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Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Bowline & Linden Sweatshirt Projects

 
I ve been home with a slipped disc in my back for the last month and really shouldn't be sewing - sitting for long periods in the evening isn't good. So wanting only to wear cosy clothes and wanting quick projects that would provide a distraction for half an hour each evening, I decided to crack on with some sweatshirts.

First up the Linden.  I was tempted not to buy this pattern- I have a few raglan style patterns I could hack and frankly I find it expensive for what it is, but with so many Insta-sewers obsessed with it, in the end I thought I should give it a go- there must be some magic in it?!



So the good news- its super quick - I think I can make one in 1.5 to 2 hours- so sticking to my self imposed 30min sewing limit per day, I completed one in 4 days.  But I  have to say it.  Underwhelmed.  Its just a raglan and not a very well fitting one at that for me at least- I found the neckline way to wide (everything you wear under it shows) so I had to alter that.  I found you therefore needed to draft your own neck  facing too.  And for me,  I added more shape to the bodice.  I love the end product, but with hindsight could have saved a lot of money and hacked one from a raglan t-shirt pattern I have.  I have no issue in spending £10-£20 on a good indie pattern where I need good instructions and very well cut pattern pieces- the Closet Case Clare Coat/Ginger Jeans or Tilly Rosa Dress for example- but when a pattern is this simple, with limited variation, I struggle with it being retailed at £16 for the printed pattern.  Am I alone and do I sound very cheap saying this?!



But that Liberty fleece makes me smile every time I look at it.  Given its nearly £40 per metre, I bought half a metre (god I am starting to sound tight!!) and used it for front, back & cuffs- using a contrasting navy in between.   My second one was another Liberty fleece- this time off eBay and I had enough to do the whole thing- but I still chose a contrast as I liked the accent.

For my second one, I was aiming for a look a bit more like the Toaster sweater (after feeling like I spend to much on the Linden pattern I didn't want to buy another one when I thought I could get close to it from hacking the Linden ;) ).

I squared off the sides & bottom band (so bottom band is the same width as the bodice pieces) and same for the cuffs.  I made the cuff and bottom band much thinner and then I added a funnel neck - I used the altered Linden with higher neck, measured the neck line and cut the funnel neck -20% of that size.  Its just a rectangular piece double the height I wanted the neck to be and I added it as you would a neck band.  I really LOVE this version. It feels more cosy and more stylish at the same time.



So after these two, I gave the Bowline a go.  I bought this when it came out as I love the neck and obviously you need a pattern for this as I wouldn't know where to start (even with a pattern it is still a bit of a mystery how it works).  So good news, it actually is still a really quick sew!!  I thought it may be complicated - and well that neck takes some getting your head around, but once you get it, its also quick to make.



I discovered the most important thing with this is the fabric choice.  I trawled Instagram looking at other versions and found that some, in a lightweight jersey didn't hang in shape.  I loved  Rachel's version.    I would say you need something heavy enough and with not too much stretch so it will hold its shape (you also want something that will withstand a good hot iron for the press) but nothing too heavy as the steps and the bulk around the neck would get very difficult with say a sweatshirt.  I used a boiled wool I bought from Fabworks and actually it turned out to be a good choice.

Here is what the pieces looks like:
You sew a dart & fold at A & B respectively, then you fold the whole thing together into a 'burrito roll' and sew them together...

It look totally wrong.  Now you see why this would be tricky with a heavyweight fabric?!  

So it was all going swimmingly until I hit 2 related issues.  My first clue was that the sleeve didn't match up, I ended up with a huge amount of excess on one side...



And the neck didn't lie flat.

Cue unpicking.  I had misunderstood the instructions on how much overlap there should be on the neck joining the back piece.  Well I m still not sure exactly what the instructions want you to do, but I basically fitted the final piece together from bottom up- so sorted out the under arm meeting first, then basically judged the overlap of the pleat to what looked right on.  In the end I had to attach it at a really odd angle for it to look straight, cutting off a big triangle...  could be I stretched it so much working on it that the fabric had gotten out of shape.

But anyway, that sorted it, phew!!  I had one more adjustment.  I found it really hung down at the front (maybe made for someone with much larger assets than mine!) so i straightened that off before I added the bottom band.

And here it is finished.  You need a really good press to get the shoulder bit looking sharp.  The other top tip (not in the instructions) is don't overlock the steps associated with the neck fold ( that makes them too heavy) and do trim back the seam allowances at each stage- I found at first a lot of bulking in the pleat as I had excess seam allowance (and some overkeen overlocking) on the inside that was causing bulk, so I flipped it back inside out & trimmed it right back).



Nice isn't it?  This is a pattern worth buying and a nice skill stretch (you actually need to engage brain to work out the steps around the neck).  Its not rocket science- don't be put off, but you do need the instructions and the online sew along on the Papercut website was super helpful.

Ok I m now sorted for cosy clothes.  Off to make a skirt to match the Bowline next.
Messy Essy Makes
x

7 comments:

  1. No, you are not alone in thinking £16 is a lot to pay for a simple pattern and I'm grateful for your honest review. Love that Liberty fleece by the way, especially the floral one - I didn't even know there was such a thing!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, I can highly recommend liberty fleece- you can get it direct from their store but can often find good deals on eBay!

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  2. I know what you mean about the price of the Linden - I bought mine when there was a discount sale on Grainline patterns. I know what you mean about the neckline being quite wide - did you just lengthen the raglan and front / back bodice by a few centimetres to get a higher neckline?

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    1. Glad I m not alone!!! On th first one (already cut) I just tapered in all the seams or the top 10cm which brought it all up and in a bit. On my second one I extended the pieces up and tapered in.

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  3. Sorry to hear about your back, hope it mends soon. Super jumpers, that fleece is gorgeous! I've not brought Linden as it looks a shapeless for me but the Bowline intrigues me, it looks great on.

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    1. Thanks Lynsey Jane for your thoughts and kind words. I can recommend the bowline

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  4. These are both lovely. I haven't heard of the Bowline before but am off to check it out now as it's gorgeous, but unusual. Like you I already have a raglan pattern, the Sew U Home Stretch raglan sweater (which I love!) so I wouldn't buy the Linden anyway but I have noticed the Linden neckline is a bit wider than I'd choose to have it.

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