Last month I tested the Visby Henley by Itch to Stitch Patterns and it has quickly becoming one of my favorite top patterns of all time. I think everyone needs a raglan top pattern that fits well, and mine is the Visby. This month I used the Visby to create this one of a kind sweatshirt, complete with a separating zipper, pockets, and modified hood.
I’ve been dreaming of this project for several months, actually. It’s so good to get it out of my head and to finally have it in my hands! I’ve had this floral rayon/poly/lycra french terry in my stash for over a year. It was originally going to be a dress, but then I had a better idea… Why not make a zipped hoodie? I realized this fabric was a little too flimsy to hold up a zipper so I would have to line it.
This blush single brushed poly from Surge Fabric Shop matched perfectly! It was January, and I still hadn’t decided on a pattern or hardware. I found my metal separating zipper at Hobby Lobby and the flat hoodie string at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco.
The part that kept me from starting on the project was the pattern, though. I wasn’t in the mood to purchase and muslin and fit a new zipped hoodie pattern. Since I had just made the Visby, I remembered that it already had a hood, sleeve bands and a waistband.
Size Up the T-Shirt Pattern
If you decide to use a TNT t-shirt pattern for a hoodie, the first thing you need to remember is to SIZE UP your pattern pieces. This is really easy to do with a multi-size pattern. Let’s say your t-shirt was a size 12, you would want to use the size 14 or 16 for your hoodie, depending on how loose you want it to be. Fabric choice would obviously play a role here.
Since I had made some shoulder and length adjustments to my Visby, I didn’t really want to go back to the original pattern and cut out 1 size larger. If you are in a similar situation, you can learn to GRADE UP the pattern. I took the grading class on Craftsy where I learned how to grade my pattern up, 1/4″. For the Visby, that ended up being about 1 1/2 sizes bigger than my original t-shirt. It was super simple, and didn’t take longer than a 1/2 hour to complete.
If you are at the upper or lower end of the size ranges in most patterns, I highly recommend taking the class: Create any Size: Pattern Grading for Sewers on Craftsy.com. The information is so valuable and it really helps you appreciate what pattern designers go through when making multi-size patterns for the masses.
Make Room for a Separating Zipper
Altering a pattern to include room for a front separating zipper is really simple. Taking your Front Bodice pattern piece, add 1/2″ to center front and instead of cutting it on the fold, you cut 2 bodice pieces – one left and one right. That’s it!
If you need a visual, here’s a quick video:
The Visby does not come with a kangaroo pocket, so I used my own kangaroo pocket pattern – click here for the free pattern piece. It’s drafted for small hands. Make sure you download it and open it in Adobe, not in Chrome. Ask me how I know that is a problem…my pocket didn’t print to scale and so it is a little smaller than I would like. Oops! Not worth fixing though…I can fit my hands inside if I think hard about it.
This next part is important: add 1/2″ to center front of the kangaroo pattern (just as you did with the bodice front) so that you can cut a left and a right side with room for a zipper. I used my tutorial to construct the kangaroo pocket to my left and right bodice pieces. I did not finish the bottom edge. Instead I lined it up with the bottom edge of my bodice. The bodice gets sewn to the waistband, which will finish those edges.
Metal zippers are among my favorite types of zippers. For a hoodie, you need a separating zipper that runs the entire length of the bodice. I always buy my metals zippers longer than I need because I can shorten them. Plus, all of the fun zippers seem to be available in lengths 24″ and above.
My big tips for installing a zipper are:
- Line up the bottom stop of the zipper 1/4″ away from the bottom edge of your hoodie.
- Line up your zipper along center front and mark the position of the neckline seam allowance right on the zipper. My seam allowance is 3/8″. Grab a pair of pliers and remove all of the zipper teeth from the seam line to the edge of the fabric, and then keep going another 3/8″ beyond the top edge of the neckline.
- Fold over your zipper so that top edge of the zipper is facing the armscye and you make a triangle shape. Pin this in place.
- Now stitch the zipper, as you would for a hoodie, about 1/4″ away from the outer edge of the zipper. I use a jeans needle for this step, because the zipper is beefy and it needs a tough and sharp needle to pierce all the way through 2 layers of zipper without bending. To ensure that your needle doesn’t break under the bulk, STITCH SLOWLY at the top and the bottom of the zipper.
- Trim the excess off the zipper. Fold the zipper over to the right side and topstitch it in place on the right side.
- After you attach the hood to the neckline, you can cover the seam with 1/4-3/8″ twill tape or knit bias tape. This will hide that ‘triangle’ fold at the top of the zipper and make for a very professional finish. You can see the exposed twill tape in the photo below.
The Visby is a lined hood pattern, meaning that the seamstress cuts 2 hoods and sews them right sides together. I don’t like my lining to be visible from the edge of the hood, so I altered the pattern. I extended the outer hood 3/4″ so that the hood and the hood lining come together behind the drawstring casing. I’m really pleased with how I was able to execute this design detail. It’s pretty simple to change but you have to double check your math.
A little something about the lining…the fabric is a single brushed poly. I knew if I lined the hood with it, it would probably make my hair a staticky mess. Instead, the hood lining has the wrong side (the smooth side) of the fabric out. This should cut down on any static.
I used a reverse coverstitch for some decorative topstitching on my hoodie in light grey. The eyelets for the hoodie string are from Joann Fabrics.
I hope you were able to pick up a few tips on my garment construction of this hoodie. I love everything about my new hoodie! I hope you can see how fun it is to hack a pattern you own to fit your own needs and personal tastes. (And this jacket is oh, so me…I do love a happy floral!)
If you’re interested, check out my other Visby Top here.
- I used my Itch to Stitch affiliate link in this post.