My Lady Skater Hack: Hoodie Style

Bird and Bicycle in lady skater pattern hack

I am very proud of a recent make for myself and felt like I would quickly write down my process for adding a hood to a knit dress. It all comes from this picture I saw on twitter by KirstyTeaCat one night, and I knew I had to have a hoodie dress. I took a screen capture, added it to my pinterest, and daydreamed about it. It is Butterick 4416, and likely hard to find although I didn’t even look.

Awesome butterick pattern inspiration

Next came a Curvy Collective Facebook Event. I wanted to attend the Very Curvy Sewing Celebration and Melizza and I had made a sewing date (kinda on accident on the same day.) We both decided we would focus and whip up a new dress to celebrate! I had two evenings to make a dress. I had to choose something I had already fit so it came down to the Lady Skater or the Myrtle. I love them both so much! My husband advised me well and I choose the pattern that I knew needed no alterations. The Lady Skater is such an easy fun pattern! I love it! So I cut it out of a stash black sweater knit with tan hearts that I am sure was from FabricMart in 2012 maybe? Or before?

Melizza PincushionTreats and Bird and Bicycle celebrating a Very Curvy Sewing Celebration

Before I decided to add a hood, I decided to play with the neckline. I raised the back neckline a bit, maybe 2″ and the front about 1.5″, redrawing the curve of the front and back bodice pieces. I sewed it all together with my serger, a little top stitching on the shoulders (reinforced with clear elastic) and I followed Gillian’s advice and used the gathering stitch on the bottom skirt to make the hem easier. I finished the cuffs with the hearts backwards on purpose because all the hearts are upside down and I wanted to look at some of them right side up. Call me whacky, but I like it. I also made the sleeves extra long and the cuffs actually cover my knuckles when pulled down all the way.

I was looking at the neckline and thinking about what to do. I googled “lady skater hacks” and found some brilliant alterations. Heather had added pleats, and some other people had added color blocks and all types of things. Then I suddenly remembered the hoodie knit dress and ba-bam! I made one.

I have been making t-shirts with hoods for my son and his pals lately, and I have sewn hoodies before, so the general shape and construction is known to me. It is not that complicated, but if you haven’t done it before maybe find a google video to watch first.

I measured my neckline so I would know how long to make the hood, and drew a rough sketch. I knew that I needed a large piece that would connect to the front of the bodice because it was still a scoop neck shape. You can just barely see the small pencil line that marks my shoulder seam. I came up with this:

Hood Pattern

I drew a giant circle, added the front scoop piece, and wished myself good luck. I cut the fabric and serged the two hood halves together. Then I finished the front edge of the hood with my coverstitch. I marked with a pin the shoulder seam (I had measured it and knew it was 5.5″ inches from the center back) and pinned it. Then I pinned it right sides together all around the neckline. I serged the hood to the neckline, and tried it on. It was darn near perfect! I was worried about stability, so I also coverstitched the hood seam to the body of the dress, keeping that seam flat.

I love how it came out! I will be pattern hacking a Comino Cap Dress skirt to the Lady Skater bodice with my drafted hood next, although who knows what whacky decisions I may do next!

Lady Skater with Hood by Bird and Bicycle

If you are nervous about drawing your own hood shape, maybe you can trace a hood pattern you already have (I love the hood from the Jalie hoodie!) and measure the neckline, and then add you own additional front piece to give it extra drape if you need more length. Ask me any questions if you have them!

 

Bird and Bicycle in lady skater pattern hack

Happy New Year!

You may have seen this already, as I tend to share my makes on twitter and instragram frequently, but I am very proud of this quick tree skirt I whipped up. I rarely appliqué or quilt, and found it to be easy because I choose to ignore perfection and focus on fun. And who doesn’t love Elf? I am pretty sure it’s my favorite holiday movie. You can make one too, so easily! Check out A Little Gray tutorial here. I made the center hole for the tree much larger, to fit around my tree holder better, so I suggest measuring that first to get your base correct. Otherwise, it’s simply fabulous.

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Arctic Puffin is not a penguin.
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“Bye Buddy! Hope you find your Dad!” – Mr. Narwhal

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I have been in a sewing funk for a month or so. In early November, I sewed my butt off making my husband three shirts for his birthday. Two reflective, sweat wicking awesome cycling shirts and one a color blocked wool sweater. I forgot to blog them, and now it’s too cold for him to wear them. Then I struggled with the Bronte top and the Bonnie sweater, and while eventually I felt I had perfected the fit after three or four muslins, I now feel I need to start over. I learned a lot, working on figuring out sway back and petite shoulder adjustments. I guess I get frustrated because I do often seek a perfect fit, and I just can’t seem to get it with some patterns. Not every pattern is made for every shape I know, but I love me some sweaters. I will struggle again with the Bonnie, just not right now.

I have been enjoying my family and doing many other wonderful projects. I painted and handmade ornaments which I was lucky to be able to afford to mail to some sewing pals. I made lavender sachets from lavender I grew and harvested. I baked my head off, making ninja cookies for my Ninjago loving son. I spent energy making Christmas a magical experience, and my son found himself very lucky to have family around so much and we had many great adventures together this December. I love my boys, my husband and son. But I needed some time for me, so Monday I downloaded a new audio book I have been on the wait list forever from the library, and started and finished two Lady Skaters from some stash fabric. I do like making the same pattern a few times. It’s easy production to do the same thing twice, and even better when you get to use the same thread.

The first is a heart fabric that a few other sewcialists have also used. I love it! It came out sweet with the 3/4 sleeves. I am going to go try and find a wide black belt to break up the pattern a bit, but it’s adorable. I was worried it was too “childish” but my husband said fashion now consists of adorable plush foxes and stars on leggings so this would fit right in.

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The second is a herringbone sweater knit from my stash from a few years back. I had loved it instantly but never knew what to make. I am thrilled with the results and feel like I could wear this to even a professional setting. AND my happy holiday gift to myself was new Merrell boots for wearing with leggings and dresses so you can bet my next project will be Cake’s Espresso Leggings!

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These dresses I finished last night, after a lovely girl’s night out at Lombardi’s in Everett. My friend Rachel is starting her very own farm on Camano Island! I love to hear about her adventures. If you are interested in small, one woman farms, starting from scratch, check out her blog Camano Island Harvest.

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve and my baby and I have big plans. I am letting him watch the Lego Movie with Emmett today, and though I may regret it, everything is truly awesome, everything is cool when you’re part of a team.

Love,

MaLora
Co-Captain, Team Erickson

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PS: Here are some of my christmas makes, most unrelated to sewing.

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Lady Skater

When I first saw Katie’s lady skater I wanted one. As in, I need this! so, now, months later, I have one of my very own! The fabric isn’t identical to Katie’s but pretty dang close with a pale pink background. I am one step closer to creating a wardrobe appropriate to be in The Misfits!

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The dress was an easy make, maybe too easy?! I haven’t used clear elastic around a waist before and frankly, I dislike it. I am curious to see how it holds up over time. I didn’t realize the pattern repeat was so very obvious until I took these pictures.

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If I make this again, I will raise the waistline and lengthen the skirt. I will also not at all use cotton interlock. I made one from cotton interlock, after this cute leopard print one, and the darn fabric was frankly, sucked.

Recently a friend, a professional costumer, mentioned something about me and technical knowledge and drape and all I can remember exactly was that I need to learn how to drape muslins on myself as fit that way. So, instead of my usual nip tuck, I ignored all previous ideas about what I thought my “body fit” is and instead just sewed a muslin with almost no flat pattern alterations. All formal like, I basted and measured and tucked and took it apart and put it back together and carefully measured again and again. I was able to use the same fabric for three muslins because I just kept taking in and in and in. So who knew I had such a weird body?

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Does anyone else take your body measurements and then consider health? I have had back problems off and on my whole life. I have to alter all patterns with a sway back of at least 2″, and shrink the shoulders/sleeve height down usually about 1.5″ and what does this say about bone structure? I won’t deny the advantages. Lacking height in my shoulders makes my bosom look nice and perky when in fact, I am just short! Ha!

Sewing this up taught me a great deal about shoulder fit. And I can now take what I have learned and alter other patterns easily. In fact, doing this helped me understand what was wrong with my Ziggi moto jacket! So hopefully I can find some time to work on that this winter.

I don’t know if I particularly like the lady skater, but I drafted a great t-shirt from it, and learned so much sewing it, that I am very pleased. I do think this is a fantastic beginner knit dress, and would look better on people with longer bodies/more waist than me. I am forever learning about sewing. So my hobby keeps me in a whirlwind of pride and humility, discovery and challenge. It’s the ideal craft for me! But what about you? Have you been successfully challenged by your own crafts lately?

It took me far too long to post about this dress, and I have already made another one. I find they can be casual as in the above pictures, with flip flops, or more dressy, for the ever attractive date nights. Mojito, anyone?

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