Friday, 4 September 2020

Free Pattern Friday: Kids' Raglan Sweatshirt


Welcome to my monthly 'Free Pattern Friday' feature, where I road test a free sewing pattern or tutorial: sometimes a children's one, sometimes an adult's one. I publish these posts every first Friday of the month, timed to provide inspiration for those who plan to get their sew on over the weekend. I firmly believe that, if you pick your projects carefully, sewing doesn't have to be a crazy-expensive way to clothe yourself and your family. Thanks to all the amazing pattern designers who have offered up their hard work for us to enjoy for free.



Last week somebody flipped the switch from summer to autumn. It really did feel that sudden. Short sleeved garments now need to have long sleeves layered over the top when we're going outside. It's time to take an inventory of what chilly-weather clothing still fits my kids, and I imagine most people with kids in the Northern hemisphere will be doing something similar. Today I'm talking about a sewing pattern that may be useful to a lot of people who need to panic-sew their kids some warm tops. And because it comes from a company not known for sewing patterns, I'm guessing that a lot of the sewing community will not have heard of it before. Bobbinhood is fantastic screen-printing company based in Rotterdam. They aim to make getting into screen printing super simple and super fun. I have one of their starter kits and I can attest that printing with it definitely is both. This free kid's crewneck sweatshirt pattern is meant to be used to make a basis on which to print your own designs, but of course doesn't have to be. This pattern is easily downloadable via their site, no sign-ups or webshop transactions required. Thanks heaps to Bobbinhood for sharing this pattern for free. 

(image source: Bobbinhood)

Pattern type:

The 'crewneck pattern' is a loose-fitting sweatshirt with raglan sleeves. The pattern consists of two PDF documents, one with the instructions and the other with the print-at-home pattern sheets (no A0 option, but the pattern is only 12 pages). Seam allowances are not included so need to be added to the pattern pieces before cutting out.  

Sizing info:

This pattern includes six sizes, spanning from approx. 1/1.5 years to 9/10 years. My daughter is almost seven so I made her the 7/8 years size and it fits her well. It's fantastic to find a free pattern that includes such a wide size range, however, the it may be worth noting that the neckband, waistband and cuff pieces are the same widths for all sizes, and I feel it is worth making them wider for the larger sizes to keep the proportions looking right. I widened all of them for the version photographed here. Also, I had to shorten the sleeve pattern and widen the cuff piece even more to compensate and keep the sleeve length the same because the fleece fabric I was using was only a remnant. 


Fabric info:

The pattern suggests using jersey, sweat fabric or teddy (although I'm not sure what that means). Jersey would create a more T-shirty type of garment. However, personally, I feel the silhouette leans more towards a sweatshirt, and therefore sweatshirt fleece, loop-back French terry, or possibly ponte roma would work best. I used this stretchy, unicorn-print, fleece fabric as I already had it in the stash. I fully expect it to look pretty ropey after a few washes though. The neckband, waistband and cuffs fabric will need to be sufficiently stretchy, so it might be best to use ribbing for these.  


Findings:

The instructions and pattern files both feature a lot of the fun visual design details that make up  Bobbinhood's identity, so the project is an enjoyable one from the very beginning. For a company that isn't directly related to sewing, the instructions for this pattern are very good and extremely easy to follow. The pattern doesn't go into all the nitty gritty of sewing with stretch fabrics, but I'm guessing a beginner sewer with one or two completed projects already under their belt could follow along with little issue. 

One little complaint I have about this pattern is that I couldn't find anywhere on the Bobbinhood website or blog any photos of this pattern actually made up, let alone photographed on a child. Of course it is not fair to have a lot of expectations from a free sewing pattern. However, if someone is investing time, effort and resources into trying out a pattern, it is useful to give a heads up about what the finished item should look like. Subsequently I was a bit in dark about the fit until Lola put her finished garment on. Thankfully, we're really happy with the fit, and I think it could work for children of any gender.  

Customisation ideas:

This pattern is such a great blank canvas for applying different ideas and details. Here's a few off the top of my head...
  • Use up a bunch of leftover knit scraps by cutting each piece from something different for an awesome, contemporary, patchwork look. 
  • Add a hoodie-style kangaroo pocket to the front, or shaped patch pockets (hearts or mitten-shaped, for example). 
  • Insert some piping into the raglan sleeve seams (flat piping made from stable jersey would be the easiest).
  • Shorten the front and back pieces to make a waist-length or cropped sweatshirt.
  • Lengthen the front and back pieces to make a sweatshirt dress. This would look great worn with wooly tights and boots for chilly months.
  • Add printing (obvs), applique or iron-on patches or decals. 
  • Break up the pattern pieces with more design lines and seam lines for extra scrap busting potential. 
  • Shorten the sleeves (without or without cuffs) in a jersey, interlock or ponte roma to make a garment suitable for warmer weather. 
  • Add an open-ended zip up the front to make a casual zip-through/light jacket. 

(image source: Bobbinhood)

Would I make it again?

Definitely! I can imagine making another for Lola if a fun printed sweatshirt fabric crosses my path. And as soon as Frankie needs a new sweatshirt, I plan to have a go at this pattern for him also. 


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