Hello again! In a break from my current SIEGE of Sewing Bee sewing (what have I done???), here is a post for a test I did a couple of months ago for one of my favourite pattern designers, Closet Core Patterns. As everyone knows, loungewear with a capital L has been one of the big hits of the last 12 months or so for obvious reasons. We have never lounged like we did in 2020 and, hopefully, we never will again. Nevertheless, loungewear isn’t going anywhere and Closet Core Patterns brought out two new patterns today that are destined to ramp up your cosy couture game.
The Mile End Sweatshirt and the Plateau Joggers form the Montreal collection and are on sale right now if you buy both together in a bundle. I tested the Mile End sweater and was pretty excited when I saw the name as I went to university in Mile End – however, it turns out this one is in Montreal and I went to the one in East London. Hah! Still – it was a nice connection! I actually made two different versions. The first one was a proper “test” garment and the second was because I really fancied trying one of the views. Or two of the views as it happens – it’s a bit of a mashup.
One of the ways in which Closet Core Patterns distinguish themselves from other indie pattern companies, at least in my mind, is that they always add a little “extra” to their patterns. They don’t design many total beginner patterns (although there’s no reason an adventurous beginner couldn’t work through them) and I really appreciate that. Once you get past the beginner stage and have made all your basics, that’s what you’re looking for – patterns with some extra detail and challenge. So, even though these patterns are both simple in the sense they’re loungewear, I knew when the test call came out that they would have those little extras that make Closet Core so successful.
Pattern and Sizing
The Mile End Sweatshirt comes in three different views. All of them share an oversized slouchy feel, slightly cropped length and the same interesting design lines, with a curved back yoke and side seams that extend to the front in a diagonal line. They also all have a two-piece darted sleeve, which is pretty unusual in a knit, but a typical extra Closet Core detail.
View A is a classic crewneck sweatshirt, View B is similar but with a gathered waistband and View C has a crossover neckline and hood. It was View C which drew my attention at first as I pondered how a crossover neckline and hood would work together. All three come in Closet Core’s two sizing ranges: 0-20 in a B Cup and 14-32 in the D cup range. I tested the 16 D cup version, which is almost an exact match to my measurements.
Test sweatshirt – View A
I made both my sweatshirts in French terry, which is without doubt one of my favourite fabrics. It’s relatively stable, medium-weight, usually very soft and comes in a great range of colours and prints. As you can see, I decided to go for something bold with a crimson solid and a pink and red cat-themed print for my first sweatshirt, both from Jumping June Fabrics. Yes, I said cat-themed.
As I mentioned above, the design has some really interesting features, and it makes for a pleasurable sew. First you attach the front and back, followed by the neckband, as in most sweatshirt patterns. The unusual design offers a number of chances to really make the design your own by playing with colour and print. I decided to mix it up a bit and put the print on the back (extending to the front at the sides) and the front red. This was for a few reasons, but one big one was that I know red suits me pretty well and I wasn’t so sure about the print. I also didn’t want the print to dominate. I thought it was interesting, and a little amusing that both my husband and son told me separately that I’d put my jumper on backwards after I was finished. Hah! I can see why they thought that and – I like it! – I guess it shows I did something a little unexpected, perhaps?
The sweatshirt is intended to be oversized and it is – particularly around the shoulder/area. The slight crop makes up for this and gives it some balance – it lands somewhere around high hip, which I like a lot. It’s not truly cropped, but it feels contemporary. I thought that on me the arms were possibly just a little too blousy in combination with the dropped shoulder, but it’s a matter of personal taste – and I do sometimes have that issue with a dropped shoulder in any pattern. I really, really love the darted sleeve and I just felt this cool detail was lost a little in the folds. Since I made these tests, Closet Core has slightly reduced the shoulder and sleeve for the final version, so I imagine it’s bang on the money now.
Construction is extremely well-explained as you would expect with Closet Core and I’m sure there will be all manner of supplementary posts to support the process. It all went together very well and I was particularly satisfied with how the waistband went together so nicely, given that it’s a strange shape to match up with the diagonal side seams. Very satisfying! One rather unusual step in the construction of Mile End is that the sweatshirt sleeves are set into the armholes, rather than sewn on the flat. At first I thought it was because of the two-piece and darted factor, but that is completed before you set the sleeve, so I’m not sure. I assume it’s supposed to produce a better fit, but it’s not very common from my experience, so it was interesting to try.
Second sweatshirt: View B and C mash-up
For my second sweatshirt, I wanted to explore the elements that had drawn me in the first place. The crossover neckline was the most unusual feature to my mind, so I was definitely wanting to do that with the hood. However, I had found the ease of View A slightly poofy from the side profile – not the pattern per se, but just the issue people with large busts sometimes have with boxy patterns. The cinched waistband in View B seemed to me it might help in that regard, so I decided to mash the two views together for (hopefully) the best of all worlds!
In addition, I sized down one size to the 14 this time to see what difference it made. I knew it wasn’t going to be tight, but I was interested to see if I preferred a little less ease. I’m definitely not opposed to slouchy sweaters, so I wasn’t sure. As you can see, it’s still fairly slouchy, but the gathered waistband brings this one in at the hips a little more, so it’s something to bear in mind if you are trying to decide which look is right for you.
I made this sweatshirt in two different Atelier Brunette French Terrys (Terries?) this time and it pains me (truly) to say that I know the colours don’t suit me very well. I thought they might not, and I was right, which is why I’m wearing this pop of pink/red in some of the pics to offset it a little. I love these fabrics – they’re such nice quality and the little speckles are SO cute, but the pink is too close to my skin tone and the grey makes me look like DEATH. Not my preferred look. I actually made a pair of shorts to go with it in the grey and it was just bad. This particular terry wasn’t right for the pattern anyway, but I looked like a wet weekend in Bognor Regis (no offence B-R).
Anyway, colours aside, the construction was really fun! One of my bugbears with hoodies is that often the hood is sized for the head of a man. A balding man. I have massive hair and there’s nothing more annoying than your hood slipping off every five minutes because it’s too small. Well, it seems that CCP have taken this into consideration because it was really just about right, at least for my hair. Hurrah!
The instructions for the crossover section were really clear, even thought I made a dumb error the first time. Totally my fault. I also decided to coverstitch some of the seaming with this hot pink thread and I really like the effect, It helped liven the pastels up a little and I was pretty happy with my stitching – it’s getting there! I also topstitched both sweaters along the yoke and sleeves with regular threads, as per an option in the instructions and I think this adds a nice extra touch, elevating the look.
The Atelier Brunette French Terry is fairly lightweight, and, personally, I think I wouldn’t want to use anything much more heavyweight for this view myself. I feel like it could get quite bulky with the layers and the kangaroo pocket, but your mileage may vary.
I also wanted to add a note about serging lighter weight knits. I see a lot of people get waves in their serging when they are using them and I also used to get them a lot, until I realised you could easily adjust the differential feed to offset this problem. This French Terry was a good example, so I took a couple of pics for anyone who hadn’t seen this before.
This was my first seam on this sweatshirt and this seam elicited a loud “Arrrghhhh!!” from within my body. I then turned the differential feed from 1.0 all the way up to just under 2.0 on my Brother 1034D. That is the left hand setting in the pic below. What this setting does is basically set the relationship between your two sets of feed dogs. At setting 1.0 they are moving at the same speed. For stretch fabric, you want the front feed dogs to move faster than the rear, to balance out the stretch – this is a speed ration greater than 1.0. Conversely, if you are using a lightweight woven, you may want to turn it to less than 1.0 to avoid puckering.
This resulted in perfectly straight seams with no waving. Ta-da! You might have to test your own serger to see exactly which number setting works for you, but it’s really, really simple and makes such a difference.
Anyway the rest of the construction all worked out fine and was interesting to put together. There’s no binding or facings, so you have to be a little neat and precise to get a nice finish on your fold-over seams and hems, but that is easy enough with a little care. I will confess that this time I put the sleeves in flat to see if I could discern any difference (don’t tell anyone!) and I couldn’t really, but you should use whichever method works best for you.
Overall, a solid pattern from Closet Core – and I can feel that the Plateau jogging pants (or shorts maybe – they look really cute) will be in my future. I think these patterns are going to be popular!
I’ll be back in the next couple of days with a detailed piece on my entry for the second round of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee. The challenge was create a garment and accessory from used jeans. That was quite a tall order in 6 days and there’s lots to talk about. More soon. Take care for now!