unselfish sewing: finlayson


I’ve never sewn anything for my husband. Well, that’s not entirely true; I did once sew a tie for him, but it was kind of a disaster, and even I had to admit the fabric was totally wrong. I think it’s crumpled up under the bed now.

So I’ve been leery of sewing him anything else. But I have to admit, I still wanted to. So I settled on the Finlayson sweatshirt because really, not even I could mess up a sweatshirt, right?

(Yes, I could, and I definitely could have done a better job, but he’ll never notice. I think.)

The Finlayson caught my eye awhile ago. I love shawl collars on men’s clothes as much as on women’s, but the husband has always been a little wary of them. Well, actually, he is both fascinated and a little frightened by them — he’ll pick one up at the store and look it over, then get spooked and put it back. Too fancy.

But wait! Is it too fancy on a sweatshirt? Hell no.

The real reason I wanted to make a sweatshirt, of course, is that I found this fabric (sold out, alas(. Oh, this fabric, I love it so much. It feels like sweatshirting, but actually it’s a stretchy wool blend jersey with a divinely soft brushed back. I bought some for the husband, and when I got it in the mail, I immediately got online and ordered some for myself, too.

I had a solid half-yard of this fabric left over, too, so maybe there’s something in this for me besides the good karma.

The PDF went together remarkably well, although my plan of watching a movie while piecing it together didn’t particularly work. It was supposed to make the time fly, but instead, I just took longer and did a worse job putting it together. Plus, of course, any time a sewing-related item is placed on the floor, the dog immediately comes over and stands on it. Obviously.


[ My PDF pattern suffered puncture wounds from my dog’s claws ]

This pattern came together pretty quickly — once I’d gotten through the fiddly collar, everything else was a breeze. The instructions call for you to line the back of the neckline with twill tape or ribbon, but I lined the entire neckline, using a piece of black petersham ribbon that was once a sash on an old top of mine.

At certain places, the bulk of the fabric made it hard to keep the stitching precise, so there are a few places where the seams get wobbly. And I slapped on the ribbon at the neckline without paying much attention to how it’d look on the inside. So much for my vow to avoid cutting corners on this.


[ Wobbly topstitching! Uneven black ribbon at neckline! He’ll never notice ]

I used a triple stretch stitch throughout and finished my seams with the mock overcast stitch on my sewing machine. I topstitched the shoulder seams and added clear elastic to the seam for stability.

I really only had one problem with this project. There’s an “under collar” and an “upper collar” piece, which are shaped differently so that the seam rolls to the underside. Based on that, I understitched the under collar to keep everything tidy. But unless I’ve gone crazy, the instructions direct you to sew the collar so that the under collar is facing the outside when you’re wearing the sweater. I puzzled and puzzled over this until finally I gave up and sewed my collar on backwards, so that the under collar is, well, under.


[ Topstitching at shoulder, back facing, back neckline ]

The husband’s birthday is next week, so we’ll see if this is a good surprise or not. Obviously, I think it’s a good surprise, but then again, he’s kind of like this about surprises. Oh, and also obviously, he doesn’t read this blog. Ha!

Pattern: Thread Theory Finlayson, size M
Fabric: Less than 2.5 yards wool-blend jersey, $30 at Mood Fabrics


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