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Every clothing sewist knows how important it is to make the most out of any great pattern. The Ellie and & Mac Around the Block Hoodie is no exception. Its fun and unique colour blocking allows for endless creative opportunities in itself.
But, I wanted to take it a step further. I wanted a nursing hoodie pattern without buying a nursing hoodie pattern. The Around the Block just seemed to scream it from the rooftops – “UHM, HELLO! HACK ME!”
So I did. And now you can, too!
*Lindsay from Ellie & Mac is offering my readers 10% off coupon when you sign up to my e-newsletter! Get yours right here.
What you’ll need to transform the Around the Block pattern into a Nursing Hoodie
- PDF pattern instructions
- Printed pattern (either in your size or all the layers)
- Note, I always recommend getting your patterns printed at a print shop if you have the time. There’re some great online options that cost only a few dollars per sheet!
- Tracing paper
- Fine tip Sharpie, pen or similar
- Ruler or tape measure
- Hem tape
- Elastic (½” works great)
- Fabric, sewing machine + essentials
Creating the Pattern
Measure yourself to decide on which size you will make then trace all the pieces of the pattern in that size. *Make sure to copy all relevant information on to your new pattern pieces.
- Pocket marks
- Grommet marks
- Name & size of pattern
- Name of the pattern piece
- Any special instructions
Cut out all your pieces. You now have a complete pattern for a regular Around the Block Hoodie
Making it Nursing-Friendly
Now you’re going to take a selection of the pieces you just created and alter them. You’ll need the following pieces:
- Middle bodice piece
- Bottom bodice piece
- Sleeve A Middle
- Sleeve A Bottom
- Sleeve B Middle
- Sleeve B Bottom
Set the remaining pieces aside and grab your ruler and marker!
Deciding How Much to Alter
In the regular pattern, all bodice pieces are connected with a ¼” seam allowance. Since we won’t be joining the middle bodice piece to the bottom bodice piece, we need to finish the bottom edge of the middle bodice piece. This will be do be with a hem, so we need to add enough length to accommodate it.
I advise using hem interfacing tape. You’ll need to measure the width of this to decide how much to add to your bodice piece. Double this number to get your hem allowance. Mine is ¾”, so I add 1½”.
I also recommend adding length to the middle bodice piece to prevent the top riding up and being revealing! This is optional depending on bust size. I’m hesitant to offer a hard and fast number because of the extreme variance in body type. For the purpose of this tutorial, let’s use 1”.
Add your two measurements together and that is how much you will extend your middle bodice piece. In this example, that means 2½”.
If you add extra length to the middle bodice, you will also need to add the same amount (not including the hem) to the back middle bodice piece, as well as Middle Sleeves A & B. We will also need to subtract this amount from the back bottom bodice piece, as well as the two sleeve bottoms. In this case, that means 1”.
Middle Bodice Alteration
- Retrace your middle bodice piece, allowing room at the bottom for adjustments. You’ll be adding at least 1½”
- Place the bottom bodice piece under the tracing paper, lining it up to the middle bodice piece. Trace down a few inches to get the shape of the garment.
- Measure down your extension (1”) and draw a line across. This will be the line we use for the back middle bodice piece, since it doesn’t need a hem.
Then measure your hem (1½”) from that new line. This is where you will cut your front middle fabric piece.
Front Bottom Bodice Alteration
The bottom piece will be altered differently for each woman, depending on height. We want to add to the top of the piece so that it extends up behind the middle bodice piece and sits just below the bust. You could also make it even long to sit above the bust, similar to a tube top.
For this tutorial, we’re going to be adding 4” plus the 1” for the ½” elastic to be sewn on and folded down, for a total of 5”
- Retrace your bottom bodice piece, lining up the bottom of the piece with a straight edge of your tracing paper, allowing room at the top for 5” of adjustments.
- Using a ruler, extend up from the higher side of the pattern piece, 5”.
- Measure from the bottom of the pattern piece to this new mark and create a new extension on the other side of the pattern piece the same length. Keep the lines going straight up and parallel to each other, or even tapered in slightly.
- Connect these two lines by a straight line at the top.
Back Bottom Bodice Piece
On the original pattern piece measure down 1” from the top and make a parallel line across. This will be your “fold line” for your nursing hack. When it comes time to cut the fabric, you will just fold at this line in stead of cutting on the original pattern line.
Confused? It’s quite simple once you see it done. Check out the video HERE.
In the original patter, the sleeves line up with the diagonal colour blocking on the bodice. To keep this look, we need to alter the sleeves the same way we did the bodice. We’ll be adjusting the pieces 1” each.
Middle Sleeves A & B
- Extend down 1”, keeping the line angle the same as the original piece. It should match up with the coordinating bottom sleeve piece.
Bottom Sleeves A&B
Mark down 1” from the top of the sleeves, the same way you did for your back bottom bodice piece. This will be your new fold line for your nursing hack.
Cutting Your Fabric
Now that you have all your pattern pieces prepared, it’s time to cut out the fabric. You’re going to do this just like you would any other pattern, remembering to fold down the back bottom bodice piece and the bottom sleeves.
For the back middle bodice piece, you’ll need to fold the hem extension up. The hem is only necessary for the front middle bodice piece.
Before you Construct
Before we start sewing the pieces together, we need to finish the hem of the front middle bodice piece and the elastic of the front bottom bodice piece
You can finish the raw edge if you want, but it’s not necessary.
Lay your front middle bodice piece right side down on your ironing board. Place the bondable hemming tape about ¼” away and fold over. Press to adhere.
Hem with a double or single needle, right side up, keeping your stitch nice and even all along and staying close to the raw edge.
Adding the Elastic
Guide line for elastic length. Preferably you will adjust this to your own waist line, right under your bust.
Waist measurement (inches)
Elastic Length (inches)
- Lay your front bottom bodice piece on a table, right side down. Take one end of your elastic and pin or clip it to the left side of the top edge of your piece.
- Pin the other end of the elastic to the right side of the bodice piece.
- Sew with a serger or long zig-zag stitch, stretching as you go.
Fold over once and stitch on the front side with a zig-zag stitch, stretching as you go.
You’re ready to put it all together! Assemble all pieces except for the front bottom bodice.
Once you’re ready,
- Lay your inside-out garment down on a flat surface with the back on the bottom.
- Straighten it all out nicely, aligning the shoulders and the sides.
- Place pockets on top, RST.
- Lay your front bottom bodice piece face down on top, aligning the bottom edge with the bottom edge of the back bottom bodice. Your elastic top edge will be down from the arm pit. Adjust to your liking, making sure it extends up past the middle bodice piece.
Clip pockets to their respective front or back piece and clip bottom bodice piece to the rest of the garment along the side seam as securely as you can. *Watch the video HERE
- Sew the pockets on.
- Flip pockets out and sew down the arm and side seams according to the pdf instructions.
- Add your cuffs, hood and waistband.
*Note, your middle bodice piece might end up in your pocket. That’s okay! It gives in another unique touch. However, if you don’t like it, just omit that pocket or reduce the length of your middle bodice piece.
You’re Nursing Hoodie is Complete!
Try it on and feed that baby!
Author Bio – Kate Hegedus, sewingfromscratch.com
Kate is a self-taught sewist living the simple life in her tiny town in South-East Saskatchewan. Her and her husband have chosen a more alternative way-of-life to raise their 2 babes, opting for memories and freedom over “things” and debt. Sewing allows her to have the versatile lifestyle they dream of while still doing something she loves. You can follow her on the following platforms
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