Fore!

Fore!
This blog post was originally published on Fabric Mart Fabric’s Fabricista blog on May 12, 2021. I’ve included a bit of extra info and more photos here.

Last year I decided to take up golf again after playing only a handful of times over the past two decades. When I think back to what we were wore for golf when I was playing in the 90s it was basically regular street clothes – 100% cotton pants and knit or woven tops with practically no stretch. Times have changed! Golf wear is now truly athletic wear and those constricting fabrics have been replaced by technical fabrics. But RTW golf clothes are expensive, in boring colors, and the sizing isn’t always inclusive. Time to make my own.

I spent some time going through my patterns and found that I had everything I needed to make a full outfit comprised of a top, jacket, skirt, and little shorts to be worn under the skirt.

Fabrics

If you sew you know that it can be quite difficult to find technical fabric for athletic wear. A couple of months ago I discovered that Fabric Mart has an entire section of fabric suitable for athletic wear! My jacket and top patterns both have side panels/princess seams so I picked out two fabrics that would look good together.

French Wine Pink Polyester/Lycra Techno Knit is a beefy athletic wear fabric in gorgeous cherry pink. There is plenty of stretch and it’s suitable for a top, jacket, leggings or even a dress.

Powder White Nylon/Lycra Tricot Activewear Knit is lighter in weight than the Techno Knit. It drapes nicely and is almost opaque. This fabric feels like many of my summer RTW athletic tops. It would be excellent for tops and lightweight jackets, and depending on your style, for leggings or skirts.

When I received my activewear fabrics from Fabric Mart, I discovered in my stash a piece of Stretch Bengaline (purchased from Fabric Mart/Julie’s Picks last summer) and it had that same cherry pink in the print. Best of all, the bengaline has almost 50% stretch along the length of the fabric. There’s lots of bending in golf so stretch is good! I now had everything I needed for my golf wardrobe.

Patterns

I selected four patterns:

Top: Butterick 6494 – close-fitting top with raglan sleeves, front and back princess seams and a small stand collar. The pattern has long sleeves, so I cut them short to make the top suitable for summery weather. (In 2017, I made this top in French terry .)

Shorts: Kwik Sew 4044 – elastic waist capris cut to short length.

Jacket: Kwik Sew 3452 (out of print) – quarter-zip jacket with raglan sleeves, side panels and stand up collar.

Skirt: Pamela’s Patterns Magic Pencil Skirt – elastic waist skirt modified to A-line with side slits and pockets. (I wrote about this pattern in 2019 in this post.)

I was a bit concerned about the sizing of both the top and the jacket. I had made the top before so knew that it fit but wanted to ensure that any pandemic-related spread was covered so cut generous seam allowances along the side seams. For the jacket, I read several reviews that said it was ‘close-fitting’ and even the pattern envelope notes that. The seam allowances for the jacket are just 1/4″ so I doubled those and cut 1/2″ seam allowances everywhere except at the shoulders, neck and hem. As it turned out, I didn’t need the added ease on either piece. Both are generously sized. In fact, I took off all of the excess on the front of the top. It’s easier to take away than add.

The top, jacket and shorts were all cut at the same time. All three of these patterns are easy to sew and a beginner could make them with a bit of understanding of how to sew knits. The neck opening on the top is a bit fussy but not horribly so.

For the jacket and the top, I basted the side seams together to check for fit and then used my serger to stitch the seams. There is a bit of hand sewing on the collars for both of these garments.

The jacket has excellent instructions for adding a zipper. I was a bit concerned about sewing a zipper onto stretch fabric but I needn’t have been. The pink Techno Knit is very stable.  As always, every project has to have one UGH moment and this one involved the zipper. I bought a decorative zipper pull, had difficulty taking off the original pull and broke it off. So I had to unpick the zipper – topstitching and all. Through all of that, the fabric didn’t stretch and I was careful enough that there were no pulls. Like all of my mistakes, this one counts as practice. 🙄😏

The shorts are a super-fast make:  left piece, right piece, elastic. I first traced the pattern onto tracing paper and checked the fit before cutting the fabric. I am still learning about sewing bottoms with legs (i.e., not skirts) and I found that this is a good pattern to play with because there are so few pieces so adjustments to the crotch seams are visually easier to work with. Even with this step the shorts were finished in record time.

The only piece that required design adjustments was the skirt. You don’t usually think of a pencil skirt for golf, however I have sewn this pattern a couple of times and felt confident that it was a great place to start. A note that the bengaline stretched along the length of the fabric. I was careful to layout the pattern so the stretch would be around the width of my body. The fabric print is random so this worked out just fine.

To make the skirt suitable for golf I made a few simple adjustments:

  • Created an A-line shape by adding 3″ on each side seam at the hem, then drew a line tapering out from the hip to the hem.
  • When stitching down the side seam I stopped 4 1/2″ from the lower edge to allow for side slits. The hem is 1 ½” which means the slits open 3”.
  • The seam allowances on the side slits were then turned under and topstitched, and the skirt was hemmed as usual.  
  • Two pockets were added: On the upper right side there is a small 4” square pocket big enough for tees, a ball repair tool and ball marker. On the left side a larger pleated pocket holds at least a couple of golf balls.  

And just like that I have a great new golf outfit 🙂

I wore this outfit to play 18 holes while walking and pushing a cart and this outfit is definitely comfortable. It was coolish when we tee’d off (55F/12C) and by the time we came off the 18th green it was sunny and quite warm (80F/26C). The fabric wasn’t sweaty or uncomfortable, it’s designed to be worn outside when you’re moving around in all kinds of weather.

EARLY morning of golf!

The athletic knit fabrics were much easier to work with than I expected. I am now on the hunt for more patterns for golf clothes. If only it was as easy to improve my golf game as it is to sew the clothes!

P.S. I talk a bit about this project on my YouTube Channel, Janine Sews.

 Tips:

  • If you cut more than one pattern at the same time, use Painter’s tape to mark the pieces so you don’t get them mixed up. I also use Painter’s tape to mark the wrong side of the fabric when necessary.
  • A fresh rotary cutter blade makes for beautiful clean cuts on athletic knits.
  • Use a fresh needle in your machine. I used a ballpoint needle for all parts of the project.
  • If you have a serger, use it! 
  • If you do not have a serger, these fabrics can be sewn with a narrow zig zag (I use a .5mm wide x 1.6mm long stitch)
  • When working with unfamiliar fabrics, test all seams and stitches on scraps before sewing. While it’s possible to pick out stitches on knit fabrics, there is always the risk of causing a pull.

Jacket Express with Recycled Denim

Jacket Express with Recycled Denim

A couple of years ago I bought the Craftsy class on industry sewing secrets (“Sew Better Sew Faster“) taught by Janet Pray. The class came with the Jacket Express pattern from Islander Sewing Systems. I didn’t watch the class and just filed the pattern away.

My Bespoke PJs got me into Round 2 of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee. This week the challenge was to make an adult garment using ONLY recycled denim. I needed a pattern for a garment that I would actually wear on a regular basis AND said pattern needed to be comprised of many small piece. Jacket Express met the bill on the latter, and I could make a few changes to the design.

I convinced my husband to give up a couple of pairs of jeans but everything else came from the local Goodwill where I managed to find a calf-length denim dress, a pair of ladies jeans in stretch black denim and a pair of men’s jeans in size 48. The denim below is what I started with. I didn’t use the garments that are marked with red X’s.

For about an eighth of a second I considered spending time picking out the leg seams but I had enough denim so why bother. Then I set about laying out the pattern pieces so the colours would look okay. The black jeans provided just enough for the front and back side panels, the inside panel of the sleeves and the cuffs. Black is slimming, right? 🤣

Laying out the pattern

To make this wearable for me I first decided that I didn’t want the rounded collar. There’s a facing all the way around the garment so I simply drafted a piece of facing for the back neck. Then I skipped the breast pocket flaps because they would scream ‘1980s jean jacket.’ My denim was pretty heavy weight so I also left off the welt pockets as they would add bulk. This was going to be a jacket made of denim, not a jean jacket. Once all the pieces were cut I interfaced everything and it was …

Time to Sew

Although I had access to the Craftsy class (4 hours!) the instruction booklet is excellent so I didn’t bother with watching the video. I’ve attended a couple of Janet Pray’s classes at sewing events so am familiar with how to place the hands and hold the fabric so you take advantage of the feed dogs.

I put a denim needle in my machine, threaded the serger so the thread colours would work with my denim and set to work, following along with each step. The instructions are in the order needed to give a professional finish while still constructing with some speed. There is a LOT of jumping back and forth between stitching a seam on the machine, then over to the serger, then the iron, then back to the machine which now needs topstitch thread, stitching two rows and changing back to poly thread … But the results were really good right from the start so I just kept following along. All of the steps made sense, especially since there’s so much top stitching.

Pretty buttons from Fabric Mart

There was only one point when I watched the video and that was for the cuffs. The instructions in the pattern booklet were a bit of a head scratcher and since my project was completed, I’ve read several reviews that said the same thing. I managed to get them done right without any hand stitching. Actually, the only hand stitching in the whole project was slipstitching the back facing over the yoke and sewing on the shank buttons. Gotta love that!

One thing I wish I had done was use my cover stitch machine. Since I hadn’t used the pattern before I wasn’t sure if that would fit in and it definitely would. In a few cases you’re instructed to stitch just a single line of topstitching but in most cases it is two lines.

A surprise that I hadn’t considered was an interesting geometric design that appeared when I left off the breast pocket flap. The pocket is sewn to the interior of the garment (I used pockets from a pair of jeans) and then a facing is added. This meant that there was an opening that was highlighted nicely by the colour blocking.

This wasn’t supposed to look like a standard jean jacket so I added straps at the waist – you know, the kind that you can tighten up when you’re smaller and loosen up when your waist expands? I just unpicked two jeans waistbands and stitched them at the side panels. I like the look and at some point I can add another button hole to cinch the waist in a bit. 😉

Part of this contest is always going above and beyond so I considered different embellishments. My initial thought was bleach painting but the black denim just turned copper. Then I thought about machine stitching a row of leaves and adding rhinestones for flowers. In the end, I skipped all of the bling stuff because I don’t think I’d wear the jacket if it was flowery or too feminine.

One thing I’ve learned over the past few years is that I prefer simple garments without a lot of embellishment, especially for things like jackets that I’ll wear frequently. A wild print is fun for a dress or a top but all that colour and print has to be balanced with clean shapes. For this, I decided that less is more.

Several sewists I follow on Instagram have embroidered phrases and thoughts inside their garments so instead of putting a design on the outside, I used the lettering feature on my Brother PS500 and stitched a quote on the inside of the hem facing. For everyone this has been a really hard year and I wanted something quiet that would reinforce my optimism every time I put on the jacket.

Even if I knew the world would fall to pieces tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree.

Martin Luther

Once that was done and all of the necessary topstitching completed, I added the buttonholes and buttons and was done!

For the purposes of the contest, this was completed in almost exactly six days (Sunday noon through Saturday noon). Other than thrifted denim, I used interfacing, thread and buttons. (The buttons were from a big bag that I got at FabricMart in November.)

Summary

This is one of my better projects. It doesn’t feel like a jean jacket. And the interior looks good enough that I would throw it over a chair in a public place and not be worried about raw seams.

The basic construction of the jacket was far easier than I expected. The instructions are so good that I think a beginner could tackle this project. You need to be pretty present when doing the topstitching and the seam allowances aren’t large (1/4″ or 3/8″) so there isn’t much room for error.

Would I use this pattern again? Yes! Next time I would add a few inches to the length but this might be awfully nice in brocade or velvet. Hmmmm …

Free Pattern! Jalie Yoko

Free Pattern! Jalie Yoko

Yes, it’s been quite a year and I haven’t posted anything since, oh, a couple of days before the world shut down. One day let’s all plan to sit down with a glass of something and chronicle the year that was but, for now, I want to tell you about my latest make!

The Pattern

A couple of years ago, Jalie released a free sweater patterns – the Jalie Yoko. I immediately printed it out, placed the pages in a file folder and promptly forgot all about it. The pattern is described as: 

Square-shaped loose-fitting top with roll-neck, drop shoulder and semi-fitted sleeve. A cozy and versatile garment.

This pattern is free of charge! It’s sized for girls and women and you can print just one size at a time which meant I only printed 19 pages (plus instructions). Nineteen pages seems like a breeze after some of the 35-page t-shirt patterns I’ve encountered lately.

3896_4_1

Fabric

We moved late in the spring (yes, with everything going on in the world!) and I’m now in Pennsylvania where there are actual winters with snow (I am honestly thrilled!). Although I did buy some cold-weather fabrics when we lived in Atlanta, sweaters were a novelty worn only for a couple of hours on the coldest days (55F? brrrr) so I had to reign myself in when I looked at winter fabric catalogues. No more! I am enjoying looking at and seriously considering heavier and warmer fabrics and found this “Black/Lavender/Blush Mauve/Evergreen Brushed Sweater Knit” from Julie’s Picks at FabricMart Fabrics. I managed to snag the last 3 yards of it ($7.99 per yard). 👏🏻

I received the fabric in the mail around December 10th and when we got 8″ of snow last week and the temperatures fell (and stayed) well below freezing I knew it was time to sew it up. I didn’t want to make yet another Toaster Sweater so I kept digging and found this pattern. It looked easy and that’s important these days because my brain just feels foggy with the way the last 10 months have gone.

Adjustments

I had no idea how this top would fit. Reviews and photos made it look quite big so I planned to cut a smaller size at the shoulders and taper out to an AA at the waist/belly. I had forgotten that when I printed out the pattern sheets I had only selected one – AA – so that’s what I went with. As it turned out, that was the right size.

Almost the entire garment was sewn on my serger except I did use my sewing machine to baste together the neckband before attaching it to the bodice.

Speaking of the neck band, the pattern piece isn’t loose fitting like a cowl or polo neck – it’s a turtleneck and those are very uncomfortable for me. After looking at several different “turtleneck to cowl neck” tutorials online, I just decided to make my own. 

As designed, the neck band piece is a rectangle (left photo below). Just like with most knit neckbands, you stitch together the back seam, fold the band in half horizontally and stitch the band to the neck opening.

To make my adjustment I traced the existing pattern piece onto paper. Then I marked a spot 2″ wider at the top/fold of the neckband and drew a line from the stitching edge to that edge. The band folds over at the point on the left side of the pattern piece (middle photo below). This gave me a big more room around my neck and that worked just fine. It’s not a cowl but is much more comfortable than the original turtleneck.

Result

I sewed the seams on my serger and hems on my coverstitch. Oh, my coverstitch was so kind to me on this one! It worked perfectly without a single skipped stitch and no tunneling! We are truly becoming friends 🙂 

The last task was to sew the hems on the sleeves and, as noted on the pattern, the sleeves are slim. They are not tight on me but they fit. Personally, I think this gives the top more of a Ready To Wear look. Sometimes home sewn patterns have big old sleeves that could be designed to fit better.

The sleeves were very long. My arms are average length, maybe a smidge closer to long than short. I wound up taking off a good inch extra from the length of the sleeves.

I cut the top on Sunday night, sewed it Monday night and wore it Tuesday. THAT is how I like to sew! 

This isn’t a super warm sweater because it’s a bit voluminous and that means a cold wind can whip up your back, but the fabric is cosy and comfortable and I will definitely wear it a lot this winter. And now that I know how easy it is to sew this pattern, I’ll make more!