Pattern and Fabric Combination
I’ve always been a fan of texture so I was naturally drawn to the tweed-iness of the boucle fabric.
Additionally, when I sew for myself, I consider what compromise I’m looking for between comfort and statement. Of course, I love unique pieces but I fluctuate on how much I’m willing to push myself comfort-wise based on the piece and where I’ll be wearing it. Because we’re still experiencing cooler weather and there was a request for daywear, I erred strongly on the cozy side.
Cozy, for me, means oversized pieces with more shape than tailoring.
That’s why I was attracted to this particular pattern.
I loved the structure in the style and thought the use of zippers was a cool element, especially the ones on the side!
And then there were pockets… who doesn’t love pockets?! In addition to the functionality, I saw the opportunity to play with them. Patch pockets are a great design element to resize and move around. I used the pattern’s original pleated pocket and flap and moved them to the sleeves for a unique look.
Then I elected to put a kangaroo pocket on the front. It was inspired by a more classic sweatshirt pocket. When I dress casually, I make an effort to not wear sweats head-to-toe and I wanted this pullover to serve the role of a go-to cute & casual layer.
Sometimes You Change Your Mind…
(Transparent moment coming!) The red zippers were an attempt to stretch my personal comfort zone. Although I don’t mind color, I like texture more and generally gravitate to either A) solids if bold, or B) Black/grayscale if patterned. After placing 3 red zippers and trying on the pullover at a fit point, I could not settle into the pop of red.
The fabric already featured a few colors I don’t always wear so I pulled out the seam ripper!
It took some effort, but the front zip turned back to Black. And honestly, it was worth it! A second try-on resulted in an immediate happy dance.
I liked the vibe of the neutral front zip much better and didn’t mind leaving the 2 red zippers at the side for a cool touch. This was a lesson in following your heart and not being afraid to backtrack sometimes. It’s part of the creative process. That one little change that may have seemed frustrating at the time will probably be the difference in me wearing this item all the time vs. rarely!
Because the stretch boucle was lightweight and a bit sheer, I lined it in Black ponte knit (back in stock soon). The ponte provided the right amount of stability + retained stretch. It’s also still comfortable and combined for the perfect weight for this style of layer. I used Black because it was a good palette match. (You would be able to see through the boucle a little bit so I dropped the whole background to Black.) Extra credit: I already had a remnant in the studio
I didn’t consider the extra work of stripes off the bat when selecting my fabric. It’s been a while since I worked with them. I was quickly reminded that they require that much more patience. My suggestion is to take your time. Fold your fabric thoughtfully so that your stripes are straight. If your stripe repeat is directional, pay attention!
Use a marker to note the repeat to match it on the coordinating pattern pieces at the seams. I had to do this several times to keep my stripes even across panels, sleeves, and pockets. It’s time consuming however almost impossible to correct without recutting if you ignore it. You know what they say: “measure twice, cut once.”
Another tip when working with lighter weight fabric: interface! I used a Black lightweight knit stabilizer wherever I wanted to place a patch pocket on the boucle. Because of the loose weave, I wanted to ensure it was strong enough that my pockets would not rip away over time. They do take a lot of stress. Lining in Black was another thoughtful decision here because any peeks of Black around the pocket edges disappear.
I was looking to do something else funky and made my own piping on a whim. I used it from a remnant of black & white texture knit. I used it to trim the collar, some parts of the pocket, and raglan sleeves. Piping can be a runway to add depth to a look. I love the little detail and think the garment would have been more “flat” without it. Moral of the story: check your stash. All of those fabric cuts you’ve been storing can actually be put to use!
The last little change I made to the original pattern was dropping the back hem for an asymmetrical look. It was a quick and easy change. I added a 2″ extension and still hemmed everything according to the directions.
How did I line a garment that didn’t come with a lining pattern? Simple: I cut the front and back bodice plus the sleeve twice. The collar was already self-faced. This is a great hack that you can experiment with. It may not work all the time but does well for flat bodice and sleeve pieces that don’t feature a lot of gathers, pleats, or other manipulation. You will just have to dip into your knowledge of how to attach and hem your lining.
In the end, this project featured a couple added techniques: pocket refinement, piping, hem manipulation, and adding a lining. All are ways to make a store-bought pattern your own. Feel free to try just one or even envision your own ways to adapt a pattern to your personal style. It can be an incredibly fun way to make something authentic without starting completely from scratch!