In this thread I will be showing in a step-by-step format, how to make a crew neck sweatshirt from scratch. This is not a sewing tutorial. If you don’t know how to sew there are a million tutorials online so do a google search and get learned. Let’s get started shall we?
THE DESIGN: So obviously you’re going to want to
have some foresight as to what you’re gonna make. Here’s a nifty little blank that
you can use paint bucket on to preview and brainstorm ideas:
For this tutorial we will be making the Wildberry Poptart sweatshirt for Mr. James Amodeo (jamodeo):
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- Sewing machine that you are familiar with and that is setup and ready to go.
- [endif]Sharp Scissors
- A ruler and measuring tape
- [endif]A seam ripper(to use if you mess something up, which you probably will your first time)
- [endif]A pencil, pen, sharpie or all three preferably(for marking stuff)
- [endif]2 to 2.5 yards of sweatshirt fabric, depending on how big you want it. If you want different color sleeves and all that jazz, half a yard equals about one sleeve or about one body panel (front or back).
- ½ yard of ribbing(rib knit fabric its sometimes called)
- A pattern or something that you would like to trace.
- Background entertainment. Tv or music. You will be here awhile(first one took me 4+ hours) so make it comfy.
- [endif]A big table free of debris
Here’s a visual aid(some things aren’t pictured but you get the general idea):
Note: I am using one of my homemade patterns. At the end of the tutorial I will put up some info about the patterns that I made and some info about if you wanna buy one. If you are not using a pattern, this will be helpful for you nonetheless for the general concept, but you will need to find something you want to trace and all that jazz and your procedure will be a little different as far as getting your fabric cut out. I HIGHLY recommend using a pattern, it’s SO much easier. Anyways, let’s move on:
1. The first thing you want to do is grab your fabric and fold each lateral edge into the middle so that you have two equal sides with a fold on each edge and pin the ends so they wont move. That’s really hard to put into words so bear with me and refer to the following picture:
2. Next you are going to want to lay your body patterns down so that you can cut the appropriate length from your mass of fabric. Place them like in the next pic and then cut the entire area off with a couple extra inches of comfort room so you don’t accidentally cut too little:
3. Next you will cut this large piece in half, so that each body pattern has it’s own piece. **double and triple check to make sure that the pieces are as close to even as possible and have enough surface are for the pattern to cover because you don’t want to accidentally cut one that is too small for your pattern**
So now each pattern has it’s own piece of folded fabric.
Do the same thing for the each sleeve and now you have a big pile of folded rectangles:
4. So now you are going to pin each pattern to it’s piece of fabric so that you can cut around the pattern without it moving:
You don’t need too many, and make sure that you have to fold in the correct spot(my patterns have it labeled as shown).
5. Now you can cut around the pattern for each element of the garment and you will be left with a pile of folded fabric that is starting to look like it may one day be something wearable:
6. SEWING THE BODY PIECES TOGETHER: The fabric that you are using most likely has a smooth side and a rougher side. You want the smooth side to be out on the finished product and you also want nice, smooth, low profile seams. The way you achieve this is when you are sewing a seam, you have the garment “inside out.” So in order to prep for sewing the body pieces together you need to pin them together at the appropriate spots but MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE THE SMOOTH SIDES TOUCHING EACHOTHER AND THAT THE “ROUGH” SIDES ARE FACING OUT TOWARDS YOU AND THE TABLE otherwise you will end up with a disaster, and you don’t want that. Refer to picture:
When pinning fabric, I like to pin each end first and then fill in. Also, pin them in such a way so that, as you are sewing, you can easily take them out.
7. SEWING TIME YAY!: So now you are ready to sew. I won’t get into details because I assume you are a semi-competent sewer but a few things to remember are: don’t forget to lock your ends with a backstitch, stay on the correct seam allowance mark while sewing or it will end up crooked and make you sad L, and finally TAKE YOUR DAMN TIME ITS NOT A RACE. So once you’re done sewing the body pieces together it should look a little like the(this is just one side, you have to do this twice)
8. PREPPING AND SEWING THE ARM TO THE SHOULDER OF THE BODY: Now you’re ready to get the arms on. Open up your body(the thing you just sewed) and lay it on the table smooth side up. So for this seam, it’s not gonna be sewing in a straight line, so you will need to take extra care whilst pinning and sewing it. Take the arm and put its smooth side against the smooth side of the body piece(smooth side of arm down). Match up and pin each corner and then find the middle of the sleeve end and match and pin that up with the edge of the seam that you sewed previously. Now you can start pinning in between, making sure everything is match up nicely and you’ll end up like this:
(sorry the pic is terrible) Now you can sew this piece on. Go slowly and be careful. Also, make sure that as you are sewing you keep both pieces aligned with one another and stretched flat before they are stitched. Do that for both sleeves.
9. PREPPING AND SEWING THE SIDE SEAM: So now you have a funny looking double cape with a neck hole; time to sew up the side and sleeves, all in one seam. Start pinning at the sleeve and pin it all the way to the arm pit. Now as I’m sure you noticed, the back panel and front panel of the body are not the same length. The back is a bit longer, which is true for most clothing items. To pin this, start by pinning the two bottom corners together and then pull on the armpit pin and the end you just pinned so that the shorter piece stretches to match the longer. Find the middle and pin there. Do the same thing, stretch the material between two pins and pin the middle, until it has been sufficiently pinned like so:
As for the actual sewing, the arm is very straight forward(literally). Once you get to the arm pit, make sure the needle is through the fabric, lift the foot, pivot the correct angle, and put the foot back down. When Sewing down the body(the blue part in the picture above), you will need to go slowly and make sure that you are keeping tension on the material that is being sewn. This is because, as was said before, the pieces are not of equal length so the shorter one must be stretched in order to match the longer one. You want the stretch to be as even as possible so pull your pins at the last possible moment as they feed in. Do this for both sides and now you have a fashionable fitted snuggy for lounging round the house with:
But you wanna take this to the slopes don’t you??? Well then you’re gonna need some ribbed cuffs, waistband, and neckband there chief.
10. RIBBING CUT AND PREP: To put it crassly, ribbing is a bitch. It takes a bit to get a hang of sewing it and to just wrap your head around how putting it on works. It also takes some trial and error to figure out how much to use for a certain size opening. Here is what I use for my patterns to either give you a reference point for your own creation or if you are using my patterns, it’s what fits the best:
Waistband = 41 5/8” x 7 5/8”
Cuff = 10 1/8” x 5 5/8”
Neckband =19 5/8” x 3 1/8”
These dimensions are to be used with unfolded ribbing(not tube knit) and account for a 5/8” seam allowance.
So use your tools and cut all of these piece out(2 cuffs by the way, don’t forget) and you’ve got this:
The top one is the waistband which is already done(sorry I got ahead of myself a bit) but the bottom three are what you start out with. So in order to get the ribbing all prepped for sewing, first fold it in half the short way like so:
Next fold it in half the long way and pin the ends together like so:
I like to do this for all of them before starting to sew(waistband not pictured, because it’s already finished):
So now just sew each end that you have pinned together using the 5/8” seam allowance and viola! You have all of the ribbing elements ready for attachment. I like to cut off the extra material left by the seam allowance as well as you can see in the next picture:
11. SEWING ON THE RIBBING ELEMENTS: Now that you have all your ribbing accent pieces made, it’s time to pin and sew. Ribbing has elastic properties which is why we use it for cuffs and such, so that it hugs us and makes our clothes look perdy and fitted. Because we want this cinching effect, we size ribbing smaller than the opening we are sewing it to. The first thing we will do is a cuff to show you the concept behind attaching ribbing. First, grab your snuggie looking thing and make sure its smooth side out(like it is going to be worn). Take the end of the arm (wrist) and pull one of your cuffs over it, inside out, so that the rough seam is showing. If you do this incorrectly you will end up with the rough seem on the outside when you turn it out after sewing, which sucks because you have to rip it out and do it over:
Now, match up the rough seam with the seam of the wrist and pin it. Then stretch the cuff out to match the wrist’s diameter with your hand and find the opposite corner and pin there. Do this stretching and pining thing until you have pinned it in 4 times, with equal spacing between each pin and you get this:
Now its time to sew this thing. This method is gonna depend heavily on your sewing machine but it has worked with the 2 different machines that I have used. Many machines have an accessory storage thing on the front which you can take off and then you can pull the cuff over the bottom part and then carefully sew it on. You probably have no clue what I’m talking about, here’s a pic(from a different sweatshirt):
This part can be tricky. You need to physically turn the wrist around the machine because it’s pretty tightly on there and the feeder mechanism needs some help. Once that’s all sewed you now have this:
Now all you do is turn the cuff inside out and now you have a sleek, smooth, comfy cuff:
After you put the cuffs on, the waist and neck bands are next. Pinning these doesn’t take many pins so don’t spend a bunch of time pinning for no reason. Here’s the fully pinned waist:
It only takes a few of them. The thing is when sewing the waist and neck, you have to keep the ribbing stretched out to match the sweatshirt fabric so that it has an even stretch:
Once you put all the ribbing on, you’re done!!!
12. FLOSS YOUR NEW GARMENT: Now that you’re sweatshirt is complete, you are stoked out of your mind and grab your camera and head to the nearest large mirror to take pictures for newschoolers!!!!!111one111!!!!
Once you have mastered the crew, you can do all sorts of zany things like hoods, zippers, pockets, crazy designs, and whatever else you wanna do. Also, with your fabric scraps you can make facemasks, neckwarmers, headbands, and all sorts of crap. AWESOME!!
IN CONCLUSION: I hope this was helpful to those who’ve been asking for a tutorial for awhile. I’m sorry if parts were not well explained or clear, feel free to ask me about whatever and I would love to help. I feel like there weren’t enough pictures so I hope to revise this at a later date with a crap ton more pictures cause it’s much easier to show these things visually than to attempt to convey them in words.
REGARDING PATTERNS AND CREWS FOR SALE: As for the patterns I used and am producing, I will have a thread up in probably a week or so with all the details on those. They come in XLT XXLT and XXXLT and I will have pics of examples of each size and all the measurements in that thread. PM me if you are interested, but basically just wait for the next thread. I will also have an assortment of crewnecks that I have made/am making for sale in that thread and would be willing to do custom ones for people. I have a bunch of hospital/school bills that I need to pay off so I’d love to make you something. The only thing with that is that I’m heading back to UVM soon; I am bringing my sewing stuff, but school is a busy time so anything custom would take a little while cause of school busy-ness and fabric shipping times and such. Also I just got a possible order of 25 sweatshirts for someone and their crew, and if that ends up happening, it may be awhile til I can get to yours, but just contact me regardless.
Thanks for looking and happy sewing!