Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Completed: Astoria Sweatshirt (Hacked)

This is the Seamwork Astoria sweater. It's the first Seamwork pattern i've made, despite having had a subscription for the first year it launched. I'll be honest, I'm not that fussed about most of the patterns. There have been a few I've quite liked, but never quite enough to actually prioritise the sewing of them, but I always did quite like the Astoria.

There were a few things that slightly put me off making it previously. It's both very fitted and very cropped and I just am not overly comfortable with things being very tight over my stomach or bust. I did like the neckline though, and as I was recently in the market for a slightly more smart/dressy top for work, and I wanted a sweatshirt, I thought the Astoria would be a good starting point.

I sized up. My bust size put me at an XS, but I went with the finished measurements, opting to make a S instead. I had a quick chat with Christine who has made a few of these before, and, at her suggestion, took out the waist shaping, straightening the pattern from bust down to hip. This widened the hip, so I checked by how much, and added that onto the width of the waistband, also taking the shaping out of that. I also added 6cm to the length at the lengthen/shorten lines.

As a last hack, to make it a bit dressier still, I added a ruffle cuff to the sleeve, a little detail I'd spotted on a RTW jumper.

I'm fairly happy with how this worked out and I like the resultant shape. It's fitted, but not tight over the bust, and then more relaxed over my waist. It's still fairly short for a sweatshirt, but perfect for me over high waisted bottoms. I do find the sleeves to be very tight below the elbow, particularly when bearing in mind that I sized up. If I made this again, I'd add a bit of width to the bottom half of the sleeve, but really my fabric probably didn't have quite as much stretch as the pattern asks for. Initially, I made the sleeves too long. I removed the inch hem allowance and took a further 3/8 inch SA to attach the ruffle cuff, but they are still too long, so I went back and removed the first ruffle cuff, cut more length off (can't remember how much, sorry), and cut and sewed another ruffle cuff. Unfortunately, I cut the second cuff the same width, but clearly the sleeve is wider since sleeves narrow to the wrist, so now the ruffle is less pronounced, and I think looks a bit daft. Not sure I can be bothered to do it again though. I topstitched the SA on the ruffle cuff to the sleeve as the first iteration has a tendency to flip out, and this has helped.

I think the shoulders are a little big, probably a result of sizing up. It doesn't bother me, but if I do make this again, I think I'll shave a little off the armscye.

Finally, let's talk about the neckband. So, I always baste my neckbands (and collar and sleeve bands for that matter). I really struggle with stretching to fit, plus working round pins, plus curling knit fabric edges, so I tend to baste, check and remove puckers etc, then sew in place. This time I decided not to. And I sewed the neckband on with raw edges to the outside. Gah! I spent a good few hours unpicking it (black thread, black fabric, teeny tiny lightening bolt stitch), making at least one hole in the process... only to then sew it on the wrong way round the second time! So, the neckband joining seam is at the front. I wasn't unpicking it again. I'd already made one hole (I sewed the neckband on the second time with a bigger SA to compensate), and I wasn't about to try that again. And actually it doesn't bother me in the slightest. I don't think you really see it when it's on, and if anyone asks, it's a design detail!

The fabric is the black loop back terry from Splendid Stitch, which is currently out of stock unfortunately. It's a really nice fabric actually. Cotton with elastane, which a lot of french terry doesn't have. The loops are not very obvious on the wrong side, and the right side has a lovely smooth face. It's a decent weight and the elastane means it has good recovery, so it would be good for some joggers or something similar. I wish she had it in lots more colours!

True fact - I have only just realised that I appear to have cut this out on the cross grain. The rib of the fabric in these photos very clearly runs horizontally. D'oh!

Final verdict - this isn't my favourite sweatshirt pattern, but I do like it. I think it'll work well in a work context with midi skirts and boots, and you can never go amiss with a black top. I wore it a few times over the Christmas period, with my silver pleated velvet midi skirt and also black jeans. It dresses up nicely with some jewellery or down with jeans and trainers. Very versatile, so I should get lots of wear out of it.


  1. I feel your neck and pain. I recently spent a very long time unpicking a sewing machine overlock stitch on a neckband that was too short and therefore puckered. I added a couple of inches, put the new neckband in beautifully (I actually quite like pin and stretch) to find both seams at the front. So, it’s clearly what all the cool kids are doing!

    1. Neck band (not neck and). Dur

    2. Ha ha! Yep, we are definitely the cool kids! ;)

  2. Wow you are on a sewing + blogging roll right now. Loving catching up with what you have been making and I appreciate the honest feedback about the patterns which definitely helps consider whether to make something or not. You have great taste in pattern silhouettes and fabric choices!

    1. Thanks Caroline. Very kind comments. :) Most of the things I've blogged recently were made before Christmas. I'm just finally managing to catch up, but I'm realising that I've missed my little blog! x


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