I’ve always wanted to be a pattern tester, and last month I got my chance. I’ve been a follower of The Dreamstress (Leimomi) for several years, and I love the detailed research she puts into her blog posts. When she did a call out for pattern testers for a casual pattern for her Scroop line, I jumped on the opportunity and was excited to be chosen. Then March got crazy busy, Denver Fabrics took forever to ship my order, I had work trips to Montana and Iowa almost back-to-back, and I worried I wasn’t going to be able to pull it off. I was determined to uphold my commitment, however, so in a narrow window between plane flights and baking a special birthday cake…
I got to work and made it happen. Well – I didn’t get the drawstring threaded through, and it’s missing some top-stitching, but it got close enough to done to give my feedback to Leimomi.
Having really paid attention to the instructions, drafting, pdf, etc, I have a lot of confidence recommending this pattern to others. Of course I have to say that I used the test version, not the final version, but I’m sure whatever tweaks Leimomi has made to the final has made it even better. I followed my measurements and the size chart, grading as usual between a smaller size at the bust and a larger size at the hips, and the fit was exactly right. The instructions note that the pattern is intended to fit snugly at the hips and with a little extra ease at the bust, and that’s exactly how mine fits.
Besides grading between sizes, I didn’t make any fit adjustments. Maybe I could have tried a swayback adjustment, as I often seem to need in my clothes, but I’m not going to obsess on that kind of thing for a casual knit garment.
One nice detail I liked in this pattern is that she provides instructions for finishing the zipper seam allowances and neckline seam allowance with twill tape. This makes for a really neat finish – at least in theory. I tried to get this to work, but after repeated attempts and unpicking I’ve given up. It’s not the method or instructions that are to blame, but rather my fabric and possibly my sewing machine. My main fabric is a little flimsy for a hoodie, and it didn’t stand up well to topstitching. My machine also struggled with the layers when topstitching the twill tape. You have to stitch over the twill tape, the zipper tape, your main fabric, and various points where seams intersect and add extra bulk around the pockets. My main material kept getting dragged by the movement of layers since it’s not beefy enough to hold its ground, and as a result the stripes would get pulled up or down by the topstitching. You can see this in the photo below.
I haven’t decided whether or not I can live with this. Do I go back and unpick the stitching for the fourth or fifth time? Do I try to hand stitch instead? I like the hoodie, but it bugs me that this cheap fabric is really dragging it down, literally. After washing it, I also noticed weird pulling around the zipper. Either the fabric or the zipper tape shrunk in the wash, evidently.
I also made the mistake of using some cheap metal eyelets on the hood, and then fouled up the process for inserting those. I tried to redo with some heavier duty eyelets, but I really think this is more than my lightweight fabric can take, even with interfacing behind it.
Right now, this project is crumpled up in the corner, waiting for me to either summon up enough patience to fix all the problems or give up on it entirely. I truly hate to throw projects away, but I’m not sure if this one is worth saving. We’ll see.