I can tell spring is coming by the optimistic reports of early signs like pictures of flower buds in my social media feeds. Where I live, spring is not yet ready to show herself for real, but at least the days are almost as long as the nights now, and soon we will put away our heavy coats and warm boots and layer in light jackets and shoes.
The thing is, living in Norway you have to pretend it is spring for a little while until it warms up enough to wear proper warm season clothing. When I saw this fabric in this lovely warm beige I thought it would be perfect for a warm sweater that looks lighter than it really is. I always crave light colors when the season turns to summer, and light neutrals in warm fabrics are ideal for chilly mornings and evenings while still giving a sense of warm season appropriate clothing. This is a double cotton jersey quilted with a very light layer of batting in the middle. It is incredibly soft, which adds to the attraction.
The sweater is made up without any alterations except for a deeper hem for a more cropped style. I also added bias tape along the back neckline for a neat finish.
Sometimes only a good old tried and true pattern will do. I have made a few versions of the LB Pullover by Paper Theory Patterns since I bought it back in 2019, but since I’m always drawn to anything new and shiny, I forgot about it for a while. However, it is among the most popular patterns ever on Instagram for a reason with almost 3000 posts tagged #lbpullover. The LB Pullover is super versatile, a quick make and lends itself to infinite interpretations. It has a boxy shape and dropped shoulders, and comes with two views, one with a wide turtle neck and the other with a regular crewneck.
After finishing the quilted sweater my eyes fell on an old very big scarf in wool that I never wear because I feel swamped in it. It is very good quality in 100% soft wool, so I thought it was worth trying to refashion it into something else. I didn’t have enough for sleeves, but I made a kind of t-shirt or sleeveless pullover to layer over other things. I finished the sleeves and neckline with bias tape. It was a fun experiment, and a colorful layering piece resulted.
Making the two versions made me realize that I had the perfect fabric for a third version waiting in my stash. I dug out a striped cotton jersey I have hoarded for a couple of years, partly because I bought it on a trip to China and felt it was precious, and partly because I wanted very much that it would become the perfect Breton top when finally sewn up. It is navy with white stripes, and I think it has a slight amount of spandex in it.
However, the stripes are not quite the same as in la Marinière anyway, and it was time to put the cutter to it. The LB seemed a good choice for this one, too. I raised the neckline by 1 cm, tapering out to nothing at the shoulders. Then I added 1 cm seam allowance to the entire neckline and finished it by folding it over and coverstitch it down. I sized down one size because this fabric has more stretch and is lighter than the others. When it was finished I think I came pretty close to my vision of a Breton, and the result, a slightly oversized, boxy sweater, is just the kind of top I love to wear. I’ve already worn it loads.
The back view of the LB pullover clearly shows the dropped shoulder. There is some fabric excess at the armpits, but nothing more than I can live with. The short-sleeved pullover has some very dominant stripes in yellow across the back that I don’t like as much, so I think I will wear it under an open jacket first and see if I can get over the feeling of wearing a security vest.
My favorite of the three is probably the quilted version, with the striped one as a close contender. I’m not entirely happy with the finish on the neckline on the striped one and contemplate adding a narrow stripe of jersey as a binding to hide the raw edges there. It looks fine from the outside, though.
This little exercise was a fun reminder that the fabric choice has so much to say for the result. It also reminded me of the importance of using what you have, it’s not at all necessary to chase after the next new thing. It is always interesting to see how very different garments turn out when made up in various materials, and a simple pattern like this can become a canvas for endless experimentation if you want some fabric play.
Pattern: LB Pullover from Paper Theory Patterns
Sizes: UK 12 for the quilted sweater and the pullover vest, UK 10 for the striped sweater
Fabrics: The quilted jersey is purchased locally, the checkered wool is from an old scarf, and the striped cotton jersey is from a market in Nanjing, China
Time: Each LB Pullover was finished within a couple of hours
Notions: Some bias tape for the neckline and sleeve openings (the pullover vest)