Review: Fraser sweatshirt
The Fraser pattern by Canadian brand Sewaholic has three different sweatshirt variations. View A has a yoke in a contrast fabric, view B has three-quarter length sleeves and view C has a collar. I decided to make view B.
I used Safari XXL jersey fabric by Hamburger Liebe for Albstoffe because I have a lot of it (having bought it for my online shop) and because although it is stretchy it is also quite sturdy. I expected the fit to be quite loose so that I would get a relaxed fit jersey top and pictured myself lounging in it at the weekend, so I cut true-to-size, which was a US 4 and a UK 8. With hindsight I should have made this top a size or two bigger.
The pattern pieces for view B were easy to find and clearly labelled, with seam allowance of 1.5cm included. I managed to cut everything out of one metre of fabric, but had to cut the waistband against the grain to do so. I tend to be a little too thrifty when it comes to cutting out, often with disasterous consequences (such as a pinafore I made out of a fabric with an upside down nap, but that's another story). With this fabric, it didn't matter as the animal print still worked and it had enough stretch, so my thriftiness paid off.
The first step in the instructions is to stay stitch the neck and join the front and back pieces at the shoulders, finishing them with twill tape so they don't stretch. I liked this. It gave the top a professional finish and means that the shoulders fit perfectly. After that, I basted the neckline piece and attached it. This went in surprisingly well but I did end up with an annoying tiny gather, right on an orange splodge on the front. I unpicked and eased the neckline in a little which helped but I think the precision of my cutting may not have been perfect (perhaps a little too thrifty on time as well as fabric). The neckline is designed to stay flat and it does! It actually looks pretty fab.
The instructions are very brief, which is fine for an experienced sewist but a beginner would struggle with the lack of detail. The next step is to join the sleeves to the armholes and then do the sleeve and front to back seams together. I couldn't get my head around this technique for joining sleeves and so ended up doing as I've been taught - I joined the sleeve seams, then the front to back seams and fitted the sleeve into the hole. The sleeves went in really well and I didn't have to ease them because of the stretchy fabric.
The final steps are to sew the cuffs and waistband. By this point I was well practised at joining tubes of stretch fabric to flat edges and they went in like a dream, with no puckers or problems. The cuffs and waist are double fabric so they have a really good weight to them, add a quality finish and lie flat. I was really impressed.
So, the results. I was really pleased with the finished top and got instant compliments. The fabric choice was perfect for a stretch top because of the weight of the jersey which meant it didn't slip or roll. I managed to use a regular machine foot and running stitch rather than a zigzag without the seams stretching, yet the top itself is really stretchy, so hats off to Albstoffe for a quality fabric.
Any regrets? The size. I really wanted a loose fitting slouchy top. If this was a sweatshirt it would be far too small. In future I will cut out a size or two bigger to get the look I wanted. However, I did wear the top for a beginners' Pilates class and got compliments, so I will view this as my first foray into activewear. Maybe I should sew a pair of matching leggings.