Thursday, December 17, 2020

Hoodie Challenge - Garment Designer

Anyone else lose their sewing motivation during this Covid-19 quarantining, self isolation, social distancing, etc.?

An email with this message revived my sewing interest.

Design Challenge: Hoodies Anyone?

“Our first challenge is to invite our users to make a garment using the Hood as found in Garment Designer.”

 I have owned Garment Designer (GD) pattern drafting software for about 6 years.  I attended a fabulous GD workshop in New Mexico a couple years, but have not used it much since. I had to search for the software CD and security hasp to load it on my current laptop. 

Software Website: Cochenille


 Hoods have never been on my radar.  I am not a fan because when worn up, they block my peripheral vision.  Give me a hat anytime.  But that said, it was interesting to learn about hoods. How they are considered to be a "collar".  And how to  measure yourself and draft a hood based on your head width and height,  as explained very clearly in these YouTube videos from Diane Denzel

Pattern a Basic Hood

 Hood Pattern with Modifications

I was actually surprised at the wide variety of hood shapes. From basic (looks like a monk's hood) to the close fitting, multi seamed shapes of performance outerwear, and the unique but bazaar hoods of designer Issey Miyake.   Part of my reason for reviewing hood drafting methods was to compare them to the hood options in GD so I understood the drafting rules, ease etc.  used by the software. 

Though I found some fabulous, hooded garment as inspirations, I had to choose one that was draftable based on my GD skills, and sewable by the Challenge due date.  Here is the photo of the inspiration garment.

Hoodie inspiration photo

 It is a slightly flared, long cardigan, with a wide center band that starts at the hem and extends up the front and becomes the front section of the hood.  When the hood is down, the band is like a big lapel that goes over the shoulder.   The back, front and sleeves were easy to draft in GD, but I did have to manipulate the default hood pattern shape to factor in the band, and add the band piece itself using the Shape feature.  I have included a picture of the GD pattern which includes information that other users can use to draft their own version.  I know I really appreciate finding GD tips and patterns on the internet. 

Garment Designer Hoodie Pattern

The wide front band of this cardigan is a wonderful place for embellishment or color blocking. 


I chose to embellish it with appliques made from the same fabric, but with the wrong side (fuzzy) up to create tonal, textural contrast. I cut circles and donut shapes and applied fusible web to the back/ smooth side of the shapes.  These were ironed to the front band.

The fabric I used is “Sage Mock-Bamboo 10 Ounce Sweatshirt Fleece Knit” of .95 rayon .5 spandex from  Nick of Time Fabric This fabric was wonderfully thick, soft and drapey.  I like to sew knit garments, made from “new to me” patterns, on the sewing machine to test the fit before serging.  This fabric was not fun to sew on the sewing machine.  It did not feed well because of the thickness and stretchiness. It was a dream to sew on the serger. 

 Yesterday it was so dark and rainy, the light sensor on the outside Christmas lights turned them on at 2 PM,  thinking it was dusk.  Depressing.  But today it is crisp and clear  and perfect for a few outdoor pictures. 

Hoodie - drafted in Garment Designer software


Thursday, December 3, 2020

Sewing for Others - Scrubs

As I sew more for others, my respect for custom clothiers increases. My clients are family members who are naively confident in my skills. Another reason to love them!  But to work with  paying clients, each with  a different body shape, fashion taste, and fit preference would be so stressful.

N, one of the future DILs (daughter-in-law), asked me to make her some scrubs for her birthday.  When she is working at the hospital, she must wear the scrubs in the specified color of her department.  But when working in the offsite locations affiliated with the hospital, she can wear her own. I said yes and was quite proud of myself for having snagged a bunch of scrub patterns off the ASG giveaway table last year.  “Aha, I thought, a chance to sew simple styles in cute cotton prints.”  Wrong!

Scrub Patterns

 She showed me pictures on the internet of the type of scrubs she wanted.  Um, not even close in style to the patterns and the fabrics were all poly spandex  blends.

Inspo Pics

I was taking my mom to medical appointments at the time and  while waiting for the Dr.,  Mom and I  took the opportunity to look at and discuss the scrubs the nurses were wearing.  We also asked the nurses what they liked and disliked about their scrubs. They were happy to chat. Comfort and pockets were the most important features.  

Like all of us, N has her own unique body shape.  She is young and fit (daily boot camp style fitness workouts every morning at 6 AM), with a proportionally small waist, a flat tummy, and curvy derriere. The opposite, in all areas, of the body I normally sew for. I have a large waist, curved tummy, and a flat butt.

To avert the fitting confidence paralysis I was starting to feel,  I asked her to loan me her favorite, best fitting scrubs.   I decided to copy the RTW scrub  top and bottom.  The top was a V neck tunic with princess seams extending into pockets. It had bands at the neckline and pocket openings that were  sewn and turned to the outside to provided a neat, clean finish.

Scrub Top 1

 The top was easy to copy by laying it out flat on paper and using a spiked tracing wheel to transfer the seam lines to the paper.  The pants had an elastic back waistband, a flat front waistband and a drawstring. The elastic waistband and stretch fabric made the pants difficult to lay flat  and copy.  I gave up on that  and used a similar pant pattern, modifying the back for a curvy backside as per a great article  in Threads Magazine, Issue 143-July 2009 "Improve the Bottom Line" (adjust your pants pattern to fit a shapely derriere) by Adrena Johnson. Unfortunately, this article is not available online.  There is an article in the most recent issue of Threads Magazine, Issue 212- January 2021  "Fit the Seat of Your Pants" by Vanessa Nirode with similar information.

I took N to Jo-Ann's Fabrics to pick out fabrics.  She had never been in a fabric store. It was an interesting to experience a total newbie's  visit to a fabric store. Her observations about seeing only fabric, no finished garments on display. How hard is was to choose the appropriate fabric. The long line to the cutting table,  of appropriately distanced customers, each with carts of different fabric.  And the conversation with the cutter, all numbers and units of measure. 

For Scrubs #1 she picked out a poly spandex  print for the top and a black poly spandex double knit for the bottom .  

Scrub Top#1

 The fabrics for Scrubs #2 were three colors of poly spandex double knit. The top was color blocked with banded trim on the sleeve’s neckline and yokes.  When worn, the the sleeves looked like they were raglan sleeves, but on closer inspection they were not. I will remember this trick as inset sleeves fit me better than raglan sleeves, but I like the look of raglan sleeves for casual tops.   I used the  pattern for Scrub top 1, but eliminated the  princess seams, and  made  patterns for the yokes, the shaped trim pieces, and the pockets.

Scrub Top #2

N was delighted by both pairs of scrubs and received many nice comments when she wore them.  And  I got an opportunity to practice my fitting skills.