two pieces of grey and black striped ponte.  The one piece used to be 2m and is now the leftovers after cutting a Named Saunio Cardigan.  I then bought another 1m bit so I could make something else, because I really liked the colour and the stripe.  This is what I was going to make my pullover with.  It’s a fairly sturdy ponte, not thick or chunky, but not overly stretchy either – which means I couldn’t use it for the Sew House Seven Tabor Tee.  I cut the sleeves, back and neckband from the leftover piece, and the front from the new piece – no problem!

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Instructions are simple and to the point, no waffling for pages and pages!  It was quick to cut and, if I wasn’t using stripes, would have been quick to sew too!  But I wanted to make sure those suckers lined up!  Yeah – that.  I pinned the sleeve seams first (I always start with the sleeves, weird)  and then couldn’t figure out why the sides were so wrong, the stripes wouldn’t line up.  I had to stretch the one side to get the stripes to line up, but I’d made 100% sure I’d cut it all properly, so what the *%*£??  Then it dawned on me,  The stripes were marginally wider on the 1m piece than they were on the original fabric.  Oh crap!  I hadn’t even considered for a miniscule portion of a nonosecond that they’d be different!  I’d even bought it from the same shop!  I should have cut front and back from the same piece, I could have got away with the sleeves being different!

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Those pesky unmatched stripes…

So what did I do?  I just pinned and sewed!!  I’m considering adding a stripe up the seam to break the join, then it won’t be noticed that the stripes don’t line up!  😀  A sort of vertical “go faster” stripe.  Like you find on posh pants/trousers.  Maybe.  So let that be a warning, people – if you buy two pieces of “the same fabric” check that it is in fact, the same fabric!!

In the meantime, I put the top on the minute I was finished with it, and I like it!  the stripe is not as “in my face” as that gingham was, even though it’s still an all-over pattern.  The length is perfect (btw, I did not do an FBA), both in the body and the sleeves.  I also love the neckband.  It was the one thing I wasn’t sure of, I don’t like fabric up againsy my neck – or double chin.  I’ve inherited my Dad’s family’s chin, and it makes raised necklines a bit annoying for me.  It’s one of the things I don’t like about the fleece Toaster I made last year.  I keep pulling the front down to keep it away from my neck/chin, and it’s the same with the Talvikki.  On this pattern, the scoop of the neckline is lower (and it’s a sewn-on, rather than grown-on neckband) and the fabric is softer, has more flop.

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I wore the top for the remainder of the day, & again the next day!  I now have plans for another, but in a woven this time…  I was lucky enough to find 3m of silk and wool fabric at a local charity shop.  I swear I wasn’t looking for fabric, I only wanted a good book to read!  But there it was, sage green & ecru herringbone, lightweight and lovely – and only £12!!  I couldn’t leave it there.  After washing and ironing it, I think it’s a wool and silk blend.  Now, I have hatched a plan in my head to make another LB Pullover in this fabric!  Again – in my head it looks amazing.  Fingers crossed!