Saturday, October 6, 2012

Spotty Hoodies

Warning: dots overload!

Finished Emily's hoodies a couple of days ago. Emily wore them to school immediately so I didn't get to photograph them till yesterday, by which time she'd already gotten wood shavings (don't ask) all over one of them. 

I bought these two spotted fabrics knowing that I would have to find a way to break up the print or be driven a bit blind each time I looked at them. All those dots are cute for a blanket, a towel, a tote for storing toys or possibly PJ pants but as a top they were trouble. I don't know how to explain it - it's just something about busy print near a person's face that looks crazy. Is this just me? Prolly.

So two cunning strategies to break up the print:
  1. Deliberately NOT match print at the seams. With crazy dots like these, it's very easily accomplished! However, because I always like matching print at seams, I had to fight the bile rising in my throat just to think about it. 
  2. Add solids. But not so much that it looks even busier and Picasso-esque than before.

This first hoodie is an unlined pullover. 

It has raglan sleeves

with solid white trim (which I shoulda pressed but didn't).

It has a single central unlined kangaroo pocket.

I left this hoodie unlined because it was a pullover, not a jacket. One commentor to a previous post asked about sewing fleece jumpers and whether they should be lined. My mental question back was, "Define jumper?" It depends on which country one is writing from: in the US, jumpers are overall/pinafore type garments and in the UK, they are also knitted pullover sweaters. Some factors to consider:
  • If you need it to be warm, line it.
  • If it means otherwise sewing facings for the neckline and armholes, line it.
  • If you want it to hang well and have some weight (rather than cling to the inner garments and have to continually be pulled down when worn), line it.

These are not sewing rules, incidentally; they're just what I would do personally.

So as I was saying, this particular pullover is not lined. It therefore came together more quickly but it meant serging the seams and twill-taping the inner neckline, which I discovered was abominable. Only attempt this if you have a coverlocker; otherwise, you might pull your hair out trying to get simultaneously even edgestitching on the twill tape AND back of the hood while sewing on the front. Check out my deplorable edgestitching - shudder.

Since there was no lining, all the hems were serged and then folded and stitched - sleeves

and bottom.

Emily absolutely loves this blue hoodie. She's worn it indoors and out, all day.

Hoodie #2 took a fair bit longer because it was lined and because it needed a lot of solid-grafting to detract from its pink-and-dots-all-over-ness.

Like this wide band at the bottom hem, with white trim around the pocket opening. 

See this post for the tutorial on making these lined-and-self-bound pockets.

Also white sleeve cuffs, folded in to meet the lining. Can you see all the wood shavings on this hoodie? Unlike with Jenna's hoodie, I remembered to sew the cuffs before sewing up the whole garment! So no need for hand-stitching - pats on the back! 

The hood was also trimmed in white where it framed the face

and the entire knit lining is white.

Here is the hoodie being modeled. Emily specifically requested "very long sleeves, please".

The sequence for construction is the same as for Emily's hoodie from last year. So head on to that post if you want to know how to put a reversible hoodie together (just remember to buy truly reversible zippers; I didn't because none available matched this fabric). 

I think I've finally - after vigorously resisting - come to terms with the idea that I might have to sew many of Emily's basic garments just because she's so lanky. Take swimsuits, for instance - no store-bought suit fits her. She loves her lone Mom-made one and wears it exclusively, in spite of owning one other Speedo, so that it is now dangerously thin and translucent. And now this hoodie - in order to fit her shoulders and arms, a store-bought one would have been too balloony around her torso. Mom-made would resolve all this, obviously - a perfect money- and sanity-saving solution, if not for the the expense of time to draft, cut and sew it all up! I used to see myself as The Formalwear Seamstress - you know, the one who will make the prom dresses, the costumes for the school play, the wedding gown. I never imagined I might also have to be She Who Sews The Tshirts, Running Shorts And (heaven forbid) Underwear.

But then.......... there's the happy smile and the gleeful dance, punctuated by ecstatic shouts of how soft this is and how great the pockets are. And then there's me, checking from all angles, scowling and scrutinizing how it sits on Emily's body before exhaling and saying, "Yes. Finally - something that fits as if it were made for you (which it was) and not, say, your 10-year-old neighbor." So okay... sometimes Mom-made might be a little bit better than store-bought. But just a little. Grrrr. By the way, and just so you know, I'm drawing the line at underwear.  

Speaking of underwear, the girls might be superheroes this Halloween. Specifically, Wonder Woman. They all want to be Wonder Woman. All three of them! Have you seen her outfit? It's like spray-painted foundation garments. In frigid Minnesota?? Come on!!!! 

And speaking of superheroes, the husband and I watched The Avengers. I am quite upset that they bashed Loki up. My Loki!!!! Sniff. True, he was an idiot  megalomaniac and psychological nutcase, going around murdering random people in the name of world domination (try cardboard instead, dude!) but he had the best accent of the lot! And was the best dressed! Argh!


  1. 35 years later, I'm still a little resentful that I was forced to wear a turtleneck AND undershirt under my Wonder Woman costume when I was five... but I do live in New Hampshire. Snow for Halloween is not unheard of.

  2. Both hoodies are absolutely adorable, and they look so snuggly and comfy. They fit so nicely, including the hood, which so often leaves a lot to be desired on store-bought ones. The long sleeves will keep the hands warm, too... good thinkin', Emily!

  3. They are really cute hoodies ! Thank you for your pictures, they explain a lot of how you construct your clothes. My daughter too is loooong and thin, if pants fit in width, usually they are a size 4, but in length she needs a size 8. Good, I can keep sewing for now !

  4. We've just moved to the Twin Cities area from Texas and I have no idea how to dress myself or the children. I think I'll be making some hoodies for the toddler. And, by golly, what DO children wear on Halloween in cold climates? I grew up in Phoenix and was sweating underneath my costumes!

    1. Welcome to the icebox of the midwest, Shelly! Actually, it's gorgeous here. It's only miserably cold if you step off the plane in February right from the tropics. If you've been here all year, your body acclimatizes to the point where, in midwinter, if the temperature rises to zero, you get into shorts and go shovel snow while waving at the neighbors and commenting on how positively balmy it is.

      Halloween, though, is the challenge. We pray for 60 degree weather and sew for 40 (before windchill). Lots of fleece. In at least three layers. Veto anything gossamer or preppy. If it's any consolation, our makeup NEVER runs here, so slap on the facepaint and mascara and whatever for the 31st!

  5. I'm fat, and I find that often it's MORE worth it to sew basics for myself. Because they are comparatively easier to make (well, sometimes) and are such a pain to find to fit me. I can shop for and make several tops in the time it might take me to shop for one in a retail store. It's boring, but then so is a trip to the mall!

    You could do a wonder woman skirt? There are a bunch of kids as WW here,wonderwoman/Timeline which would mean you could wear tights underneath, and have long 'boots'.

  6. My mother was a professional seamstress (although at that time she just said she "sewed for the public") and in the small town where we lived one of the wealthiest families had a very tall, slender lanky girl. When she grew up she was shaped like a model if models were healthy looking and not airbrushed. But as a child it was her mother's greatest despair that although they had lots of money she couldn't buy clothing to fit her. As a result they came to my mother who sewed for her until she was into high school and had developed enough to find commercial clothing to fit.

    At the other end of the spectrum I'm big in pretty much every dimension and it was an expression of great love that my mother sewed for me until just a few months before she died. Three years later I realized one day that my closet was full of very worn clothing that was becoming out of date because for the first time in my life nobody was keeping track of my wardrobe. It took me a few years but if the comments of friends are reliable I'm finally getting pretty good at dressing myself. HEH!

  7. Your hoodies are great, doing my head in trying to make an unlined one tonight. I cannot work out whether to put the zip in before or after I attach the hood? if i put the zip in after do I finish the front ( face edge of the hood) before I attach.? I am then going to do hideous task of masking the seam between hood and body with pretty tape , that is if I haven't thrown my machine out the window first. Any advice welcome - have looked all over the net for a good tutorial - yours are the best but I don't want to line this one. Ps wooden cupcakes you made are the best!

  8. Wooho - I did it , figured out the zip and made a hoodie, thanks to a re read of your posts and pictures. Made the mistake of contrast striped sleeves and pockets - what a mission to try to match when working in stretch - oh well live and learn.


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