The Lotte Martens Cypres Box is a sewing kit containing all the necessary items to make a sweater. Don’t know Lotte Martens? I have been a long time admirer of Lotte’s foil prints that she prints by hand from her studio in Belgium. I’ve also been keen to try some fabric from About Blue (a Belgian fabric brand which also has patterns). So this was an excellent opportunity to try products from businesses fairly local to me!
Disclaimer: The Cypres Box is a PR product sent to me for review purposes. I only accept products I think that I will like – it still takes a few hours time and effort to sew it up and write about it!. This post contains no affiliate links, i.e. I receive no commission from any future sales resulting from this post.
Contents of Cypres Box
Opening the box is like opening a lovely present. As described, it includes everything you need to make a sweater, just add a sewing machine and your sewing skills. Inside the box:
- 1.3m of 150cm wide black french terry with foil print. Note! The print is small and measures c60x40cm. It is designed to be used for accents, not as an all-over print for the whole jumper.
- 45cm black ribbing to match. This is important! Even in black, not all blacks are created equal! If you pick any other colour you also get matching ribbing.
- About Blue paper pattern (there was a page showing the layout but no paper instructions, these are on their website. They are free to read here.
- 1 roll of Gutermann sewing thread in black.
- Postcards! I love including postcards when I send packages to my friends.
- A lot of samples and a couple of pages of catalogue of Lotte Martens and About Blue fabrics.
French Terry is “zomersweat” in Dutch and the literal translation is a good descriptor: summer sweatshirting. It’s structured like a typical sweatshirting with loops on the back, but at 220gsm it’s not a warm jumper in winter. Despite the stretch, because it is thicker than jersey it is very stable and easy to sew, but not so bulky that misbehaving sewing machines will struggle with it.
For some odd reason, when it comes to fabric, it’s a lot easier to find nice prints on french terry than proper hoodie type sweatshirting. Also, it tends to come in 95% cotton / 5% elastane blends, rather than say 20-30% polyester on thicker fleece backed sweatshirting. I use french terry a lot for my kids stuff because of the prints.
The print is utterly gorgeous! But it was smaller than I expected, measuring 60x40cm in one corner of the fabric. So, be aware that you won’t get a full on sparkly sweater, but you will get interesting accents if you choose a high contrast colour and cut with care.
My sister, who is getting this for Christmas, had a specific idea about what she wanted: a plain sweater with print just on one side. So, there is print on the stripe running on top of the arm and a bit on the side seam. That took one of the two rectangle bits of prints you see in the pic above, and I have another piece left for a future sweater. You could also use one or both print panels for the front, back or one sleeve panel. Up to you to get creative.
Print colour and durability
The print is copper-toned. I pre-washed at 30 degrees which I think is the recommended care instruction (this was not included in the box), and there was no loss of print. Do put colour catchers in though, I used 2 and both sheets were covered in black at the end of the cycle – as is typical with a lot of dark coloured fabrics.
About Blue is known for fabrics. But they also have patterns. The Over and Over pattern included in the kit differentiates itself by being a 3 in 1, with options for a sweater, cardigan and bomber. There is a decorative strip running down from the shoulder over the arm to the wrist, and another one between where you join the side seams. No line drawings are available so here’s the cover image.
Always check the finished measurements before you make a pattern. Unfortunately, in this case, no finished bust or hip measurement was given. Not an actual problem – there is that thing called measuring the pattern – but it really did make me second guess myself after I eyeballed the pattern pieces.
Why? For a bust size of c91cm, the sweaters I know and have used all have finished bust measurements of c110cm, give or take. This includes my Tyra sweater, the Fibre Mood Mika, Paper Theory LB Pullover and Grainline Linden. To triple-check, I also measured a RTW sweater which was very similar.
The Over and Over pattern measured around 10cm smaller than all the others! I examined the cover pictures again and it looked reasonably slouchy, so I decided I had better go with my gut…
- Cut size 46 instead of the recommended 38. I cut and pinned everything together and it looked pretty good, albeit as you’d expect there is excess room in the back shoulder where it joins to the armhole.
- Removed 6cm length from each sleeve. This was to be expected given that I sized up by 3 sizes.
- No hemband at the request of my sister.
If there is a next time I will also increase the width of the cuff by 2cm since I think a longer cuff looks more aesthetically pleasing.
Pattern and instruction comments
In the interest of this review, I followed the instructions. These were average (you can see the instructions for yourself here if you like, they are free to read).
The good stuff
- The instructions are reasonably detailed. Having one instruction for 3 variations is no easy task!
- Pattern pieces are all numbered and labelled and come on nice thick paper. Seam allowances are included, lines are easy to see.
- It seems that the writer assumed that the garment would also be nice for teenagers, and gave some advice on fitting and where you would likely need to adjust the pattern.
- Instructions can be found online and are free to download. It also means that if there are ever updates, it’s easy to look at the latest version.
- There are pattern pieces included for the cuffs, neckband, hem band. I expect these pieces to work well with the fabrics /ribbing combo in the kit (how long you should cut these pieces depends on the level of stretch you have in your fabric) – and they did.
Less good stuff
- The instructions could really do with a proofread to make sure the translation makes sense (this kind of proofreading is my day job so call me more critical than average). Other bits just weren’t clear. For example, step 11 is joining the strip that goes over the arm and shoulder to the neckline. It says: “the obtuse corner at the top fits in the neckline, pin the long stripe to the shoulder and sleeve”. Now, both “corners” of the stripe form part of the neckline. They are also shaped differently. There is no explanation or picture of which corner joins to the front and which one to the back.
In case anyone makes it, here is a quick photo of how it’s meant to be:
- In the instructions, there are photos to accompany the text, as you would expect. But the photos are all together on separate pages from the steps! If you want to make the bomber for example (more complicated than the sweater) this will make it harder to follow.
- In the English translation, there are still a few terms in Dutch. You can work it out (and there’s google translate if needed) but it feels like a lack of attention to detail.
- Limited finished measurement info and no line drawings.
I think the Cypres box would make a really nice gift, for yourself or for a friend. The fabric is definitely the star of the show here. Pattern-wise, I did not find this one the most user-friendly patterns I’ve ever sewn. Additionally, there are a lot of sweater and bomber patterns out there, so if you have a TNT then I’d say use that one.
On that upside, it’s great that the ribbing and french terry are a perfect colour match because that can be hard to find. The matching thread is also a nice touch. The print is exclusive to the kit and looks effective as an accent (there’s not enough print for there to be an all-over sparkly sweater). I’m pretty pleased with this make, and hopefully, my sister will be too. And I will definitely be keeping an eye on Lotte’s website for future beautiful goodies!
Thanks for reading, till next time