Monday, 21 October 2019

autumn sewing: hoodie dress

For years now I've had a vision in my mind of a fitted hoodie dress. It's the kind of thing you think shouldn't be too hard to get hold of, until you start clicking on images and realise that all of the fitted hoodies are in fact skintight hoodies stretched thin over women with perfect bodies. I eventually decided that what I wanted just wasn't available, and that bled through to my trying to find a sewing pattern. The things I had in mind to try were all oversized, and I was crossing my fingers that one of them might accidentally suit me.

Before I go through all that, let me show you what I have:

I got my dream! My fitted but not tight extra-cosy hoodie dress! I am so pleased with this I can't even tell you. I basically live in it now. 

What it isn't, however, is a straight pattern you can buy. I had to bodge this together.

My first attempt at a hoodie dress was a toile of the Kommatia Patterns Mysig (I'm going to keep calling it Kommatia since the old patterns seem to be excluded from the rebrand) and was... not exactly successful. The dropped shoulders looked okay in the line drawings, but on me it just looked like I'd made a huge fitting mistake. Also it kind of looked like I was wearing a pillowcase. It did not, however, diminish my desire for an actual hoodie dress, so I started thinking about other options. Extensively alter the Mysig? Lengthen the Jalie hoodie I've made in the past? Go and buy McCalls 7634? (I still might try that last one, the lace-up bit looks cool.) Eventually, I realised I could get my perfect fitted hoodie if I took a dress pattern I already know works and grafted a hood onto it.

So this is actually a Named Clothing Ruska dress (from their book). I've made this a few times and my favourite version by far is the long-sleeved one I made in super-thick fabric. It's super comfy and my go-to dress to wear when it's cold. I added the kangaroo pocket from the Jalie pattern and cut rectangles as large as the remaining scraps of fabric would allow to make cuffs. For the hood, I stole from the Burda men's pattern I used to make Patrick's velour hoodie, which I've also used for myself once before:

This is the Jalie hoodie (cropped a little and minus pocket/cuffs/hem band) with a slightly scooped out neck and the Burda hood attached. It's one of two things I made last month for Minerva, but I don't think either post is live yet. At first I was intending to just replace the Jalie neckline with the Burda one, but then realised the Burda is a raglan, so I just vaguely scooped it in unscientific ways (until it looked the way tight necklines usually do when I unscientifically scoop them; it usually seems to work) and hoped the hood would fit. It did! I really love this hoodie, way more than I thought I would, so when I'd decided that hood on a Ruska was the way I wanted to go, the natural choice was to do this same thing again. The Ruska neckline is also very tight, so more unscientific scooping!

I got this very thick, very soft, reversible wool jersey from my favourite guy at Walthamstow. He rarely has much jersey so I was pleased to find this. It is AMAZING. I think it's two layers of sweatshirting grafted together, so it's incredibly warm and incredibly heavy - every time I pick the dress up I'm amazed that an item of clothing can weigh that much - and I cannot tell you how snuggly I am. It's so comforting. I was sitting on the sofa wearing this for the first time when Patrick came and sat next to me, and within about forty-five seconds he was wrapped around me like a happy sleepy koala on a tree. I am officially the perfect comfortable eucalyptus.

I went for the contrast pocket because a) it's nice to be able to take advantage of reversible fabric and b) I thought it would be more cohesive since the inside of the hood is visibly a different colour. When I tried on the almost finished dress I thought that just the pocket wasn't quite enough to make it all look deliberate, so I decided to make the cuffs in the lighter colour too. I made them deliberately a tiny bit too long to add to general cosiness. I had planned to put in a cord - and did install eyelets for it - but the couple of people I asked told me it looked better without. It's still an option if I change my mind, though.

This is one of my favourite things ever. It's definitely a house dress - I tried photographing it outside and it looked super weird, hence why we're back in the stairwell with all the houseplants that have materialised since last time I took photos in the stairwell - but if I needed to answer the door or run down the road, I could easily do so. I feel so much better about winter now that I have it, and if the right fabric came my way I'd be more than happy to make a second one. 

Next up: what I wore to the wedding!

(I'm not going to do my usual summary here as it's such a mash-up I don't think it would be useful. You can find my Ruska review here, Jalie hoodie here and Burda men's hoodie here)


  1. love it! it looks wonderful on you too. maybe a longer version for wearing out and about?

    1. Thank you! I think hoodie dresses will always feel inherently like loungewear to me, but maybe if I made it in plain black? We'll see!

  2. I will take your hoodie dress please! :-D

    It's AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!