New Year's Sewing Resolution: May Hoodie

By Emma Jeffery

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Tools used

  • Non-stick Scissors (8")
  • Dressmaker Shears (9")
  • Cutting Mat (24" x 36")
  • Coastal Colors Acrylic Ruler (6" x 24")

Supply list

  • Sweatshirt that fits well to draw around

    Sweatshirt fabric (amount depending on size)

    Freezer paper or tracing paper

    Pencil or pen

    Hem gauge




I also wanted something a bit different to the regular sweatshirts or hoodies available in stores.

I looked around for a suitable pattern and was stumped when I couldn’t find anything that I liked. Not to be outdone however, I decided to draft my own pattern, using a sweatshirt I know fits me well. I’ve never drafted my own patterns before but I’m here to tell you, it can be done successfully, even if you’re new to it!

Tracing sweater

I began by folding my sweatshirt in half through the center, so that the side seams lay on top of each other. I then laid out a length of freezer paper onto my cutting table and placed the folded sweatshirt on top. I began by tracing around the outline with a pencil onto the freezer paper, starting with the front, then repeating the process for the back and the sleeves. Because my sweatshirt is folded in half, I am only tracing half the shape so that my pattern pieces can be laid on the fold of my fabric for symmetrical cutting. I made sure to carefully label each piece as I drew them.

Pattern outline

Tracing around the sweatshirt gives me the size I need for my finished garment, but I needed to add the seam allowance before cutting the fabric, so I went around the pattern pieces adding a ¼” allowance using my Fiskars acrylic ruler and my hem gauge around the curves.

Adding SA

I then ended up with 3 pattern pieces which included a seam allowance : front, back and sleeves.


I cut my front piece on the fold and decided that I wanted to add some colorful detail to make it more unique. I simply sewed a few contrasting stripes onto the front piece with a decorative stitching before attaching the back to the front at the shoulders and the side seams.


I knew I wanted to make a kangaroo pocket for the front of my sweater so I cut 2 rectangles of fabric (one main color and one contrast) a couple of inches shorter than the width of my front piece, and cut the top corners off at a diagonal. I sewed the two pieces together with right sides facing, leaving a 4” turning hole. I turned the pocket right sides out through the turning hole, poked out the corners and pinned it to the front of my sweatshirt. Again using a decorative stitch, I sewed the pocket to the center of the front along the top, bottom and side edges, making sure to close the turning hole with my stitching.


Next I sewed in my sleeves which I fitted into the armholes by putting in a small pleat at the shoulders and to allow for movement.


Rather than sew a hood onto my sweatshirt, I thought it would be a fun experiment to add an oversize cowl instead and I’m so glad I did as I know that my ears will be kept warm in the cooler evenings.

To make the cowl, I cut two rectangles, one in my main and one in my contrast fabric, measuring 13” x 39”. I pinned then sewed them together with right sides facing, leaving a 6” turning hole. After turning the cowl through the hole I left and squaring out the corners, I topstitched all the way around, making sure to close the turning hole as I did so.

I then pinned the cowl to the neckline, curving around the back of the neck for comfort. I tried the sweater on to get some idea about where I wanted the neck to be attached to the top and pinned it in place before sewing. I prefered the overlap flap of fabric at the side of the sweater rather than in front.

Cowl neck

I sewed two buttons and buttonholes to the cowl to join the two ends together.


To finish, I hemmed the sleeves and bottom edge by turning the fabric to the wrong side ¼” and sewing it down.

Having completed this sweater and being very happy with the results, I have carefully stored and labelled my self-drafted pattern pieces ready for the next time I want to make myself a new sweater.