The Ali Sweatshirt Is Bae

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but making sweatshirts is so delightful. Yeah that was cheesy but it’s me. As I’m adapting to weather in New England I’ve started to really examine my wardrobe. I have winter clothing but not a lot of REAL winter clothing. I lived in the south for many years so moving up north has forced me to reevaluate my clothing choices. Fast forward to when I saw the Ali Sweatshirt pattern from SEWDIY. I immediately knew that I wanted to try it.

The first one I made was a XXL in a lovely mustard french terry from Imagine Gnats that I’d been holding onto. I made it without any alterations to the pattern. The instructions were clear and I was able to get more practice on my serger, which was great. After trying it on I decided to take it in a little at the side seams for a slightly different fit.

I paired it with a dress I got at JCPenney from the Tracee Ellis Ross collection. I feel like the combo had me channeling my inner Tracee and I was really happy with the outcome. It was a departure from what I thought my style was, but was definitely a success. Side bar: I’m learning that my style is evolving. More on that in another blog post.

For my second sweatshirt I decided to size down to the XL and lengthen the pattern. I used the sewalong this time and it was SUPER helpful. I especially liked the preparation post about measuring where you’d like the hem to hit and comparing it to the pattern. That might seem like a simple step but I honestly hadn’t thought about doing it. It’s a necessary adjustment for my long(ish) torso, large bust, and fit preference.

I used a scuba knit from Sewfisticated Fabrics for this version and I was a little too eager with my serger. I cut a hole in my sweatshirt while attaching the neckband and face palmed for a second. I fixed it the best I could and kept it moving. Honestly the mistakes have NOT stopped me from wearing this sweatshirt on multiple occasions. It was also my version of the “sew frosting” challenge so I continue to wear it proudly.

By the third version I’d gotten the pattern alterations and construction down to a science. I felt more comfortable sewing this one without looking at the directions, which is something I never do. Also my serger and I got along well enough to not create random holes.

I used an organic hemp fleece from D & H Fabric Co. in this dreamy rose color. This fabric was similar to other sweatshirts in my closet. I like the softness of this fabric and the color quickly became my favorite.

For my fourth and final (for now) version of the Ali Sweatshirt, I used a bamboo cotton sweatshirting in plum from Imagine Gnats. As a bonus I also ordered the coordinating ribbing to use for my cuffs and neckband. I love that I was able to get color coordinating fabric and ribbing without guessing whether the colors would match.

I really enjoyed making all of these and trying different fabrics for each. I’ve worn each of these on a consistent basis since they came off the sewing machine and I’ll definitely be wearing them throughout winter. I used the sewalong and appreciated the pictures since I’m a pretty visual learner. Beth also answered a question I had about topstitching and I really appreciated her taking the time out to answer my email and provide resources to help me.

Shout out to Carolyn (@diaryofasewingfanatic) for her advice on the Love To Sew podcast about finding a pattern that works and making it over and over again. Her words empowered me and essentially gave me permission to make the same pattern as much as I want. I’m thinking about a color blocked one next.

What sweatshirt are you making next? What’s your go to cold weather patten?

9 Replies to “The Ali Sweatshirt Is Bae”

  1. Love love love! I am thinking I’ll have to make some alterations too but probably a good idea to make the pattern as is first. Wondering where I can access the sewalong ? I have the “mom tummy” so I may need to lengthen the torso so it doesn’t hit at a weird spot 🤔 I enjoyed your post and now I can’t wait to make mine!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m always reluctant to make alterations before I make the entire garment. It was really easy to lengthen the pattern so I think you’ll like that. I’ll send you the link to the sewalong.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You really do a great job of choosing the right colors for you. I love the mustard and purple particularly. Making alterations is the most difficult part of sewing for me.


    1. Thank you so much! I’m starting to get more comfortable making alterations but I like to make the pattern as is before I change anything. You can do it!


  3. These are super cute Sierra! I like to make the same pattern a few times when they work out also. I love seeing the same thing in different variations of color, print, etc., so I agree with Caroline. (And I love that podcast too!) I’m glad you wrote about measuring your own body to find the length you wanted for the bodice. One of the best things about sewing is being able to customize things to fit our bodies. This is a steep learning curve for me, but I am always eager to learn more. Happy Sewing!


    1. Thank you Natasha! I used to only make a pattern once and move on, but it’s great to make it over and over. Yes! Making things that fit is so fulfilling. I’m learning right along with you! The sewalong was super helpful and gave me more confidence in altering the pattern.


  4. Sierra I love your blog! It is wonderful to see a professional woman of color sewing her own clothes. I do and it feels like it connects me with all the elders on both sides of my family who sewed for their families and sewed for a living. I carry all of them with me (in a good way) when I sew my own clothes. Hurray for body positivity and personal style!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Melinda. I literally teared up reading it. Sometimes I’m just making things in my own little corner and you reminded me that it’s connecting me to my ancestors. I needed to hear that!


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