We Are Helping, We’re Helping Hands {MBJM Hot Coffee Top in Spoonflower Fleece}

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Recently, the lovely Allie from Spoonflower got in contact to ask if I’d like to take part in another blog hop featuring Australian makers – they kindly provided the fabric of my choice but my words and opinions are my own (as always). They’ve also provided 10% off their fabrics with the code katie10 (valid for a month).

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Since winter is on its way, I chose this awesome print by Amy Blackwell on Spoonflower’s fleece and used the MBJM Hot Coffee pattern. Even though I’ve blogged makes from this pattern before, this version was my very first jumper from it.

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Let me tell you a bit about winter where I live. It’s mild. Google tells me the average winter temperature is 22 degrees celsius (that’s 71.6 F). It’s a nice winter, some people even swim all year round because the water is still quite warm (Google also tells me the average is 21.4C/70.5F, so pretty much on par with the air temperature). So the southern states do smirk when we complain about the cold. Let me tell you something else though, our houses are built to keep the heat out. We have homes equipped for summer, but not really for winter. For that reason, it can be a balmy 22C outside and a chilly 15C inside the house. I have been known to go outside and lay on the lawn in the sun, trying to warm up like some kind of pale, blonde reptile.

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There is a point and I’m getting to it. On the days when I’m stuck inside, either at the sewing machine or computer or maybe even just on a Netflix binge, I like to wear an oversized, cosy hoodie to keep me warm. In the past, I’ve pinched my husband’s hoodies, but sometimes he needs them, so it’s nice to have my own.

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I was excited to get my cool handsy printed fleece and sew it up into a big snuggly hoodie. When the fleece arrived, I was a bit surprised. I’m not sure what I was expecting – maybe something like what we get here called polar fleece – but it was definitely different to that. It was quite dense, almost like a felt and it really had very minimal stretch. I figured I’d wash it, tumble dry it and then reassess. Turns out the washing and drying process fluffed it up quite a bit and it came out softer than it had gone in. It was still very different to what we call ‘fleece’ here, but it didn’t feel bad – just different.

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My measurements put me in an XL for this pattern, but I erred on the side of caution and made a 3XL to account for the minimal stretch (the pattern asks for 50% stretch) and because I wanted it to be quite big. I don’t usually like ribbing on the bottom of my jumpers, so I left that off and lengthened the pattern slightly to compensate. The kanga pouch sits on the bottom of the jumper between the main fabric and the ribbing, so I had to change my construction process slightly too, but it worked out fine.

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I wasn’t keen on the ribbing I had for the cuffs, so went a bit fancy and used stretch velvet instead. It’s not as stretchy as ribbing, so I did cut them a bit longer. I also needed to take about 2 inches off the sleeve length. The inside of the hood can be self lined or you can use a contrast. I used the wrong side of a grey printed fleece scrap I’ve had  in my stash for ages.

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Most of it was constructed on my overlocker and I used my new bestie, lightning bolt stitch for the hems and pocket. It is quite a quick sew (I think about an hour from cutting to finishing) and the fleece was really nice to use too – it didn’t slip or slide or stretch out of shape like polar fleece can.

Awesome prints in sweater knits are really hard to find (especially here), so it’s great to have the custom print option in fleece. I know this one will get a lot of wear, so I’m already planning another. Bring on winter.

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Sweater Weather {Made By Jacks Mum Hot Coffee Top}

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Pattern: MBJM Hot Coffee Top

Fabric: Mostly from Spotlight, although it doesn’t seem to be on their website.

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Except we say jumper, not sweater. Although more accurately, these would be hoodies. And I know this is mostly kid sewing, so sorry. Here’s the thing though, finding patterns for older boys is hard. Much like shopping for clothes for them. Seriously, look at the boys sizes 10-16 in a shop some time, they have about three racks worth and the girls equivalent is at least triple that.

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Luckily, these two still want me to sew for them. And when I saw this french terry in Spotlight, I couldn’t resist it. It ticked all the boxes – print not too young, suitably modern and really lovely quality. The right side is almost like a heavy cotton lycra, with a lovely soft brushed fleece underside. The grey ribbing is also from Spotlight, the grey fleece is the wrong side of another sweater knit off cut and the olive and white striped fabric is cotton lycra picked up from The Remnant Warehouse.

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As for the pattern itself, there is an adult version (used here) and a kids version (Hot Chocolate). I bought the adult sized one for myself and was pretty happy to see the boys would fit into the XXS from the adult version, which is about a size 12 in the kids. I even broke my ‘no PDFs if there’s no A0’ rule and bought it. The sticky tape fest wasn’t too harrowing for this one.

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The pattern has the option of a hood, a round neck or a cowl neck and can be made with or without the kanga pocket. I chose to leave the bottom band off these as I don’t love the look. Both boys could do with a little bit more length to combat that next time.

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I even made a basic round neck version for myself, which happens to be my second version but the first is a special collaboration and is under wraps for a while yet.

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My measurements put me into the XL, but I sized up to the 3XL because I wanted something quite oversized and the fleece didn’t have as much stretch as the pattern asked for. The ribbing however, had too much stretch. I ended up cutting off the cuffs and making them smaller. I really should have done it for the neckline too but I didn’t have quite enough ribbing left. It’s still very wearable and one of the softest jumpers I own.

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Sorry for the photo overload, it was just such a magic afternoon down at the beach. I should really shoot down there more often.

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