it’s pretty exciting when an idea pops into your brain and then somehow you’re able to execute it in a way quite true to what you envisioned. that rarely happens to me, particularly with sewing, but that is what we have here, friends. about halfway through construction, i knew i was on to something, and i’m pretty geeked about how it turned out!
back in november, i picked up a ton of boyish fabric in a black friday sale just to have in my stash. as i noted earlier, for me, like so many others, it’s easy to make clothing for girls, and i had so much fabric laying around to use as a canvas for those ideas when they cropped up. but for my boy, not so much. i hoped having the raw materials handy would help get me over that hump. however, when i went to reexamine my stash for ctb, i found myself thinking all the bright colors, shapes, and animals were a bit young for my bigger-every-day boy (although of course he’d still love them). so, when i found myself solo near joann’s a week ago, i took a rogue trip to pick up some boy basics (really, it’s nice boy *prints* that are hard to find).
perhaps you haven’t noticed, but i have a major thing for stripes (and WHY are they so difficult to find in big name fabric stores?!). when i was out seeking muslin and burlap a few weeks back, i noticed blue and red ticking in the same aisle. i love the vintage, nautical feel of the fabric, and i knew it had to become something for my boy. immediately, i thought of the hoodie pattern. i just love the feeling this fabric gives to the piece. for me, it conjures images of a summer camp lake, something you could wear in the mornings and evenings when the heat of august hasn’t yet crept it in, or has gone for the night in search of september. maybe you’re tying your boat to the old wooden dock, or sitting around the campfire. what i would have given to use little wooden toggles as the closures here! alas, not available. but i’m still really happy with the overall feel of the piece.
are non-californians getting tired of me bringing up how it’s heating up around here? let me mention it just once more. this pattern is for a fully lined hoodie, which has several advantages, including hiding all the unfinished seams. i really, really love fully lined pieces for exactly that reason, and do happen to have seven yards of muslin waiting to be put to work. but, the ticking is surprisingly soft while the muslin (which would be against skin) is not, and given the changing temperature, i decided to leave it as a single layer, and went about figuring out how to finish the seams.
long ago in my blog hopping, i read about bias-finished seams here and here, a technique i’d been wanting to try. i love little surprise details like that, and when i bought the red ticking, i picked up some red bias tape with that in mind, though i had no clear idea yet of how to incorporate it into the piece. when i finally sat down to bring it to life, i realized it wasn’t quite ideal for this project. the bias tape does add bulk, and if he’s going to wear this with only a light layer or nothing underneath, i figured the bulky seams in the armpits and arms would be uncomfortable. so, i left a few of them just pressed open–not as pretty, but i think more functional. one day, when i have a serger (and then five years later, when i learn to use it), this won’t be an issue.
seeing as i’m neither an experienced seamstress or a big planner, there are a number of things i would do differently if i made this again. for example, i would not be too lazy to just wind a red bobbin (i hate winding bobbins! it’s always at the most inopportune time, even if it does take only 30 seconds!) rather than telling myself the contrasting white thread (revealing my impossibly crooked seams) would look cool… because of my aforementioned personality traits, i treat pretty much everything i make as a wearable muslin–fully expecting it to flop, and not putting 100% effort in as a result. if something comes out wearable, i’m pleasantly surprised, and because kids grow so quickly and can be so finicky, i’ve never felt it necessary to be more meticulous in my clothes-making. and when something does surprise me, my sloppiness sometimes opens doors for finishing touches that otherwise wouldn’t have come to pass (you can read more about stamping on twill tape here)…
i’m sure if you sat down and thought about the pattern for a couple minutes, you could do a far better job than i. however, if you don’t really have the time or experience to do that, below you can find a list of steps to follow to modify the original pattern to make it into this piece (without all the sewing heresy i committed!)
- as the author notes, if using a non stretch material, cut the pattern a size up (for my small almost 2 year old, i cut a 3 and it fits very well). because i used stripes, i wanted to minimize how often i would need to line them up. so, instead of attaching a bottom band, i added 4″ of length to the back and two front pieces. i cut one back, two front, two hood and two sleeve pieces from the main fabric. the hood is the only thing i lined.
- follow the instructions to assemble the back, front, and sleeves so it looks like a little jacket. make the hood.
- if you would like bias bound seams down the front plackets of the jacket (it will only be visible at the collar), do that now before you attach the hood to reduce bulk. if your bias tape is 0.5″ wide, start 0.5″ down from the neck edge of the front placket (this will reduce bulk in the next step…sorry, i wish i took pictures!), fold the bias tape over the raw edge so that the raw edge is sandwiched in between the bias tape, and just sew it right on there. you know i’m not a pinner! repeat for the other front placket.
- now, fold those bias bound edges toward the wrong side of the shirt 0.5″ ( just enough so no bias tape is showing on the right side) and press, then top stitch into place, just as though you’re making a hem.
- now, attach the hood. pin it into place as outlined in the pattern instructions, and make sure your raw edges are as lined up as possible so you can sew that bias tape sandwich in one go! again, sandwich all the raw edges in between the bias tape fold, and sew across, from one shirt edge to the other (not just at the hood, since you want to bias bind the entire edge).
- press the bias bound seam to the wrong side, and top stitch into place. now you have relatively finished seams except that one raw bias edge…you might tack that by hand with coordinating thread. or, perhaps you are clever enough to figure out how to make it finished without adding too much bulk. you could leave a little extra bias tape hanging over both edges, then hem it toward the wrong side…but so bulky!
- align the front edges for button placement as outlined in the pattern. after you have top stitched the bottom of your button placket and along down that top front seam, also top stitch along the hidden front seam that’s on the inside of the shirt (where the two pieces have folded on top of each other) so it’s not flapping around in there collecting lint. i hoped sewing a big pocket on top would do the job–it did not. so, sew it down.
- now, hem the bottom of the shirt to the length of your liking (i folded up 0.5″, then another 1″). for some reason, i told myself that hemming it flat would be easier (?)…now my hem stitch meets in the front about an 0.5″ uneven! i really cannot sew in a straight line!
- now you have a much tidier version than i do! if you’d like to add a kangaroo pocket, here’s how i did it. i put a piece of paper right on top of the shirt and sketched the pocket right on top to visualize the size. i cannot be bothered with taking measurements; i’m not a very precise person. then, i folded the ticking in half (the pocket is fully lined–remember, hiding the seams is faster than hemming them, and looks cleaner!), and put my pocket pattern piece (again, NOT included in the pattern you would purchase) diagonally across it. not only does this create a cool visual effect, it again spares you from aligning stripes (have i mentioned i’m not detail oriented in sewing?). sew the pocket all the way around leaving 3″ open on one side for turning, turn, poke out corners, and press. top stitch all the way around, if you like. pin it to your shirt, and top stitch that top straight edge, then the bottom right angles and straight edge. leave the curved parts open for little hands. i have this masochistic issue where i like to sew pockets shut. don’t do that.
- continue to follow the pattern to place the button and buttonholes, and you’re done!
even though i was really making this up as i went along, it all came together in a couple of hours, so it is a relatively quick and easy sew. if you have any questions about construction (i know without pictures it might be unclear…it even was to me when i just went back and read it), please email me or leave a comment and i’d be happy to help. now put that hoodie on your boy and stick him in a canoe!