I have something wayyyy different today: for the first time ever, I tested a pattern for a designer!
I’ve applied twice before for other pattern companies but always had a laid-back approach–I wouldn’t be bothered if I wasn’t picked. It just seemed like a fun thing to try, especially for someone who is a bit opinionated and owns loads of fabric. 😉 So when Leimomi of The Dreamstress and Scroop Patterns put out a call for testers for her newest pattern, the Otari Hoodie, I decided I would like to apply. Somehow, she picked me! And because she took a leap of faith on an unknown blogger and I respect her as a designer, blogger, and Knower of Many Things, I will hold up my end and state, for the record, that:
- What follows is the tester version of the pattern–not the final copy with any changes made after tester feedback was processed. I was not obligated to share this test hoodie with you all–I just really love it and wanted to show it off!–but by deciding to do so, I must make this very clear.
- I received the test version as well as the final pattern for free. I paid no money to Scroop Patterns for the pattern, but neither was I compensated in any other way for my testing assistance. All necessary materials were supplied by me.
- The opinions that follow are entirely my own. Leimomi made it clear from the beginning that she wasn’t looking for marketers–she wanted testers.
(I would also like to clarify that any links in this post are NOT affiliate links. Those programs are fine and all, but I don’t have them and want to make that clear.)
So now that the disclosures are out of the way, let’s talk about the Otari Hoodie, shall we? 😀
“The Otari Hoodie is a classic front-zipped hoodie with a relaxed but feminine fit and polished finishing details. View A features a three-panel curved hood and classic banded pockets. View B features a pointed pixie hood and Art Deco inspired cloud pockets. Both views end at mid hip and have shoulder seams that sit just off the shoulders, cuff and hem bands, covered front zip and hood joins, and fully-finished and lined hoods and pockets. Mix and match the pocket and hood options, and use contrasting fabrics for linings and bands to create a wide array of looks.”
I made View A, in a size 32. I could theoretically have gotten by with a size 30 based on Bust, Waist, and Hip measurements, but wanted a little extra shoulder insurance and sized up for that reason.
*Warning: Post includes a .gif and tons of words*
Honestly, one big reason I was interested in testing this pattern is because I could use a new hoodie. 😉 I had never considered making something like this before: we all have our “can’t be bothered” items that we opt not to sew, right? But honestly, after making the test pattern, I would like to make more!! The finishing and customization potential are so superior to what I could find in a store, AND the pockets can hold my phone, my hands, and the handful of tissues I bring on every walk because #allergies. In fact, I’m already dreaming up my next Otari(s) with fabrics from my stash!
Fabric & Supplies
For my test version, I used fabrics that met or exceeded the pattern’s recommendations for stretch: 20-35% for the main fabric, 30-40% for the bands, and 20-35% for the lining. I wanted to use stash fabric for this because I knew I had something that would work. I picked a poly/lycra blend ponte knit for the whole hoodie, and a rayon/lycra jersey for the hood and pocket linings, as well as for the pocket bands. (You may recognize the latter fabric from the envelope of M7538, which was a fun coincidence!) I used about 1 5/8 yards of the ponte and not even half a yard of the rayon jersey. I’m loving the wacky stripes inside the hood and on the pocket bands! #beetlejuicegoals
Sourcing my supplies was the hardest part of this entire project, so I’m going to share where I bought stuff. Please note that I am a moron who can’t read, and I bought the WRONG SIZE grommets. I bought #2, and should have bought #00.
Honestly, the trickiest part of this pattern was the grommets! I had never installed them before and therefore did not have any tools. Luckily for me, some dear IRL friends sew; one has a press and let me use it, and the other let me use some knit fabric she had around for testing, as well as for padding the grommet sites. My friends are the best! ❤
After the grommets, everything else was very straightforward. I was excited to sew my first separating zipper, because being able to take it apart completely and sew each side was a luxury compared to fly and dress zips!
I did have a few issues, but they were entirely of my own making. I had to fudge the zipper (more on that below), and I had to tweak the width of my channel and neck binding because of my grommet sizing error. But my Otari is still 100% functional, so no biggie.
See? Casual and cool.
And how about that hood, tho?!?!? So cool!! And it’s plenty big enough for my globe-like head…
Fitting Adjustments and Thoughts
Scroop Patterns are drafted for a base height of 5′ 7″; I am about 5′ 8″, and pretty much have to lengthen every bodice ever because that’s where my height is concentrated. Knowing that the Otari is meant to stop at mid-hip, I held the front piece up to myself and decided that I was going to need that extra inch. I added it at the lengthen/shorten line on the front and back bodice pieces.
The only problem with this adjustment was that I had ordered the zipper length specified in the pattern instructions. I didn’t really think about it until it arrived and I laid it out on the front! By then, I didn’t have enough time to order a custom-length one so I had to just roll with it. I figured it was better to line the zipper up from the bottom, so that’s what I did. I doubt I will uninstall this one and replace it–it’s a lot of work and the hoodie is perfectly functional as-is. The twill tape facing allowed me to finish the extra raw edge, and once you bind the hood seam, everything looks really professional.
You’re probably looking at my hoodie in the above photo and thinking it’s weird how it tilts up at the front. And yes, it does that, and no, it shouldn’t. It turns out that I need a forward shoulder adjustment on this pattern; since the shoulder of this hoodie is dropped slightly and I had already gone up a size from my measurements (I made a 32 instead of a 30) for extra ease, I opted not to mess with the shoulders for fit. And without a muslin, it’s less intuitive to work out whether that adjustment is necessary. For next time I will certainly make that change, but it doesn’t make this version unwearable by any stretch.
Also of note is the slight pulling in the shoulders when the hoodie is zipped up (it’s visible in some of my photos if you look closely); I suspect that my shoulders and upper back are more “athletic” than the base draft for Scroop Patterns, and that I ought to make an adjustment there to remove the drag lines. Again, not a terribly surprising thing for me, but also not something I wanted to mess with due to the design (dropped shoulders) and sizing up.
The overall fit of the Otari is meant to be more tailored, and I think it looks really nice; hoodies can look sloppy so easily, IMO, but this one doesn’t. The sleeves are slim-fitting and, coupled with the weight of my material, this is a hoodie I will reserve for spring and summer wear. I wore it once with a big sweater on, and the arms were SNUG! But for dog walks on a cool summer evening, or dawn treks at one of our local metroparks once the weather warms up? This hoodie is perfect.
I have a lot of thoughts on this pattern, all of which I shared with Leimomi during testing; if she is reading this, she won’t be surprised by any of what I’m about to write! 🙂
- Pattern Assembly – While there is a Copy Shop version, I used the Print-at-Home version of the Otari to avoid pushing the deadline. It was 40 pages, but it was quite easy to assemble. The pattern pieces are thoughtfully arranged in a way that allowed me to assemble many of them separately in sections. And of all the PDF patterns I have taped together, this one was delightful in terms of everything lining up exactly as it should with no fudging required. (I love Named patterns, but always have that issue with their non-Copy Shop PDFs. ) Leimomi also includes markings on the edges you will need to trim–if you don’t see the marking, you don’t need to trim! As someone who always puzzles this out as I go (work smarter, not harder!), it was nice to go on autopilot for that part. 🙂
- Construction Methods – The construction methods Leimomi suggests result in a very professional-looking hoodie, down to the notions she recommends. Twill tape is very much a RTW way to finish the zipper and the hood, as are the grommets. I want my garments to look professional (and expensive), and I feel that this hoodie does–inside and out. The instructions are great–I read them through before starting, and felt 100% capable of making a hoodie by the end!
- Drafting – All my notches matched, and the overall fit is true to the pattern’s description (excluding any personal fit issues). The grading is even, meaning the finished garment measurements have the same amount of ease versus the Scroop size chart across all sizes.
- Pockets – I love the pockets on the Otari! They’re a great size (seriously, LOOK AT THEM. So roomy!!), are fully lined by design, AND they don’t sag or droop when not in use.
- Quality Finishes – I received the line art and pattern description before the pattern files, and had some time to think about what I wanted my Otari to look like before I could start sewing. Reading that the hood and pockets were lined made me check my existing RTW hoodies, and guess what? NONE OF THEM HAD LININGS. Not for the hood, not for the pockets. I cannot go back to that nonsense now, you guys. The hood of my Otari has a luxurious weight to it thanks to the lining, and I can confirm that the pockets and hood block out wind better than my other hoodies because of the lining layer. The finishing on the Otari is fully in #treatyoself territory.
- Creative Potential – Can you guys believe I nearly put a white cotton jersey lining in the hood?!? I am so glad I took the last line of the description to heart and dug deeper into my stash for something more fun. I may have made the more basic view of this pattern, but the quality features gave me an additional opportunity to be creative and make my hoodie unique.
- Ease – This isn’t really a negative so much as a Thing Of Note, but the slimmer fit of the Otari means that I would have to modify it to get a bulky sweater under the sleeves comfortably, or to use non-stretch fabric. But the description is very clear on this point, so I am neither disappointed nor surprised by how my hoodie fits.
Really, that’s my entire list of non-Pro things. Virtually every part of this project was straightforward and enjoyable (excluding any mistakes I made), and I love my hoodie. Is this a SERGE ALL THE THINGS!!!!!! project? No. And normally on knits, if I can’t serge most of it I’m already annoyed, but on this project it’s understandable and totally worth it.
Would you guys like some outtakes and a .gif?
As I mentioned before, Leimomi did make some changes to the Otari pattern based on tester feedback. The hood shape for View A was refined slightly, and the hem band was made slightly shorter, and the sizes were split into 3 groupings for ease of use, along with a handful of other subtle changes; if you like my Otari, you will find the final version to be very, very close to it. You can buy your copy here! 😀 As I said earlier, I’m planning to make this pattern again–my RTW hoodies are about to be made redundant!
As for how my first-ever testing experience went, I could probably not have asked for a better one! Leimomi really cares about what her testers say, and about making patterns that are well-drafted, thoughtfully designed, and that will work on a large range of sizes equally well. I had never worked with a Scroop Patterns design before, but had pretty high expectations based on Leimomi’s background and skills; those expectations were met and surpassed!
I hope you all enjoyed reading about my first-ever testing experience: I sure enjoyed sharing it with you! Thanks again to Leimomi for trusting me with her newest “baby” and for designing such a nice pattern! ❤