I just needed a sweatshirt

Do you ever just drop everything you’re working on to sew a quickie project? I almost never do. But I did recently, and can understand why people do it sometimes!

In the middle of my latest jeans project I suddenly had the urge to try out a pattern I’ve been thinking about non-stop since finishing my Carbeth pullover. The cropped shirt in Butterick 7557, from around 1956.

Meant to be more of a sweater, or a shirt? One can never quite tell when the pattern doesn’t specify fabric recommendations which it didn’t. But my mind first went to French terry sweatshirt version. Probably because I really needed a sweatshirt. I sewed a Linden sweatshirt once but it never clicked for me, and donated it awhile ago. I have a couple of RTW ones that are old and not ratty or anything, but I just wanted something cuter and more vintage inspired, if possible. And then after falling in love with the cropped silhouette of Carbeth, I knew it was time to try it out. I’m so glad I did!

I had some mint green French terry from Mood in my stash from eons ago, and thought it would be good for kind of a wearable muslin. I don’t love to baste things together, but in this case I had NO idea what the fit would be like, so it was necessary. I sewed the shoulder seams first, and then basted on the collar. It was laughably tall! I mean, it would have overlapped the bottom part of my face. And that was after I’d taken something like 2-3″ out of the pattern piece. It seemed sooo off, but I did follow the instructions correctly. I also realized with the first go of the collar that interfacing seemed excessive for the fabric. So I lopped another couple of inches off the pattern pieces, cut a new un-interfaced collar, and liked that one a lot better.

The body width and the depth of the dropped shoulder was also questionable when I basted the body together, too, even though this is the size I typically sew in 1950s patterns. On the envelope you can see this is a boxy shape, but when I basted the side seams, it was like 1980s boxy! And the dropped shoulder was sooo far down my arm. But the bodice pattern piece shape was very forgiving to change, so I simply took 1 1/4″ per side from the shoulder down to the hem and it worked out great.

I could maybe even take a smidge more off…. to get exactly the look on the envelope I bet I’d need to take another 1″ off each side in fact, if not more. But I’ll go with this size for a few versions and see how I feel over time. The comfort and roomy factor are a bit part of the appeal of wearing this, after all.

I should mention when I examined the pattern pieces I felt even as a short-waisted person the bodice length was quite short looking, so I added 1 1/2″. I didn’t need to do that, as it’s a little longer than I’d like, but I wasn’t sure until I’d worn it a bit anyway. I’ve since made two more versions and lopped 1″ back off and much prefer that length. But for this sweatshirt the length is totally fine.

I also couldn’t quite figure out why it seemed to be sliiightly longer in the back, and lo and behold preparing for version 4 (it goes fast okay! and I need tops!) I realized the back piece was somehow 1/4″ longer than the front, a mistake I made when tracing it off undoubtedly. Since I used knit fabrics I’d just eased that in and not really given it a second thought. Whoops. Fixing that combined with the 1″ shorter length and I think I’ll like the back length of other versions better.

That was it for changes! I do think in a future version I may narrow the sleeves slightly, but I’ll see over time how I feel about that.

I sewed it all on my serger (but with the pattern seam allowance of 5/8″), which meant the sleeve underarm point was a bit dodgy to do, since you sew the top of the very flat sleeve cap to the body first, and then down the sides from sleeve to hem, and it’s hard to trim just in the middle of a pattern piece (i.e. just the part of the sides where the sleeve attaches). All worked out fine though, if not 100% matched up perfectly. The original pattern also called for a neckline facing, but I omitted it since I sewed this up like a knit, and think I’d stick with knits for this pattern for all future versions too.

And now I have a sweatshirt that’s roomy and comfortable, has a vintage look, and is somehow cute enough to wear with jeans or a skirt. Not a combo I necessarily ever thought I’d have, and I’m pleased as punch about it. I ordered some kelly green French terry that’s unfortunately thinner than I was hoping, but I’m still planning to make another one stat, possibly with a normal neckband if I think it looks decent. And be on the lookout because my next project for Mood is going to use this pattern but with a thick wool knit plaid. Oh and then there was the wool and viscose knit version I whipped up to wear to dinner recently… Yeah. I am definitely NOT done with this silhouette. 😉

The cool thing about sewing is that you have the opportunity to make versions of things you couldn’t otherwise get… even things that maybe never existed. Like a cropped sweatshirt with a 1950s spin to it. It looks great for my modern take on vintage style and if I didn’t sew, I wouldn’t be able to have anything like it! 🙂

outfit details

sweatshirt – made by me
vintage skirt – Wanderlust Vintage
earrings – Bow & Crossbones
shoes – Rothys

Filed: Sewing, Vintage Wardrobe

Tagged: , , , , , ,

Golly, 22 Comments!

  • Even the colour of your french terry has a vintage vibe to it – it reminds me of appliances we would see in that colour in the ’50’s! Love your sweatshirt – the collar is fabulous and you’re so right, you would never find this in a million years – you would have to have made it yourself and what a beauty it is!


    • That’s why I ended up taking photos in my sewing area even though it’s not the best for lighting– because it matches so well. 😉 It was fun making something I knew I’d never be able to buy, not for love or money!


  • You made it! Right on! Looks FAB!!


  • love the pattern and the dark green wool version that you made the other day is so polished but comfortable/casual looking.

    When you wear a cropped top, especially in the winter, what do you wear under it? Slip? tank? nothing? I just made a cropped boxy top and it’s my first time wearing the silhouette but I only wear it with a black merino tank because even with high waist pants it’s still a little breezy without.


    • Thank you! Yes I’m particularly fond of that version, I’m definitely going to have to make others.

      I am a huge layer-er! In anything other than the warmest months I’m probably wearing a layer underneath. Even yesterday I had a dress on but a silk long undershirt underneath but you couldn’t see it as I had on a sweater. LOL

      So far this is still somewhat of a new silhouette for me but I’m finding a long undershirt and/or t-shirt underneath works well with pants or a skirt. Except in the case of the green wool one, as I was wearing it over a dress so that was its own layer!


  • Marie Roche April 2, 2018 at 5:18pm

    You personalized this perfectly! I admire your ability to do this, very inspiring and the color does look very good on you.



  • Thanks for your comments. I’ve had this pattern forever
    too and now you’ve inspired me to use it!
    I never thought to see it up in a knit, but with winter
    coming down here it’s clearly a great style!


    • Every time I saw the pattern I thought about a knit as I just couldn’t see it being a style I’d wear in a woven. I mean maybe I would of course (a warm flannel would be lovely!), but my head kept saying knits!


  • Looks fantastic! I finally have my sewing mojo back, and I have that pattern, might try it later in the year!


  • Love this! I’ve looked at this pattern a million times – I think I’ve had some version of it saved in my etsy favourites since like 2012 hehehe. Now I know I’m going to have to go for it! 😉


    • I was exactly the same! I looked at it in my Etsy favorites for definitely WELL over a year, and finally decided I had to have it even though I wasn’t really sure how I’d feel about the style. Doesn’t that just go to show you sometimes you should bite because I am over the moon with this silhouette now! 😀


  • Was the original supposed to fold the collar over? Cause it soooorta looks like that? And could explain the huge-ness.

    It looks so cute!


    • Yep but this is folded over too in the same way. A mystery! And thanks!


    • Okay wait—it just occurred to me you meant folded over as in a turtleneck, not just the pattern piece being folded in half. I just checked and the instructions don’t say anything about actually folding the collar down, but the description calls it a “stand-away, cuff collar” so that could really mean either way I suppose! 😄


  • Sherlie Magaret April 3, 2018 at 11:32am

    Love this!!! and it does look great with your skirt. I remember this pattern and I may even have it. I have a bunch of old patterns from my mom and also from my sewing years when I started sewing in the late 50’s. I love them so, they bring back so many fond memories.


    • Thanks! It’s amazing how many people have this pattern, ha ha. 50s patterns are my favorite, and so many of them really could have a more modern or more vintage take depending on who’s wearing them and how they’ve styled it. I adore them!


  • Rhonda L Russell April 3, 2018 at 3:15pm

    I love, love, love that neckline!!!


  • That is a sweatshirt I might even wear! So cute and its athletic/leisure wear that meets the exacting standards of a vintage girl. Nice work!


  • […] was not at all planned, it sneaked up on me after seeing Tasha’s (ByGumByGolly) post on a sweatshirt pattern from the 1950’s (Butterwick 7557). I was in love and could not find it anywhere, what […]


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