How’s spring treating you? I’m still chugging along on my spring outfit challenge over here. Today I want to highlight the windbreaker I made! I’ll show pictures of the garments on once I have finished everything, but until then, I’m planning to talk about various patterns as they are finished.
McCall’s 5303 is a pattern from 1991 that is a “Learn to Sew for Fun” pattern.
I made the “sweatshirt”, which I’m calling a windbreaker since I made it out of nylon woven fabrics rather than sweatshirting. I really enjoyed sewing this pattern. I made a large–I am right between the large and extra large in sizing, but I remember the ’90’s and all the positive ease, so after consulting the finished measurements, I found a used copy of the large size and went with that.
The fabric I chose is a woven 7 oz. Taslan (the yellow) and 7 oz. Supplex (the pink). What are these fabrics and what’s the difference between them? Supplex like this is created out of texturized nylon woven together to make a fabric that looks and feels quite a bit like cotton. It’s a popular fabric for outdoor wear because it is breathable, wicking, sun protective, has a durable water repellant (DWR) finish, is quick-drying, etc. Supplex is a brand name and Taslan is the generic version of the same type of fabric. Supplex comes in knits as well, so all those qualities I mentioned apply to this specific type of woven nylon Supplex. This was a fabric that I really wanted to try (I find outdoor technical fabrics really interesting), so I placed a big order from The Rain Shed in January for this fabric in multiple colors with several projects in mind. I do think that the pink fabric has more body and the yellow has more drape. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s interesting to note.
Sewing the Windbreaker
I wondered if Taslan/Supplex would be hard to sew, but it wasn’t. I used a 90/14 microtex needle in my sewing machine and whatever my serger came with (I’m still new at the whole serger thing). It went great. One thing to note about the fabric is that it frays, so you’ll want to finish your seems somehow or other. I was even able to press the fabric on the synthetic setting without a press cloth, but test on scraps first! I’m sure it’s not the same with every iron. Also, this doesn’t press well–you get about the press you would get from finger pressing on cotton, maybe less. Still, it was just enough to help as I was making this.
The pattern instructions were excellent. I would consider myself more of a product sewer than a process sewer, i.e., I want the thing at the end more than wanting to just enjoy every little bit of the making, however I really loved sewing this windbreaker. It was just the right combination of helpful, clear instructions and problem-solving to figure out what I thought the optimal seam finish for each part was. I used several internal flat-felled seams and some serging for the most part. I deviated from the instructions on a few points. For instance, I stitched my pink facings down because I hate having facings that flap around and can catch lint in the washer and dryer, plus I like how it looks on this windbreaker.
I should note that the instructions tell you to hand baste at multiple points, but don’t let that put you off. I did this for the zipper (always a good idea, I promise) and skipped it in a number of other areas.
By the way, basting is a great chance to use more brittle, old thread! I always save my old thread that isn’t strong enough for regular sewing and use it for basting. Also, it looks pretty in a nice jar. 🙂
There is one error in the instructions, however. It relates to putting the drawstring in at the waist. Here’s how to fix it: do not put buttonholes in the front pocket before sewing it on. Sew the pocket on completely and then add the buttonholes through the pocket and the front fabric (treat the two layers as one for the buttonholes). Buttonholes should still be positioned as marked, but they must go through both layers; otherwise, when the bottom edge is folded up to form the casing, you won’t be able to thread the drawstring beyond the pocket area. I didn’t realize this until too late and had to open up my casing and just cut through the front fabric behind the buttonholes, and then drown them in Fray Check. Then I reclosed the casing and called it good enough. It does bug me that there are unfinished cuts that could fray, but they are contained in the casing, so what are you gonna do?
Thoughts on the finished windbreaker?
Well, I have yet to put it to the test in drizzly or rainy weather. I’m expecting it to be water-resistant, not to act as an actual raincoat, but I haven’t tried that out yet.
It’s great for slightly cool and windy days, and I love the colors I chose (yellow windbreaker, pink facings and hood lining, and purple zipper).
I may replace the white drawstrings with purple paracord to match the zipper at some point…or maybe purple shoelaces. The yellow is quite see-through, so I’m really glad this is meant to go over a shirt or sweater, rather than be a pair of pants or something. I will also have to decide after wearing it more if I would grade the hips out slightly or shorten it overall if I were to make it again. It is a unisex design, so make sure to check the finished measurements on the back of the envelope before sewing this. I found them very helpful, and I would say this fits really well–any tweaking I’m considering is just trying to finesse things rather than solve an actual problem. Overall, I really like this, and I loved sewing it.
Update on my Spring Outfit Challenge
So, now that the windbreaker is done, where does that leave the spring outfit I’m making? Well, as I mentioned previously, I finished my Coco Top
and my Oslo Hat–Mohair Edition (which I’m currently blocking).
More recently, I finished the windbreaker and the Sew It Forward Socks.
I’m currently working on my undergarments (which I won’t be blogging), and then I plan to tackle the Folkwear Sailor Pants! I’m a little nervous about the pants because I know they may need some changes, but I have challenged myself to sew at least 30 minutes every day except Sundays in June, so hopefully that will ward off procrastination. I can feel the pull of summer sewing, so I really want to wrap this up. So far, though, it’s been super fun and has been great for my sewjo.
More next time!