I'm in a pullover state of mind
Ah the pullover. Fashion’s cozy gift to us all. Though not traditionally categorized as a ‘flattering’ garment, it is one that has managed to stay in style for decades. And why? Because, with a short zipper (or perhaps buttons) and the option to pull tight the bottom hem, the pullover is designed to keep the wearer encased in comfort!
My mother – a woman whose fashion sense is driven solely by a garment’s ‘cozy-factor’ – has a wacky maroon, green, and yellow, fleece pullover that she purchased from Patagonia in the 1980’s, and that she wears cross-country skiing to this day. In short, the pullover is a steadfast, stalwart, wardrobe staple. (Say that ten times fast!)
But what if you don’t own an awesome vintage fleece from 1983? This is the dilemma I was facing before discovering Jalie’s 3907 Alex Half-Zip Pullover pattern.
A Pullover You Can Pull-Off!
A ‘relaxed fit’, unisex pattern that includes 28 sizes – from a child’s size 2 up to an adult’s 2XL – it features a half zip, funnel neck, and side pockets with the option to add an adjustment elastic at the bottom hem.
It’s interesting that, prior to discovering this Jalie 3907, it had never occurred to me that I could make my own pullover. Like building a canoe or running 50 miles, it was not a task I’d even considered tackling. But, the moment this pattern touched my hands, the heavens parted, and an angelic chorus – each wrapped majestically in a snow white Snuggie – began to sing:
Comfort you will feel on high,
Outside, indoors, on a plane.
Any place will dignify,
A half-zip this warm and urbane!
You can make this garment!
Or at least, that’s how I remember it.
A Comedy of Errors
Initially, we had planned to make this garment for the lovely Bess, and it was she who selected the complimentary Steel Blue Sherpa Fleece with Jaquard Textured Leaves and Shetland Flannel in Grey fabric duo that you see above.
Her initial measurements were taken and the sewing process was well underway before a combination of bad timing, the impending Puyallup Expo, and a sudden (but necessary) out-of-town trip made a follow-up fitting impossible. Thus, it wasn’t until several weeks later, when Bess had a chance to try on the finished pullover, that we realized it didn’t fit comfortably in the bust and hip.
Via her measurements and the pattern’s size chart, Bonnie had determined that Bess was definitely a size 10. As such, we believe that the fit issues were ultimately tied our fabric choice.
While the Steel Blue Sherpa is a knit with the Jalie-recommended 10% crosswise stretch, the grey flannel is a woven fabric with no stretch. This lack of stretch (on the bottom half only!) can work, as long as you take into account the pattern’s finished measurements, size-up, and correct the fit throughout the sewing process.
However, the front pockets have a rather unusual application which make for a nice finish, but ultimately prohibits alteration at the side seams. This, in addition to minimal seam allowance, made widening the garment impossible.
If the shoe fits...
Upon realizing that the finished pullover wasn’t going to work for Bess, I’m only a little embarrassed to say that there was a, mild, stepsister-esque, trying-on tizzy that occurred. (Can you blame us? Just look at it!) And, as you can see from the photos, Lane is Cinderella. *sigh*
But, I bear them no ill-will. For one thing, they look great, and, for another, I now have a reason to make my own!
Jalie suggests using polar fleece, a soft sweater knit, or a french terry with about 10% crosswise stretch for this Alex Pullover pattern. Aside from the Steel Blue Sherpa, we carry a Designer Sherpa in Brick, and two organic sherpas in Black and White, as well as a variety of gorgeous boiled knit wools that all have the necessary stretch. Any of these would work well for this pattern – alone or in conjunction with one of our medium-weight Organic Soy French Terrys!
You can choose to color-block as Bonnie did and use two separate fabrics, or just go with a single fabric for the entire garment. Either way, Jalie provides the yardage breakdown for both options.
Built for Comfort
Though the road to the finished Jaile 3907 Alex Half-Zip Pullover, had a few twists and turns, the pattern itself was great. The design is excellent and the instructions are very easy to follow, as is typical of Jalie.
A great and versatile garment that will surely remain as popular in the future as it was 30 years ago, this pullover pattern is a superb choice for people of all ages and genders. And, as far as I’m concerned, there’s never a wrong time to invest in you’re own comfort!