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A soft sweatshirt in French Terry | A Guest blog post by Lou

Updated: May 21, 2020

Hello sewists! My name’s Lou, a home-sewist based in Abu Dhabi. I manage the Facebook group “Abu Dhabi SEWS!” and like to share my makes on my Instagram account @oh_liverpool_lou

I had the pleasure of meeting Maria at the Dubai quilt festival a couple of months ago and couldn’t resist making a purchase from her stunning collection of quality fabrics. After a lot of deliberation, I went for this french terry in grey and black leopard print - it is so soft and heavenly to the touch! I knew I had to make some comfortable loungewear with it due to its very high snuggle factor! I had the Kyoto sweatshirt and tee pattern by Papercut Patterns in my stash already and had also had it printed off on A0 at Desco, so it was totally ready to go. It was the perfect match.

As much as I love it, grey can often have a draining effect on my complexion so I wanted to add in something to brighten this up - the frills on the Kyoto provided the perfect opportunity for that and I decided to make them using some magenta Stof jersey I had in my stash.

The pattern itself is pretty straightforward. It’s a sweatshirt/T-shirt with the addition of ruffles placed at dropped-shoulder seams which gives it a bit more interest. The instructions were fine for an advanced beginner or intermediate sewist. They weren’t always crystal-clear but not to the extent that I couldn’t work it out with a little concentration.  I’m glad I used a lighter-weight jersey for the ruffles as it probably would have been a bit trickier to wrangle three layers of the french terry (one of which had been gathered) when attaching the arms to the bodice. The sweatshirt is on the longer side which in some ways I like - it’s cosier for sure! But I’m not entirely convinced it suits me as it hits just at my widest point so I might shorten it in the future. I didn’t make any adjustments and just sewed a straight size S. The instructions didn’t call for it but I did stabilise the shoulder seams by sewing a 6mm wide piece of black ribbon within the seam allowance of the back pattern piece. I thought that would be a simple way to ensure the shoulders won’t stretch out.

I used a Schmetz Jersey 90/14 needle for this project and just kept my sewing machine tension at 4. I reduced the presser foot pressure to allow for the bulkiness of the fabric at certain points and used a walking foot throughout (I rarely take that off my machine anymore to be honest!). I used ballpoint pins which I think are great for knit fabrics as they reduce the chances of pulls and holes but I’ll be honest - I miss the ease of handling glass head pins! My ball point ones don’t have glass heads and I find them so much more difficult to pick up and also pull out of the fabric as I’m sewing.

I used various stitches for this project. My favourite-for-knits lightning stitch for the seams, a narrow zigzag 2.5mm long by 1.5mm wide for topstitching neckband down and for attaching the stabilising ribbon, my overlocker with rainbow thread for finishing the seams and finally a two-needle narrow coverstitch to finish the hems of the ruffles. The cover stitching was the most difficult part for me - I only got my machine a couple of months ago for my birthday and I am still getting to grips with the various settings! I had some trouble finishing the ruffles hems with it to the extent that I had to cut another ruffle out as the first one I attempted was such a mess. I couldn’t face trying to redo the settings to work with the french terry so that was the extent of the coverstitch machine’s involvement on this! One thing at a time...!

The only other slightly challenging thing was attaching the cuffs. They are the perfect size to wear but they felt suddenly very tiny when I was sewing them onto the sleeves! I managed it by going slowly and stretching the fabric as I went. They turned out fab!

That fabric itself was lovely to work with as it just feels so beautifully soft. It has a strong tendency to curl at the edges but as long as you cut and pin carefully that won’t cause problems. It sewed up really nicely on the machine.

I also picked up a cute little set of labels by Kylie and the Machine when I got the fabric. I find labels on the inside of clothes irritate my skin so I loved the idea adding this one to the outside! It’s too pretty to be hidden away anyway.

Overall I’m in love with this make! I know it might seem odd to be sewing up cosy warm things here in the UAE just as the weather is turning, but I am one of those people who genuinely feels very cold most of the time! Especially indoors - our flat is chilly without even switching the air conditioning on! So I’ll be getting plenty of wear out of this lovely sweatshirt for the next couple of weeks for sure, and then I can look forward to wearing it again in the autumn!

ThreadWerk: Thank you so much Lou for sharing this beautiful project with us. If you want to copy Lou and use the same fabric, or similar, check out the available fabrics online.

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