Sunday, 19 May 2019

A Trio of Apollons

Umm, exactly HOW selfless has my sewing been lately?! Bloody selfless. Although, if I'm honest, I didn't make these three sweatshirts back to back. But I did get them all done within about a month, so I can still claim some sort of prize, no?!

Anyway, when the weather started to warm up and we began to claw our way out of winter, Pat (AKA Mr SoZo) discovered a major hole in his wardrobe. This hole existed between the wool jumpers (or sweaters, if you prefer) and the T-shirts, where some cotton-y long-sleeved tops should have been residing. Somehow he found he had just one fine cotton jumper that his mum had bought him that fit the criteria. And that had a very visible hole in the neckline at the front, and a matching one at the back from where he'd cut out an itchy label. TBH, I disliked that jumper so I struggled (and failed) to find the motivation to fix the holes before they got too large. 


I was just about to hit the charity shops on his behalf when French pattern company, I Am Patterns launched a mini collection of styles for men, including a men's version of their super simple women's Apollon sweatshirt pattern. I was immediately very excited because the proportions looked perfect for Pat's slender frame. I atypically bought a paper copy (I normally buy PDF patterns for the immediacy, and lower price) from Fabric Godmother and got prepping.  

I chose not to dive straight in wielding the scissors, and took Pat's measurements carefully, comparing them to the pattern. I expected to have to make adjustments for his relatively narrow shoulders, however, the XS size seemed like it was going to be fine, so I went straight ahead and made it with no adjustments (the army green version). Both Pat and myself were super happy with the fit, and I love the balance of the the resultant widths of the neckband, waistband and cuffs. Going forwards, I decided to make the cuffs and waistband a little tighter and I think you can see the improvement in the rust and grey versions. 

(image source: I Am Patterns)

The only other change I made to the pattern was adding a stage to the construction to stabilise the shoulder seams. I used cotton twill tape on the army green version, but then I found I had some clear elastic in my stash that I used for the other two. I prefer the look of the clear elastic, but it is a total faff to apply. 

The construction of these is embarrassingly straight forward (which is in no way related to why I made three in quick succession!). The seam allowance included is very narrow, which encourages the use of an overlocker to make these, if you have one. The last time I sewed with sweatshirt weight knit on my overlocker, I had major hassles. The seams were stretching out, and because you can't adjust the differential feed on my machine, I was left with no way to prevent it (a call to my favourite sewing machine repair guy confirmed this) and serious steaming with my iron was doing nothing to improve the situation. After some experimentation with my regular machine, I found an overcast stitch that looks and functions similarly to the stitch off an overlocker. And because the seam allowance included in the pattern is so narrow, there was no excess fabric that would need to be trimmed away. For my third version (the grey one), I decided to test my overlocker again, just in case. Miraculously, it seemed to be working with the fabric fine, so the seams on the last one are sewn with the overlocker.  


I scoured the shelves at Fabric Godmother for sweatshirt fabric that I thought Pat would be happy to wear. His colouring is on the ginger spectrum, so the army green cotton french terry seemed an obvious choice. I think they must have sold out because I couldn't find it on their site to link to, however it's a thick, hefty, excellent quality fabric that feels good and solid, if you know what I mean. My second choice was a bit of a wild card. This speckled sweatshirt fleece (pictured below) is a really bold, almost orange shade of rust. I told him I would happily use it for me if he didn't like it, but no, he was fine for me to go ahead. It's a lighter weight than the french terry, with a lovely soft reverse side. When Pat first wore this version, our daughter told him he would be in trouble with me because she thought he'd already got it dirty! I also bought a length of the navy version, which I believe is the the same as the fabric used for the sample pictured on the I Am Patterns site. I bought it with the intention of making another Apollon sweatshirt, but I've since hatched a slightly different plan for that. Watch this space...

(image source: Fabric Godmother)

The final version of this batch also counts as one of my #2019makenine projects. I had a length of this fun lightning flash french terry kindly given to me by Girl Charlee UK, and although I really love it, I wasn't quite sure what it should be. I'm not really into wearing sweatshirts these days, so my plans were erring towards a cardigan. But when I randomly decided to hold it up to Pat whilst tidying my fabric shelf, the scale of the print looked really good on him so I realised I had to help it fulfil it's destiny as a sweatshirt for him. Once again, I think it must have sold out as I can't find it on the Girl Charlee site, but that's perhaps not surprising as it featured on the most recent series of GBSB. 

Back to the sweatshirt (who knew there was so much to say about such simple garments!). I find that tops that have bands that have been made in self fabric can look a bit weird if the print is a large scale, so I went on the hunt for some matching plain ribbing. I hit the jackpot when I chanced upon this pale grey marl rib, which is near-as-dammit an exact colour match. 

I can't remember exactly how much I had of the lightning flash french terry, (the Apollon pattern requires 1.5m), but I had just enough to squeeze a pair of joggers for Frankie out of the remains. I'm in love with this new-to-me joggers pattern so I'll blog about it separately soon, however needlessly to say, I'm finding it beyond adorable that they are matching. Of course, it's not the for the first time.....


Ok, so please no one tell Pat exactly how easy these types are garments are to make. It's, like, the exact same amount of work as making this or this. You could fancy things up with topstitching the seams/seam allowances around the neckline, cuffs and waistband. If I had a cover stitch machine (yes please, universe!), or if I'd have more success with a twin needle, I would. But I haven't so I didn't.

As for the pattern itself, I'm so happy to have one that I can easily turn to whenever suitable fabric crosses my path. I'd love to see experiment with fine sweater knits and potentially rustle up some fancier looking garments. The only thing that I dislike about it, is that there isn't a sleeve head notch to help with the sleeve insertion. The sleeve pattern doesn't have a front or back: the curves are the same on both sides. And I measured the armholes of the front and back pattern pieces, and they aren't the same, so it's not a case of simply folding the sleeve head in half and making a snip. But really it is a tint gripe that effects only one process of the construction. Anyways, I can happily report that all three of these sweatshirts are in regular rotation, and I'm excited to make more.   


Jo said...

That is one lucky fella! Great tops Zoe. Jo x

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