That’s right, you got it, no Pat Butcher earrings on the left. You wouldn’t catch me wearing earrings like that (…any more 😉). And my right shoulder is down instead of up, I blame my sister, she was directing the shot. I certainly need more practice at this modelling malarky.
But in case you didn’t notice there are a few other differences too. On the right is the DP studio LE 000 ‘long dress with large collar and blouse-effect top’, and on the left is my version, a sweatshirt with no collar, I ‘made it my own’.
This is the first time I’ve sewn a DP studio pattern. I was excited to see some really cool and adventurous patterns in their collection. Some just my cup of tea, and some just a little crazy, even by my standards. I can’t even figure out what’s going on with the low- necked, asymmetric belted dress, but I love pattern companies that dares to be different.
With the LE 000, it was the pleating that I was mostly drawn to, especially on the sleeve. The large collar, I was not so keen on and I decided I needed to change it to make it more ‘me’.
It is completely, totally and utterly out of my character to make a muslin for anything. (A muslin is a practice garment using similar/cheap fabric to test the construction and fit of a pattern and I didn’t want anything going wrong when using my treasured NOSH stretch sweatshirting.)
My attitude to sewing would have me pulled over by the Sewing Police even before the cutting out stage. They would confiscate the biro in my hand way before I start drawing on my fabric with it. I unashamedly would do anything to make the sewing process quicker, including using only one line of long stitches for gathering (shock horror). And eyeballing rather than measuring wherever I feel I can get away with it. I draw the line at using pinking shears – EVER, but anything else goes. So a muslin is definitely not something I would usually do.
But, I made a muslin, FOR A SWEATSHIRT!!!!!!! OK, laugh if you want to but on this occasion, I thought it was necessary.
So here’s my muslin…
I didn’t take any pictures of me wearing it, it was in the laundry on photoshoot day (doh!) but I will list the things I wasn’t happy with.
- Overall the sweatshirt is too big. I was all over the place on the size chart, so I went with my ready-to-wear size. If you’re going to make one I suggest sizing down (maybe even 2 sizes). Mijke ended up deliberately shrinking hers in the tumble dryer because hers also turned out too big.
- I made the neckline smaller but its still too wide for my liking.
- Can you see the little pleats at the shoulder? They are not a design feature, they are there because I was unable to understand the instructions in the tutorial for where the pleats were supposed be. I tried for 3 days and in the end, I just did my own thing, but I was not happy with how my own thing turned out.
- The sleeves are waaaaay too long. My fault, I’ll explain later.
- The gathering at the bottom was made with elastic. I prefer a hemband but didn’t have enough fabric and hemming would have made it shorter than I would have liked.
However, if all that was fixed, I knew I’d be pretty happy with my sweatshirt.
Round 2 (aka success)
If you are wanting to make a LE 000 sweatshirt without the oversized, off the shoulder collar, here’s how. Otherwise, scroll on to the pretty pictures at the end, this next bit gets technical…
Removing the big collar and replacing it with a ‘normal’ neckband
The black lines are the original pattern. The pink lines are my adjustments.
Start with the BACK pattern piece. Trace the pattern in your required size, leaving some extra paper at the top, you will need this to draw in your new neckline.
You can draw in your new neckline using an existing pattern or garment that you’re happy with to get the size and the curve of neckline just how you want it.
Whatever amount you add at the top of the shoulder ‘x’, you need to remove at the bottom of the shoulder ‘y’. This is where I went wrong on my muslin, by increasing ‘x’ by 5cm and not decreasing ‘y’ by 5cm, my sleeve just ended up 5cm further down my arm.
Then just taper the line from the bottom shoulder down in a nice fluid curve to meet at the side of the original pattern again.
The black lines are the original pattern and the white paper is my adapted pattern.
Again, when tracing off the pattern leave some extra paper at the top for your new neckline.
Creating the pleats
Before adjusting the front neck, you must first create the pleats. I was able to create the main front pleats but the second set of pleats totally baffled me due to the lack of instruction. In the end, I gave up and eliminated them completely.
Overall I found the instructions a hindrance, on the DP Studio website it says “…choose from our wide range of highly professional and user-friendly patterns, put together with meticulous care and clarity.” But I found that even the parts that were simple and I already knew what to do, seemed more complicated if following the instructions. I ended up chucking them in the bin (metaphorically) and using logic and experience to complete my sweatshirt.
To create the big pleat at the front of the bodice, simply join A to B creating a fold where I have indicated with a red line.
Adjusting the front neckline
The black lines are the original pattern. The pink lines are my adjustments.
Once you have your pleat pinned into position, you can draw in your new neckline curve and as you did on the BACK pattern piece, the same amount you add at the top of the shoulder ‘x’, you need to remove at the bottom of the shoulder ‘y’. Taper again to the sides in the same way.
Now cut out your adjusted pattern piece, cut through all the layers of paper at the neckline and when you open it out the pleats will all be in the correct position (as shown in pink above). Remember to put your notches back (as shown in red, there will be more if you are having the second set of pleats).
Check that your FRONT and BACK necklines are matching up by placing your FRONT pattern onto your BACK pattern, lining up the centre front with the centre back.
If like me, you are not having the second set of pleats, you will find that the front shoulder will be longer than the back shoulder. This is where I added the ridiculous shoulder pleats on my muslin. You need to adjust by the necessary amounts so that the front shoulder ends up the same length as the back shoulder.
The pic above shows what my shoulder measurements were on size 38.
Once you’ve made these adjustments, continue sewing as per the instructions in the pattern. For me, the rest of the sewing was plain sailing. The pattern has a difficulty level of 2/3 and I would agree with that.
- The pleating on the sleeves was easy enough.
- I cut my own pattern pieces for the neckband, cuffs and hemband.
- I found it necessary to gather the sleeves first to be able to attach the cuffs and the same went for the attaching the hemband.
- The pattern has a weird belt thing which I decided against, knowing that it would inevitably end up covered in wee when using the toilet or I’d have to be a pretend horse for my 6 year old. It’s always good to prepare for every eventuality.
I am ridiculously pleased with my new sweatshirt. I plan on making another in a bright yellow and I might even try a woven version.
My black stretch sweatshirting from NOSH proved to be the perfect weight (290 g/m2). The fabric I used for my muslin was too thick to fit under my overlocker, a lot of layers are created when making the pleats, so that’s something to bear in mind.
I also have my eye on the snappily named LE 500 N A ET B top with kimono sleeves, it has a difficulty level of 1/3 so I should be fine. The LE 204A AND B coat with incorporated scarf however, has a difficulty level of 3/3 so as much as I love it, I’d rather avoid a 6 month long sewing headache trying to figure it.
Now for the pretty pictures, sorry to keep you waiting.
Well, what do you think? Does this make you want to sew one for yourself? Or would you rather buy a similar one I made earlier. 😜