This month's post for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network was something of a love/hate project for me.

You see, I loathe hoodies, sweatshirts, fleeces....whatever you want to call them, for many reasons. They are generally shapeless, unflattering and (when worn outside of the gym) present the wrong image - mainly that of layabout youths looking for trouble.

Image courtesy of Google

However.....they are PERFECT for camping.

And we LOVE camping.

The proper kind, you know - with leaky tents, airbeds that go flat in the night, camping stove that runs out of gas just as you go to cook supper, not to mention the English weather....

Of course, all of that pales into insignificance alongside all the reasons we love camping: fresh air, getting back to nature, lack of routine, freedom, relaxation, kids going wild outside, wine under the stars, no wifi/'phone signal. Even the dogs tear around the house like mad things as soon as we get the tent down from the loft!

All of this being outside does mean that you need to have warm clothes at the ready, and a voluminous fleece to chuck on over several other bulky layers is a must. If that fleece has a hood which you can gather in tightly around your face of an evening as you sit in your camp chair with a crochet blanket over your knees, all the better.

With this in mind, I searched for a hoodie pattern and found a suitable one by Burda Patterns, clearly labelled 'Young' - I'm 48!

Minerva stock this wonderful Sweatshirt Fabric with a subtle abstract floral design, which I thought would draw attention away from the hoodie element quite significantly.

It's fleece-backed, too, which should make it very cosy to wear.

Missing from the design was a zip, so I altered the pattern to accommodate an open-ended one.

A simple adaptation for any garment, all you need to do is add a seam allowance (in red) to the centre front line (in black) where it says 'place to fold', and cut it as two pieces instead of one.

I also added about four inches to the length so it would cover my bum and keep it warm when sitting in a camp chair.

I applied the same adjustments to the muff-type pocket and separated it into two.

I seem to have lost my twin needle, but managed to get parallel lines of top stitching that were passable.

I inserted the zip next - a nice, chunky one that feels just right.

Top stitching keeps the fabric away from the teeth so that it doesn't get caught in the zip.

This is what it looked like after the sleeves (a full length alteration) had been added. Not bad so far.

The controversial hood was next.

I like the attention to detail in this pattern - the buttonholes for the drawstring were strengthened with offcuts of fabric, which also makes them easier to sew.

The drawstring channel is made from the same fabric.

A tip for the cord - wrap a piece of sellotape around the ends to stop it fraying, then pass through the channel with a safety pin.

This also helps it go through the hole in the cord stop very easily.

Tie a knot to stop the cord stop from slipping off the cord.

Then try the hood on for a laugh!

The final touches were a band at the bottom with another drawstring to keep out the draughts....

....and an elasticated cuff in preference to the plain hemmed ones in the instructions.

On the hangar I must admit it looks OK and not at all thugish.

I actually like what the hood adds to it.

The fabric is lovely with the subtle rose design.

So we went out in the garden for a photo shoot with No.2 Son!

I'm glad I added the zip; it makes it so much easier just to chuck on over everything else.

I made it oversized, too, to accommodate several layers of clothing underneath (and a shivering dog or two).

LOVE the pockets - very roomy and soft to the touch.

Still not convinced about the hood but, when it's howling a gale and my ears are nice and toasty, I won't care what it looks like!

And it looks good when the hood is down - better than a boring sweatshirt, anyway.

In short; the pattern was great and, ironically, I had more fun making this than many a thing of late!

The fabric was an absolute dream to sew with and I wouldn't hesitate in using it again. In fact, I used some of the scraps to make an American Girl doll's outfit for a little girl's birthday this week.

What are your thoughts on hoodies - can they be fashion statements or should they be reserved strictly for the gym?