Thursday, August 30, 2012

Luka Hoodie: Disaster Averted (Mostly)

This month's SFB sewalong pattern at Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy was the Luka Hoodie, notably labeled as an "advanced" pattern. I don't really think it required advanced skills so much as advanced reading comprehension. Or maybe it should have just been labeled, "Don't undertake while you have small children crawling on you, pulling on your legs and crying while you're trying to understand the directions."

Luka hoodie--it almost killed me

At first I was excited about this pattern (even though the temp is still in the 90s here), imagining what nice soft knits I'd make it in. Then I read the pattern and saw it calls for wovens because it's not meant for stretchy fabric. Huh. That is not at all what I envision when I think of a hoodie. But, ok.... So, I decided to use some fabric that Will had picked out back when I bought the Backyard Michael Miller fabric for his Henry shirt. Prior to actually making that shirt, I thought I might actually make TWO Henry shirts. Bwa,ha,ha,ha! Anyway, Will's selection was a construction-themed yardage, and of course, I knew he'd say "red" if I asked him what color he wanted to go with it, so I got some burgundy corduroy from JoAnn's--the closest I could find to red. I actually really like how the color combo turned out.

So, why this thing almost killed me.... I was doing fine with this pattern, even thinking, "This isn't so bad, it must just be "advanced" because it has so many parts....." until I got to the the step just after  the front panels are sewn to the front and the lining. I read the directions (maybe not well? I'm still not sure because I still don't know exactly what the directions were saying to do in this part), and sewed from the end of my arm to the bottom of the hoodie, rt arm lining to rt arm lining and rt front arm to rt front arm. That made sense to me since that's how I've sewn jackets with lining before. I then sewed the other side incorrectly (the arm to front panel instead of to itself--who would have gussed they would match up exactly in length??). So I had to rip that out, but then got all 4 arms/sides sewed up successfully. And moved on to the next step, and couldn't make heads or tails of it. Then realized that I'd screwed something up in the previous step and wasn't supposed to sew all those arms/sides down. Hmmmm.... I thought, well, no matter. I'll just sew up the bottom and leave a hole for turning and topstitch it shut. I pin it all around as a test, and it seems like my idea will work. So I do that, and then spend a good 10-15 minutes pulling all the hoodie through my tiny hole only to realize it wasn't going to work. Because it was already sewn together at the hood, the hoodie looked like it was eating itself like an ouroboros. Arugh!


So, I was forced to get out the seam ripper and tear the bottom out. After pondering on it for a night, trying to figure out how I could avoid seam ripping out all those side seams I'd put in (it probably would have been easier, but I have some mental block about seam ripping, it seems), I realized I could just turn everything right side out properly and then put a band around the bottom to finish it and just turn the sleeves up and topstitch them together like I'd done for the boys' blazers.

So, I made some not-bias double-fold bias strips, and added that. I figured a little extra length wouldn't hurt anyway, since the SFB patterns tend to run so short. I then decided to add the same bands to the sleeve ends as well for a bit of contrast. They were a major pain to get sewn on since the fabric had no stretch and the band was 3/4" wide. I accidentally caught both sides of the sleeve several times and had to rip. Don't look at the inside of the bottom hem--I fouled up which side to sew on first, and ended up with my stitching showing through on the lining side--arrgh! But, as per usual, no seam ripping. I don't care enough and just wanted to get done already. But hey, the plus to  adding the bottom bands was that I did manage to make my own alteration, when I hadn't been able to think of anything. Lemons into lemonade?

So, I finally got it done with one day to spare. I really like how the whole thing turned out ultimately, though I don't like how it made me feel toward the end there. :-) I tried to make covered buttons--I mean, I did actually make some--but they were too small for this (I was just using some I had on hand from the thrift store), so I didn't use them and instead remembered these cute car buttons I'd gotten a while back. I thought they matched the wheeled-theme of the novelty fabric well.

Car buttons

I am pretty happy with how it looks, though Bil and I agree that if I did another one, it would look better to do the sleeves in the main fabric too and leave the novelty fabric just on the pocket and the hood. Time will only tell if Will will like it. He told me I needed to take off the car buttons because he didn't like the colors and wanted just red cars.

Secret pocket

Hoodie detail

How does it feel to wear a hoodie when it's 90 degrees out?
The expression you get when you bribe your child to wear a hoodie when it's 90 degrees out.

In all, I'd say I don't think this pattern is hard; I think the instructions are just not written very clearly, especially for joining everything together. Even after re-reading several times (AFTER I realized I'd screwed up), I still couldn't figure out what they were talking about. Maybe the authors will issue a revised few steps in the errata section now that they've heard the directions are less than clear. I think pretty much everyone is having the same problems. I know there were at least a couple of actual mistakes I noticed in the directions, which Stacey listed in her blog post.

Found a treasure in the yard
Found a treasure in the yard!
What should I do with this?
Hmmm....what should I do with this?
I know--the the secret pocket
I know--the secret pocket!


  1. I need to make this. I have had the book since it first came out and haven't made a thing. Tsk. Tsk.

  2. I think it turned out great Gina. And the extra band at the bottom looks great! I was feeling the same thing while sewing until I got to the lining origami. This really is the advanced step and I think it's very hard to explain.

  3. You did very well! I am quite a few months behind the sew a long errrm about 6 lol not sure if I will attempt the Luca after reading everyone's troubles, although my son was looking over my shoulder and asked for a jumper like that, so you also have my 5yr olds approval. Happy sewing!