Chat Chocolat's new 'Solid as a Rock' collection

My recent projects have all been the kind that have had to be kept under wraps, so I'm pleased to now be able to congratulate Chat Chocolat on the release of their latest fabric collection, 'Solid as a Rock', and show you my makes as a part of the launch! I'm a fairly regular pattern tester, but I've never had the opportunity to specifically test fabric before - it was a real luxury to be given the freedom to decide what to make with such lovely fabrics by designer Véronique!
My cosy Chat Chocolat makes
The collection is made up of a series of jersey and soft sweater knits in these amazing prints. I'm normally more of a block colour maker myself, but it's rare to come across such cool graphic prints - I couldn't resist trying them. If solid colour is more your bag, each print has a solid colour counterpart and matching ribbing - a nice touch! I already have a lot of 'wine' coloured clothes and accessories - this Ready to Sew Juliette faux leather skirt being just one of them - so the wine/pink/green colour palette was a natural fit for my wardrobe. (There's also a vivid blue/brown/orange colourway too).

Sample of the wine/green/pink colour palette
Despite Autumn/Winter being my favourite time of the year, I'm not a huge maker of jersey and sweater knit garments - I was even asked to test for the previous collection and didn't know what to make! It took the cusp of the changing season to help me see that I already had the perfect patterns in my stash: the Ready to Sew Jamie Cardigan and the Secondo Piano Basic InstincT t-shirt.

Fleecy underside of the sweater fabric
Good quality sweater fabric can be quite hard to come by, but the quality was obvious as I unpacked it. The sweater knit is thick and luxuriously soft, particularly the underside which has a fleecy feel to it. There's not a great deal of stretch to the fabric, making it really stable, and easy to both cut and sew with.
Ready to Sew Jamie
When I made my fabric selections, Véronique told me that they'd used the Jamie for some of their sample garments, so I knew it would make a good pairing with the fabric. I cut the longer version (View 1) to make full use of the cosy fabric and I opted for the size 38.

Back view
As with the other Ready to Sew patterns I've tried, I found the Jamie to be a smooth make with clear instructions. I was kindly provided with some of the matching plain sweater knit fabric for all of my hem bands and cuffs, which makes for quite a smart finish. The fabric was just right for the project, but I did find attaching the hem bands to be quite difficult due to the low amount of stretch. It's totally doable, but I'd probably gather all my edges in next time. I skipped the buttons as I'm quite happy with the finish as it is and can't see me wanting to fasten it.

The cuffs were particularly tricky as they're so narrow - regardless of the fabric stretch, there's no way I could have stretched them around the free arm of my machine - so I'd probably approach the construction in a different way next time. Perhaps joining them to the sleeve while flat, sewing the cuff/sleeve seam and then hand stitching the underside of the cuff in place would be an alternative.
Cuff close up!
I really like the finished garment, but would probably scale up the sizing in future to give it a more 'oversized' look. I'm definitely tempted by the cropped version too - this might actually go better with my current wardrobe as I wear a lot of high waisted bottoms - but this version definitely has the cosy-factor.
Basic InstincT t-shirt in Chat Chocolat jersey
Next up to test was the jersey fabric - also lovely to work with. I thought I couldn't sing the praises of the Basic Instinct Tee any more than I already have done here (and it's a free pattern!) but it's come out looking even more polished than I expected. The power of quality fabric! The green in the print also pops a lot more than I thought I would ever be comfortable with, but I really like it. 

(T)winning in Chat Chocolat
Wearing the two together is a fun, bold look, whilst still being pretty casual, but I also really like both as standalone garments too! The benefit of having a wardrobe made up of majority plain garments means that the odd bold patterned piece works with nearly everything, so I'm looking forward to getting both into rotation. I can see definitely see the Jamie becoming a warm staple for my cold workplace.

Thanks Véronique for inviting me to try such lovely fabrics. The 'Solid as a Rock' collection is released on 13th November. Chat Chocolat is based in Antwerp, but you can visit the website to find a stockist near you!

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