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Made by a Fabricista: Christmas Cords and Cozy Hoodies

Merry Christmas!  It's pretty fun that I get to share my projects for December on this day!  From my family to yours, I hope you have a wonderful day and I hope there's some good food and company in store for you.

In keeping with the coziness of this season, I chose two fabrics to work with.  A purple poly heathered activewear knit and this "Whisper White" corduroy.

First up is the heathered knit.  It sold out unfortunately, but definitely check out the other activewear fabrics.  Fabric Mart often has a lot of Polartec this time of year, and these heavier weight poly knits like this cornflower blue double faced Polartec knit would do great for the project that I chose for my fabric.

Seam finish inspiration in weird places


Whenever I start a project, I always look at a fabric and think about what it can do and how I can maximize that.

In the case of this knit, it has some good body and I remembered a seam finish I had seen in all places in a doctor's office elevator.  There I was minding my own business, and I noticed the hoodie on a man with us in the elevator.  The seams were all sewn, then topstitched on the outside of the garment.  It caught my eye because it was rough, it was textural, and there was a comfortable casualness to it.

I know, it's totally weird that I noticed a seam finish in such a place, but there you go.  I'm pretty sure you've done it too!  I promise I tried not to stare, but I did file away that idea for another day.

And wouldn't you know, this knit was just the right one for it.  On to the pattern.

Ottobre 2-2017-8 sweatshirt dress

Ottobre is one of my favorite resources for good solid basics that have a little twist to them.  In this case, this pattern is a basic sweatshirt hoodie dress, but there's princess lines in it that end in deep cozy pockets.

My daughter always wonders why anyone would ever want to make anything without pockets, so this passes her test!


The hood is gloriously cozy as it crosses over at center front.  In windy Colorado, that extra little bit of warmth is a welcome relief!


I didn't have quite enough fabric to make the hood outright, so I ended up doing some creative piecing.  I had this purple star print French terry in my stash which has a similar weight and nearly identical stretch, so I knew they would play well together.


I lined the hood with the same star print as well as the pockets.  In keeping with the raw seam finishes, I made the pocket edges raw as well.

How to make a raw seam allowance finish on the outside of a garment


For the raw finish, first you sew the seams wrong sides together.

After that, press the seam to one side and topstitch the seam down in the middle of whatever your seam allowance is.  I used 3/8" seams here, so half that.  You could sew really close to the edge, but you'll miss the extra bit of fabric that's giving the seam finish it's rough look.



If you don't like this, you can always sew your fabric right sides together as you would normally.  This is a great finish for any heavier weight knits that might be bulky on the inside of your garment otherwise.

Just be careful to use this type of finish on a knit that is stable or with moderate stretch and good recovery.  Whenever you're thinking about doing a different sort of seam finish like this, do a test on some scraps and see what you like!

Blank canvas corduroy jeans



I really do love corduroy jeans.  Corduroy is one of the nicest things to wear in cool weather.  It's so soft and velvety and much less rigid than denim.

Like I said earlier, I'm always thinking about what I can do to a fabric.  While this whisper white is some pretty jazzy corduroy, I've been dreaming about ombre dyeing a pair of pants for months now.

I started with Jalie 2908 and sewed it as is, though I added a little bit more flare to the leg because then I can wear all the wool socks under my cords!

The corduroy itself is 97% cotton and 3% Lycra, so I knew it would take to dye like a champion.  Here's how the ombre dye went down.

Ombre dyeing corduroy


It's always a question you have to answer when you dye--do I dye the yardage or the finished garment.  In this case, I went for the latter so that the dye would be consistent across the legs.  It'd be nearly impossible to dye the yardage and then cut in such a way to get such an even look.  You'd end up dyeing a lot more and wasting more of that dyed fabric!

First, you soak the jeans in a solution of soda ash and water.  1 cup of soda ash + 1 gallon of water makes for the pre-dye.  The soda ash helps fix the dye to the fabric.  I've dyed fabric with and without it, and dyed fabric is definitely more vibrant with it.  And if you ever ice dye fabric, soda ash will become your new BFF for all the crystal clear effects it helps create!

After that, I added a good amount of water to my dye pot and 1 cup of salt plus a squirt of dish soap.  Both these additives help the dye get into the fabric more readily and keep the color even.

I'll note that my dye pot is nothing fancy, just a really big aluminum stock pot that's just for nefarious crafting purposes.

After bringing the water to a boil, I weighed out my Procion MX dye in Coral Pink with the help of this dye calculator from Dharma Trading.  I love these dyes because they work in cold water as well as hot, and there's so many beautiful colors.


When you ombre dye, you want to divide the dye amount into batches.  Start with just a little bit in the water.  If you add the dye all at once, you risk getting the lightest colors in the gradation too saturated.

I kept the top of the pants un dyed and then visually divided the pants.  The lightest color goes all the way to the top of the pockets.  After this, I draped the pants over a small ladder, added more dye, then dipped the pants stopping at the bottom of the pockets.


In total I did about 6 dye additions, concentrating the most dye at the hems.  You could choose to go the opposite way or dye from the middle outwards.  There's no wrong way here!


And since I had leftover dye, I froze it in ice cubes and did a quick ice dye on this French terry Jalie 2805 tee that I added a zip to.  If I had been thinking, I would have diluted some of the cubes for even more color variation.  Next time!




So that's how I approached these lovely fabrics.  And now I'm curious--what's the weirdest place you've gotten inspiration for a sewing project?

Until February,

~Elizabeth of Elizabeth Made This
Sew something creative

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