Saturday, 3 March 2018

Jasper Sweatshirt with collar fastening with epaulet and button

I had admired the styling of  both versions of the Jasper sweatshirt/dress from Paprika Patterns for a long time and finally decided I’d make the sweatshirt length with the collar and epaulet with button - view B but at view A's length.

Should I go outside to take photo?
Probably not at the moment!

I like the hood too, but would have less use for that version. Originally I was thinking of Pattern Review’s wardrobe contest but I had already abandoned that idea by the time I started.  I’d had the pattern for a long time – in fact, I discovered I had 2 copies – one from a Perfect Patterns Parcel (remember the bundles of Indies?) and one I had bought from Pattern Review. There were loads of positive reviews. I didn't read every review but it seems I should have as even some of the highly positive reviews mention some of the problems I experienced. Too late for me, though.

I bought lovely grey ‘Boucle Sweatshirt Knit Dress Fabric’ from Minerva Fabrics. I love the fabric and it sews nicely but I was thinking that perhaps it was too bulky for this design, despite fitting the criteria given in the pattern instructions. I say that because my seams are very bulky. However, I have had communication from a number of people who gave up on this pattern because of that very issue – two of them broke overlocker needles.

The pattern, in PDF form, comes in two sizes 1- 7 with B cup fitting and 7 – 10 with C cup fitting. I made size 8 on top, grading out on the hips to 9. I also made a small FBA following Paprika’s excellent online instructions for both a small and a large FBA. The top is described as close fitting and I wanted to keep that.

The pattern pieces taped together well. I had no issues with this.

I then cut out the fabric with no problem. (It’s lovely fabric!). I found the fabric quite difficult to mark and I think I could have done better in that area. I accidentally missed/lost a couple of important points and had to redo at a later point.

I quickly machine basted the main pieces (front, sides, back, sleeves) together to test for fit. At this stage, I inserted the sleeves in the round. It was fine, though too short in the body, but there is a band which could be increased if necessary.

The very first task given in the pattern instructions - well second, the first is to stay stitch neckline – is to create the welt pockets – the welt lies  between the front and the side in a princess seam and connecting tube pocket. I had rather hoped to build up to that! I’ll cut the story short and say I messed the welts up as I cut in the wrong direction and couldn’t rescue the hole or raw exposed fabric. Inexperience.
The pencil is pointing to the raw hole

My welts are also rather bowed

I was in class but tried to do this myself as the tutor was busy. Later, she tried to help me rescue it. At home, I decided I had to redo. This time I followed Paprika’s online tutorial on the welt pocket and managed okay.

Much better!

I don’t have experience of these but apparently the method is rather unusual, according to some experienced reviewers. I guess my tutor thought that, too, as she said she’d like to have another go at it. No class this week because of snow but I’ll take along the finished version for her to see – and the abandoned sweatshirt front.

The pockets work and are at nice length for me
The sweatshirt is lovely and cosy

My tutor and I both thought that there was a mistake in the pattern as the pocket pieces were much larger horizontally than the piece they were attaching to – at that stage I hadn't seen anyone mention this. However, I cut a bit off the pocket lining and this worked – but I retained the full size of the pocket self fabric. At the end the seams need graded. There are quite a few layers!

Since than,  I read a 5 star review by a reviewer who contacted Paprika about this and learned it was a mistake in the pattern in the larger sizes.  It's possible that this may have been corrected in the latest version of the pattern which came out last week.  That same person made the same observations about the pocket bottom as I did. I learned that it's not always my mistake!

I think that was the only really tricky part, really. Next was attaching sides to front – no problem – the fabric eased in beautifully. Then shoulders, then I attached sleeves flat. I had made a small increase to the biceps earlier, by the way. It was fairly straightforward after this – sides seams and sleeves joined; collar inserted (double thickness) in the round; bands (double thickness) added to sleeves and hemline in the round. Then epaulet and button. The button took me the longest as I mislaid it and took a long time to find it - right next to where it should have been all along. I had looked there several times so it must have been caught up in something. 

What did cause me problems/what don't I like?

Firstly – the seams are very bulky. Very very bulky in parts. Grading only helps a bit. In one part, I’m convinced I was told to grade in the wrong way as the fabric wants to lie with the graded layers exposed. Unfortunately, I carried out the instructions as advised.  I have seen now online a number of people complaining about this and some who have abandoned the project after breaking overlocker needles.

On a side note – this is why I talk about my failures and like to read reviews both positive and negative – if I had read that, I might not have made this sweatshirt. It’s only as I’ve mentioned on IG or FB or via DM that others have said – oh that happened to me too etc. Apparently, there are many better patterns around – I saw Jalie mentioned a lot.

There is some mention in the pattern instructions of topstitching the seams flat but a warning that this might make the fabric too stiff. I didn’t but may have to. I’ll see what happens in the wearing.

The other bit that caused me a problem was that the pocket lining and pocket, which extends across the front as a tube from princess seam to princess seam, is longer than the sweatshirt body.
This is the tube pocket from the inside
Tube pocket from inside - bottom covers the start of the band

There is no mention at all in the instructions as to what you should do with this. I chose to ignore it and carry on attaching the band. Others cut to the same length (shortening pocket – I need the length) – but I’m not sure whether they then sewed in or left loose. If loose, it might as well have been the same length as mine. If sewn in – oh the bulk!!!! What I’ve ended up with is a loose tube across the inside of the sweatshirt. I reckon it will be unnoticeable in wear though I might find it a bit tricky to put on. Only time will tell! I don’t think I’ll really use the pocket, in any case

Looking inside a pocket


Okay – I love the appearance of the finished garment. I rather like the slimmer fit and don’t think it’s too short. The pattern is for 5’7” and I’m 5’11” but no lengthening of sleeves or body was required. I’m sure it will be worn, and I think it is a little more stylish than some of the other sweatshirts I have. I’m concerned as to how well it will last. My clothes generally last a long time. This though?

I don’t love the inside finish. That might not be too important to some but it is to me – especially when I show to my sewing tutor! I’m concerned, though, that the sweatshirt might wear less well. The biggest issue is really with the bands - I feel they might have been attached differently to avoid this issue. There are 3 layers of fabric here and it becomes quite thick. This is where I thought I had chosen my fabric unwisely (even though it seemed to match criteria perfectly) – however, two others who made this, and who had used thinner fabric than advised, still had problems and broken overlocker needles.

I don’t think I’ll sew this again. I’d have to find a better way of making the pockets and attaching the bands. Maybe the bands need to be in a different, finer fabric - or I could just have hems.

I'm hoping to get this photographed tomorrow. It's bright enough in all the snow. The sweatshirt is warm and cosy

Sorry, I copped out of an outdoor shot today. It's still snowing on and off .
I took the bulk of the photos on the other side of this glass, inside the conservatory


  1. Your top came out beautifully in spite of all the trials in getting it there. I live in N Fl & don't have much need for sweatshirts else I'd be tempted to buy this pattern as it's a princess seam, I've found those work the best for my somewhat hourglass shape. I also like the funnel neck style.
    I'm sorry you had such a time putting this top together but it really does look very nice & your pockets came out great. I've haven't tried a welt style pocket yet and am rather wary of doing so even though they are on a pair of slacks I want to make. I guess your never too old to try something new (I'll be 60 in August) & want to try this soon.
    I hope your snow melts soon cause spring is on the way we're covered in pollen here.
    Becca G

    1. Thank you, Becca. The top looks good and feels comfy. Like you, I prefer a princess seam- but this one is really too far to the side (from the pattern, not due to my FBA). The welt was a little tricky - practice before you try it on your trousers (I should have practised first!!). This is my first in earnest - I'm a few years older than you btw.
      We have early spring flowers here already - just some very late snow because of the 'Beast from The East'. It's still snowing but forecast suggests gone by a couple of days.Fingers crossed!

  2. I've had this pattern in my queue for a while now so thank you for this review! It looks so good on you, I'll probably still make it but I may single sew the bands then fold over and hand stitch rather than risk my needles. (fortunately, I enjoy hand sewing) Oh, and thanks for mentioning your height -- at 5'8" I won't have to make my usual adjustments. -- Tanya

    1. Thanks, Tanya. No, your usual adjustments for height won't be required! Good luck with your make and let me see it when you have finished.

  3. Your sweatshirt came out great and looks so good on you. All that hard work paid off nicely. Your review is wonderfully thorough. I've always been intrigued by this pattern, but your review shows it may be beyond my skill set with the odd directions.

    1. Thank you, Catherine. Following the online tutorial to the letter fit me through the pockets which is the number 1 thing which attracted me (even as a no-pocket person!). I assume the sizing error will not have been rectified. I had an old version of the pattern and the new one has just been released. The collar is easy so no problem there. I can't comment on the hood version.

  4. Anne, though you had issues with this pattern, I think it turned out nicely. Your review on PR was most helpful and like the details on this post very much.

    1. Thanks, Linda. I do like the sweatshirt, especially the pockets (even though I'm not usually a pocket person), now that it's finished.

  5. Well despite all of the angst and faffing with bulk, instruction problems and so on, I think the end product looks really good Anne. I'm so with you on wanting it to look nice on the inside too though. We live and learn eh?

    1. Thanks, Diane - indeed! I do like it.

  6. Agree with Diane G here - and yes, it is nice to have a good inside as well. However, I have found I can turn a blind eye to imperfections sometimes, because I also think it is good to test a garments/fabrics performance for future reference. A case of cognition rules here!

    1. Thanks, Sarah Liz. I'm not so much sure it's an imperfection, in that there is nothing 'wrong' with leaving this type of fabric with unfinished edges - just that it would definitely look nicer with.

  7. This is a gorgeous sweatshirt in spite of all your issues with it. ah well, no one will notice. It is a terific look for you. I miss bundling up in cool weather. :-)

    1. Thanks, Mary. I'm glad it isn't very cold that often! Our weather doesn't have extremes so I pretty much wear the same clothes all year around with minimal change.


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