Wow, how are we in May already?! This year is going by at a crayyyzeeeeee speed amirite? 😨 I mean, I’m sure that the current state of the world has something to do with that, but still.
With the ongoing WFH situation, I’m very much staying firmly in the ‘loungewear’ section of my wardrobe, and that’s not very big. A fair few hoodies and sweatshirts, but only a couple of pairs of comfy bottoms. It’s certainly not as varied as I’d like, so I’m continuing to work on that – albeit very (very) slowly (and by very slowly, I mean I’m still in the pattern-scouting stage, no sewing has actually taken place). Joggers are definitely on the horizon, though. My Lindens, on the whole, do get worn – and my fleece-backed pink one is usually warm enough to not want to wear a t-shirt under it, but that wide neckline bothers me when I see either a t-shirt collar or bra strap poking out from it 👀
I had that same issue with the Volt sweater I knitted. The neckline on that is way too wide as well. But hey – lesson learned for the future 💪🏻 (on a side note – WHY does a boat/wide neck even exist?! The same for lacy yokes – I do NOT want the faff of having to find a flesh-coloured bra to wear under it. Eugh, effort.) Having finally found a garment that gets worn both at home and at work – the humble sweatshirt (which makes me sound like a proper slob 😂) – I wanted to try out some different sweatshirt patterns to see if there was better out there.
I looked at a few brands, and there seems to be no shortage of sweatshirt patterns out there. In the end, I went for the Wardrobe by Me Boxy Raglan Sweatshirt, and bought some sweatshirt fleece fabric (which is more like a really heavy jersey) from Minerva. It’s definitely heavy enough to be a sweatshirt weight, but not as heavy as some of my store-bought hoodies. And it’s very stretchy, unlike the last sweatshirt fabric I bought from Minerva, which only stretched in one direction. This one stretches in all directions, which is good – I’ve learned that not-very-stretchy fabrics cause havoc when it comes to cuffs and neckbands 😑
You get three different neck openings with the Boxy Raglan pattern, in varying degrees of wideness, so obvs I went with the narrowest now that I have furious hatred of boat necks 😂 I made no adjustments to the pattern and even though I technically should have graded up a size based on my hip measurements, I went with the specific instructions to cut the size based on my chest measurements.
Even though I’d bought plain fabric (which was a far cry from the super lairy Linden that hit the blog a couple of weeks back), you know that I just couldn’t bring myself to leave it plain 😏
For as long as I can remember, I’ve not watched much TV. Films, absolutely, but TV shows, not so much. Except for one show. I’ve been a hardcore fan of Friends since I was a teenager – possibly even before that – and in fact, we are now mid-way through watching all the episodes (again) chronologically from start to finish. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve done that through the years – first I watched them on VHS, then on DVD, now we are streaming them on Netflix. I still love them just as much as I did when I was younger, and there’s absolutely no other TV show or film that makes me laugh as much as Friends does.
So, what better way to jazz up my plain sweatshirt than with the Central Perk logo? I had an upcoming trip planned to NYC, so the timing couldn’t be any more perfect 👌🏻
The Cricut Explore Air 2 machine got called into action, to help bring my idea to life.
I got an SVG/cut file off Etsy of the Central Perk logo, and used the Cricut Design Space software to break it up into the different layers and colours that I wanted. I really struggled to find the right colours for some of the elements – even with the Cricut vinyl that was available at Hobbycraft (it seems that there aren’t many shades of brown to be had) – so I dug through my stash of iron on and did the best I could rather than buying a whole roll just to use a tiny square of it.
The digital cutting file came with the layers cut out just as outlines rather than solid shapes (meaning that each piece needed to fit perfectly inside the others to create the picture, like a jigsaw, rather than sitting on top of each other in layers) but I knew there was NO WAY I was going to get all of those lined up perfectly and the potential for it looking a shambles was dangerously high. I did some googling and found out that there was indeed a way to fill in those gaps, to create the solid filled shapes that I wanted, so I had a stab at it and layered everything back up so that it looked how I wanted. I’d gotten a bit keen with filling in too many bits (the gap in the cup handles, for one) so put it right and repeated the process until I was happy.
Then came the actual cutting ✂️
I merrily cut out all of my pieces of vinyl and lined them all up on the cutting board ready to go, and then realised my error – you have to specify what type of vinyl you’re using before you cut – via the settings on the machine – so that it knows how much pressure to cut with. And that same setting applies across the whole cutting mat, so you can’t use a mixture of materials that all need a different cutting pressure all on the same mat. I was using a combination of glitter iron-on, everyday iron-on and sport flex iron-on, because that’s what I had available – and yep, you got it, all three have different pressure settings 🙄 Because I couldn’t bring myself to unpeel all the pieces from the board after I’d just spent ages lining them up, I instead left all of them on the board but removed some of the elements from the cut file on screen. It took three rounds of cutting to get them all cut out (well four, actually, because despite my precise(ish) layout, the placement of the red vinyl for the ‘central’ text was slightly off and it missed a corner of one of the letters 😤)
Once I had all of my pieces cut out, I was excited to start ironing them on to the fabric. But first, I layered them up to see if I liked the way they looked together – because once they were ironed on, there was no going back. If I wanted to change the colour of one of the pieces, now was the time.
Lookin’ good! I was happy.
Different types of vinyl have different temperatures they fuse to fabrics at, so I had to keep checking the heat guide for each bit that I applied. The Sport-Flex piece (the gold behind ‘central’) ended up wrinkling a bit with each subsequent fuse, and the green behind ‘Perk’ actually shrunk a little by the end of it (and annoyingly, you can see a millimetre of glue around the edge where it’s shrunk). Perhaps I should have reduced the fuse time a little for the bottom layers because they were going to be fused essentially about four times over by the time I’d finished… I guess I should have really thought about that before I started, but hey – making the mistakes is the best way to learn 😂
You have to cover up as much of your garment as possible with paper or card or just something, so that you don’t end up with a massive burn mark from the heat press. Yeah, ask me how I found that one out. But what you also have to cover is any of the vinyl that you’ve already applied, because it’s even WORSE if you put the heat press directly on that. To get around that, I just reused the clear plastic liners from the pieces I’d already fused, and it seemed to do the job. Here’s my process, in a nice little series of photos 👀
The finished design looks okay, but if I did it again (and I did think about re-doing it) I would possibly use less glitter vinyl and maybe make the whole thing a smidge bigger. You can see how badly that gold SportFlex wrinkled after a few presses, and glue started to ooze out of the edges of some pieces, which of course the stray glitter from the other bits made a beeline for and is now stuck to permanently 😑
With that done, I began the sewing. I whizzed the pieces through the overlocker – I LOVE that sweatshirts are so quick! – and tried it on. Disappointed was my first thought – the body was okay (though I wish I’d put the motif just a *smidge* higher as I now have coffee cup boobs) but the sleeves were too long and baggy, and the neckline stood up weirdly. Hmm.
I mooched downstairs to the show the husbeast who confirmed that yes, the sleeves were a bit long and baggy, and yes, the collar did look weird. I moaned that I wanted to wear this for work and now couldn’t – because it looked like a bit of a sack on me – and he tried to soothe me by saying I could instead wear it at weekends, to the cinema, and on Sweatpants Sunday. I guess so 🤷🏻♀️
It was as I was folding away the pattern pieces in my little strop that I realised that the sleeves were long because I’d not cut the hem at the correct line on the pattern piece. FFS. They actually needed to be about 3/4 inch shorter. Not that that would have fixed my *entire* length issue, but it certainly would have helped somewhat. The collar, I didn’t know what to do with. I sewed it at 1/4 inch seam allowance and then realised it was 3/8 when I was putting the pattern pieces away, so I should have gone round and taken another 1/8 off. I wasn’t convinced it would have made much difference, though. I felt like the collar was too long for the neck opening – because I definitely didn’t have an issue stretching it around – and that would have explained the standy-uppy-ness as well.
I toyed with the idea of unpicking it. I hate unpicking overlocked seams. But it did look shocking… 👀
I unpicked and restitched it. Does it look better? Yeah, kinda. The body is a bit wrinkly though, directly under the seam, annoyingly just on one side though 😑
But, I finished the thing, and I even walked to the ‘Friends building’ in lower Manhattan just to take these photos. I mean, there’s nowhere else that would have been as good a backdrop, right?! And when I say the Friends building, I mean the real-life apartment block that got used for every exterior shot of Rachel and Monica’s. Yes, I’m a total Friends nerd and I’m not ashamed of it one bit 🤓
After my grumbles about the neckline on the Linden, I think I actually do prefer the fit (body-wise, at least) of the Linden to the Boxy Raglan – and I do wear that for work. But, the neckline is *much* better on the Boxy Raglan. I’m thinking that I might do a Linden but with a Boxy neckline – that would be perfect for me, fit-wise! I’m also looking at this pattern from Stoff & Stil as a potential one to try, which of course I’ll report back on 🤓
The lines on the pattern piece are EXTREME. I mean, a different colour for each neckline wouldn’t have gone amiss – it was damn near impossible to find the line you wanted!
This sweatshirt is truly boxy, that’s for sure. For me, I’d definitely say its more of a Sweatpants Sunday at home kinda look, rather than something I’d wear to work. In hindsight, the glitter vinyl was a bad move for many reasons – it makes it look a bit like a Christmas jumper, and, as I discovered when taking these photos, if my hair is hanging down in front of me it catches and snags on the rough glitter vinyl. Awesome.
Sewing is sort of happening again. I’ve made me and the husbeast an Inside-Outside Pouch each, to keep crafty things in, which I really enjoyed. I’ve got a turtleneck Kielo that’s almost finished – it just needs the hem and cuffs whizzing through the coverstitch – so I might finish that off and see if the ‘quick win’ rush spurs me on to anything else. I’ve started sewing the Neptune Tee from See Kate Sew (okay, so only the sleeves so far, but I’ve MADE A START), and I cut out and even started sewing a summer dress pattern with some tie-dye rayon I’ve been dying to use. So, nothing major, but I’m pleased to report that there has at least been developments. I’ve just finished off *another* pair of knitted socks, too (and I have two more pairs lined up – I’m properly addicted 🤪) and I’m making damn good progress on the absolutely savage fifteen inches of stockinette for the body of my Sorrel Sweater.
I also really want to make a start on my Skyline Quilt… but yeah. That ain’t happened yet. One thing at a time 😂
Anyway. Enjoy these pictures of me nerding out in my Central Perk sweatshirt, and if you have any pattern recommendations for sweatshirts that don’t have a ridiculously wide neck opening – lemme know!
Happy Sunday ✌🏻
Next week on the blog – I managed to get a Grainline Scout Tee out of a metre of Liberty fabric that I scored in the sale, and I’m pretty happy about it 🙌🏻 Oh! And it seems to be Me Made May as well, so let’s talk about that too 😆 Subscribe below to have the post drop straight into your inbox 🙌🏻