I’m Laura and personal sewing blog is KittyMakesIt.com (Link: KittyMakesIt.com). I’ve been pretty consistently blogging about sewing for a couple of years now, though I honestly still consider myself a beginner. I feel like I still have so much I want to learn and try.
I enjoy quick sews and sewing in batches of about four projects at once. I recently cleaned out my closet and donated everything ready to wear. I get so much gratification out of wearing exclusively me-made things.
My blog today is beginner friendly! Very easy mashing, a beginner hack and no hemming required. I’m also going to give the step by step of my thought process to morph a pattern into my vision. This turned out to be much easier than I anticipated, which is why this is so beginner friendly.
Here’s my long winded explanation on why I chose to make and blog about my project today, feel free to cut to the chase and skip ahead to the Goal Statement below if the backstory bores you!
Depending on the definition, I do fall into the millennial generation (or “Elder Millennial” if that’s really a thing)…. I know there’s some strong feelings out there about what Millenials have “ruined” but let’s talk today about what my generation has given to society. I mean, our contributions are numerous, right? Like, being able to walk around Disneyland with a cocktail, yep, we did that! Avocado toast? It’s amazing. I might be a little biased since I’m also a Vegan Californian Millennial so I like avocado and pine nuts on everything.
You know what else my generation did for society? Leggings as pants. If the Greatest Generation hadn’t already been taken, I would propose a name change. In order to rack up our amazing amount of student loan debt, we had to attend a lot of 8am classes, even in winter when it’s still dark, cold and foggy at that time of day. In all honesty, I only took one 8am class, but it left an impression… we coped by wearing college hoodies 24/7. They go well with sweatpants, plaid pajama pants, yoga pants and especially Kirkland Signature “Ugg” boots.
But then it was time to leave this place where you weren’t judged by your clothing. The real world was a cold wake up. Why does everyone think that the well dressed person is better at their job? Aren’t they familiar with that fact that it’s usually the person with the most stains are their hoodie who only comes to class three times a semester that usually sets the curve super high and is to blame for my 88% being considered a C-?
At this point in my timeline I feel like I lost touch with my contemporaries so from here, my experience is that I adapted. I got fancy clothes to wear to my unpaid internships, I attempted to figure out how to walk in heels, I bought lots of bandaids… I did the career thing and I did it well. I had work clothes and going out jeans. And nothing in between. I went to the grocery store in my yoga pants and my college hoodie and hoped not to see anyone I knew… I got carded…. A lot. During the summer I could wear workout clothes and pretend I’m running errands after yoga. When my husband and I started dating, somehow I would wear my going out jeans when he invited me over to watch a movie. I guess I didn’t need to breathe back then.
I went through phases of struggling with my weight after getting married and thinking I am supposed to make fancy meals every night, confused about how to budget for new clothes when we now share a checking account and not replacing my going out jeans when I grew out of them, because I no longer have anywhere to wear them..
I am so fortunate to have found sewing not only for mental health and fulfillment, but also for style reasons. I want to be comfortable without looking sloppy. I want to express my personality and dress to flatter my body. I want to decide what I want to wear, which might not be what Target thinks I should be wearing this season. With the holidays coming up this time of year, I’m starting to worry about what to wear for those too. Sewing fixes all of this for me. And so speaking on behalf of my generation, I would like to make a great contribution to society… I would like from hereout for Millennials to be known for bringing you socially acceptable hoodies for all occasions! *cheering*
Goal Statement: (Pick up here if you skipped my boring backstory) Using the definition of a hoodie as being a comfortable sweater with pockets; my goal is to create a modern “hoodie” that is as comfortable as those of my collegiate past while making me feel like I look like a grown up who has my life together.
December Dress Pattern by George and Ginger (https://georgeandgingerpatterns.com/collections/dresses/products/the-december-dress-womens-sizes-pdf-sewing-pattern?aff=71)
Slash Tunic Pattern by George and Ginger (https://georgeandgingerpatterns.com/products/the-slash-tunic-womens-sizes-pdf-sewing-pattern?aff=71)
December Hoodie #1
Whether or not to make a muslin is what I would consider a controversial topic. Here’s my stand: my time is too valuable to sew with cruddy fabric. Plus, cruddy fabric doesn’t have the same properties as your final fabric, so your muslin wouldn’t really tell you if your pattern is going to work out anyway. Therefore, I attacked this project in phases rather than trying everything at once. This guarantees me wearable items on the road to my final product.
My first phase is made with a burgundy sweater knit from Sincerely Rylee Fabrics. I had a 3 yard cut of my main fabric but ran short and needed to use another fabric for the inside of the hood.
I have never made a December Dress in tunic length before, so I needed to know if this length was the right length for my vision. I also wasn’t sure if the hood from the Slash Tunic pattern would fit the December Dress neckline without alteration so I am testing that out in this phase as well.
I have made the December Dress before, just not in tunic length with the hem band. So I went ahead and did my usual personal fit alteration of adding 1” at the lengthen shorten line.
I did a quick check of the Slash Hood against the December Dress neckband to see if they were close. Accounting also for the fact that the Slash hood is designed to be overlapped 2”. I could also have done this by measuring the neck opening of the December Dress and multiplying by the snugness of hood I desire (probably 90%) and adding the 2” overlap. But I eyeballed it. See below.
Looks like this hood is going to fit! So I’m just going to cut all the pieces out for the December Dress minus the neckband and cut out the Slash hood instead.
Okay, I have all of my pieces cut out. So I’m going to assemble the December Dress per it’s tutorial instructions, skipping the neckband.
Then I’m going to prepare the Slash tunic’s hood per those instructions (sewing the two halves together for the main and lining, sewing the main and lining together at the hood front). I decided to skip overlapping and basting because this will give me more freedom to adjust the neckband to fit the December Dress’s neck opening.
Now I mash. I am going to overlap the hood pieces like in the Slash Tunic tutorial and clip. Then place on the neck opening and see if I like the snugness, if so, sew it like the Slash Tunic instructions. I decided for me that I wanted 1” of overlap and I am very happy with the look it gave me on the front of my new December Hoodie.
I tried on my December Hoodie to check the length, pocket height, hood fit. It’s perfect. This is not the outcome I expected. I thought I would have a lot more tweaking and technical things to say, but honestly, this mash turned out to be as easy as “put the Slash Tunic’s hood on the December Dress”.
December Dress Hoodie #2
In my loose definition of a hoodie, the hood is pretty optional. My hair usually covers the hood, so it’s just the feeling of the hood and look of the front neckline that makes it feel like a hoodie to me. And it’s cowl weather. So I decided to add a “hack” and make my own cowl. I considered mashing from the Below Zero Sweater, but I was looking for a full cowl, not a split cowl.
To draw the cowl, I started by taping the neckband pattern piece to a piece of paper. Then I measured how tall I would want my cowl to be and drew a line extending the fold line of the neckband. I chose 11” for my cowl. Don’t forget to include the neckband pattern piece when measuring.
I wanted by cowl to have some extra fluff, so I am extending out the top of the cowl I am not adjusting the part that will attach to the neckline, that way the percentage remains the same as the December Dress’s original neckline. I decided on 3” wider at the top, measured out, and connected the dots. I will need two of these, a main and a liner.
Again, I cut the December Dress pieces as normal minus the neck. I cut two cowl pieces on the fold instead. I had a 2 yard cut of the purple sweater knit from Amelia Lane Designs and a one yard cut of the waffle knit from The Fab Clique. I ran a little bit short on the purple sweater knit and color blocked the top of the back piece a little bit.
Again, I assemble the December Dress per it’s tutorial except for the neckline.
I sewed up the sides of the two cowl pieces right sides together. Then I take the two separate cowl tubes and put them right sides together and sew up the top (which is 3” longer than the bottom which will attach to the neck).
I fold the cowl wrong sides together hiding the seams. I put the seam in the back center and quarter from there, stretching like a neckband and attach to the December Dress’s neckline. Because I used the same fabric for the inner and outer of my cowl it doesn’t matter for me, but if you used different fabric, the one that you want to show more of (the inner fabric) would be on top. The outer fabric that you’ll see less of is against the neckline (right sides together).
December Hoodie #3
Many of the inspiration photos I looked at online had extremely puffy sleeves. I decided to go ahead and try this to see how it would look. For this one I used a very thick sweater knit from Sincerely Rylee. I had a 2+1 yard cut and ran a bit short and needed to use a leftover scrap of JoAnn’s sweater knit for the inside of the hood.
The tall cuffs on the December Dress are one of my favorite elements of the pattern, but they slim the sleeves a bit so to get a puffier sleeve I am going to shorten the cuff by half. This means to keep the same sleeve length I’ll need to add 4”.
I started by taping my sleeve pattern to a piece of paper. I extended the length 4” and drew a line the same width as the existing width of the sleeve because this way the cuff will fit in the same way it currently does. It will be a bit looser since it’s fitting at the wrist rather than higher at the arm, but that will go along with the baggy sleeve look.
I decided to widen the sleeve to make it puffy, but not gather. I contemplated using the sleeves from the Lively Dress but I didn’t think my thick sweater knit would gather well.
I used my hip curve ruler to widen the sleeve without modifying the armcye or wrist width in order to keep the bodice and cuffs existing.
For more puffiness, I could also lengthen the sleeve which would add more slouch to it and also give me more room to widen with a smooth curve. The cuff would be a little loose though so I would recommend using the existing height of the tall cuff and folding it over. This would add an additional fullness to the sleeve.
This is my completed sleeve in the heavy black line. The thin pencil line is where I traced the original pattern piece.
I will have all the same pieces and assembly method for this version as I did for my first hoodie (December Dress minus neckband plus slash hood). The only modifications to consider are using the new sleeve pattern piece and the height of the cuff (I went with half height on this version).
I could have gone much puffier to match my inspiration photos, but I was aiming for experimenting with the look incrementally. I might still go puffier, but I think this hunter green one is going to be perfect for wearing to Thanksgiving. The looser cuff also makes it very easy to push my sleeves up to my elbows when it’s time for dishes!
Thank you for joining me while I explored some beginner friendly mashing and hacking of the December Dress to make hoodies that feel like the security blanket of my old college hoodies but make me feel like I look like I have my sh*t together these days.
If nothing else, I hope watching my incremental process might encourage someone who’s never done a mash before to try it. Going slow means you’ll have a better idea of what you like and don’t like about the product, since you’re only changing one variable at a time. It also means less risk of wasting good fabric since smaller changes are less risky.
Life is short, wear the hoodie.