Bowline Sweater

Bowline 1

Hello there! Long time no see around these parts! I’ve been sewing like crazy, which has taken up all of my time to write blog posts. One part of my Me Made May pledge this year (which I am documenting on Instagram and may do one big wrap up at the end of the month) was to sew one of the patterns that has been hanging around in my pattern library unused.

Bowline 3

My plan was to sew the By Hand London Anna dress but then we had a cold snap last week and I decided that I wanted a sweatshirt instead. I decided to go with the Papercut Patterns Bowline Sweater pattern that I bought during their Easter sale. The french terry is from the Indiesew fabric shop and it had been sitting on my sewing table for months.

Bowline 2

I was really intrigued by how the sweeping pleat is constructed and after reading the instructions I still felt like I was pretty clueless. The front pattern piece is so crazy looking. I have no idea how pattern designers do what they do! I cut a size small graded to between a medium and large.   This is my first Papercut pattern and I was really surprised that my measurements put me in those sizes. I don’t think I’ve ever been a size small in anything before. I lengthened the pattern but in the end decided it was too long so I ended up cutting off the waistband and shortening it. This might be about 1/2″ longer than the original pattern.

Bowline 4

Everything went well until it got time to do the neckline and pleat. I totally bungled the way that the neckband is attached, but I didn’t realize it until it was far too late in the game and I’d already sewn the shoulder pleat. I ended up with the raw edges of one end of the neckband visible, which is not how it’s supposed to be. When I went back to the illustrations I realized my mistake but it’s not very obvious from the wording in the directions. I haven’t read about anyone else having this problem so it could be that I’m just a big dope, but I recommend paying very close attention to the illustrations when you attach the neck band.

Bowline 5

The pleat is created by making a burrito out of the whole sweatshirt and sewing up a magic seam. I think I might have messed up sewing that magic seam because the pleat on my shirt wants to droop down and the dart that is under the pleat becomes visible. I haven’t noticed anyone else with this problem. I am not sure if it has anything to do with me messing up the neckline and having to go back into the burrito to fix it after the fact or if I just did something wrong.

Bowline close up

I decided to try to tack down the pleat with some hand sewing stitches, which looks OK from far away but I realized from this picture that they are noticeable up close. I am probably going to take them out and maybe just let the pleat be floppy. Or maybe I could get a big kilt pin and attach it to the front of my droopy pleat. Ha!

So this wasn’t a total success and I am disappointed about it. This fabric is so soft and I really wanted to love what I made from it. I would like to give this pattern another try at some point to see if I can improve on it, but I will probably wait until the fall and get back to that Anna dress for now.  If any of you have made this pattern do you have dropping pleat issues?



14 thoughts on “Bowline Sweater

  1. The dart above the pleat shows on my version too. I thought I might have done something wrong, but I’m pretty sure you can see it on the striped sample on the pattern, so I decided not to worry too much! I like your version, your fabric looks lovely and soft 🙂


    1. Thanks, Kirsten– I’m glad that I’m not the only one with the dart showing. I looked at yours over and over and it wasn’t noticeable to me at all. So I think I will take out my hand stitching and just let the pleat do what it wants to do. It’s so comfortable that I know I’ll get lots of wear from it even if it isn’t perfect.


    1. Thanks, Teresa! It was definitely a mind bender for me! I am looking forward to trying it one more time to see if I can improve on it at all, but I will enjoy wearing this soft, cozy fabric in the meantime.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really love the neckline detail on this top! This will definitely be on my list for the fall. Such a bummer it didn’t turn out quite as you wanted!


    1. I know! I think I’m always too hard on the things I make and at this point it’s gotten too warm to wear this sweatshirt anyway. Maybe by the time I can wear it again I will be less critical of it. I will look forward to seeing yours if you get to it in the fall!


    1. Thanks, Heather! It probably isn’t noticeable to anyone but me– a non-sewing person would have no idea whether the dart is supposed to show or now. I need to learn to be less critical of the things I make, I think.


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