In my last post I talked about the Capsule Contest from Made for Mermaids and Patterns for Pirates. I am preparing all my pieces now for the fall contest and decided this time to make them all maternity friendly since I have ZERO maternity clothes. And will need them very soon. I thought ahead to nursing and tried to pick things that would work postpartum also. The Claire definitely checks both boxes, and I have already made a couple. But more on that later….first, I’ll share a quick tutorial on one piece I made for my capsule!

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I saw a shirt on pinterest that looked like the coziest wrap hoodie and knew I could recreate the look with the Mama Claire from Made for Mermaids. Hoodies are perfect for Ireland since they are #1. warm and #2. help keep the drizzle off of me. It’s not really rain here…Florida rains. It just sort of mists at you and if you’re like me and have big hair once it gets slightly humid out, a hood comes in handy.

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I chose some sparkly sweater knit from Dress Fabrics. First, I cut 2 2″ tall bands from the full width of the fabric to ensure I’d have long pieces for the new neckband piece that would incorporate the hood. I wasn’t sure how long they would need to be yet and didn’t want to run out of long strips. Next, I cut out all the pieces I would normally need for the Mama Claire, plus a hood.

For the hood, I chose a crossover hood I had in my pattern stash (I used the riviera raglan crossover hood from New Horizons). I will explain later how I trimmed it to fit the Claire. Any oversized hood will work. You can always trim it down later on in construction.

Start with preparing the hood. You will need to attach the hood sides together along the center seam. I chose to do a french seam so that there wouldn’t be a serged edge visible when the hood was down. Start with fabric WRONG sides together, sew, trim the seam. Then press it with fabric RIGHT sides together and sew again to encase the raw edge (There’s videos available out there if that’s not making sense…or feel free to ask me for help!). I topstitched that seam down as well, but purely optional. **You could also just do a fully lined hood or line the whole thing for extra coziness, no bands, and lots of warmth! Kelly over at onwednesdayswesew.com did exactly that.  Just double your pieces and use the bottom band to attach it all after you flip right sides out.

Next, I sewed the shoulder seams together for the bodice like the pattern has you do first, and pressed them towards the back.

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I then found the center of the back, matched it with the center seam of my hoodie, and pinned it around. I checked fit and thought the hoodie needed to have a little less….so this is the shape I ended up with.

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You could easily use the Henley or Slim Fit Raglan hood from Patterns for Pirates with the slight modification shown and it will get you to the same shape!

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I didn’t stretch the hood as I pinned, and also made sure that it came around in the front to stop in the same place on each side. Go ahead and sew the hoodie onto the bodice now.

(apparently I stopped documenting every step right here)

(I used a serger for construction, but you could also use a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine–this is my favorite setting for sewing stretchy knits on my sewing machine)

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Next, the band. I measured the length from one end of the bodice crossover, around the hood, to the other end. Mine for size purple was 66″…I multiplied that by .9 to calculate the band length. Usually for neckbands I use .8 or .85 depending on the stretch of the fabric, but I went with .9 because I wanted a looser more relaxed feel. Thankfully, I didn’t need to join two pieces together because my fabric was wide enough to get it out of one piece. If it wasn’t, I would have divided that measurement in half, added .25 for seam allowance, and serged two long pieces together.

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To attach the band, I found the center and pinned it to the center seam of the hood (if you have two pieces joined together, you’d want to match that seam here). I then continued to pin around the hood without stretching my band at all. When I got to the seam to the bodice, I pinned at each end, found the center, and pinned again so that it stretched through the bodice piece. Attach the band, nice and slowly. Lots of pins. Then, press the seam allowance in and away from the band. You can topstitch if you’d like, but I didn’t.

The rest, you sew up just like the pattern says. Attach sleeves, sew sides, hem or attach a bottom band. I went ahead and centered the seam of the bodice band on the back instead of the side since this Claire is most definitely not reversible….unless you’re into the hood over the face look. I remember someone did that on Project Runway once but I’m pretty sure he went home for it….

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Don’t forget to weave in those serger tails! I also shortened the sleeves on the pattern and added some armbands instead of a hem, too. Nice and cozy!! Much better pictures, and how it looks with the other pieces are to come.


Let me know if you try it out and ask if you have any questions!!

 

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