Five hours spent at the sewing machine this weekend made three people very happy.
Andrew, whose only hours not wearing this hoodie since I handed it over yesterday have been spent asleep.
Bondy, whose taste in dubious Nordic sweater prints matches mine. And thirdly, me. I got to learn some new skills, sew cuffs that weren’t tiny toddler-sized and make some people I like very much happy.
Nearly all the sewing blogs I read are written by people based in the northern hemisphere (I’m slowly uncovering other Aussies and Kiwis – and even the odd Canberran – whose style of sewing and writing I enjoy), as are most of the independent pattern designers. That means their seasons are all off kilter and everyone is now planning for “fall” sewing while I’m hanging out for the day I can ditch the tights from under my dresses and the cardigan under my jacket. It also means a bunch of the patterns recently released are for garments of the warmer variety. But when I saw Thread Theory’s Finalyson sweater pattern in a round-up of indie releases for August I was smitten. Besides, hoodies are all-year-round wears, right?
The dearth of modern (or even just interesting) men’s sewing patterns is a common complaint. Morgan over at Thread Theory is making a fair effort to fix this but I haven’t tried any of her patterns before because sewing pants isn’t my thing and I’m scared of button plackets. I did try to talk Andrew into letting me sew him the Comox trunks but he wasn’t having any of that. But he approved of the Finlayson – after I’d bought the pattern and determined to sew him one anyway…
Gazing over the fleece selection at Spotlight (which largely consisted of plain navy blue – clearly not a popular colour this season), I had quickly identified the grey marle I knew my solids-loving man would wear when my eye was caught by this fantastically tacky alpine sweater print. A snow fields conversation in which Bondy had admired a ski jacket in a similar print came to mind and I knew (hoped) it would be perfect for him. I bought all they had left. In fact I bought them out of the print, the black and the grey marle. Hope you like navy blue if you’re headed to Queanbeyan Spotlight looking for fleece.
I’ve made a couple of hoodies before for a friend’s toddler and the bulk of the construction here was similar although (thankfully) much less fiddly. Andrew wanted variation 2, with the hood. I was a little perplexed by the fabric requirement that said you actually needed more fabric for the hoodless version than the hooded one (though now I’ve cut both out I think maybe it’s to do with how much space cutting the collar pieces takes). Any rate, for the grey version with no pocket, I managed to fit all the pieces need for a large onto 1.8m of 150cm-wide fleece. I now have enough left over from both jumpers to make a couple of fleece miniskirts, though am unconvinced that’s a good thing.
The hood lining is a combed cotton jersey and my one sneaky way of brightening things up. Take note: although, as I said, the hoodie pieces seem to fit on less fabric than stated when it says buy 0.6m for the hood lining, buy 0.6m. Don’t buy half a metre or you’ll wind up piecing the fabric before you can cut out the pattern (I don’t have photos of this because that would require Andrew taking it off…).
I’m not sure exactly how much fabric was used for this one (variation 1, size XL, with pocket) because it came from three separate cuts. I had 1.5m of the print and a roughly one metre and a half-metre piece of the black. The original plan was to cut the sleeves from the print too but the way that I had to fold it to fit the front and back on meant there wasn’t enough space left. I’m glad because I like the black sleeves much better. “Tastefully tacky” was my description to Bondy when the thing was half sewn and I think having sleeves in the print would have pushed it beyond tasteful. Same with adding the black pocket. I did sneak a bit more of the print on with the cuffs though.
I really like the square neck opening and the hood/collar crossover at the front but it was fiddly to sew. Have patience, pin carefully and don’t sew it on the overlocker first up. The second time I sewed the neckline (that’s the printed version) was definitely easier. I also love the “professional” details included in the pattern, like the decorative facing inside the back neck and covering the seam line above it and inside the pocket with twill tape. Both of these were new ideas to me but I feel like they make the final product that much nicer. One minor niggle was I couldn’t find any direction on what width of twill tape to use. I wound up with 20mm and 15mm ones and the wider version fit the neckline seam much better (though I guess that could be to do with the width of my overlocking?).
I feel like I’ve gotten cuff sewing sorted by now. I would like to try this pattern with ribbing for the cuffs and the hem band instead of self fabric – again, I think it would up the professional nature of the garment – but I couldn’t find any in the right colour. The print fleece was a lot stretchier than the grey so it gives a similar effect. The pattern includes two cuff pieces, depending on how stretchy your fabric is, so I used the longer one for the grey and the shorter for the print. It does make a difference on how much the cuffs grip the wrist but I have noticed Andrew doesn’t seem to be having any hassles with the stretch when pushing his sleeves up.
Final note: pattern matching. Oh so close! The other side seam is even closer than this one (this was the better photo) but still not an exact match. Definitely something to keep working on.
I’m keen to sew a Finalyson for myself but want to track down some French terry cotton first. Any ideas on where to find some?