It's been COLD in London recently. So cold in fact that three layers often aren't enough to stop me whingeing. So when I saw that Emmie was selling off some sweater knit from her stash, I snapped it up. The intention was to make another Bonnie sweater, but lengthen the body a little to keep out the chill. I obviously wasn't paying attention to the description (fleecy insides, tubular knit) because when it arrived I realised it was actually a sweatshirt knit - which as we all know is a very different beast.
Sweater knits for the Bonnie pattern need to have 40-50% stretch which, even yanking it as far as I could, I was never going to achieve with a sweatshirt knit. Sweatshirt knits are far more stable and bulky, with surprisingly little stretch. All was not lost however, I liked the colour - a deep, forest green - and the fleecy, warm insides of the fabric were very tantalising. I would make a sweatshirt instead. I've never made a sweatshirt before and don't own any patterns, so after perusing what was on offer I settled on the White Russian sweatshirt by Capital Chic Patterns. The pattern is designed specifically for sweatshirt fabric which was exactly what I wanted - no faffing around trying to guesstimate stretch percentages. The pattern also comes with suggestions to use pre-quilted jersey fabric or customise with an appliquéd initial (very, very unlikely) or one of the animal head templates included (never in a million years!).
I chose my size(s) according to the finished measurements, cutting a 12 at the top and a 10 for the bottom half and the sleeves. From cutting out, the top took me just 1.5 hours to sew together. Half of that time was spent sewing up the basic raglan-sleeved sweatshirt, the rest was spent sewing the neckline, cuffs and hem bands which were a bit more fiddly. Capital Chic patterns are written with intermediate sewers in mind and this is reflected in the instructions. They're clear and to the point, bang, bang, bang, with no unnecessary flannel, which I quite liked. There's no mention of pressing anything in the version I made, the assumption being that you should already know to press seams and pieces for a professional finish. Unless you're me that is….it was only after trying to attach a cuff that curled in all directions that I realised a bit of pressing wouldn't go amiss!
The finished waist measurement is the same as the finished hip measurement, which results in quite a boxy fit. This relaxed fit might work for some people - just not me and my obsession with a nipped in waist. I could have worn it as it was, but knew I'd feel frumpy in it, so I made a few changes:
Shortened sleeves (what's new?)
Sorted out boxy fitRemoved cuffs and waistband (I just didn't like them)
I fiddled with the first version and ended up totally ruining it in the process (I chopped the cuffs and waistband off which resulted in the sleeves and body being way too short, whoops!) I had plenty of fabric though, so cut a second version. This time I omitted the cuffs and waistband, just adding half an inch to the original body to allow for a hem. I also tapered in the side seams quite significantly to create a definite waist.
The result may not be to everybody's taste and it certainly moves away from the original sweatshirt look of the pattern. It works much better for me though, and the changes I made will ensure I actually wear it. More importantly, it's soooo cosy and warm! Next up, shirt making. Woo hoo! x