Tag Archives: Polartec

Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants! Think Pink for Spring!

Standard
Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!  Think Pink for Spring!

It’s funny how something can stick in your head for years, and then when the moment is right, you call it up for inspiration. Years ago, I was on the beach, talking to some other moms, and one of them was wearing a pair of shearling fleece sweatpants. They looked so cozy, and I thought what a great idea they were for a beach that is pretty much always either breezy or windy and which is usually significantly cooler than whatever town you are coming from.

Last year, as it got colder and my thoughts turned to winter sewing, I was looking through my main Polartec fabric source, Mill Yardage, and saw some neon pink shearling fleece. I love neon pink, I love shearling, and I love Polartec, so I kept it in mind. I had a few ideas of what I might want to make with it, but the strongest came in the form of that memory of the shearling fleece pants.

Mill Yardage has an inspiration board on their website, and I thought this would be an awesome addition. It said that if you sent in an idea they decided to make for the page, they would send you the same amount of fabric. These pants were a fun idea I wanted to see in the world, and if they also sent me fabric, I could make my own pants. After mulling it over for months, I e-mailed them and shared my idea.

In a short time, I received an e-mail back! They liked the idea, and asked if I would be willing to make the project. I already wanted to make this project, so I said yes! They generously offered any fabric and notions I needed from their site to make the pants, so I sent in my requests, and faster than I could have imagined, had a package of fabric at my door. I was thrilled.

Here was my plan.

I wanted to take the Seaforth Pants from Hey June Handmade, a pattern for elastic-waist, wide-leg pants drafted for woven fabrics, and use View B, which has a narrower leg as my base for this project, since I suspected the pattern could work well for knits as well as the wovens it was drafted for. I wanted to make these in fleece and add a cuff to the bottom for the coziest sweat pants ever. I didn’t want slim joggers. I wanted roomy sweat pants that would feel soft and wonderful when you put them on.

To attempt this, I chose three yards of the long-dreamed-of Polartec Thermal Pro large and small clump shearling in “hot pink” which is nice and wide at 62 inches. I liked the idea of pants with different shades of pink, but I wasn’t sure about the bulkiness of the fabrics I was choosing. I felt confident I could make the shearling work for the pants. Or maybe I just wanted the pants I envisioned so much that I was going to MAKE them work no matter what. You can form your own opinions on that. 😉 But which fabric was the right color for all the extra parts while also not being too thick? I poured over the website time and time again trying to decide. What helped me the most in the end was the box of swatches my husband got me a few years ago. I could feel the fabrics and layer them to see how thick everything would be. So, with a mix of trepidation and confidence, I requested half a yard of Polartec Classic 200 double velour/recycled fleece in “rose petal” because it was the perfect shade of pink for my vision (and 60 inches wide–yay!).

Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!

I have made View B of these pants before, so I already had the pattern pieces cut out. I tried on the pants I had made previously just to get a sense of whether or not I wanted to make any changes to the pattern, and to figure out how long I wanted them. The fit of the pattern seemed good as it was. I wanted the inseam to be about three and a half inches longer that what View B is drafted for with a cuff that was two and a half inches tall. If you were following the directions as written for View B, you would lose one and a half inches to the hem allowance, so if I didn’t fold the hem up, and used a half inch seam allowance as in the rest of the pattern, I would need a cuff that was three inches tall for a finished height of two and a half inches. I measured my ankles, did some sketching, and then made a little pattern piece out of tracing paper. I would have to see if this would work.

Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!
High-tech calculations! Haha. I changed things a bit before the final iteration.
Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!
My cuff pattern piece

Putting the pants together was not hard, although the pockets required a bit of focus. I relied on my sewing machine for the pockets, using a straight stitch since I didn’t need a lot of stretch in those seams. My stitching was a little wobbly, but I knew that once I wasn’t staring at it up close, I wouldn’t notice it. I used sew-in interfacing where interfacing was necessary, because you can’t iron this fleece without melting it, and I basted and pinned things in place until I had sewn them down.

Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!
Front pocket
Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!
Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!
Back pocket

Once all the pockets were on and it was time to put the actual pants together, I got illogically nervous about whether or not they would fit. It didn’t matter that I had tried on the pair I had already made. What if I blew it and this idea didn’t work? So, to make myself feel better, I serged the inseams and crotch seam and then basted the outseams together just in case. Guess what? They were fine. The pattern hadn’t mysteriously morphed into something else. What a shock! My fears were unfounded!

It was coming out great.

Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!
My pants before adding a waistband and cuffs
Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!

So, I serged up those outseams, put on my waistband, and then got ready to figure out the cuffs.

Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!

The cuffs were about half as wide as the lower pant legs. Polartec 200 does stretch, but it was asking a lot of it to stretch so much that I could just sew those cuffs on to the bottom of the bulky Thermal Pro.

Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!

I thought about it for a few days, and then mulled over my options with my best problem solving friends. In the end, I machine stitched around the bottom of the pants with a basting stitch and then gathered them. I then hand basted the cuffs to the pants and tried them on.

Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!
I used this box to hold the circumference I needed while hand basting

They seemed good, so I used my sewing machine, which I’m more skillful with than my serger, to sew them together with a zigzag stitch.

Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!
Wonky, but attached…

Then I went around again with my serger to neaten everything up. And it worked! The pants were perfect!

Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!
Cuffs serged on and looking much neater
Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!
Success! Yay!
Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!
Yes, these pants ARE extremely bright in person. I love them.

Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!

That being said, if you decide to try this, you may have more luck making the cuffs from something really stretchy like a thinner Power Stretch or just skipping the cuffs altogether and binding the bottoms of the pants with binding or something. HOWEVER, if you are as stuck on an idea like this as I was, the old adage holds true that where there is a will, there is usually a way.

When I finished these, I was THRILLED. These pants were exactly what I was going for! Spring may be right around the corner, but at least where I live in New England, these pants will get more wear than just in winter (these will come to the beach with me). Here is what I can tell you about wearing these. They are extremely soft, and they are extremely warm. That Thermal Pro is no joke. As soon as I put these on, I felt the warmth.

Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!

In our area, as soon as there is a whiff of spring and a nice-ish day, people kind of lose it and race to the beach. Seriously. People do not waste nice weather here. So, naturally, I had to go too. 😀 The beach was probably twenty degrees (Fahrenheit) cooler than our town and windy, which was perfect for testing the pants. The wind does come through a bit, but less so than, say, this sweatshirt I made.

Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!
These sweat pants are beach approved!

If you were wearing this fabric in winter with a base layer, you would probably feel pretty good. For a cool, but not bitterly cold wind, it was just right. You can easily believe that I saved all my scraps in the hopes of more fun projects when the temperature dips again next fall/winter.

Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!
Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!

I think that all the things recommended on the website for this shearling fabric (coats, vests, heavy blankets) would be perfect applications. For instance, wouldn’t this be a fun lining for a winter-worthy jean jacket? Or a shearling vest? And, the Polartec 200 was not too bulky for all my accent pieces. In fact, it was just right. I would say it feels just a little bit thicker than a beefy t-shirt.

After sewing this pattern in fleece, I have a few tips on ways to reduce bulk if you try this yourself.

Increase the seam allowance on the pockets where they are topstitched to the pants just a bit to make them even easier to sew on. When folding those same seam allowances under, cut out a little square where they overlap right at the corner. Just don’t cut too far in. On your back pockets, just fold the tops over once and stitch down since the raw edge won’t fray. I would also probably eliminate the back darts on the pants. If you opt not to remove the darts, you can cut the dart folds open on the inside after sewing them rather than folding them to the side to make things a little less bulky in the back.

Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!

Anyone can have regular sweat pants, but it’s the people who make their own clothes who can have extraordinary sweat pants. 😉

Mill Yardage + Pattern and Branch = Neon Pink Polartec Seaforth Pants!

Thanks again to Mill Yardage for providing this excellent fabric. As of this writing, both fabrics look like they are still available.

I’ll leave you with this song and dance from the Movie “Funny Face”. Think pink!

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece

Standard
Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece

My vest is finally done!!! I’m so excited to share it with you!

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece

This vest began several years ago, when I saw a cool Patagonia outerwear vest with a Western-style yoke in a surprising color combination at Nordstrom. (Nordstrom is a great place to “shop” for inspiration!) While I know that Patagonia is a great company that produces clothes of excellent quality, it is not in my price range. So, I filed away the idea for later and moved on. (Sadly, I can’t find a picture of my inspiration vest in my files, but here are the ones that I looked at while planning this project–women’s, men’s.)

This past summer, while visiting family in Michigan, I went to Field’s Fabrics in Holland, MI, and saw this great Carhartt canvas insulated with Thinsulate.

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece
It’s funny that the name on the roll is spelled “Carhardt”, but if you look on the website at the link above, you’ll see it’s spelled correctly: “Carhartt”. Just a typo, not a knock-off!

I had seen it at the store on a previous trip, and always wished I had bought some, so this time I did. My initial idea? A winter snap-front skirt to wear over leggings. I love those short, insulated skirts for winter! My Mom looked at the fabric, though, and suggested making a vest. At first I ruled it out, but as I thought more and more about the idea, I realized that it was a good one. I would wear a vest more than a skirt and it would fit me longer if I sized it correctly. And I remembered that Patagonia vest from way back. That’s when I got excited.

Deciding on all the specifics of fabric and pattern and any tweaks I wanted to make took a long time. My fabrics were originally not very cozy (other than the insulated canvas) because I was going purely on colors that worked together, but eventually, with input from my family, I decided to use a beloved piece of wool for my yoke that I have had in my stash for I don’t know how long, just waiting for the right project. At that point, I needed to rethink my lining layer to make everything look good together. I found a cream colored Polartec 200 Thermal Pro curly fleece online at The Rain Shed that was on sale, and looked like it just might work. I ordered it with some pocket zippers and bit the bullet on the insane shipping cost (so expensive!) since the fabric itself was such a good price.

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece

The fabric was perfection with what I already had, but the hardware wasn’t quite there yet. I ditched my first zipper idea and ordered some metal ones with brass pulls from zipit on Etsy.

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece

I have used their zippers before, and they are pretty cool looking. Brass heavy duty snaps from Joann Fabrics completed my hardware search.

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece
If you try these, make sure you get a package with a setting tool (not pictured) if you don’t already have one.

For my pattern, I chose the Men’s Santiam Reversible Vest #102 from The Green Pepper Patterns.

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece

There is a women’s vest, but I was outside the size range, and it didn’t seem like a big deal to curve out the hips on the men’s one if necessary. Time to get started!

The goal? Create an outerwear vest with the Western yoke of the Patagonia example that would be large and roomy enough to fit over my bulkiest sweater and thickest fleece leggings or jeans. And make it cozy! In order to get the fit I wanted, I followed the pattern’s directions to take measurements over the clothes I wanted to wear the vest with. This put me at a chest and waist size XL, and a hip size 2XL.

To keep this post from getting too long, I’ll list out the tweaks I made to the pattern instead of talking through them. Here’s what I changed:

*created a yoke piece to attach to the outer layer of the vest, front and back

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece
Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece

*graded the hips out to a larger size, which meant that the side of the handwarmer pockets needed to be reshaped, and the angle of the pocket zippers needed to change to mirror the angle of the hips

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece
The original pattern piece is in green marker; my alterations are in pencil

*created a longer back hem that curved down by tracing a vintage Woolrich puffer vest; this is also a feature on the Patagonia vests I linked to

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece
You can see the longer back extending down in this picture
Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece
The vest from the back, fleece side out

*created a pattern piece for wool strips that would attach to the fleece; I planned to fuse interfacing to the wool strips, hoping that this would be a more stable option for the snaps to attach to rather than the fleece (I previously made a fleece cardigan using sew-in interfacing, and a few of the anorak snaps I used as closures pulled away from my fleece–I was hoping to prevent that here)

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece

*stay-stitched the yoke so nothing would stretch out

*flipped the directions so that my inner layer would have zipper pockets and my outer layer would have hand warmer pockets

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece
Zipper pockets; I gave the fleece around the zippers a tiny trim before calling it good
Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece
Handwarmer pockets

*used leftover woven Supplex from this project for my zipper pockets and half of my handwarmer pockets rather than the canvas and fleece to reduce bulk

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece
Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece

By the time I had decided on all these little details, I started to get nervous that I was going to forget something! I had already forgotten that the seam allowance on this pattern was 3/8″, and ended up creating the pattern for my wool strips with one side having a 3/8″ seam allowance and the other one having a 5/8″ seam allowance.

Before beginning anything, though, I had to prewash all my fabric, which included that insulated canvas. The canvas is quilted to a batting layer which has a scrim, but no additional fabric.

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece
Canvas, batting, and scrim, all quilted together; the scrim is a thin layer over the batting that helps stabilize and hold everything together

I didn’t want it to get messed up in the washer, so I basted an old sheet onto the back side, put a few safety pins in the middle to sort of pin-baste it, and threw it in the washer. Luckily, it worked! I just seam-ripped the sheet off after it was all done and saved it for another purpose.

Once I was ready to cut everything out…I had to stop. Just before cutting I realized (thankfully) that the brick quilting pattern on the canvas needed to be lined up as much as possible so the horizontal lines matched! I got things as close as I could. The quilting wasn’t always possible to line up perfectly, whether because of shrinkage from prewashing or because it wasn’t exact. I got it done, though, and then it was on to the Polartec fleece–but wait! This had a nap, which means it’s a directional fabric–you want the fleece to all lie in the proper direction! Back through the cobwebs of my memory floated the time I had accidentally cut curly fleece upside down for a sweatshirt project and had to recut it. Didn’t want to do that again! Ok. Fleece all cut out, it was on to the yoke. But I wanted that on the bias since it would look nice that way and–oh! The shoulders needed to be pattern matched!

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece
Decent pattern matching on the shoulder seam!

It was crazy. Every time I thought something would be straightforward, it wasn’t, but nevertheless, I’m so very thankful I realized those things before I cut all the layers out.

I think it’s fair to say I procrastinated a lot on this project. Any time I knew I would have to do something tricky or scary, I paused, but eventually I would forge ahead, hoping it would turn out all right. And luckily, it did. The pattern instructions were very good, and the vest was really interesting to sew. I used my regular sewing machine for construction and my serger for finishing seams, although you don’t need one. The instructions tell you to finish your seams with a zigzag stitch.

I completed this just in time for some really cold weather that came our way. And I love it!

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece
Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece

Now don’t be fooled–this vest is a massive beast of winter. This is no lightweight indoor vest. It’s big and a little bit heavy, though not uncomfortably so.

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece
Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece
Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece

It has plenty of extra ease to go over my biggest sweater (just like I hoped!), and it’s so nice and warm. That collar can really keep out the wind, too!

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece
Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece

Happily, it’s just what I wanted, and all the design and hardware choices really combined to make it look professional and rugged. And it’s reversible! Even the snaps!

Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece
Patagonia-Inspired Vest in Insulated Carhartt Canvas and Polartec Fleece

Both the pattern and the snap pack mentioned that you can use the decorative snap caps on both sides to make your project reversible, so I tried it and it worked! Success!

Now I have one more unique garment that fits me just right for winter. Yay!

Ullvi Slouchy Hats from The Last Stitch in Polartec Fleece

Standard
Ullvi Slouchy Hats from The Last Stitch in Polartec Fleece

Sometimes it takes a little while for a project to make it to the ol’ blog, and this is one of those projects. I tried out the Ullvi Slouchy Hat Sewing Pattern from The Last Stitch in January.

Last Stitch Ullvi Slouchy Hats in Polartec Fleece
Ullvi Slouchy Hat Sewing Pattern from The Last Stitch
Last Stitch Ullvi Slouchy Hats in Polartec Fleece
Line drawing of the Ullvi Slouchy Hat Sewing Pattern from The Last Stitch

If you have read this blog for a long time, you might notice that every winter for the past few years, I make a couple of projects with Polartec fleece. Because of that, I have a lot of scraps and odd pieces left over. I’m not great at using scraps, but I try when I can. This year, I decided to take any of my Power Stretch and Curly Fleece odds and ends that were big enough and make hats out of them.

I bought a bundle of patterns a few years ago from The Last Stitch that included the Tova Mittens, Brisa Beanie, and Ullvi Slouchy Hat and haven’t tried them all yet. After looking at both hat patterns, I went with the Ullvi for this project, even though the fleece I wanted to use wasn’t exactly right. This pattern is designed to have double layers, however my fabrics all had distinct right and wrong sides that wouldn’t quite work with the way the hat is meant to be constructed. There are some great suggestions in the instructions for adapting the pattern, however, and those got me thinking. I knew I could make it work.

Last Stitch Ullvi Slouchy Hats in Polartec Fleece

The best plan seemed to be to cut my hats in a single layer and either cover the bottom edge with foldover elastic or extend the bottom edge by 1/2 inch for a hem allowance. I decided on the hem allowance. The pattern calls for a 5mm or 1/5 inch seam allowance, but I chose to use a 1/4 inch seam allowance, since that’s standard with the tools that I use. It’s a slightly larger seam allowance, but with stretchy fabrics, it’s not a big deal.

For such a relatively simple garment, the designer put a lot of thought into this hat. She provides two different methods of assembly. The first gives you a hat where the seam allowance is visible inside, and the second gives you a hat with no visible seam allowances inside. For my single-layer hats, the first method seemed best. After initially using only my sewing machine and getting wavy seam allowances, I decided I would serge the top and side seams of the hats and use my sewing machine to hem them with a zigzag stitch.

Last Stitch Ullvi Slouchy Hats in Polartec Fleece
Look at those wavy edges! More testing needed!

In fact, I hemmed each hat before doing any of the other seams. For this, I used a walking foot, standard presser foot pressure, a 75/11 stretch needle, polyester thread in my needle, and bulky/wooly nylon in my bobbin. My stitch height was 6 and my stitch length was 1.5. I tested all this on scraps before committing to it. Using a zigzag and wooly nylon in my bobbin are just personal preferences–you could also use a twin needle and polyester thread in the bobbin instead.

Last Stitch Ullvi Slouchy Hats in Polartec Fleece

Because I am still new to using my serger, I had to adjust the settings of the differential feed a few times before I could get smooth, rather than wavy, edges. I ended up setting it at 1.5. This was a great project to practice my serger skills on. Every little bit helps!

The only step of the instructions where I had questions was step 5. I couldn’t tell if the side seam was supposed to be on the side or in the back middle during this step, as the illustration wasn’t clear on that. The notches were also not labeled at this step, so after looking things over, I labeled them for myself. The “A” notches are at the top, the “B” notches are on the side, and the “C” notch/mark is in the middle. All of this means, I think, that the side seam is not pictured because it should be lying at the back in the middle. I know this is really getting into the minute details, but if you have questions at this point, hopefully you can benefit from my experience. Other than that, I didn’t have any problems, and I found the instructions very clear.

While I didn’t try every assembly option, I did try out all the sizes. I made a small for a family member and used up the rest of my scraps trying out the different sizes for a few other people.

Last Stitch Ullvi Slouchy Hats in Polartec Fleece

Everything turned out really well, but I definitely liked the finished product in the Power Stretch best (the gray, ivory, and pink hats) and the Curly Fleece least (the yellow and green), although all of them are wearable.

Last Stitch Ullvi Slouchy Hats in Polartec Fleece
Ullvi Slouchy Hat in Polartec Power Stretch
Last Stitch Ullvi Slouchy Hats in Polartec Fleece
While the Curly Fleece didn’t make my favorite hat, it does match my sweatshirt!

The Power Stretch has much better recovery, so it works better overall. So far, that is my favorite Polartec fleece substrate. I just love it for leggings, sweatshirts, and now hats.

I found this pattern really interesting and would definitely try it again. I hope to try out the Brisa Beanie at some point as well. You can see my first attempt at the Tova mittens here. Hopefully I can give those another try in the future, too. All of these patterns are great for stash busting.

Now I had better go and take pictures of some of my other finished projects so I can share them with you! Have a great weekend!

I Finally Made It: A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

Standard
I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

Do you have some of those patterns that you love, but they hang out in your pattern collection for one reason or another?  I have several of these that linger because I’m waiting for just the right fabric.  The Newcastle Cardigan by Thread Theory Designs is one of those for me.  I bought it at Pintuck & Purl several years ago, because despite the fact that this is a men’s pattern, I could envision a comfy, slouchy women’s version for me.  I like the cozy cardigan look with the rolled collar, and I’m always a fan of a shoulder/back yoke where I can use a contrast fabric or add in some nice topstitching.  I just needed the right fabric and some modifications…

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

l

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

I finally found the fabric I was looking for on the Mill Yardage website:  a Polartec Classic 200 Sweater Look Strie fabric that was warm, moderately thick, and had more body than drape.  I could use leftover fabric from my Burda 6471 joggers for the yoke and any other accent areas.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

Other Materials and Stitching

After a lot of deliberation, I decided to skip most of the interfacing and only include sew-in interfacing in the button placket areas.  Although I found some ideas on how you could adhere iron-on interfacing to fleece, I didn’t want to risk it, and the fabric was thick enough that it didn’t need much support anyway.  I decided to use some anorak snaps a friend had given me rather than buttons.  For more give in my seams, I used stretchy Eloflex thread as my top thread, and woolly nylon in my bobbin.

Because I modified this pattern to be loose rather than slim-fitting and because of the thread I had chosen, I was able to use a straight stitch (rather than a zigzag, which would have more stretch).  I used a slightly longer length (3.0), a 90/14 stretch needle, a walking foot, my normal tension, and my lightest presser foot pressure.

Pattern Modifications

There were a lot of pattern modifications that I made to get this just how I wanted it!  My measurements put me at a medium chest size.  This pattern says it is slim-fitting, but since I wanted a looser fit, I traced a large.  However, after measuring and tissue fitting, I realized I needed more arm and hip width, so I decided to trace an extra large.  I was really worried about the width, due to the positive ease I was after and the fact that this 100% polyester fabric only has a little bit of mechanical stretch, so I used the side seams of Simplicity 4109 (which I used to make my railroad denim jacket) as a guide.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

After this, I planned to add a little sleeve width.  In fact, after measuring my arm and the pattern and consulting The Perfect Fit, I decided I needed a full upper arm adjustment, and I added 1.5 inches to the arm pattern piece, giving me a wider circumference.

I had considered shortening the arms by as much as six inches (the pattern explains that they are drafted quite long), but after sewing the back to the front of the cardigan and holding up my shortened arm pattern piece, I didn’t like it, so I let it out to the original length.  Long and cozy sleeves seemed preferable to too-short sleeves in a garment that was supposed to be warm and snuggly.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

I wanted elbow patches, too, so I added the ones from the Plaintain Tee, a free pattern from Deer & Doe.

I made version one of this pattern, and was originally going to use the larger collar from version two, but it almost completely covered the yoke, so I recut it and used the smaller collar that went with version one originally.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

I wanted a bottom band on this cardigan, so I made one!  It’s a rectangle and, just before I finished installing it, I added a little gusset at the bottom of the side seams and some extra little rectangles to my bottom band for just a little more hip width.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

l

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

I added in extra topstitching anywhere I wanted to flatten the fabric or add detail or definition.  This was usually a good idea, but where it did not work, was the edge of the collar.  It exacerbated the collar’s tendency to flip up.  I took that topstitching out but kept what I did in other areas. (You can see the collar after I tried topstitching it below.  See how obvious the flip-up is?)

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

Like I mentioned before, I opted to install anorak snaps instead of making buttonholes and using buttons.  My friend had given me some that had been in her mom’s stash and I used every single one I had left.  Unfortunately, I didn’t hammer two of the top pieces in quite right and they don’t grip the bottom parts of the snap strongly.  It’s a not a big deal for one of them, but the other gapes, so I have to go on a little search to see if these are still available or if they are now considered vintage.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

Most nerve-wracking of all, I decided near the end of making this to add self-welt or stand pockets using the instructions in my Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing.  Yes, this was a little bit crazy, because I really liked the cardigan without them.  I just knew I would like it much more with pockets.

I tested out my idea with scraps to see if it would be too bulky and if I liked using the green for my pocket, and it turned out pretty well.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

So, I went for it!  I just took it step by step, deciding at the outset that they didn’t have to be perfect to be good.  And it worked!  They aren’t perfect, but they are good, and I was even able to tack the pockets to the facings, which helped to keep the facings from flipping out.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

l

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

l

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

I even added a Thread Theory label, which came with the pattern, and one from Kylie and the Machine, that I purchased at Pintuck & Purl.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

Final Thoughts

I love this cardigan.  While I can’t say this about every one of my projects, I really feel like I got the fit I wanted on this garment, and I love it in this fabric.  It’s so warm and nice.  If I did it over again in an equally thick fabric, I would consider skipping the facings.  Except for the benefit of tacking them to the pockets, they are kind of annoying.  It would be different in another fabric, I’m sure.  The length of time this took and the adjusting while sewing were frustrating for me, but I’m glad I persevered and finished before spring.  When I wore this to work, one of my coworkers said she thought the cardigan was from L.L. Bean, which was so nice of her!  I often look at their clothes for inspiration.  So, it was a struggle, but I’m happy, and I love the finished product.  And I’m also happy it’s done.  On to the next thing!

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

l

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

l

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

l

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

Standard
Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

Yayyyy, fleecy pants!  My batch of sewing projects is now at the sewing phase, which makes me very happy.  Today I want to share my version of Burda Style 6471, View A (with a few modifications).  I made these in recycled Polartec Thermal Pro denim look in a color called Aspen (green).  This fabric was a gift from my wonderful husband and came from Mill Yardage.

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

I got this pattern in my stocking the Christmas before last, but have been waiting for just the right fabric.  My goal was to find a fabric that would look good as everyday wear while feeling like secret pajamas.  I was hoping this fabric would do that, but after making these, they are more of a really nice spin on sweat pants.  It turns out, I’m ok with that.  I’ve still worn them out of the house, but I definitely feel like I’m wearing sweat pants when I do.

Let’s talk details.

Constructing the Pattern

The only pattern alteration I made was to grade up one size from the largest size.  I did this by looking at how much t the largest one or two sizes increased by and doing the same to create a larger size.

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

l

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

I chose to make View A of this pattern because I wanted the longer length, but I left off the square side pockets and the drawstring.  This pattern was supposed to have a flat front to the waistband with an elastic back, but I made a few choices based on my fabric that caused me to change the waistband.  You are supposed to interface the front of the waistband.  I felt nervous using a fusible, because I didn’t want to iron this fabric and melt it.  I did find a few discussions in the Pattern Review forums where people mentioned ways to fuse interfacing on fleece.  Many other people said they skipped interfacing altogether.  I did have some sew-in interfacing, but I got nervous that if I used it, the back waistband might not have enough give/length to fit over my hips when taking the pants on and off since they are a pull-on style (the fly is a faux fly and the waistband is continuous with no closure).  Usually I try to trust the pattern, but laziness was also a bit of a factor, so I skipped interfacing the front of the waistband.

When I finished the pants, which were a very quick sew, they fit pretty well.  As I write this, I’m just now realizing what a big deal it is that the crotch curve fit me so well the first time around.  That doesn’t always happen!  Anyway, I wore them around for a bit, and realized that the waistband definitely got looser with wear.  This fabric has a small amount of stretch and no recovery.  I could see that I needed to tighten up the back waistband elastic, so I did.  Then I wore them some more.  Then they got loose.  I could see my options were to go back and redo the waistband with interfacing, maybe even adding the drawstring, or to make the waistband a fully elasticated one.  Since I could tell that these were definitely in the sweat pants camp, and I didn’t have to try to make them everyday pants anymore, I opted to elasticate the whole waistband.

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

l

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

l

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

This is when I realized one other thing.  These are fairly low-rise pants.  They’re not super low, but they’re low enough that when you bend over or crouch down, you should make sure your backside is covered.  The rise is consistent with the picture on the pattern.  If I ever make these again, making the rise a little higher would be a good idea.

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

l

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

Lastly, for anyone who is trying to sew fleece like this, here are the specific settings I used on my sewing machine.  I did not use a serger.

  • regular zigzag stitch
  • 2.5 stitch width
  • 1.0 stitch length
  • 1 presser foot pressure (lightest)
  • 4 tension (standard tension; I didn’t change it from my normal setting)
  • 90/14 stretch needle
  • walking foot
  • Gütermann all purpose polyester thread in the needle and wooly/bulky nylon in the bobbin

When sewing knits, I always test out my stitches on a piece of scrap fabric and then stretch it as much as possible to see if the thread breaks.  If it does, I test some more until I get a stitch that doesn’t break when stretched parallel and perpendicular to my stitch line.

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

l

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

Final Thoughts

I often expect every sewing project to be THE BEST and most wonderful garment, and I cut them much less slack than I do store-bought/thrifted clothes.  I think that’s not a good way to continue on.  This garment isn’t the best, most wonderful garment I have ever made, but I still really love it.  I think it’s because the fleece is so cozy.  The pattern is good, the sewing is not bad, and the fabric feels great.  The fit is pretty good, if a bit low.  I think that I will get a lot of wear out of these pants, even if they weren’t what I first envisioned.

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

Standard
Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

I have no new projects to share today, so I thought I would give you a look into what I’m thinking about sewing this winter.  I do have a batch of projects underway, and a pretty good idea of some patterns I may want to sew next.  Planning and dreaming up sewing projects is one of my favorite parts of sewing!

Current Plans

Current plans include drafting and sewing my own leggings using this tutorial from Cal Patch.  I’ve made these once before, and they were great.  I want to make them in a midweight Polartec Power Stretch (below),

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

but first I have to see if my new pattern fits right by testing it out in some bathing suit fabric (below) that I had in my stash.  I think this (hopefully) wearable muslin will make great exercise leggings.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

I also want to make Burda Style 6471, View A minus the cargo pocket and drawstring in recycled Polartec ThermalPro denim look fabric.  I got this pattern for Christmas 2018, and I have been waiting for just the right fabric to come along.  I’m hoping for some secret pajamas I can wear out and about, but if they read too casual, I can just use them as loungewear.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

New Look 6560, View A without the ruffle, which I just completed in silk is back on the list, this time in hot pink stretch velvet, because it’s FUN!  My friend got this fabric for me for my birthday, and I’m excited to try it out.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

Vogue 8932 has been hanging out in my pattern library for a long time, and I’m finally going to make it (View B).  I’m going to try it out in black ponte de roma from Fabric Mart.  If I like the pattern, I would love to make it in a stretchy boiled wool knit someday.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

I’m also finally trying out the Thread Theory Newcastle Cardigan, Version 1, but in a shape that will fit me (this is originally a men’s pattern).  I’d love a relaxed version of this cardigan, maybe with some elbow patches and a bottom band added, and I want it in a shape that will fit me, so I’ve done a bunch of work and measuring to see if I can get there.  This is another pattern I have had for a long time, waiting to find just the right fabric.  Thanks to my husband getting me several pieces of Polartec fleece that I had my eye on, I plan to make this in a Polartec 200 sweater-look fleece, using scraps of green from the Burda pants I mentioned above for the yoke.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

All of those are at the cutting stage.  I just need to cut out the New Look wrap top and the cardigan, and then I can get sewing.

Future Possibilities

Other thoughts and possibilities for the rest of winter are also brewing.

I had a snap-front skirt (Burda Style 6252, View A, lengthened) on my list to make out of a damaged Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket that I got for FREE (!!!), but it was just too damaged and stained to cut a skirt out of.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

I want a pattern I like to make insulated skirts to wear over leggings, and this may be the one, but it’s going on hold for now.  The blanket could become a pillow and maybe a bag (The Wax + Wool Tote, possibly?).  We’ll see.

One strong possibility is McCall’s 7930, View D.  I think I have some stash fabrics that would work for this–either a shirtweight denim + a Swiss dot or maybe silk double georgette + silk crepe de chine.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

Another likely project is the Persephone Pants from Anna Allen, lengthened for winter, maybe in a green canvas.  I have resisted the ultra-high rise trend, but I once had a pair of very high waisted wool sailor pants that I LOVED, and thinking about them convinced me to give these a try.  To tell the truth, I have been looking at our local Army Navy stores for some ’70’s era sailor jeans to try out before buying this pattern, but couldn’t quite find what I was looking for.  This pattern was a Christmas gift, so I’m going for it!

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

I have some cotton velveteen that might get made into Simplicity 1696, a tried-n-true (TNT) pattern for me, although I do worry about the nap rubbing off in places like the inner thigh.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

Burda Style 6265, View A is also a possibility in flannel worn with leggings, but I really wonder how much I would reach for this.  I have never been a dress person, and I am trying to branch out into wearing dresses, but I can’t quite tell if this is something I would reach for or if it would just hang out in my closet.  I actually like the long view, too, maybe for spring or fall.  I’m going to have to think about this pattern for awhile.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

Other tempting patterns are to be found in the Burda Style magazine from November 2019 that I found at one of the larger Barnes & Nobles.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

There are a lot of patterns I like in this issue (which is why I bought it), but my absolute favorite is #121, the “On-Trend pattern”, a really cool cropped jacket.  I love the style lines, and I could see it made up in various wool fabrics.  I wonder if I could recycle some wool pants I have into part of this jacket.  (They’re the checked fabric below.)  I would love that.  And they would be great with this blue wool/cashmere remnant I have.  Overall this issue has a number of great jackets.  I’m just outside their standard range, but I can grade up a size or two.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

l

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

The other day I went to my local mall to see how it had changed in the last few years (I don’t get there much) as well as to hunt for inspiration.  I love to look in Nordstrom and J. Crew, among other places, to get ideas for future sewing projects or to check out details on clothing.  I found it really interesting that with the proliferation of pattern companies, plus the fact that Butterick, McCall’s, Simplicity, Vogue, and Burda Style all put out numerous patterns per year, I can find patterns that are close or nearly identical to a lot of the clothes I see in stores.  The sewing world is really on top of what’s current in much of the fashion you find in stores.  It’s pretty cool.  On the flip side, there are also companies that put things together in really creative ways that I haven’t necessarily seen before.  They really inspire me to try to think more creatively.  When I look at Anthropologie, Free People, and even Lucky Brand, I often ask myself why I didn’t think to combine fabrics like that or try some similar detail.  We sort of have the best of both worlds in that way:  fashionable patterns + ready-to-wear inspiration to think even more creatively.  The mall is a different experience when you’re shopping for inspiration.

What about you?  What are your current sewing plans?  Have you tried any of the patterns I mentioned?  Feel free to recommend patterns, too!

 

My Favorite Fall and Winter Sewing Patterns

Standard
My Favorite Fall and Winter Sewing Patterns

Hi, friends!  My most recent project is all finished, but not yet photographed.  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to take some pictures this week so I can share it with you soon.  In the meantime, let’s talk cool weather sewing!

One thing I have been thinking about as the weather has gotten colder here is which patterns have become favorites in my fall and winter wardrobe.  By now, I’ve sewn through a lot of patterns.  Some projects have been real wins, and others have been given to family, friends, or the thrift store because something about them just didn’t work out.  The most interesting discovery has been that it’s not just the patterns that have to be winners–it’s pairing the right pattern with the right fabric that makes these garments my favorites.

Let’s look at a few of my favorites below.  When possible, I’ve linked to the pattern and original or similar fabrics.  None of these are affiliate links–I just want you to be able to find the same information and products I did if you want to.  (Fabric links, if not listed in this post, are in my original posts.)

Tops

I have two favorite sweatshirts right now.  One is the Style Arc Josie Hoodie.

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

I made this sweatshirt from Polartec Power Stretch, one of my absolute favorite fall and winter fabrics.  I really think that making this pattern in this fabric is what has me reaching for it over and over again.  This particular Power Stretch is–yes–stretchy, but it’s also thick and squishy with a smooth outside and fleecy inside.  The longer length and curved hem of the pattern are nice touches as well.

One of my other favorite sweatshirts right now is my Brunswick Pullover from Hey June Handmade in Polartec Curly Fleece and Rifle Paper Co. quilting cotton.

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

I love the colors, the cool details in this pattern (arm pocket, side snaps, cowl neck), and the fluffy fabric.  My family calls this my muppet sweatshirt because of the fabric.  It’s super cozy.

And here is one more sweatshirt that I wear on a regular basis:  my Polar Pullover, pattern F722 from The Green Pepper.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

The roomy fit is great, you have three pockets, and you can use this pattern (or the vest view) to create your own version of those pricey fleeces found at stores like Patagonia and L.L. Bean.  I love that I got to pick my own colors, and the Polartec Curly Fleece (just like in the green sweatshirt) is furry and soft.

My current favorite t-shirt pattern is the free Plantain Tee from Deer & Doe patterns.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

I have many versions of this t-shirt (batch one, batch two), a few of which are in wool knits.  Wool and Polartec brand fleece are my two favorite cold-weather fabrics, and having a few Plaintains in wool jersey means that not only are they great for daily wear, they also work for camping and as exercise gear.

This mashup between the Plaintain Tee and the Strathcona Henley from Thread Theory is a real winner.

Strathcona + Plantain=A Strathcona Henley for Me!

This shirt is made from wool ponte and wool jersey, which were gifts.  If you can ever find wool ponte, I highly recommend it.  It’s both drapey and substantial.  This is a nice, long shirt, but with the right curves for my body since I used the shape of the side seams in the Plantain Tee.

Bottoms

For every day, I would have to say my Morgan Jeans from Closet Case Patterns in non-stretch denim are my top pick.

Morgan Jeans!

I love the fit of these jeans, and with some brightly colored topstitching, they feel a little bit special.  I sized up because I don’t like super tight jeans and I want to be able to fit long underwear or leggings underneath in the cold weather.

For looking a little bit nicer, Simplicity 1696 is my go-to.  I have made these pants several times.  My favorite iteration is my most recent, in Cloud9 Tinted Denim.

Spring Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

I think it reads as a pleasingly faded chino.  I like this slightly heavier fabric more than the lighter sateen and quilting cotton I have tried in the past.

Another winner for every day or pajamas is self-drafted leggings using an old tutorial by Cal Patch on Etsy’s blog.  My first pair was in a cheap polyester fabric, and I still use these for pajamas.

MMM'15 Day 11

I’m hoping to make a new pattern this winter, since my measurements have changed.  I’d like to make some leggings in a midweight Polartec Power Stretch.  There is nothing like fleecy leggings for coziness.

Speaking of pajamas, I just pulled out my flannel pajama pants made from out-of-print McCall’s 3019 in Cloud9 organic cotton flannel.

Quick and Easy Pajama Pants:  McCall's 3019

I have used a lot of cheap flannel in my time, and probably will again, but there really is a difference when you use something that is high-quality like this organic flannel.

I have to include my Alabama Chanin Long Skirt in Polartec Sweater Knit.

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style

This is a really simple pattern that you can sew on your machine if you don’t want to hand-stitch it, making it super fast to create.  The fleece, which looks like a sweater knit on the outside and is fleecy inside, is really warm, and the skirt is long enough that you can wear long underwear or leggings underneath, keeping yourself nice and toasty.  It’s like you’re wearing a blanket, but it looks nice.

I absolutely love sewing wovens, but I find that in fall and winter, I often want to wear knits.  It took me awhile to notice this trend.  My most successful projects are a great pairing of fabric to pattern, even if the fit isn’t absolutely perfect.  Luckily, knits tend to be pretty forgiving in that area, in addition to continuing to fit should your measurements change somewhat.  All that being said, though, I do want to occasionally challenge myself to make and wear different styles, so I have a few knit and a few woven projects tentatively planned for the winter.

If you have any favorite cold-weather patterns or patterns you are excited to sew in the fall or winter, share in the comments!  I love sewing inspiration!

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

Standard
Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

It’s still cold spring here, but I think this is my last spring sweatshirt…and it’s a good one.  This is the Brunswick Pullover from Hey June Handmade, my first pattern from this company, and probably not my last.  This is a great pattern.

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

I made View A with the cowl neck of View B in a size 16 bust and 18 hip. I used a green Polartec Curly Fleece from Fashion Fabrics Club (just like last week’s sweatshirt) and a Rifle Paper Co. quilting cotton from Pintuck and Purl.  The zipper on the pocket was from Wawak (I wanted the specific length called for rather than a zipper I would have to shorten, so I had to order it) and the anorak snaps, thread, and interfacing came from my stash.

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

l

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

Hey June Handmade is a company whose patterns I’ve had my eye on for awhile.  Last year, I planned to make the free Durango Tank, but never got around to it.  I saw this pattern release, though, and really liked the pattern as well as the various photos of people’s finished pullovers around the internet.  Katie’s Brunswick with the striped hood and other details was really inspiring as was Loni’s Brunswick with the white outside and Rifle Paper Co. button placket.  This last one was the inspiration that stuck with me as I looked for my own fabric.

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

Although I prefer paper patterns, this is only available in PDF currently, so I decided to put my preference aside and go for it.  Adrianna Appl, the designer, makes this PDF really easy to use with layered sizing (meaning you only have to print the sizes you need) and loads of information about printing and taping PDF’s, cutting your fabric, and sizing before you even start.  I was impressed from the very beginning by the detail and depth of information.  There is a lot of hand-holding in the pattern in the best way.  Adrianna does everything possible to ensure that you have a good and successful experience sewing her pattern.

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

I think the thing that really drew me to this pattern is all the fun little details you can add that take this from merely a cozy sweatshirt to cozy sweatshirt with a distinctive twist.  Here are some close-ups of my choices:  a contrast zipper pocket on the sleeve,

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

l

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

functional snap plackets on the sides lined with contrast fabric,

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

l

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

and a big, cozy cowl neck.

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

l

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

A few notes from sewing the pattern:

  • I used a walking foot and a jersey/ballpoint needle as well as a lighter presser foot pressure.
  • To mark the pocket on the arm, I used tailor’s tacks since fabric marker or chalk wouldn’t have shown up well on the fleece.
  • Because I was using fleece, I couldn’t press without melting the fabric, and therefore couldn’t use fusible interfacing.  I opted to hand baste some sew-in woven interfacing at the necessary points.  Where the pattern called for pressing, I finger pressed.
  • It can be a little bit hard to tell the front from the back when the pullover is finished if you used the cowl neck option (unless you memorize which arm the outer pocket goes on), so I made a little tag out of a pretty bit of selvage and sewed it inside the back near the neck seam.

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

This was a really enjoyable pattern to sew.  I love, love, love the finished product, and I’m so impressed with all the attention to detail in this pattern, that I would love to sew another from this company.  Plenty of patterns out there are good, but I think the quality of this one is a step above.  I’m glad I tried it.  It’s been fun to have a bright colored sweatshirt to fight off the spring rain and chill, too.

And with that, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite outtakes/silly shots:

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

Many thanks to my long-suffering photographer.  😀

 

 

Want a Patagonia-Style Fleece Pullover? Try the Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover in Polartec

Standard
Want a Patagonia-Style Fleece Pullover?  Try the Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover in Polartec

If you sew, what drives you to make a particular project?  Maybe sometimes it’s wanting your own version of something you saw another person make.  Maybe you can create a designer-inspired piece for an affordable price.  Maybe you love construction and couture details.  For me, I often want to see what it would be like to make something.  I find this to be the case in both cooking and sewing.  I may only make the food or article of clothing once, but I want to know how it’s made and what it takes to make it.

That’s what happened when I was contemplating some patterns by The Green Pepper at Joann Fabrics one day.  I had never tried any of these patterns, but I noticed one that was for a fleece jacket like the ones at L.L. Bean.  The pattern in the store may have been a zip-up version, and I was interested in the classic pullover style, but it got me thinking.  This style has been around for decades and is probably more well-known from Patagonia, an early adopter of fleece fabric in garments.  (In fact, this pullover at Patagonia looks amazingly similar to what I ended up making.)  I found The Green Pepper F722, Polar Pullover and Vest on Etsy.  There is a similar style on The Green Pepper website, number 512.  It looks like an older pattern (copyright 1999) and is a slightly different version with a different finish for the sleeves and collar and only one pocket flap option.  My pattern has a copyright date of 2013 on the envelope.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

l

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

For fabric, I hit the jackpot at Fashion Fabrics Club.  This website can be a little overwhelming, because there is just so much, but looking at the fabric on a screen bigger than a phone helps.  I found Polartec Double Sided Curly Fleece in Sour Lemon

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

as well as woven Supplex in Dark Turquoise (which I thought was nylon, but the website says is cotton), and a stretchy nylon/spandex Creamy Pink Jersey Knit (no longer available) for my inner neck edging.  I chose colors I liked together on my computer, and ordered them, hoping they would work in real life.  Shipping took awhile, but when I finally got everything, I was thrilled.  The colors were great together!  Other odds and ends came either from my stash or Joann’s, with the exception of my snaps.  The pattern calls for heavy duty snaps, and I, being a snap novice, didn’t really know what that meant.  So, I went looking for snaps in the color I wanted, rather than worrying about what “heavy duty” meant.  I found Snap Source pastel pink size 16 snaps at Wawak, which I thought looked most like what I was seeing online at Patagonia and L.L. Bean.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

This is a unisex pattern with all available sizes in one envelope, and according to my measurements, I was a medium in the chest and waist and a large in the hip, so that’s what I traced.  I opted for the pullover with the collar and rounded chest pocket, but you can also choose a vest, hood, or pointed pocket.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

As soon as I took the pattern instructions out of the envelope and started reading them, I could see that a lot of time, thought, and care had gone into making these directions.  There is a lot of information to help you before you begin, which is great.  My favorite part, though, was all the detail that was put into the construction directions.  This pattern doesn’t assume you have a serger, and gives clear, thorough instruction, including which direction to sew your seams, when to use a straight stitch and when to zigzag (something not all knit patterns have), and lots of small details that will give you a professional finish.  I was only a few steps in before I felt like I could trust this pattern.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

I made sure to use a walking foot, a jersey/ballpoint needle, and a lighter presser foot pressure, except for the neck facing, where I changed to a stretch needle after some trial and error.  I was surprised that a lot of my seams were sewn with a straight stitch and finished with a zigzag, which also served to flatten out the seam allowances.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

One slight issue I had on the front placket was in section J, step 1, where it said the placket should extend half an inch above the top of the jacket.  That wasn’t the case on my jacket—it’s possible that I made an error, but after measuring the pattern pieces to be sure, I think the error is in the pattern.  I went back and recut the placket, making it 3/8″ longer.  This error seems to be on all sizes.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

One other issue I had, which was my fault occurred while installing the snaps.  I was trying to use prong snaps, when the pattern had called for heavy duty snaps, which are larger and have a post.  I got the top side of my snaps in, but couldn’t get the bottoms in.  I bought some heavy duty snaps and did some tests on scrap fabric to confirm that they would work (they did), but I really wanted pink snaps.  After going down a major rabbit hole where I started researching powder coating and other types of paint, and calling people who repair outdoor gear (Boulder Mountain Repair and Specialty Outdoors were kind enough to talk to me and point me in some helpful directions), I finally visited L.L. Bean to do a little sleuthing.  It looks like they are using colored plastic snaps, about the size of my original pink snaps, but they had trimmed all the bulk out of their facings, whereas mine had (in some places) two layers of fleece and four layers of Supplex.  My husband had suggested that I trim this area before I went on my snap saga, but I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to make it work until I felt the facings on the L.L. Bean sweatshirts.  So, I went home and opened up the facing, trimming down the bulk in the bottom facing, after which I had no problem installing the bottom of my snaps.  Consider me older and wiser now—I will do this on both parts of the facing next time, which will give me a ton of color options for snaps, thanks to Snap Source.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

l

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

Snap saga aside, this pattern was a joy to sew and VERY interesting.  I got really professional results and a brightly colored sweatshirt I can wear during this cool and cloudy spring.  The pockets are a major bonus, including the chest pocket!

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

l

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

l

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

There’s even a little hanging tab.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

It’s warm and cozy, and it’s very encouraging that I can find professional materials.  It was hard to find heavy-duty snaps in all the colors of the rainbow (although some colors are available), but trimming down the fleece in the facing gives you more options.  I think final cost for this sweatshirt was under $35, which is great, considering that many of these sweatshirts in the store are in the $70–$120 range.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

l

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

If I were to make this again, some things that would be fun to try are swapping out the elastic in the casings at hip (pictured below) and wrist

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

for a stretchy binding on cuffs, hem, and top of collar, as well as trying the pointy pocket, possibly in a double layer of Supplex instead of fleece.  It would be fun to order some of my own labels and sew one to the front as well (if only I could decide what to put on them!).  And I’d love to try out some Polartec WindPro so the wind couldn’t blow through.  I’m not sure how many of these sweatshirts I need, but this was really nice to sew.  Since The Green Pepper also has a zip-front pattern (number 507), maybe that would be a good one to try too.  If this is a style you like, I highly recommend this pattern.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

 

 

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

Standard
Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

It’s taken so long for this project to make it to the blog, but here it is:  the Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in pink Polartec Power Stretch.  (I’m not quite sure how to spell the “hoody” part of the name since my printed copy spells it with a “y” and the PDF on the Style Arc website is spelled with an “ie”.  Either way, it’s the same pattern.)

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

This sweatshirt is the ultimate in coziness, and a big part of that is fabric choice.  The pattern and fabric were birthday presents from my kids, and I’m so happy that they got them for me.  I fell in love with this pattern when I saw Devon Iott’s version (@missmake on Instagram), and after sleuthing around the internet looking at different iterations, I put it on my wishlist.  Did you know you can buy printed versions of some of Style Arc’s patterns on Amazon?  They come printed on nice, sturdy paper.

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

l

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

The fabric is Polartec Power Stretch from Mill Yardage.  For the last few years I have gotten Polartec/Malden Mills brand fleece either at Field’s Fabrics in Kalamazoo, MI or millyardage.com.  When I order from Mill Yardage, I often look at the seconds because, although Polartec has marked them as lower quality, whatever defect they have isn’t obvious, which means great fabric at a lower price.  After trying Power Stretch one year, I fell in love with it for its soft, stretchy fluffiness, which makes it so comfortable.  I thought this color and type of fabric would make a great Josie Hoody.  The only downside is that it can get dirty a little more quickly than a darker color, especially around the cuffs.  So far, any dirt has come out in the wash, though.

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

When sewing the pattern, I thought I would be really smart and lengthen it and add some pockets.  I wanted to make sure the sweatshirt covered my backside because I had visions of myself wearing this and leggings, all snuggled up inside on a snowy day or going over to a friend’s house for coffee some cold morning dressed in my sporty sweatshirt.  Some of the versions I had seen online were made by people shorter than me, and the fit looked great.  I’m 5′ 8.5″, and I wanted to be fully covered.  I added 4″ to the length, and then I saw a sweatshirt my sister had with pockets!  That seemed brilliant.  Tilly and the Buttons had a free pocket pattern with a little tutorial for adding them and I thought, “I hardly ever hack patterns.  It’s time to up my game a bit and at least start adding pockets to everything.  This will be great.”

It wasn’t great.

The length turned the cool sweatshirt into a sweatshirt dress that didn’t really look cool.  And the pockets gaped, turning my not very cool sweatshirt dress into a cocoon dress (i.e. big hips when that wasn’t what I was going for).  Yikes!  I was down to only scraps of Polartec, so I had to be careful and seam rip the hem facing so I could save it, remove the pockets, sew up the side seams, and cut off the extra length before reapplying the hem facing.  Luckily, all my “super cool pattern hacks” proved to be reversible and, amazingly, the pattern was just great as originally drafted.  Imagine that!  😉

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

Although I tend to prefer zip-up sweatshirts to over-the-head sweatshirts, this quickly became a favorite.  I love the light color, the feel and squishiness of the fabric, and the style of the pattern.  I did take a little off the top of the hood so that it would fit better, but in a drapier fabric, I might leave it so that the hood stays nice and deep.

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

l

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

l

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

This is my first finished project for my 2018 Make Nine plans, and also my first Style Arc pattern.  I would definitely make this again and hope to use Power Stretch again as well.  For those who like technical details, here they are:

  • I graded from a 12 at the bust to a 16 at the hip, and from a 12 at the armscye to a 16 sleeve as soon as I was able.  I used the size 12 hood.

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

  • I omitted the drawstring, and didn’t use interfacing.
  • Needles:  stretch 90/14 and double needle (probably stretch)
  • Thread:  top thread–pink cotton-covered polyester (old); bobbin–taupe bulky/woolly nylon
    • Note:  some of my double needle stitches have come undone.  I’m not sure if this is because I used older thread or for some other reason.  I use older thread that’s been given to me all the time and haven’t had any problems so far, so it’s hard to tell if this is the issue.

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

l

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

  • Walking foot
  • Light presser foot pressure, normal tension, three-step zigzag stitch (4.5 width, 0.5 length)

This is a great sweatshirt that is quick to make and great to wear.  I definitely recommend it!

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

l

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

l

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch