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Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests Group Hoodie Along Week #1: Patterns & Prep Work

Welcome to the Sew Alongs & Sewing Contest Hoodie Along 

For the month of October, we are going to do a SAL Group Rewind and revisit the Hoodie Along we hosted in October 2015! Very much like the first time around, the 2018 Hoodie Along will break the process into several parts, a new set of tasks for each week, so that at the end of October you will have a fabulous custom hoodie.

How To Participate

I'm pretty sure just about everyone has a hoodie pattern hiding in their stash. Maybe you have the pattern from our 2015 sew along, Jalie 2795. Or maybe you have a TNT hoodie pattern you love to use.

You can use any pattern you like for the 2018 Hoodie Along
provided it has these key design features:
1. A hood (naturally)
2. Open all the way down the front (No pull on or partial placket styles)
3. Some sort of front closure (no hooded cardigans)
You are encouraged to be creative with your hoodie. Think about how you will wear it. Do you want a lightweight jersey hoodie with short sleeves to slip on after your summer work out? Do you want a comfy and soft French terry hoodie to wear on cool fall evenings? Maybe you want a thick, fleece hoodie with thumb hole cuffs to stay warm this winter.
Don't be afraid to add some unexpected elements or whimsy to your hoodie. Fancy top stitching, color blocking, pockets of any shapes or sizes, piping, lace, ruching, linings or none. Your hoodie is a blank canvas. What will you create?

So Sew Easy Hoodie

I will be using the FREE So Sew Easy Hoodie. This is a downloadable PDF pattern (with layers!) and corresponding tutorial. It has a lined hood, raglan sleeves with a shoulder dart and front patch pockets. If you don't have a hoodie pattern, this might be one to consider.
Please note that the supplies, suggestions and sewing specifics I discuss in this sew along will be based on my experience sewing the So Sew Easy Hoodie pattern and how I've decided to modify that pattern for myself. The So Sew Easy Hoodie has a good tutorial accompanying the pattern, so I will not be reinventing the wheel with How To Sew instructions. For your project, you will want to refer to the sewing instructions that correspond to your particular pattern.

Week #1: Supplies & Pattern Prep

Week #1 of the 2018 Hoodie Along starts today, October 1st! This is the week to set yourself up for success. We will be covering many details, from gathering supplies to a quick muslin (if that's your thing) that will make the rest of this month easier.

1. Check Your Pattern instructions and gather supplies

For the So Sew Easy Hoodie, the supply list is pretty standard.
The pattern does not call for any interfacing or stay tape, but I have added it as I feel it improves the quality and longevity of my finished garment. I included a strip of 1 inch wide knit interfacing on each side of my zipper opening, at the site of my hood string button holes and I interfaced my front facings as the fabric was very, very light. I also applied knit stay tape to the curved pocket openings to prevent them from over stretching as I stitched.

2. Choose Your Size

You will need to refer to your pattern for directions on how to select a size. The So Sew Easy Hoodie only provides finished measurements for each size. You will need to consider a few things when deciding which size to make:
How stretchy/stable is your fabric?
How will you be wearing your hoodie? (Over exercise gear, spring tee shirts or over heavier tops)
How much ease do you like in your garment?

3. Prepare The Pattern

After reading it through, print/trace/cut out your pattern. If you are using the So Sew Easy Hoodie, there are a few extra steps you need to take before you start cutting the pattern:
  • Be sure you add seam allowance to your pattern pieces. 3/8 inch on all of them except the pockets which should be 1/4 inch.
  • The back sleeve is missing notches, you will want to add those to the "high" side of the sleeve pattern piece. 

  • Correct the cutting directions on the hood piece. It says to cut 2, however you will want to cut 2 of your main fabric and 2 of your lining.
  • Mark one of the pocket pieces as "lining" and then trim all the edges 1/8 inch. This will help the pocket lining turn in easier when you sew it. 
  • Draft the Hip Band, Wrist Band and Front Facing pieces. The So Sew Easy tutorial has you draft and cut these piece later, when it is time to stitch them. However, I prefer to have them all created and ready to go in the beginning. If you are not sure what dimensions you will want for these pieces, you can wait and draft them later in the sewing process.
    • Hip Band: I drafted mine with a 3/8 seam allowance and a finished size of 36.75x3 inches.
    • Wrist Band: I drafted mine with a 3/8 seam allowance and a finished size of 8.5x3 inches
    • Trace Front Facing from the Front pattern piece, plus add the width of the hip band and an additional 1/2 inch.

4. Make A Muslin & Adjust The Pattern (Optional)

I recommend making a quick muslin at this point so that you can make any fit adjustments necessary, and to ensure you have enough ease in your garment. I only used the front, back, sleeve and hood pieces to make my muslin. The zipper is inserted with 3 inches hanging down to give me an idea of what the final length would be with the band attached.
With this hoodie, I'm looking for a slimmer-fit layer that I can toss on for cooler days/evenings. I really liked the approximate length of the sleeves and bottom hem as they were in this muslin without the bands attached.
The shoulder dart is too far back for my forward thrusting shoulders. It causes the garment to slide backwards. You can also see some drag lines at the bust indicating I could use a bit more room there. 
Based on this fit muslin, I made the following adjustments to my final pattern pieces:
- I shortened my hoodie x 2.375 inch
I did a 0.5 inch FBA 
- I shortened my pockets 1 inch to make them proportionate
- I shortened my sleeves 2.25 inch
- I moved the sleeve dart forward 0.5 inch

Coming Next Week: Cutting & Sewing Begins!

All the action for this Hoodie Along will take place in the Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests Facebook Group. I'll be there chatting about the plans for my hoodie! Come in and share all YOUR Hoodie plans, in-progress photos and get advice and encouragement from other members. 
I promise we'll have a great time, See you there!


  1. Great post Crystal, thanks for sharing all your tips for getting started!


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