July 15, 2022

This September, We're Layering Up with Zip-Front Sweatshirts

Needle Sharp has been around for a few years now, and I've begun to notice a pattern. Right around now, I start to get itchy to sew fall clothes. It makes no sense - it's peak summer, 90 degrees and full sun outside, why would I want sweaters and flannel? But maybe that's the very reason: I'm dreaming about a time when it won't be so hot and humid, and that thought keeps me going for the next two months.

All that is a long way to say that I'm always excited to announce our September Boxes where we start to feature autumn-ready clothes. We've done sweatshirts and cardigans the past two years, so now it's time for their hybrid cousin, the zip-up sweatshirt!

For many years of my life, a grey or black zip-up was a key part of my wardrobe. I carried it to every dinner, party, outdoor event, as a quick layer to throw on if I got cold. The garment is casual and comfy (basically a summation of my personal style), and we think it's about time you added a handmade version to your wardrobe.

While there are lots of pullover hoodie patterns out there, not many venture into the zip-front territory. But we found four amazing options that we think you're going to love. For fabrics, sweatshirting and terry are obvious choices, and we decided to embrace the transition into fall with grays, oranges, reds, and blues. The mood this month is sunset chic, and we hope you love it!

So, without further ado, let's dig in!

Sew Essential Box: Halifax Hoodie from Hey June Handmade 

The Halifax Hoodie has been around for quite a few years, and there's a reason it's a classic. It has everything you want in a sweatshirt, including five different variations! While we're focusing on the zip-front option, there's no reason you couldn't make it again and again with the other options.

For the zip-up option, the pattern features the hoodie neckline, cuffed sleeves, and a split kangaroo pocket, to keep your hands nice and warm as the weather transitions. Wear the zip-up as a cardigan over your summer outfit, on the beach or out to dinner. You can also layer it with a jacket or a blazer if you want more warmth. There's so many uses, we can hardly list them all!

For fabric, this pattern calls for classic sweatshirting, but we wanted to keep it a cut above with interesting colors and textures. Enter double knits and tie dyes. So, let's have a look:


  • Light Blue Sweatshirt Fleece - With a soft fleecy face on one side and a simple jersey on the other, this fabric is exactly what you think of when it comes to sweatshirting. Plush, soft, and on the heavier side of medium weight, this fabric will be the warmest of the three options. And in a lovely light denim blue, it will become just the neutral basic that your handmade wardrobe needs. We're pretty sure you'll want to live in this zip-up from the moment it comes off the sewing machine!
  • Sunset Tie Dye French Terry - Tie dye is everywhere nowadays, from traditional Shibori to dip-dying to ice-dying. Get the look of home-dying without the possibility of staining our kitchen with this cool fabric. A tri-tone dye of orange, red, and yellow, the print is large scale and will transform into a truly unique zip-up. The french terry is on the lighter side, making your zip-up great for transitional weather, and the colors will give you all the autumn vibes you need!
  • Oatmeal Geometric Quilted Double Knit - The first thing I think of with this double knit is tetris. A geometric, brick-like pattern is quilted onto the face of this knit for an altogether unique look. Combined with the serene oatmeal color and the super soft hand of the knit, this fabric with it all. And so will your handmade zip-up!

Sew Select Box: Icone Sweatshirt from Atelier Scämmit

Don't you love discovering a pattern company? While it might not be new overall, Atelier Scämmit is new to us, and we are a little obsessed with their patterns. They're chic, a little flirty, and delightfully playful. We're in love!

While you should keep an eye on more to come from this company, our first foray is with the lovely Icone Sweatshirt. With 6 different views, it's our most adaptable pattern of the bunch, allowing you to sew anything from a button front cardigan to a classic, slim fit, pullover hoodie. The zip-up version is part track jacket, part cardigan, with an option of some cuff-ruffle on top of it all.

Because of the jacket-y nature of this pattern, we went with fabrics that have a bit more structure, though we also threw in a slouchier option for good measure. Reds, blues, and grays are the name of the game here, and we just can't pick a fave. Can you?

  • Woodrose Cotton Fleece - A classic sweatshirt fleece, this fabric has become our go-to for loungewear. The brushed back of the fabric is soft and snuggly, and because the fabric on the thinner side, it will be a great transitional piece to wear as the days slowly get cooler. The cotton gives it a nice sturdiness, while a bit of spandex ensures that your zip-up is flexible and wearable. Plus the color is so rich with a hint of earthiness, like rosehips in herbal tea. We think it's a gorgeous fall fabric and we hope you agree!
  • Heather Gray Diamond Quilted Double Knit - This double knit combines two of our favorite things: the stretch of jersey and the texture of your favorite quilt. Criss-crossing lines create little diamond puffs of fabric that will add texture to your zip-up. Light heather gray on one side and dark gray on the other, you also have lots of possibilities to play with the contrast. Soft, surprisingly thin for sweat shirting, and medium weight, this fabric is a stunner!
  • English Manor Blue Waffle Knit - We've been meaning to use waffle knit for a while, and this was the perfect opportunity. Waffle knit typically is used for thermal pajamas as the little boxes of fabric allow air to insulate the body. The quality also makes it great for layering garments, like this zip-up. Supple and soft, this is the slouchiest option in this box and will give you more of a cardigan feel to your make. And the muted English blue is a standout - sophisticated, soft, and chic!

Sew Curvy Box: Stanton Hoodie from Cashmerette Patterns

I try not to play favorites with the patterns in our boxes, but let's just say, I want to make a dozen Stanton Hoodies for my wardrobe. Like all Cashmerette patterns, it has so many wonderful design features. And it just looks as comfy as all get-out.

Designed for color-blocking, this zip-up has a paneled design to create a bit of a sports jersey look. You can sew the shoulders and sides with different fabrics or keep it all one color to show off your top-stitching on the seam lines. Curved lines and roomy pockets complete the look. And the best part? It's designed for a larger bust so it will fit you the way you want it too!

To play with the color-blocking, we chose some fabrics that are either double-faced or have an interesting "wrong side". And for the last option, we're just straight up giving you two fabrics (Lucky you!). So here they are!

  • Heather Gray Double-Faced Ponte - We love a good double knit, especially when the one side is an inverse of the other. This rayon/polyester ponte features a dark gray face that has tiny pin dots of lighter gray all across it. Then the reverse is light gray with a subtle darker gray stripe. Both sides combine into a soft, flexible fabric that will give your zip-up a cool athleisure look. Classic in theory but unique in effect, your handmade zip-up will amaze!
  • True Blue Eco Fleece - What is eco-fleece, you ask? A blend of hemp, cotton, and bamboo, this fabric is designed to be both sustainable and wearable. The hemp and bamboo help it take a really saturated color, and the cotton keeps it sturdy and wearable. In a rich blue, this option will pair with basically anything in your wardrobe, just like your favorite pair of jeans. Plus, the fleece side is a darker blue than the face, making it a great option for color-blocking at the shoulders and sides.
  • Mustard Anti-Pill Polar Fleece - This polar fleece is all about the color. An earthy amber, the mustard hue is perfect for early fall. Oh, and we're giving you a piece of ivory fleece for contrast blocking. Plus, the fleece itself is soft and breathable, with a shearling-like fuzziness on the right side. Designed to resist pilling, it will stay lofty through wear, which is ideal because you won't want to take this zip-up off!

Sew Indulgent Box: Arlo Track Jacket from Friday Pattern Company

The only non-hoodie of our boxes, the Arlo Track Jacket earns its place in our zip-up round-up by just being awesome. I mean, it's just so cool looking, and besides the different neckline, it fulfills everything we're looking for in a zip-up.

With roomy front pockets, cuffed sleeves, interesting seamlines, and a mock turtleneck collar, this pattern has so much that we love. It's a light cover-up to wear on cooler late summer nights, and it's a cozy layer to throw on when it's still too warm for a real jacket. And we especially love the chance to color-block the make to show off all the design details. 

Because we wanted to color-block, our fabric options reflect that. From high contrast to more tone-on-tone blocking, we are giving you the chance to be as bold or subtle as you want. And the fabrics feel oh-sew-cozy!

  • Cobalt Blue/Ivory Cloud Fleece - What's cloud fleece, you ask? A combination of bamboo and cotton, this fabric is indescribably soft. A midweight fleece, the bamboo gives the fabric a lovely drape and lots of breathability. Plus, the fleece side is double-brushed for extra lushness! We've paired a vibrant cobalt blue with an ivory white for a look that is athletic and classic. A fantastic choice!
  • Charcoal Bamboo Merino Fleece - We've offered this fabric a few times before, but we love it so much, we can't stop! If you haven't discovered the wonder that is Merino wool, you are in for a treat. Merino is soft, incredibly breathable, wicking, and even anti-microbial. Combined with bamboo, this fabric is about as soft and smooth as a wool blend can get. In a heather charcoal color, a jacket made with this fabric will be luxuriously warm and wearable. An incredible addition to your wardrobe!
  • Desert Rose Sherpa Fleece - The key to this sherpa fleece is that it's double-faced. One side is a curly, teddy fleece, designed to mimic lambswool, while the other side is a smooth, snuggly polar fleece. Together, they are the fabric fleece jacket dreams are made of. The deep rose hue is earthy and muted, and you can pick and choose which side of the fleece you want as your right side for a tone-on-tone color-block that is truly unique. Get ready for the coziest zip-up you've ever made!

Whew! I hope these boxes put you in the mood for some fall sewing. I realize it's only July, but fall is my favorite season, so a girl can dream, right?

For our Tried and True Boxes, we're bringing back our midi skirt boxes from way back in 2019. Midi skirts having a moment again, so now seems likes a perfect time to bring them back to subscribers. Because it's been so long since we've offered them, a lot of the fabrics have changed, and there's a new pattern available in the Sew Essential Box as the original choice is now out of print. If you want to rock a gorgeous skirt this fall, these boxes are for you!

Until next time. . . 

Happy sewing!



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