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All the Cozy Things: Bess Top Sweatshirt

A cultivated winter wardrobe has always eluded me. Every since I've started actually giving thought to my style, and how that influences the clothes I make, I've realized that I love my summer and fall style but winter just has me defaulting to jeans and basic sweaters. It's not super inspiring, and winter is definitely a season where I could use a little extra inspiration and excitement!


So this year I've set out to carefully create the perfect fashionable sweatsuit. Not J-Lo 90s velour style, but something that looks like I actually got dressed for the day when in fact I'm wearing something akin to pajamas.


I'm still working on the pants. I'm not much a leggings person so I'm picturing a bunch of Hudson Pants in a thick, but not sloppy, knit. If you have a source for such a magical fabric then send it my way!



My most recent sweatshirt make is a hacked Bess Top and I'm in love. I made one other Bess (pattern by Imagine Gnats) early in my clothes sewing career and it was "eh" at best. All my fault. I didn't choose the right fabric for my style. I somehow cut off too much at the bottom when hemming it. I messed up the neck finish. I think I wore it twice. I knew I wanted to revisit the pattern in a knit some day though.


When playing around with ideas for new sweatshirts I realized that the details were going to be important. Hem finishes, sleeve finishes, necklines, etc. were all little things that would take it from being a boring sweatshirt to a fancy sweatshirt. I love the little pleat on each shoulder that the Bess offers. Of course I lost it a little bit on one side but the effect is still there. Next time I'll baste more before serging.



I did make a few changes to the pattern:


-I cut and sewed my regular size. Usually if you're sewing a pattern meant for wovens in a knit you go down at least a size, if not two, but I wanted this delightfully baggy.

-I added sleeves. These are simple pieces that look a bit like a trapezoid. I had them end a few inches below my elbow. I don't love shirts that go all the way to my wrist. They are often too short or, when I add length, become awkwardly long. I haven't found the goldlilocks sleeve length yet, so cropped sleeve it is.

-I added a 1.5" cuff to the sleeves and 1.5" band to the neckline. I messed up the seam location on the neckband so it's not matching up with the shoulder seams on the shirt. This bugs the hell out of me but I'm not taking the band off so hopefully it will be out of sight, out of mind.

-I made the hem curved and hi-low. I am nearly certain that I added length in order to do this, but I can't find my pattern pieces at the moment so I'm not entirely sure.



Did you know it's really hard to get a photo of the side view of a shirt? I must have taken 20 photos with my hand in various palces just to show it's shorter in the front than in the back!

The fabric is the Lodge Terry Knit Light Grey from Hart's Fabric. This is actually the wrong side AND it's cut in the wrong direction. When I got the fabric I didn't feel like the right side of the Herringbone looked distinct enough and that it was a little too sweatshirt-y, while the wrong side had an awesome texture with the loops. Of course I wanted the herringbone pattern to go the opposite way than the stretch, which for a tighter fitting shirt would have been a disaster. Luckily this one has enough ease that the stretch direction didn't matter at all.


It should have been a quick sew but I sewed EVERY. SINGLE. SEAM. WRONG. sometimes twice. My brain knew that I wanted the wrong side facing out but I would get in the flow and put the real right sides together every single time. It's actually amazing this sweatshirt exists and I didn't throw it away half way through!



This sweatshirt will definitely be one I make again (if I can unearth those pattern pieces). I'm really into the mod look from the front. Maybe it's the wide neckband? Either way I feel both put together AND wrapped in a blanket when I wear it. Win- win. Now on to find the perfect pants fabric!


Any put together sweatsuit patterns you'd suggest?


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