Hello Sew McCool readers, I’m Ren Murphy. You can usually find me at The Inspired Wren where I share inspired sewing, crochet, and craft projects. Today, I’m here to show you how to create an asymmetrical urban hoodie with color blocking.
Color-blocking is a fun way to customize a pattern you may already have on hand. Frequently color-blocking is created parallel to the seams, creating rectangular fields of color.
I saw this image on Pinterest and had a light-bulb moment: asymmetry + color-blocking x casual = chic.
There are two important things to keep in mind when creating an asymmetrical color-blocked look:
• Keep the direction of the grain consistent with the original pattern, not with the new diagonal field of color; this is particularly important when handling stretch fabrics.
• As with all color blocking, don’t forget to add consistent seam allowances as you slash your pattern into areas of color.
Let’s recreate my inspiration look kid-sized to practice these two lessons. Unfortunately my inspiration image is a great visual but fails to link to the exact garment pictured. [Don’t you hate it when that happens? It’s bad Pinterest etiquette, but I keep the pin, and its twin, anyway because they’re such strong inspiration images on their own.]
I made an assumption that the cowl-like collar is a hood and that it was created wholly in the top, blue color. I also nixed the hood’s drawstring because anything that hangs anywhere near my model’s mouth will inevitably end up in my model’s mouth.
What you’ll need:
• Basic long-sleeve tee pattern. In this example I worked from a raglan tee pattern (by Ottobre Design) that I had on hand, you could easily recreate the look with any long sleeve tee pattern such as the Tinely Tee by Sew McCool contributor, Chelsea Briner. I also added a hood from another pattern in the same size, by the same designer.
• Blank paper (large enough to fit the pattern pieces), pen/pencil, and straight edge ruler for tracing
• Knit fabric in three colors (I purchased a 1⁄2 yard of each and just barely eked out the blue sections (including the hood + hood lining) for a size 5.)
• Coordinating thread, needle, and notions to sew the pattern as originally written
Asymmetrical urban hoodie with color blocking
1. Trace the original pattern pieces on to the blank paper, including any necessary marks. If any of the pattern pieces are to be cut on the fold, trace the original piece and then add the mirror image onto the tracing to create the full unfolded shape. Because we’re working asymmetrically, you will need two separate arm pieces. NOTE: You will draw on and cut apart these pattern pieces, so don’t skip this step or you’ll ruin your original pattern.
2. Working on your new, traced pattern pieces, draw lines where you plan to create the color breaks. Draw two diagonals from the wearer’s upper right down to the left on the front bodice piece, creating the three fields of color.
3. Align the hem and sides of the front and back bodice pieces with the wrong sides together and trace the lines of Step 2 from the front bodice onto the back bodice.
4. Align the right arm at the armhole/armscye on the right side of the front bodice and mark where the top line of color will hit the seam. Then turn the arm pattern piece and align the side seam starting at the armpit/bottom of the armscye and mark where the second line will hit the seam. Extend the two lines across the arm parallel to the wrist hem.
5. Repeat Step 4 with the left arm pattern piece.
6. Carefully label each section of the pattern and also indicate the grain and/or the direction of stretch. Cut the pattern pieces apart. Be sure to label each piece with the pattern name, size, piece, and color plan/section. (For me, if I don’t do this now I’ll be “over it” when I go to put the pattern away, I won’t label it, and it will be useless if I go to sew another version in the future. So take my advice, and properly label it now.)
7. At this point you can retrace each pattern piece adding a consistent seam allowance at each line that you drew onto the pattern; OR, you can note on each pattern piece where seam allowance needs to be added at each line that you drew onto the pattern. I opted to label and managed to cut it all out properly this time – check back with me in a few months when I try to use the pattern again, and forget to cut the pieces with the added seam allowance.
8. Cut the pattern pieces from each indicated color, carefully aligning grain/stretch. Transfer any marks from the original pattern. Keep each piece of cut fabric pinned/attached to the labeled pattern piece until you are ready to sew it (as I’m sure you do with every pattern you sew, smart person that you are). Not counting the hood or neck binding you will have twelve pieces for one tee.
Construct each pattern piece back to its original form. Sew along each of your slash lines with a stretch stitch using the seam allowance you added.
Not counting the hood or neck binding, you should now have four pieces for one tee: one front bodice, one back bodice, and two sleeves. Finish by sewing the tee following the instructions from the original pattern.
Hopefully I’ve inspired you to think outside the color-blocking BOX (get it? ‘cause most color-blocking is rectangular-ish?). Take a look at patterns you already own and start thinking how you can make diagonals work for you.
Thanks for having me today, Deanna, it’s a privilege.
Come stop by The Inspired Wren and have a look around. You’ll see I publish a new tutorial on the First Tuesday of every month, and I host Inspire Us Thursday: Sew Needle Stitch Hook, a weekly link party dedicated to fiber. In between I also share what I’ve been creating, provided I have enough chocolate to pay my model (and daughter), The Peanut.
Ren Murphy writes for The Inspired Wren and is is a design contributor for sewmccool.com. To make sure you don’t miss a tutorial, please follow SewMcCool by e-mail (the link is at the top of the right-hand column) or join me on BlogLovin’ – the button is just below the e-mail feed box! 🙂