Beth from Sew DIY released her Ali sweatshirt today, which I had fun testing back in July with a team of other lovely sewists. It was great seeing the different versions everyone came up with!
I’ve tested a few different patterns for a few different designers now, and the usual criteria for me is (assuming I get picked to test in the first place): is it something I was thinking about sewing anyway and/or is it something that excites me? The Ali sweatshirt is the sort of garment that does get me excited: I love an oversized sweater, I love a drop shoulder element and I have TONS of knits that were perfect for this project.The Ali is a cropped sweatshirt that features a distinct shoulder yoke, which offers tons of colour-blocking possibilities, and wide dolman sleeves. There’s both a crew neck and scoop neck version, as well as two lengths of sleeves. The main adjustment Beth made since testing is to narrow the sleeve slightly – they’re still plenty wide though! I made a size L with the scoop neck and full-length sleeves, even though my lower measurements suggested an XL and I like the fit.
In my opinion, the sweatshirt has a very 80s feel to it and I decided that this lightning bolt mélange grey fabric from Swafing would be perfect for that retro Flashdance vibe. It has a good thickness and is brushed on the inside – so cosy!! I used a darker and thinner sweat fabric from Jumping June textiles to contrast.
One of the beauties of this sweater is what a fast sew it is. Beth’s instructions are excellent (especially for the beginner) and she suggests several ways to stitch the sweater seams using a serger or regular machine. I used a serger for the entire construction, and decided to try out a reverse coverstitch for the sleeve detail. My coverstitch machine was brand new at the time and I was pretty pleased with the results! There are lots of topstitching tips for all machines though, so don’t worry if you don’t have a coverstitch machine.
My only adjustment was to remove two inches from the length of the sleeves, which is not unusual for me. I will check the sleeve adjustments Beth made on my next version, but my only planned further change would be to have the yoke end a little further up my arm. The style is intentionally oversized and it took me a moment to get used to the wide sleeves, but I’ve worn this sweatshirt tons as the length and style make it a great all-rounder. It can look sporty, but also works well with high-waisted skirts and jeans. I definitely plan to make another for autumn/winter.
The Ali sweatshirt is available from the Sew DIY shop for 15% off with the code ALISWEATSHIRTLAUNCH until Sept 16th, so get in now if you like the look of it!