I can’t quite believe how much the weather here in Worcestershire has changed in a month. These pictures were taken around four weeks ago, when I woke up to a snowy wonderland, and my husband, son and I hot-footed it up the Malvern Hills to see what they look like disguised as the Swiss alps.
Since then, we’ve had sunshine, storms and today my garden looks like a tiny patch of lush green woodland! It looks as though we might be needing cosy clothes for a few weeks yet…
This is the Sloane sweatshirt from Named Patterns. It’s a slightly smarter variation on a regular sweatshirt with a set-in sleeve, and a long, sloping french dart that provides some bust shaping. I’m going to wear mine as a warm-up top for cold workouts, but you could equally source a fabric that would work for evenings out, too – at least in a pub garden, at any rate. In fact, I was originally inspired by this sparkly version from Laura at Sewing and Other Stories which captures that mood really well.
It’s the first time I’ve used a Named pattern, and generally it was a good experience. Two things to note if you’re a Named novice: firstly, not all sizes are on the same pattern sheet – they’re in pairs, and chances are that the two sizes you were planning to grade between are on different sheets (ugh). Secondly, Named patterns are designed for a 5’8″ woman, so your length adjustments might be a bit different to usual. This was part of the appeal for me, as I’m 5’10” tall.
I picked a fabric with a gold lurex thread running through a quilted grey sweatshirting from Sew Me Sunshine (this one is no longer in stock, but they do have lots of other gorgeous knits). I love this kind of detailing in a fabric – from a distance the quilted side looks fairly ordinary, but close up it has texture, detail and colour to it. On the reverse, where you can’t see the quilting, there’s a clearer gold stripe, which I decided to use for the bands. My fabric just met the stretch percentage recommended for the pattern, but on reflection I’d recommend something stretchier than the minimum for the bands.
I’d also say this fabric is probably a slightly heavier weight than the pattern is intended for, but it’s super-cosy for winter and it was just too good to resist!
The bust dart was an easy way get rid of the drag lines pointing to the bust that I get with a lot of sweatshirts – so I added a 2″ FBA to the french dart using this tutorial from Maven Patterns. This has created more room in the right place, but it does also widen the whole front pattern piece from the bust downwards, so just be aware of this when you’re distributing the fabric along your hem band. And if you don’t need to grade out a size towards the waist like me, you may want to take out some of this extra width via the side seams.
Because the pattern is drafted for taller types, I only had to add 1cm to the sleeve and hem length to get the fit I was after. The final alteration I made was a BHA – Big Head Adjustment (!) – the neckline is fairly high, and with my fabric right on the limit of the recommended stretch percentage it was almost impossible to get my head through the hole! So I deepened the neckline by 1/4″ on the front piece and re-cut the band a bit longer to compensate.
Looking at the finished results, I think the shoulders are a little narrower than I was expecting, perhaps partly because of the heavyweight fabric. It would be worth measuring the shoulder width before you cut.
If you’ve made a sweatshirt before, this one’s barely any different – you just have the long french dart to stitch before you begin the usual process. The sleeves are set in flat before sewing up the underarms and side seams in one. I used my overlocker for the main seams, pulling out the regular machine for the darts, and for basting and topstitching the bands. My overlocker loved this fabric and didn’t give me any trouble with it at all.
For the bands, I’d suggest ignoring the pattern pieces completely, and calculating the length based on the measurements of the part-finished garment (for the neckline) and your own measurements (for the cuffs and hem). As drafted, the bands are also quite narrow, so you might want to add some extra width, depending on your band fabric and the overall look you’re after.
I’ve worn this a lot and it’s very warm and cosy. Initially I was a bit disappointed with the way it made my look (yes, by that I do mean wider than I’d hoped) but it’s grown on me since then, and the fabric is beautifully tactile.
When I next need a sweatshirt (OK, when I next see a piece of sweatshirting I can’t resist!), I would pull out this pattern again, but I’d definitely try a lighter weight fabric and opt for a ribbing or pre-made cuffing for the bands to get more stretch in those areas.
Have you tried this pattern, or another sweatshirt that offers scope for an FBA? And have you had any difficulties finding tactile fabrics online during lockdown?
Update: My tape measure scarf is by Knit and Destroy.