Monthly Meissner Sewing Project: The Sweatshirt
July 12th, 2024

Monthly Meissner Sewing Project: The Sweatshirt

July 12th, 2024

Monthly Meissner Sewing Project: The Sweatshirt

After getting some requests for beginning garment sewing projects, I looked all over the internet for some simple patterns. Even though it is the middle of summer, and a heat-wave no less, my lizard brain decided a sweatshirt would be a great project for July. I ended up using the instructions from a free Mood pattern, but made my own pattern for the garment itself---purely because I am insanely particular about how I want things to fit and I like adjusting patterns. If you read that last line and went “woah, what happened to this being a beginner project?” fear not—I’m including the original Mood pattern here as well, and you can absolutely use that one without making any changes.

The main things I changed from the original Mood pattern were the length of the sweater, the width, and the number of pieces for the sleeves. The original pattern calls for three sleeve pieces, but I prefer less seams, so I made them into one sleeve piece that had less fullness. I also make the collar/neckline piece a little longer to make it more of a mock-neck, because I like being extra cozy.

For This Project You Will Need:

For This Project You Will Need:

Janome 4120 QDC-G Sewing & Quilting Machine

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Baby Lock Accolade 8-Thread Serger

Getting Started:

Getting Started:

Getting Started:

Always start by washing your fabric when sewing garments. Once I had done that, I laid out my fabric, folded in half, and laid my fabric pieces out. You always want to do this with the wrong sides facing out, so you’re tracing on the yucky side. For this project, however, both sides of the fabric I used were exactly the same, so it didn’t matter much. Make sure your pattern pieces that say “cut on the fold” are lined up along the fold, otherwise you’ll end up with a big ol’ seam where you don’t want one. When laying out your pieces, also be sure you’re paying attention to the direction of stretch, if you chose a stretch fleece for this. Mine was a two way stretch, meaning it only stretched horizontally, but not vertically. I made sure to lay my pieces so that when put all together, the garment would be able to stretch wider, not longer.

I cut out my pieces and left a ½” seam allowance. The standard for garment sewing is often 5/8”, and the pattern for this project says 3/8”. I find those seam allowances personally offensive since I am absolutely dreadful at math, so I usually will go with a nice ½” seam allowance.
Serging:

Serging:

Serging:

With the pieces cut out, the next step would be to serge all of the raw edges. Honestly, with the way this material was, I probably could have skipped this step; it was not fraying at all. However, I decided to go ahead and serge anyway for longevity’s sake. If you do not have a serger, but want the edges finished, you have two options. One is that some machines have an “overlock” stitch. It won’t be as clean and strong as if you had actually overlocked your edges, but it will still do the job! You would set your machine to that stitch and use an overlock foot. If you don’t have that stitch either, you can simply zig-zag stitch along your edges, as close to the edge as you can. This will prevent any fraying from spreading past your zig-zag line, and help keep the garment from falling apart.

For the cuffs, neckline, and hem of this project, I folded all of my trim pieces in half (the way they’d be on the finished garment) and serged them while folded. This makes it so you have one serged edge rather than two when you’re putting your garment together, which makes things a bit tidier.

You generally want to serge your pieces first, and then put everything together. I decided to stitch up most of my seams first and then serge, just so the seams were encased in the overlocking to make it a bit tidier. I would recommend just serging all of your individual pieces first, though, if you’re new to garment sewing just to keep things simple.

Stitching:

Stitching:

Stitching:

Since this is stretch fabric, you either want to use a stretch stitch, or a narrow zig-zag stitch. This makes it so when your fabric stretches, it doesn’t pop your seams.

I started by matching shoulder seams, and stitching those.

Then, I did my side-seams.
I then stitched up the sleeve seams, and added the cuffs to the ends.

With the sleeves done, I could place them inside the armscye (fun garment term for arm-hole!) and stitch that together.
Sleeves are usually the trickiest thing for people who are new to garment sewing. My best advice is to line it all up, and pin the absolute daylights out of it. You want to turn the torso of your garment inside-out, then with your sleeve right-side out, insert the sleeve into the torso through the armscye.

(if the bottom of your sleeve hangs out of the bottom like this, and you see that the sleeve portion is right-side out, you’ve done it correctly!)

When sewing a sleeve, note that the longer, rounded edge is the top of your sleeve. If you used the Mood pattern for this project, you’ll see that there are three sleeve pieces. The “F” piece will be the top of the sleeve, and the seam between E and G will be the bottom of the sleeve.

With that done, the last bits that need to be sewn on are the neckline trim and the trim for the hem of the sweatshirt. For the neckline, folded my trim in half so that the folded edge was the finished edge of the garment, and lined up the serged edges of the neckline to the trim. I lined up and pinned my shoulder seams to my side seams of the trim first, to make sure that everything was even before I pinned the rest of the neckline.

Slide trim piece into neck hole

Line up serged edges

Pin and stitch
For the hem of the sweatshirt, I lined up my side seams, pinned, and stitched at ½” just like I did for everything else.

Pin the hem trim piece to the serge hem of the sweatshirt, and stitch
Top Stitching (optional Step)

Top Stitching (optional Step)

Top Stitching (optional Step)

The very last step is top-stitching. This is optional! When I look at the inside of my garment, now, there’s all of these chunky seam-allowances where we sewed our trim. You can leave this if you want, but I find that it’s more comfortable and lays flatter and nicer when it’s been top stitched down. Basically, you’re laying the seam allowances out flat, and then stitching them flat onto the garment. This keeps them from flopping around, and also keeps the garment from looking too bulky at the seams. Generally you’ll want to stitch your seam allowance at 1/8” for this part.

(this is how your seams should be pressed out)
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Press Seams, and turn right side-out!

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All done!