Hi all! I’m Jessica from Let’s Go Hobby, a blog that covers hobbies including sewing, gardening, cooking, and more! You can find the blog at www.letsgohobby.com. Since sewing is probably your gig since you are reading this, you can also check out my sews on Instagram at www.instagram.com/sojesssew. Now that you know who I am, lets dive in!
Full disclosure, I was in the testing group for the Monna Hoodie (link: https://georgeandgingerpatterns.com/products/the-monna-hoodie-womens-sizes-pdf-sewing-pattern?aff=89) and made two versions of the Hoodie. It’s super cute. If you haven’t seen the pattern before, here’s my final version:
So, features on the Monna Hoodie: it has a slight U shape across the front with piping and gathers in two places just over the bust. There are welt pockets, a fun cross over hood, sleeve cuffs, and a banded hem. I always thought that this pattern would look cute as a shirt too. And since I have two of these beauties kicking around in my closet, why not make a shirt to mix it up?
For the shirt version, I decided to change up the way the top gathers across the front. Instead of the two points of gather, I thought it would be cute to have it gathered all the way across the bust with no breaks. Of course, in order to achieve noticeable gathered fabric along this seam, the pattern needs to be widened to allow more fabric to be gathered. So, how can the pattern be widened? Here is the pattern piece we will be working with.
Off the top of your head you might think, oh that’s easy, just extend the line of the seam outward and then gather the fabric. Unfortunately, it is slightly more complicated than that (But not too difficult! Stick with me.). Let’s think about why. We can’textend the top line of the piece toward the left because this is cut on a fold so that side needs to remain a straight vertical line. If we extended the top edge to the right, it will mess up the armscye and where it attaches to the piece above it.
Thus, we need to use another method. We will be using the Slash and Spread Method to achieve our new gathers.
Here’s a list of supplies you will need:
The first thing we need to do is trace this pattern piece onto another sheet of paper (unless you want to reprint the original pattern again if you want to make another hoodie, or if you make a mistake). You can either use tracing paper and lay it over top or, do I what I did, which is tape a few pieces of printer or larger paper together and lay the pattern piece over top. Then either trace and cut, or just rotary cut around the pattern as if you were cutting fabric. Copy the markings if you choose.
From here, you will need to measure the very top line of the pattern piece (as this measurement will be different depending on what size you are making). My top line was 12”.
With the slash and spread method, you want each slash that you make to be equidistant from each other. You can really make as many slashes as you want, I chose to do three slashes which would give me 4 separated pieces of paper. So, 12” divided by 4 equals 3”. Therefore, my slashes need to be 3 inches apart. So,the equation is for the slash distance is:
Length of top line / 4 = Distance between slashes
Below are my markings at 3”, 6”, and 9”.
The slashes should go down the grainline (in our case we can use the fold line as a reference) from the very top of the pattern piece (at your 3 markings) all the way down, but not through, the very bottom of the paper.
Take a ruler and align it with each of the three markings and draw a line parallel to the fold line all the way down the pattern piece. Then take your scissors and cut along each of the three lines from the top down to the bottom, but not all the way through the paper so that the paper remains intact along the very bottom of the pattern piece.
Now it’s time to decide how much width we want to add to the top of the pattern piece. You can add as much or as little as you want, but keep in mind that we need enough to see some fun gathers. But, if we add too much, it might be difficult to gather and sew it, plus it will use more precious fabric! I decided to add an inch to each slash line at the top. You will simply pull the two pieces of paper away from each other at each slash line until, at the top, the pieces are 1 inch apart from each other. To keep the slash spread like this, you can tape a little scrap on each side.
Spread each slash apart so that your pattern piece looks like this:
You can now see that while we did add width to the top of the pattern piece, we did not alter the shape of the fold line or armscye. This just added width through the top and middle of the pattern piece. Pretty neat trick huh? You can use this same method to turn a pencil skirt into an a-line skirt or an a-line skirt into a circle skirt too!
Grab a few more sheets of paper and tape them together so that you can lay the newly spread piece over top. Align the left side of the pattern piece on the fold line with the straight line of your new paper and the bottom left corner with the 90 degree angle at the bottom as seen below.
It will now be obvious that the bottom of the pattern piece needs to be chopped off or “trued” in order to be straight. Cut it off!
Now look closely at your pattern piece, you might notice that the top line will need to be interpolated between the spreads in order to be one continuous curve. If you have a French curve, it will be very helpful here. If you don’t, this can be eyeballed. You will want to grab your original front pattern piece here to compare the original curve of the top of the pattern piece. You will see in the picture below, that the curve from left to right starts out straight then slowly curves up to a point.
If you have a French curve you can lay it down on the pattern and simulate the same curve angle as the original. If not, draw a line from the left straight across to the first slash, then slowly curve to the end. If you compare the picture above and below, you will see that I have the curve set slightly different from the first picture to the second. Either way would work.
Now draw another line from the armscye up to the new line you just drew and connect them as seen below. If you have a French curve, you can lay it in the armscye for ease of drawing.
This will make your armscye slightly longer on the front piece. You could adjust for this a few ways, but for my this only added about an inch and my fabric was stretchy enough for this to not matter.
You are past the complicated part. Woohoo! Pat yourself on the back if you made it this far! From here all you have to do is tape your slashed pattern piece to the newer drawn on paper and cut it out then it’s just regular cutting and sewing it all together!
The only difference when you sew it up will be that you will gather the top front piece all the way across the top instead of following the gather here lines in the pattern. By the way, did you see Kristi’s YouTube video where she gathers with a sewing machine? Check it out HERE (link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFhfCGNYX_k&t=22s). When I gathered the top of this piece,I cranked my tension up and backstitched at the beginning then basted across the piece leaving the tail long at the end. Then all I had to do was let some of the gathers out to one side until it fit perfectly onto the front yoke piece.
Besides the gathers, you can follow the instructions as written in the pattern. On mine, I left out the bottom hem band and just hemmed it by flipping the hem under twice at ½ like most George and Ginger patterns have you hem. You can choose to include the piping pieces, or not! If you don’t include the piping piece, you could also tape the back yoke to the back piece and cut the fabric out in one piece, or not! It’s your project.
This next part is completely optional, or you could even do onlythis and leave the gathers as Kristi designed them in the original pattern. I chose to leave the hood off and instead lower the neckline to make it a regular shirt sans hood. Perhaps you already know how to lower a neckline. If you don’t, here’s a quick tutorial, it’s actually really easy.
Here is the front yoke piece and that curvy line on the top left is the neckline used for attaching the included hood. If you tried to band this neckline, it would be quite high and perhaps uncomfortable to wear.
To lower the neckline, all you need to do is cut out a deeper curve. Now how you choose to cut the depth and shape of the curve is up to you! I suggest drawing the curve first, especially if you’ve never done it. You could use a French curve here, or just eyeball it, or even use a neckline from a pattern you like. But, keep in mind that if you change the width of the shoulders (top of this pattern piece), you would need to change the back shoulder yoke piece too.
I lowered my neckline 1 inch, widened the curve a bit, then brought it back to the top without cutting into the shoulder. You could certainly draw your line differently, you could lower the line 1.5 inches and then curve it up straight following the original neckline more closely, or even cut into the shoulder for a more classic neck shape.
Tape the cut piece to the pattern so that you can easily tape it back on for future pattern use.
From here, you could line the shirt and cut out two front yokes and two back yokes, or you could measure and cut a neckband for your new neckline. I wrote a post on how to lower and measure a band for a neckline over at the Let’s Go Hobby Blog. You can see that post HERE (link:https://www.letsgohobby.com/2019/05/how-to-lower-neckline.html) for more info!
Oh, wait, you want to see the finished product? Well of course you do! Here it is:
I hope you enjoyed my post. Don’t forget to check out the other great blog posts on the George and Ginger website. There are some really cute mash ups and makes!