Finally, something cosy to wear while I take pictures outside! This is the Hugo hoodie, and it’s my first try at the custom-drafted free patterns from FreeSewing.Org! I wrote a whole post on the Sewcialists in December about why FreeSewing.or is great: it’s founded by Joost de Cock, an amazing male sewist and co-founder of the Sewcialists back in 2013; it’s FREE and has great design details; it’s inclusive and welcoming to sewists of any gender who want to sew any pattern; and it’s the sort of initiative I want to see more of in the sewing community!
Since it was my first time using FreeSewing patterns, I’m going to walk you through the process step by step. It wasn’t without hiccups, but I’ll definitely be using these patterns again!
First, you put in lots of measurements:
There are helpful illustrations of where to take each measurement. The only part I found tricky was guessing how much ease to build into my pattern! Next time, I’d put more room for my bust, less at my upper arm, and less additional length for my sleeve.
Then, you generate your draft, choose your paper size, and get to see a preview like this:
I think this is such a cool feature! You can see your draft overlaid with a set of standard sized drafts, and check if anything looks wrong. For example, if your sleeves was twice as long as “normal”, you’d know to check your measurements! Above, I can see that I’m wide and short (correct!), but also that the armscye and hood height as the same height as a “normal” draft, which probably means they aren’t scaled for me.
Nevertheless, I wanted to sew it as-is for a couple of reasons: this was my first FreeSewing pattern, and I wanted to know how all the seamlines matched up as drafted. I also wanted to test it thoroughly to see if it is worth making for my husband!
So how did it turn out, as drafted? Like this:
Have you ever wondered how short I am? This short! And now you know why I don’t ask my husband to take all my blog pics, because from 6′, I’m miniature!
Er, yeah. As predicted, the armscye goes down to my bustline and the sleeves are massively deep. Can you see all that fabric pooling when my arms are down? Not cute! The torso size was right though, so I couldn’t just take in the whole underarm and side seam – I needed to adjust only the arms!
Here are the changes I made as I sewed:
- took in the arms about 5″ (that’s 2.5″ off the seam) while leaving the wrists as is, because they fit fine
- curved from the new, higher underarm seam to the side seam as drafted, to effective raise the armscye
- took in all four raglan seams about 1″ (0.5″ at the seam), leaving the neckline and underarm as-is – this helped with all the extra wrinkles of fabric
- cut the neckline larger, because the hood was going to crossover 9″ at centre front, and I worried it would feel constricting
One drawback of the pdf is that the page numbers aren’t on the pages. I printed mine all out then knocked over the pile of papers… so to tape it together, I had to compare each page to the print preview on my computer and number each page myself. That wasn’t actually hard, but it was an extra step. All the pages fit together perfectly.
Quality of the Pattern:
I found this pattern quite elegantly drafted! Every single seam lined up perfectly and all the corners were cut at an angle to reduce bulk. The hood has 3-piece shaping, and although it came out way too tall, it is a more refined hood shape than what I’ve been making. The hood is lined so that all the seams are hidden, and then a seam binding cover where the hood attached to the body. The pocket is nicely shaped and finished with a facing, and it attaches on with no exposed seams. Again, much nicer than the pockets I’ve sewn on other patterns!
Instructions: I found the pattern instructions quite good. For this pattern, there is a series of short videos where Joost walks you through each step, and there are also text-only instructions on the website. It’s not as hand-hold-y as your average Indie pattern, but I learned a couple of new techniques for the seam binding and pockets, and had no trouble implementing them!
So overall, what’s my review?
What I’m happiest about is the quality of the pattern. Everything matched up, it had lovely details, and and it didn’t cut corners to be a free pattern. Go check out FreeSewing’s other patterns, and if one appeals, give it a try! I’d just suggest comparing to a TNT pattern as you go to make sure the proportions are right.
Will I make it again for myself? Maybe. Joost is looking into the coding behind the pattern to see fi it can be tweaked to give a better fit for petite sewists in the armscye and hood, and I appreciate that he was quick to respond and look into it!
(Oh, and in case you are interested, here is what I’m wearing underneath! A pair of Espresso leggings, and a Concord tee.)
I’ve already taken measurements for my husband, to try the pattern for him. He is a hard-to-fit plus size. If it works for him, I’ll also try for my dad, who I’ve only sewn once in all these years! They are both 6′ or taller, and I think the parts of this pattern that didn’t scale down to my curvy 5’2″ figure will be great on them. I’m excited about the idea of being able to print a pattern created to their measurements, which will save me lots of adjustments in the flat pattern stage.
Have I piqued your interested? I’d love to hear your thoughts, or if you’ve sewn a FreeSewing pattern before!