Here in Los Angeles, we are spoiled with more fabric stores than in other city in the United States. Garment production is a huge industry in downtown LA, so acquiring designer remnants along with all the traditional fabric companies is easy to do. But even with all these options, I basically only shop at one store: The Fabric Store. I have been known to visit two other shops in town if there's something specific that I need that I know they won't have, but for the most part, The Fabric Store is where you will find me. They have a beautiful selection of fabrics, and it's the perfect size to find loads of things you love, without being overwhelming. I don't mean to gush about it, but really, it's my favorite fabric shop in town and you absolutely should go there if you're in or visiting LA! Not in LA? Not to worry! Keep reading....
Because I'm such a regular there, the lovely ladies at the shop asked me if I wanted to chat with the higher ups about getting some of their fabrics for cross promotion. If you read my blog regularly, you know that I rarely promote or endorse anyone, so if I'm promoting your product, it's because I truly love it. So given that I already was shopping at their store and using their fabrics, this was an easy yes! I was invited to select what I wanted from their on-line shop and I picked out some Liberty lawn (which you will see here on Monday) and these two colors of their New Zealand knit merino wool. So if you're not in LA, you're in luck! They have a gorgeous selection of fabrics in their on-line shop, and they ship all over the world too. I seriously got my package from New Zealand in two days. Impressive!
I've used their New Zealand knit merino wool in the past, as it was what I bought to make up the Marianne Dress samples, so I knew it was of high quality. I've been obsessed with my two Driftless Cardigans from Grainline Studio, so I thought this was a perfect opportunity to try out the pattern in some of The Fabric Store's merino, and do some colorblocking too. I selected the citrus premium New Zealand merino for the bottom, and the charcoal premium New Zealand merino for the top.
If you've never used this kind of fabric before, there are a couple of things to know. First, it's not itchy AT ALL. Itchy wool will just not do well here with LA weather. It's soft and has a lovely drape, as you can see in the photos. Another thing to know is that they sell a variety of weights on their site. As I wrote above, I used the premium merino, but they also have heavyweight, medium weight, sweatshirt weight, and other options too. You can see all the merino options here. So if you plan to do colorblocking like I did, make sure to get the same weight for both the top and bottom. The great thing about the premium merino is that it is lightweight, yet warm, making it a perfect layer. I have folded up this cardigan and put it in my purse to take to outdoor evening events this summer. It folds up so small, but becomes a wearable blanket. I truly love it.
As for the Driftless Cardigan pattern, this is my third, and absolutely not my last. The first one I made in a heavy weight wool and rayon blend. I love it, but it is only a winter option here, so it sits and waits for cooler temps. My second version I made in a heavy jersey, almost like a cotton blend scuba weight. It's spongey and soft, but very thick. I took it to Paris and it was a great option when I didn't want a coat, but needed something over my outfit. It also was the perfect layer for the long plane ride there and back. I'm happy that this merino version is ideal for summer evenings or if I'm spending time somewhere air conditioned.
Construction-wise, each time I followed Jen's instructions and made zero alterations on fit. The only thing I do different from the instruction, out of pure laziness, is instead of hand sewing the binding down on the inside, I stitch in the ditch on the front seam, securing the binding to the inside at the same time. Otherwise, everything is just as instructed. It sews up lightening fast, and is a great introduction to knits for a beginner. There's a lot of bang for your effort with this pattern. It looks store bought and doesn't seem like something you made at home because it's very polished. And don't be put off by the PDF-only aspect of it. There are very few pages to print.
So all-in-all, a total success on both parts. I absolutely love the knit merino wool from The Fabric Store, as well as the Driftless Cardigan from Grainline Studio, and highly recommend them both! Huge thanks to the amazingly kind people at The Fabric Store for supplying me with this gorgeous fabric, and stay tuned for my first Lottie hack coming on Monday, where you can see their lovely Liberty lawn in action too!
- Cardigan fabrics are the citrus premium merino wool jersey & charcoal premium merino wool jersey, both gifted to me from The Fabric Store's on-line shop
- Cardigan pattern is the Driftless Cardigan from Grainline Studio
- Dress pattern is the Shift Dress from my book, Skirts & Dresses For First Time Sewers
- Dress fabric is a navy seersucker cotton lawn, purchased at The Fabric Store in Los Angeles (bought over a year ago- likely sold out at this point)
- Clogs were purchased from Dansko