Go Hawks!

Seahawks hoodie at Pine Lake

If you’ve been to Seattle recently (especially sometime around February 2, 2014), you’ve probably noticed that the Seahawks are kind of a big deal right now. That’s not always been the case, and I admit that I haven’t closely followed football until last season, but I definitely get emotionally invested in the games now.

Last year, during the playoff game against the Saints, I was chatting with one of my friends over Facebook while we watched the game together. I noticed the cheerleaders had these really cool ombre (white to navy blue  to neon green) jackets they were wearing, and I commented to her that I wanted to make one of those. Granted, I can’t even find a picture of it, and they don’t just sell fabric like that, so I’d have to make my own. My friend keeps telling me that dyeing fabric is really easy, and I’m sure it is, but I’d probably find a way of messing it up. (I’m not quite ready for that stress yet).

I stewed on the idea for a bit, then thought, I could color block. Color blocking is easy. I’ve not actually done color blocking before, but I’ve looked at enough tutorials that the process made sense to me. I roughed out a design for a hoodie that would include the Seahawks feather motif color blocked onto the front and back of the sweatshirt. Other fans might notice what it is, so I wanted to make it look a little more obvious, without embroidering the logo or team name to the garment. I toyed with the idea of appliqueing the logo onto the hood in the same way they’re printed onto the helmets, and decided against it because it would be a lot of work to get everything lined up evenly. I settled on appliqueing just the eye portion of the logo on the hood instead of the whole thing.

Close up of Hawk eye on hood

I’ve been talking about making this hoodie for pretty much all summer and just recently got around to doing it. Another friend mentioned that Hancock Fabrics was having a huge fleece sale last week, so I popped down there and picked up the solids colors I needed for only $4/yd or so. I didn’t really want to make the hoodie in glacier fleece (because it doesn’t have the right feel I want, and it’s bulky), but this was my back-up in case I couldn’t find the colors I needed in sweatshirt fleece.

After shopping online earlier, and then stopping by a couple other stores, I couldn’t find the sweatshirt fleece I needed (well, Pacific Fabrics had a huge roll of white sweatshirt fleece and ribbing in a multitude of colors, but no sweatshirt fleece in the navy or green I needed). I even considered buying a couple plain sweatshirts and cannibalizing them, but that was a no go, as well. Thankfully, I had the glacier fleece as a back-up, and that’s what I ended up working with.

When I was creating my design, I was hoping I could find a basic pattern for a set-in sleeve hoodie, but apparently, none of the Big4 pattern companies have one right now. The closest I found was a raglan sleeve hoodie from McCall’s, and even attempted to convert it to a set-in sleeve pattern using another pull-over sweatshirt pattern I picked up to make pull-overs for my husband. It might have worked, I don’t know, because when I went to map out the sections for color blocking, the adjusted pattern wasn’t big enough for the top of the feather. After resizing the motif ever-so-slightly, it was small enough that it fit on the raglan sleeve pattern, so I stuck with the original pattern design without any alterations.

Back view

Color blocking really isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. It’s a lot of work. For the back, the front, and even the pockets, I had to cut out three different pieces of fabric, and then stitch them all together to make the entire piece for the front, back, and pocket. I top-stitched the blue part of the color blocks to secure the seam allowance on the inside, as well as giving it a nice detail.

And lastly, before I could actually start sewing, I had to applique the “eye” onto the hood. I haven’t done any applique since the Unicorn Quilt, and even then, I wasn’t actually doing the applique stitching, which I had only done with the Pinky Pie experiment I tried a while back. It’s not that hard, actually. And between color blocking and the applique, I think I leveled up my sewing skills. I probably used a heavier stabilizer than I needed, but it did the job it needed to, even if it was kind of a pain to remove after.

After all that prep work was done, I could finally start sewing the hoodie together. This is a pretty nice pattern for a basic raglan sweatshirt. It includes pattern pieces of the hem and sleeve bands, so if you wanted to use ribbing instead, you could omit those altogether. Sewing through several layers of glacial fleece was kind of annoying some places (still not as bad as sewing with faux fur), so I kind of wish I had searched harder for the sweatshirt fleece. Oh, and glacier fleece is pretty linty. I think I managed to get the bigger chunks off before I took pictures, but it was all over the place while I was sewing it, so I’ll probably need to dust out the sewing machine and serger later.

It came together pretty simply. I had enough green fabric left over from the tiny amount I needed in the eye, that I used that for inside the hood as a cool contrast. This was also the first time I had inserted a separating zipper, and it was a lot less drama than inserting an invisible zipper (which is what I like for my dresses and skirts). There’s a facing for the zipper inside the sweatshirt that the pattern recommends you hand-stitch down. I actually hand-stitched it down in this case, because the idea of sewing through four layers of fleece was unappealing, but if you had a fabric that wasn’t as bulky, you could probably sew it down following the same top-stitch line made earlier along the edge of the zipper.

Front view

In the end, I’m pretty happy with it. It fits fine (I made the small size, but probably should have graded the bottom to a medium, or mid-way between a small and medium) and I definitely recommend this pattern to anyone who wanted to make a cool hoodie (especially now that fall is settling in).

Also, this month (September) was National Sewing Month, and this is all I had time for. At least I managed to squeak something in!

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