Posted in Projects on Sunday the 13th May 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I’m excited to share today about a fun sewing adventure. This project started with an initial inspiration, a cozy commercial sweatshirt. The photo below shows a FAVORITE commercial sweatshirt of mine. I have loved wearing it so much that I wanted to recreate it by sewing my own Handmade version.
For the teal scuba I chose to use the non-shiny (or matte) side as the right side of the fabric for this project. There is a textured and a flat side to the cut out scuba fabric. I chose to use the flat side as the right side for this project. I thought the textured side has a more athletic look and I wanted a more subtle look for this project.
I picked Simplicity 8529 for the pattern. This lovely version is a similar style as the very popular Toaster Sweater, released by Sew House 7 for Simplicity patterns. I picked View C for this project.
I always like to start a new to me pattern by making a muslin. I went a little risky for this project and picked a lovely cashmere fleece from my stash for the muslin.
Modifications to the Pattern
I have a pear shaped body type so I will usually grade across multiple sizes when I sew a pattern.
My size: Small bust, Medium waist/hips.
My preferred approach (when picking sizing from a pattern) is to compare the suggested body dimensions with the finished garment dimensions. The bust dimensions are given in the finished garment section but the finished garment hips dimensions were not provided with this pattern. I decided to calculate the finished garment hips dimension from the waistband pattern piece.
I first measured the waistband pattern piece (which is ½ of the hips measurement as the waistband is cut on the fold). I then subtracted out the seam allowances (5/8” on each side) to get the final finished waistband measurement. I typically sew a Medium at the waist/hips on Simplicity patterns so I started out by calculating the Medium finished hips measurement (41”). For reference, I also calculated the Small hips measurement as well (37”). My Hips measurement is 39” so I decided to grade to a Medium at the waist and hips for this pattern.
This pattern includes a thicker waistband so the waist/hips area in the bodice is more short waisted. The following pictures show how I used a French Curve ruler to grade across a Small to a Medium at the Waist and Hips.
Because the waist to hip area is shorter, I added a second curve with the french curve ruler to smooth out the graded transition.
The following photo shows the back bodice pattern piece with the pink gradeded line. I moved the notch to the new graded line.
I was very happy with my muslin. The fit was comfy and so I felt confident to start working on my final project.
This project was exciting for me for many reasons. I’ve not yet approached a project like this, recreating elements in a commercial garment for a handmade version. I’ve also never split up a pattern to color block two different fabrics together (when the original pattern didn’t call for this element).
Modifying the pattern - Splitting the Front and Back to Colorblock the Fabrics
The commercial sweatshirt that I wanted to recreate has raglan style sleeves, Simplicity 8529 has drop shoulder styled sleeves. I decided to draw the cut line at 4 3/8” at the neckline and 4 5/8” at the shoulder. This line is technically not parallel with the bottom of the bodice (intentionally, to follow the "dropped shoulders"). With the garment having a drop shoulder style, the bodice curves along the front and back to connect at the sleeves (with drop shoulders). The following photos show the Front and Back pieces as I added the horizontal cut lines.
I then added in 5/8” seam allowance to the top and bottom pieces of the front and back bodices.
I doubled checked the right angles at the corners of the new top and bottom pieces of the front (and back). I checked these new pieces by laying the top piece over the bottom piece, right sides together (as if to sew) to make sure that the new edges aligned properly.
I considered splitting the sleeves to continue the colorblocking through the sleeves but I decided against this detail. The amount of teal scuba fabric along the underarm was going to be quite small (following the color blocked lines from the bodices through the sleeves). I thought this might add bulk at the sleeves. I decided to use the cut out black scuba fabric for the entire length of the sleeves (and for the sleeve cuffs as well).
Sewing the Final Project
I have to admit that I’ve never sewn with a perforated scuba knit fabric. What I found is that it’s really easy to work with (especially if you have had a tiny bit of experience working with knits). I treated the fabric as if it did not have the perforations in it, laying out the pattern pieces and cutting out the fabric as if it were a solid fabric.
I sewed straight lines for the seams and would sometimes see “floating stitches” (as seen in the photos below). These floating elements were not noticeable in the end garment.
I also chose to serge the edges of the seams for a smoother finish. A serger isn’t required for this project (you could also use the zig zag stitch along the edges with a standard sewing machine).
I also chose to top stitch the colorblocked seams in the front and back yokes.
I had an issue come up for me the first time I sewed the neckback to the sweatshirt (not pictured). The first neckband that I made did not stretch well and pulled the shoulder seams out of place. I initially used the original neckband pattern piece and centered this pattern piece along the perforated fabric (so that the “holes” were throughout the neckband).
I found that the fabric did have the recommended percentage of stretch (per the pattern) but the perforations can be a bit tricky to reference stretch for a neckband. I decided to self-draft the neckband for this project, to fix the issue.
To self-draft the length of a neckband you first measure the length around your neckline (on the garment). I do need to note that I did not stay-stitch my neckline (as recommended in the pattern) before sewing this garment. I felt the perforations would be a bit challenging to stay-stitch so I boldly skipped that step (please keep this caveat in mind as I share the dimensions for my neckline).
You want your neckband to be smaller than the neckline (to slightly bring in the fabric). There are different percentages that you can use at this step. For this fabric, I chose to cut a neckband that is 25% smaller than the neckline (or 75% of the neckline dimension).
I measured approximately 26.5” around my neckline. I did the following multiplication to calculate my new neckline length:
0.75 * 26.5” = 19.875”
I also wanted to note that I used the selvedge edge for the neckline (and I used the original width of the neckline per the pattern piece). I did include a couple of perforation holes near the selvedge edge but I found that the selvedge was more stable and easier to apply the neckband with, material wise. The following photo shows the inside of my finished neckband, for reference.
My goal with this project was to recreate a well loved commercial sweatshirt. One fun surprise with the final garment is that the perforated sleeves and yoke offer a fun “air conditioning” feature. I don’t notice this effect when I’m sitting but if I’m walking around while wearing this garment, I can feel the air moving through the perforations in the fabric. It makes the garment very breathable and comfortable. I’ve been wearing this sweatshirt multiple times this spring and it’s been so handy to wear as a layering piece.
One tiny negative that I’ve found with the Cut Out Textured Scuba fabric is that it can be a magnet for hair. I found this after I prewashed the fabric and took it out of the dryer. I don’t usually notice hair collecting on fabric or garments. This being the case, it really isn’t a big deal, just something to note. I may let this garment air dry in the future which may help reduce the hair collecting (that I saw after it tumble dryed in the dryer).
This garment was also my first time working with scuba fabrics. I really like them, they have a nice body to them and there are many lovely colors that are offered on the Minerva site.
I wish you all a very happy sewing day with your own sewing adventures!