Hacking the Jackson Pullover with Sharlene

I have been searching for the perfect grey hoody for a while now, the kind you can layer with a smart coat or blazer to look effortlessly put together. Styled with jeans and trainers or over a dress and boots I knew it would be a versatile piece to add to my wardrobe.

When the Chunky Fleece Backed Sweatshirting in Grey Merle arrived I knew it would be perfect for the structure of this style of hoodie. I purchased the Cotton Sweatshirt Ribbing in Silver Grey for the cuffs and hemband. This is a slightly darker shade but still matches very well. We also have the Light Grey Merle Cotton Sweatshirt Ribbing which is a perfect match.

I looked at quite a few patterns but they were all missing something. I realised what I was looking for was the slouchy “borrowed from your boyfriend” fit that I had perfected with the Helen’s Closet Jackson Pullover. (This is because I actually used the size I made for my husband but adapted for my height!) 

So why not use the same pattern? I had a feeling it would be easy enough to adapt the pattern to have a hood. I pulled out my “Metric Pattern Cutting” by Winifred Aldrich and it turns out drafting a simple hood is in fact quite simple. If you have ever fancied having a go at pattern drafting this is the perfect first project, there are minimal measurements required and it takes only a small amount of paper and space. 

For reference I made the size 14 with 4cm length added across the chest/sleeve head. My normal size is a size between 8 and 10. The size 8 gives me quiet a snug fit. I removed the extra length lower in the body/sleeves that I usually add for my husband. 

To start you will need your ‘nape to waist’ measurement (the bottom of your neck to your waist), the length of your neckline on the pattern pieces (not the total neckline measurement, it will be half of the total neckline measurement), a ruler (a clear one is ideal), some pattern paper, a pencil and calculator. The neckline of a hoodie is lower than that of a sweater so you will need to lower and widen the neckline by 1cm. Make sure to remove the seam allowance from the neckline and shoulder before taking any measurements. 

First, work out three quarters of your ‘nape to waist’ measurement plus 4cm. Mark the point 0 (zero) and draw a line vertically down from it this measurement, this will be point 1. My nape to waist measurement was 42cm so ¾ of this plus 4cm was 35.5cm. Mark point 2 6cm down from this. Then you need to ‘square out’ from these 3 points, so draw a perpendicular line from points 0, 1 and 2. 

Next draw a line from point 1 to the line extending from 2 (diagonally) the length of the front and back neckline. Mark the end of this as point 3 and ‘square up’ to point 4. Point 5 is the length of the back neckline, mark this on the line from1-3. 

Next draw in the curve of the neckline, if you have a curved ruler this will come in handy here although it is only a slight curve so you will be able to free hand it. The back neckline will curve 0.5cm above the straight line and the front neckline will curve 1cm below the straight line. 

Point 6 is half way between 0 and 4, point 7 is a quarter of the measurement 0-1 plus 2cm. My point 6 is 13.8cm between 0 and 4, and point 7 was 10.8cm down from 0. Point 8 is 2cm out from point 7. You now need to draw in the curve of the hood between points 6, 8 and 1. I have added a 4cm facing to the hood opening. Finally you will need to add your seam allowance to all edges apart from the hood opening/facing. 

If pattern drafting isn’t for you then never worry, it is still easy to add a hood to your favourite sweater. You will first need to change the neckline of your sweater to match the hoodie pattern. Lay the sweater bodice on top of the hoodie bodice and trace the new neckline onto this. 

The construction of the hood is fairly simple. First sew the curved edge and topstitch if desired. Add interfacing to the bottom of the opening if you will be adding a buttonhole or grommet for a  drawstring or cord to go through. Finish the edge of the facing/opening, fold in 4cm an stitch in place. this stitching will also act as the channel for the drawstring/cord. 

I used the round button hole function on my sewing machine and will pick up some drawstring next time I am at the fabric store. 

The hood is then attached in place of a neckband, although is slightly easier as you do not need to stretch it to fit. 

For the kangaroo pocket I used one from another pattern but made it a little narrower. I added fusible bias tape to the pocket opening edges to prevent it from stretching. These edges are then topstitched down and the pocket stitched to the front of the hoody. The bottom edge of the pocket is stitched in with the hemband at the end. 

Fusible tape applied to the pocket opening edge.

Double row of topstitching to finishing the opening edge.

I added a Little Rosy Cheeks label here which matches perfectly with the make. 


The rest of the sweater will be constructed as per the original instructions. 

The fabric was lovely to work with! It is quite thick so I had the differential feed set to 2 to cope with this when sewing the seams together. When overlocking a single layer I turned it down to 1.5. The ribbing makes a big difference when working with this fabric as it does not have enough stretch to give a clean finish on neckbands, hembands or cuffs (as there is no elastane in the fabric). 

And the verdict… it’s perfect! When I was searching for a pattern this is exactly what I had been picturing in my mind! It’s the perfect length for wearing with leggings and can be easily tucked up with joggers or jeans. Next up I will be trying it layered over dresses and skirts. 

I’m very happy I did draft the hood for this hoodie, the size is perfect and the slouchy fit of the Jackson Pullover is exactly what I was after. I have my dream hoodie! The fabric is exactly what I had in mind, it is super fleecy on the inside. A matching pair of joggers would be great! I think this fabric would be lovely as the Nina Lee Southbank or the Closet Core Mile End Sweatshirt. Make sure you check out Jess’s blog using the red colour way of this fabric here.


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