Monday 27 October 2014

What I Have Sewn: The Mix and Match Sweatshirt

SIY Fluffy Denim Sweatshirt

It feels like quite an accomplish to finally tick something off my winter projects list. I mentioned this jumper/sweatshirt briefly in my post on projects in planning, but if you've missed that, let me bring you up to speed...

I bought a piece of deliciously fluffy fabric at a recent remnant sale, and instead of using it as it was probably intended (for cushions, or blankets), I decided that it would make a pretty cosy jumper. I don't think I've spoken about how selfish I am when I make things, but when I'm putting time and effort into something, I mostly want it to be for me. And not as something that will sit on my bed or chair and just generally not be celebrated enough. So, a jumper it was, however there was a problem; I did not have enough fabric for a whole jumper.

I had a little brainstorm of ideas. I knew I wanted it to be a wearable item, but it was going to be harder than I initially thought. How about a furry waistcoat? This is something that always looks incredible on other people, however I somehow always end up looking like Fred Flintstone. Which is a definite yabba-dabba-don't. The idea of using a contrasting fabric on the sleeves eventually came to me, and after a little (read: a lot) confusion over the fabric I was going to use, I eventually settled on this denim. I'm really pleased I did in the end, because denim is a real basic for me, and therefore this piece fits right into place into my existing wardrobe.

SIY Fluffy Denim Sweatshirt

It's a self draft (my first ever!), which I made by tracing around one of my all time favourite sweatshirts onto parchment paper. It was quite scary to begin with, but very exciting, as it felt for the first time that I was beginning to understand how clothes were put together. There were six pieces in total (including facings) which made for a very easy project that was a nice start to my winter project list.

I had a minor panic over the bottom of the sweatshirt, which for some reason I had drafted to be narrower than the top. This led to me inserting a zip along the right hand seam of the body, which actually wasn't necessary after, but makes for an interesting feature, I guess. Inserting it was easy enough, but actually using it is nigh on impossible. Don't mix furry fabric with zips, friends.

SIY Fluffy Denim Sweatshirt

SIY Fluffy Denim Sweatshirt

Now for a look at the ugly parts - the guts. As you can tell from the photos, this fabric sheds like nothing else. Seriously. If I was ever lost somewhere whilst wearing this, I could be found Hansel and Gretel style, by following the trail of fluff. This could be partly remedied by using an overlocker on the hems - there's a lovely shop in town where you can rent one out per hour, and I am dying to give it a try. However, part of the problem also lies with the fabric itself - it sheds from all directions, and not just from the cut edges. This is probably because it isn't intended for use as a wearable item, and cushions don't really see enough action to cause them to shed. It's definitely not bad enough to impact on how often I'll wear this jumper, but it will probably impact how long this jumper will last.

SIY Fluffy Denim Sweatshirt

I'm not sure on the exact make up of the furry fabric, but it had a jersey-like stretch to it, which was perfect for a sweatshirt. I haven't really had much experience sewing with knits yet, but I decided to make things even more complicated for myself by adding fur into the mix. Perhaps sewing with a standard jersey will be a walk in the park now (jokes - it'll probably still give me a headache).

The denim has been through a lot, and has quite a complex history. It started out as a rather ugly maxi dress, which I bought from a second hand shop with a view to turning it into a mid length denim skirt. This was one of my earliest alterations, and whilst wearable, was really not that pretty up close (I'm actually surprised that it never fell apart on me). I came to the skirt again recently, and I'd either lost a little weight, or had more experience to realise that the fit was just completely wrong. No amount of belting was going to make it wearable, and so I put it to the side in order to fix it up. The summer came and went, and I'd forgotten all about it; I clearly had no need for it in my wardrobe any longer. Instead of chucking it out however, I kept it, because I love me some denim fabric. Now it is in its third reincarnation as a pair of sleeves, and still going strong. Possibly the winner of the most hard wearing fabric ever.

The green spotted jersey was my original choice of fabric for the sleeves. I even went as far as cutting out the pattern pieces. I'm glad I didn't go ahead with this after - something in the back of my mind knew that this was the wrong choice. Seriously, Charlotte, furry fabric and green polkadots? I don't know what I was thinking, but this could never have ended well.

SIY Fluffy Denim Sweatshirt

I'm rather pleased with the results - I've never actually made something as basic as this, in that I always seem to choose fabrics and patterns which are a little harder to wear on a day to day basis. If I were to change anything, I'd probably omit the zip, and look into using an overlocker on the seams. When this one has seen better days, I may even make myself a full sweatshirt, because this is one amazingly cosy sweater. After all, it is essentially made from a fluffy blanket.

Have you ever had to mix and match remnants to make a project?


  1. Fabulous sweatshirt (!) and a really creative re-make of your denim skirt.... It looks wonderful on, too (the ultimate test...)

    1. Thanks Kitty! Yes, it's always scary when it comes to trying on your sewing for the first time!