I have been looking for a decent boys pattern for a while. I'm not quite advanced enough to start drafting things myself, but while I work at getting to that level I wanted to make some clothes as presents for little fellas that I know. I found this pattern slightly randomly - Shelly from Patterns by Figgys was taking the same one day online class from Craftypod as me, and I started having a browse around her blog and then her shop.
The pattern came really quickly, considering it was from the States, and was beautifully packaged. The pattern and instruction booklet were in an envelope, which in turn was in a sturdy plastic bag with a resealable top, which meant when I had traced the pattern pieces off onto greaseproof paper I could keep them safely with the pattern in the plastic bag. Hurrah!
I got on OK tracing the pattern off, although I think there were some blips in the printing, as some of the patterned lines for the different sizes were wrong. I wanted to do a dummy run first, so I decided to make a hoodie for Munchkin out of some cotton / linen blend I'd had sitting in a drawer. Although it's marketed as a boy pattern, it works just as well for girls.
It took me a while to put together, and there was a bit of seam ripping and re-pinning going on. This was partly due to my lack of experience (it's rated three and a half thimbles, which would make it intermediate), and also partly because of a lack of diagrams in the instructions. Although I must admit, I am a diagrammy person, and ideally I like photos of each individual step so I know that what I'm doing looks right, so I think for a slightly more experienced sewer the instructions would be fine.
I really struggled with the facing on the neck, and had to email Patterns by Figgys for help (and Karen and Shelly replied very promptly, thank you!) and eventually I got grandma pickledweasel to show me what to do. I got there, but the end result looks terrible on the inside. I'm going to do a practice sample of the neck again before I make it as a present so that I can get it right. Fortunately Munchkin is not remotely bothered about neck facings and their neatness, so I've got away with it :)
The USP of the pattern is the seams. Karen, who helped create the pattern with Shelly, has a super-sensitive son who doesn't like scratchy clothing, so all of the seams are enclosed in some way. I found that this made for some pretty bulky sewing at times, especially when hemming the sleeves and main body of the hoodie, as the arms and sides have french seams. It does look very neat though. I especially liked the yokes on the shoulders - you sew the shoulder seams wrong sides facing and then top stitch the yokes on, which keeps everything smooth. Definitely a technique I'd use again.
I think I'll make a few adjustments when I next use the pattern. The sizing isn't very generous - I made the 2/3 for Munchkin, and I'd say she'll only get one summer's wear out of it, even though she's only 23 months (and an average 23 months at that, she's no giant). One way round that would be to have basic seams instead of french ones. That way you'd gain a bit more room across the chest and on the arms. I'd like it longer in the body too. I'm going to unpick the bottom hem and sew on an extra band of fabric just so it comes to below Munchkin's crotch. The hood is mahoooosive! It really is huge, and I think it makes the rest of the hoodie look out of proportion, especially with it being a bit short in the body. I'll do a bit of a Frankenstein and use the hood from Heidiandfinns' pattern instead, which is still quite generous, but much more in proportion.
Obviously Munchkin's little photo shoot isn't really representative of the context it's meant to be worn in.... you'll have to imagine her running round a beach with a spade in her hand and the sun shining rather than standing on a windowsill with a woolly polo neck underneath :)