Monday, November 10, 2008

The Hoodie Experiment

I fell in love with the menswear collection in the October 2008 issue of Burda World of Fashion as soon as I saw it. I showed it to David, who while not particularly into fashion, seemed excited that there was actually something in BWOF that I could make for him.

Unfortunately, the BWOF men's sizes go only up to a 42.5" chest--about the equivalent of a men's Large in RTW. David's extremely broad shoulders alone usually call for an XXL, so I knew that actually sewing one of these garments would present a bit of a challenge. I'd have to grade up at least two sizes to get a decent fit with any of these patterns.

I chose the hoodie pattern as my first experiment in pattern grading. For the most part, I followed the method recommended by Threads magazine. I traced all of the pattern pieces (all 13 of them), and held them up to David to figure out how much I'd need to add where. I then split the main body pieces along the lines shown in the article (neck, shoulder, side seam, etc) and added the appropriate amount at each slash line.

Once I felt that I was going to get a decent fit through the shoulders and back, I used the alteration method described in Off the Cuff for a prominent abdomen to get enough ease through the abdomen area.

On top of some of the fitting challenges that this project provided, it also required that I tackle welt pockets for the first time. I'm not particularly happy with how these turned out in the final hoodie, so I won't show a closeup of them, but each practice try turned out a little better, so I'm pretty confident that after a few garments with these, I'll get them looking decent.

Of course, the big thing with this hoodie that I'm proud of is the fit. It's not tight or pulling anywhere...and it's not baggy (and therefore pound adding), which is more than I can say of most things in David's closet.

The top-stitching on this took forever. Or maybe after recently finishing a pair of jeans, I'm just really burned out on top-stitching. I think it adds a really great detail, though, and really elevates this from your standard hoodie. I think I need to add a snap or two to keep the top pocket flaps from flying up, but it's not an urgent alteration.

Overall, I think the pattern grading experiment was a success. There's another sweatshirt/jacket (a non-hoodie) in the same issue that uses the same body pattern pieces, so after all of the fitting work that I did on this, you can bet that I'll be making up that view, too.

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