McCall’s 5252 Hoodie, Part 3: Muslin Complete

It took me a while, but I finished the muslin for my hoodie project this past weekend.  Between a busy work schedule and weekend events, it’s been difficult to squeeze in sewing time lately!

I can say I can definitely call this hoodie a muslin, because it was difficult to make and it is filled with mistakes.  Most of them I was able to fix, but the end result is something I can charitably call a “learning experience”.


Most of the angst in this pattern comes from the pockets.  Nearly every other sweatshirt pattern in existence has simple patch pockets flush with the waistband and front zipper.  But this pattern actually incorporates on-seam pocket bags inside the jacket, shown in this inside view:


Long-time readers know this is a family-oriented sewing blog. And so my sense of decorum won’t let me express just how much of a m***** f***** these things were to deal with.  Especially when I decided to add a zipper in place of a simple velcro closure.

Adding the zippers seemed straightforward – I followed the instructions in the Reader’s Digest Guide to Sewing and Nancy Zieman’s Sewing A to Z.  I stabilized the seam allowance by applying some fusible interfacing, then basting the zipper opening shut and taping the zipper face down with Wonder Tape.  So far, so good.


The pocket bags went in next, and get taped down to keep them from shifting during sewing.


Finally, with the zipper foot, the opening around the zipper is stitched in.


And this is where things go completely wrong.

Like, pocket bags that miss getting caught in the stitching despite being taped down:



Birds-nesting from the bobbin thread when I put the right side of the fabric towards the feed dogs:


Pocket bags that get caught by accident in the bottom hem coverstitching:


And get caught AGAIN the exact same way after unpicking and restitching the hem:


Pockets that mysteriously extend past the bottom hem:


At least this problem had a simple solution:


And pockets that didn’t line up properly with the center zipper seam that anchors the opposite end of the pocket:


Actually, it’s even worse than it looks.  I sewed in the smaller smartphone pocket 90 degrees around from the way it was supposed to be, and ended up with a pocket way too small to hold any phone made today.

I swear to heaven on the ground I stand, I’m redrafting new pockets for the next hoodie.

The Front Zipper

The front zipper wasn’t a picnic either.  I had to unpick and restitch the right-hand side at least twice.  All that fluffy knit fabric mushing under the presser foot made it incredibly difficult to stitch a straight line without the fabric drifting off to strange places.  And of course I ran into problems with the zipper not getting caught in the stitching.

What finally worked for me was to use Wonder Tape twice to stabilize the zipper seam. First, tape the zipper to the right side of the fabric.  Then fold the zipper towards the inside and tape down the fold with a second strip of tape, as shown here:


Finally, I stitched the zipper with the fabric facing the feed dogs, so I could be certain the zipper was caught in the stitching the entire length of the seam.  I prefer stitching with the outside fabric facing up, so I can align the seamline to the edge of the fabric.  But at this point I was happy for any result that didn’t require unpicking and trying again.


And, oh, yes….

While serging the sides together, I hit a pin with the serger blades.  So much for being careful.  The serger is still cutting fabric, but I suspect I probably need to replace the blades now, or at least real soon.  Lesson learned.


The Result

After all this, how did it turn out?  I’ll show you the result next time. (Actually, I haven’t taken modeling pictures of it yet, and photos taken in the evening, without natural light, look terrible).

Hope your sewing projects are turning out well!

1 thought on “McCall’s 5252 Hoodie, Part 3: Muslin Complete

  1. Josie

    Aloha Michael,
    Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you had a challenge. I share some of your problems. Just yesterday I had to fix a bird’s nest. I am returning to CA and need a new make-up bag, I use a decorative stitching lines to the whole thing. What a disaster. I know how it feels.
    I have learned that home sewing machines are not made to sew faster. Yet, I keep trying to make them work faster…
    Thanks for sharing. Great to “hear” from you


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