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I finally finished the fleece cycling jersey for my honey yesterday!

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The pattern is Jalie 2216.

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I first made this pattern a couple of years ago in a bright orange sport knit; it was a bit of a nerve-racking experience, as I haven’t sewn much with knits, I’d never used a Jalie pattern before, and I rarely sew for other people.  It was a challenge, but I did a muslin in a cheap knit fabric first, and that was a big help in getting the fit right, and also clarifying what he was looking for in a cycling jersey.  A problem that I’ve had in sewing for  non-sewers is that they tend to come up with “it would be great if you could . . . ” ideas when it’s too late in the process to accommodate them!  (It occurs to me as I write this that he’s told me in the past how annoying that can be with his software clients at work.  😉 )  He wound up pretty happy with the orange jersey, though, and I used what I’d learned doing that to make the fleece one.

The last version was modified to have a full-length zip, but we stuck to the half-zip for this one.  We changed the pockets a bit, though, and I changed the sleeves to make them full-length, with elastic at the wrists.  I’m not sure what I did wrong–I started this thing almost a year ago, so my memory is a bit hazy–but they turned out not nearly roomy enough (and of course I didn’t discover this until they’d been sewn).

So what to do?  Since the tightness started at the underarm, I decided to insert a long strip of fabric that would extend into an underarm gusset ending 3″ below the shoulder.  I used one of his other fleece pullovers as a guide for how much to add.

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A big help in this process was the realization that I didn’t have to actually unpick the seams to insert the gusset; since the seam allowances were only 1/4″, I was able to just cut them off, then add another 1/2″ to the insert to make up for the loss.  Whew!

Lessons from this project:

—  When sewing for other people, talk a lot about what the recipient expects and wants in the item.  This guy’s been cycling his whole life, so he has some opinions about cycling gear.  So what features does he like in the jerseys he’s worn?  What doesn’t he like?  This actually was the source of the project, as he had plenty of fleece pullovers and cycling jerseys, but hadn’t been able to find a jersey made out of fleece.

—  Have the recipient try on the item at several stages of construction, if possible.  Baste, try on, discuss, repeat.

—  Double-check by comparing the item to similar pieces that fit well.  I wish I had compared my sleeve pattern piece to his other clothes before cutting it out!

I’m glad to have this done–next up is my PJs!  I’ve also got an idea cooking in the back of my brain to make myself a vest with the leftovers from the jersey . . . .

STH

(FESA Flickr group is here.)

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