Sweatshirts are a staple in many people’s wardrobes – they’re comfortable, versatile, and perfect for casual days. But have you ever considered making your own sweatshirt? Sewing your own sweatshirt allows you to customize the fit, color, and style to your liking. In this blog post, we’ll explore three different types of sweatshirts that you can easily sew at home – a fleece full-zip hoodie, a velour quarter-zip pullover, and a cozy crewneck sweatshirt. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced seamstress, these sweatshirt patterns are simple to follow and will result in a stylish and comfortable addition to your wardrobe. So grab your sewing machine and let’s get started!
For 2 of my makes, I will be using Silhouette Patterns #820 – Brenda’s Hoodie. This pattern is simple to use, and has built-in bust sizes, which saves a lot of time since there is no need to make small or full bust adjustments. I will be using a fleece from JoAnn Fabrics, cotton ribbing from Etsy, as well as a velour knit from Silhouette Patterns as well. For the 3rd sweatshirt, I’ll be using a pattern I cloned from my one of my favorite ready-to-wear sweatshirts.
For the first two sweatshirts, I made different versions of Silhouette Patterns #820 – Brenda’s Hoodie. I really liked the raglan sleeves and princess seamlines of this pattern. Peggy Sagers of Silhouette Patterns designed the pattern based on a North Face design, and I love the details – the slanted pockets, the hood, etc.. Since I hadn’t made this pattern before, I decided to use up some fleece from my stash and make a muslin. I had some scraps of the exact same luxe fleece from JoAnn that I would be making my finished garment from, so that would really give me a good idea of how my final sweatshirt was going to fit.
After checking out my stash, I realized I didn’t have enough of one color to make most pieces of this pattern, so I did something a little bit crazy (and time consuming) and patched up what I had, resulting in a crazy color-blocked sweatshirt. For the fit-testing, I didn’t cut out the hood, cuffs or bottom bands. I ended up taking in the circumference from the bust down all around the bodice just a bit. Otherwise, I was really happy with the fit, and it was time to take the changes to the tissue so I could move on to my final garment.
Next, it was time to cut out the patterned fleece. I chose this fleece from JoAnn’s “Luxe Fleece” line. I had used it before and was really happy with it. It washed up well, had a nice heft to it, and hadn’t pilled, so I was excited about using it again. I chose a large-scale print that could either pass for a Southwestern print, something Alpine/Nordic, or something in between. Once I got the fabric home, though, I noticed that fabric placement was going to be tricky. Here is a photo illustrating what I’m talking about… :l
Not only was the pattern going to dictate where I placed the center bodice piece, but it was also going to involve some major pattern-matching work. While I knew it was time to lay out the pattern pieces on my fabric, I was totally procrastinating. I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous about this step! There was a strong pattern running through this fabric, and I had never successfully done this before. I was beginning to think I had bitten off more than I could chew. I also realized that I hadn’t bought any extra fabric to accommodate all the pattern-matching I’d have to do, so I knew I was in for a challenging game of fabric Tetris. All said and done, I persisted and I’m totally glad I did. I love the way this turned out, and all the pattern-matching trouble was worth it. Will I ever make a pattern with this many seams using a large-scale print again? No way. But do I have any regrets about all the work that went into this though? No.
One change I made to this pattern on this version was that I omitted the neckline zipper. I tried it on and decided that I was able to pull it overhead easily enough so I just kept the hood. I also made the sleeves with a heavy cotton ribbing for the under-part of the sleeves to cut down on bulk, and I’m really happy with the way that came out. I copied this feature from my favorite Lululemon sweatshirt, and I love the way the cotton gives the sweatshirt some extra breathability and subtle color-blocking detail. I added a couple of steps that the pattern didn’t have to give the hoodie a cleaner finish on the inside. I used black fold-over elastic to enclose the seam allowance around the neckline and down the center of the inside of the hood. I was really happy with the way this finished the look.
After wearing it on a couple of ski trips, I found the thickness of the fleece made it difficult to take on and off, so I decided to add a full-length zipper after all. These are the photos after I installed the zipper. I chose a heavy duty, two-way, metal zipper. By two-way, I mean that it opens both at the top and the bottom. I would have preferred the feel of a plastic zipper in the cold temps, but I liked the rustic appeal of the nickel zipper, and added a zipper pull from REI that really finished the look nicely. I also think the black zipper tape gives a really slimming vertical focal point down the center of the busy printed fabric. I’m super happy with this make! It’s kept me really snug and warm on several ski trips now!
The second sweatshirt I made with the same Silhouette Patterns Brenda’s Hoodie pattern. This time I used a black poly/cotton velour from the Silhouette Patterns fabric shop. I decided to put a quarter zip on this one and make it a pullover. The fabric sewed up nicely, although I had wished it was a bit softer. The zipper installation was a little scary, having never installed a quarter-zip. You have to cut the zipper opening into the fabric, but I just followed the instructions and I ended up happy with the results. I also used an REI zipper pull that gave it a finished look. I was also really happy with how the hood turned out, using the same technique to enclose the seam allowances with fold-over elastic around the neckline and down the center of the hood.
I ended up having some critiques about the fabric on this one. For velour, it has a stiff nap- meaning it catches every piece of lint that floats by it. My cat Paprika is buff-colored too, so this top is never entirely lint-free, as it might show in the pictures below. One other critique I have is that despite pre-washing the fabric before sewing up the sweatshirt, it still became wavy around the zipper installation. I used double sided tape around the zipper when sewing it in, and also used fusible knit interfacing before installation, but it still ended up wavy. Despite being a fur magnet, I appreciate this sweatshirt for its lighter weight, and it will come in handy for the mild winters now that I live in the desert.
The third sweatshirt I made was a clone of my favorite sweatshirt from H&M, as shown in the photo below. It features a tunic length, classic crew neckline, and raglan sleeves. It’s just a solid super-comfy basic in my wardrobe, so I decided to make a pattern from it. To make a clone of your favorite garment, choose a garment with simple lines, smooth it out and trace the seemliness for each section of the garment. You can use a measuring tape to confirm your tracings match the size of the original. Lastly, choose a fabric as close to the original fabric’s type, weight and stretch to be sure you will be happy with your finished garment’s fit. For more detailed instructions, be sure to check out my blog article “How to Clone Your Favorite T-shirt”.
For this sweatshirt, I decided to use some quilted Ponte de Roma fabric (from JoAnn Fabrics) from my stash for the body, and some plaid fuzzy fleece (also from JoAnn) for the arms, since my arms always seem to be my coldest body part! It came out great! As you might notice from the cover photo, I ended up adding a pouch pocket in the front since it just seemed like it needed it. Also, the Ponte was a bit thicker and less stretchy than the fleece of the original sweatshirt, so I can’t wait to try it in a lightweight cotton fleece or French terry next time. One thing I would change was the sleeves – the fleece I used had very little lengthwise stretch. I laid the sleeve pattern out against the grain to save fabric, so the sleeves ended up slightly snug. Next time I’ll account for stretch a little better!
Sewing your own sweatshirts is not only a fun and rewarding experience, but it also allows you to create unique and personalized pieces for your wardrobe. By following the patterns and tips provided in this blog post, you can easily sew three different types of sweatshirts – a fleece full-zip hoodie, a velour quarter-zip pullover, and a cozy crewneck sweatshirt. Whether you’re a seasoned seamstress or a beginner, these patterns are accessible and can be tailored to your skill level. So why not try your hand at sewing a sweatshirt today? You might just end up with a new favorite addition to your wardrobe. Happy sewing!