My Reversible Hoodie

I have been so excited working with projects with my new sewing machine. Now, I will reveal my most complicated sewing project to date! It is a reversible hoodie! It took me 2 days to make it. It is my first shirt/top (everything else I've made so far had been skirt or pants for bottoms). So it was my first time making sleeves, a hood, and my first time putting a zipper in. It was also my first Kangaroo pocket, since everything I'd done previously had been inseam pockets. But the pockets were actually much simpler than inseam pockets. I like making things reversible, and I wanted to hide my ugly seams, so I purposely made it 100% reversible.

The main side is a thick purple stripped terry material with a little stretch, very warm. The reverse side is a solid purple, and is a thinner fabric with very little stretch. On both sides you see the light gray ribbing that I used for the sleeve cuffs and waist trim of the sweatshirt.

Hands in my kangaroo pockets! So stylish and comfy cozy ^_^ I was surprised that my first attempt at a hoodie fit so well! 

Hands in my kangaroo pockets! So stylish and comfy cozy ^_^ I was surprised that my first attempt at a hoodie fit so well! 

Hood on, with Mu rubbing on my legs. 

Hood on, with Mu rubbing on my legs. 

MIlo is wearing his read sequined shirt, haha. 

MIlo is wearing his read sequined shirt, haha. 

Showing off the reverse side, which is a solid purple. Both sides share the gray ribbing cuffs and waist trim. 

Showing off the reverse side, which is a solid purple. Both sides share the gray ribbing cuffs and waist trim. 

Fits very well! Here I'm hiding the irregularity with my pocket, haha. 

Fits very well! Here I'm hiding the irregularity with my pocket, haha. 

I will try to describe how I made it, since I told my friend Anh that I would give her a link for how to make a reversible hoodie. Except I kind of used several sources and combined them all. So hopefully this explaination will help.

The Hoodie http://mellysews.com/2016/02/reversible-zinnia-jacket.html I followed the idea from this website, where they made a reversible hoodie jacket. I did not buy their pattern. I have never bought a commercial pattern, as I don't think it is necessary if you already have clothes that fit you.

I used a hoodie that already fits well on me as a pattern. I lay my hoodie down flat on the fabric that I want to use, look at the seams in the hoodie, and how many pieces it took to make, and I lay flat and cut out the pieces with extra length all around for seam allowance.

My Hoodie required one back piece, two side front (left and right), two arms, and one hood. The arm pieces and hood piece I cut on a fold to make sure it was symmetrical. I probably should have cut on a fold for my back piece and cut the two front side pieces together on a fold to make sure they were symmetrical as well, but it was harder to do that with my premade hoodie pattern. So I just cut around my commercial hoodie, just be sure to give yourself enough seam allowance, otherwise it will end up smaller than you wanted. I also cut out two pocket pieces for each reversible side, using my commercial hoodie as a pattern.

To make the hoodie reversible, you have to cut out two of every pattern piece in your two different fabrics, except the waistband and cuffs. I cut one set out of the striped purple, and one set out of the solid purple.

I then cut out one waistband and two cuffs (one for each sleeve), since both sides will be sharing the waistband and cuffs.

For the construction, I used a zig zag stitch for everything except the zipper, to allow a little bit of stretch in the seams.

I added the kangaroo pockets to the front sides, according to the above website. http://www.ikatbag.com/2010/11/pockets-v-cut-in-patch-pockets.html This website has really good information on kangaroo pockets as well. She has a great series on all types of pockets, that I highly recommend!

I then sewed the side seams, sleeves, arm holes, and hood on. Do this for both reversible sides (striped purple and solid purple), so you end up with 2 separate hoodies.

Then I sewed the hoodies to different ends of the waistband, making sure that when they are put together, both right sides will face outwards. The website has a good picture.

I then attached the cuffs to the outside side only (striped purple). Do not attach to the inside side (solid purple) yet, since you will need the sleeves open to turn the whole jacket inside out later.

I think around this point, I sewed the hood outside and lining right sides together, so the hood had its lining. At this point, you have two jackets connected by the waistband and the hood.

This is when I inserted the separating zipper. The above website did not have much info on sewing the zipper, so I did some more research.

The Zipper First of all, make sure you buy a separating zipper that is long enough for your hoodie. Make sure that the zipper is reversible, meaning it has a pull tag on both sides, so it can be used on both sides.

I bought this 24 inch reversible separating zipper from Amazon, and it was the perfect size. It has nice metal teeth, so it looks durable.

This is a good tutorial on how to install a basic zipper. However, this does not work for my reversible pattern. But I would read this first because it has good information about how to install a zipper using the zipper foot, proper placement of the zipper, and gives good tips on how to move the bulky zipper pull out of the way.

http://www.craftingfashion.com/2013/10/inserting-separating-zipper-in-thick.html This is the method that I used for installing the zipper on the reversible hoodie. There is a very good image that they have where they show the zipper sandwiched between the two sides of the fabric, with right side and wrong side clearly marked. I followed this to get my zipper inbetween the two sides. I just pinned the zipper in place instead of basting.

This is the image I thought was super helpful for zipper placement. Your fabric is right sides together, with the zipper in between, but the zipper teeth must be facing towards the inside of the sandwich. 

This is the image I thought was super helpful for zipper placement. Your fabric is right sides together, with the zipper in between, but the zipper teeth must be facing towards the inside of the sandwich. 

This was another good description on how to install a separating zipper into a lined jacket, which is basically the same as a reversible jacket. She also shows how she does the cuffs for a lined jacket. The pictures and text here are a little more difficult to follow, so I would follow the one above if possible.

Once you have both sides of the zipper sewn in, you will have to turn the whole jacket inside out. You have to do this through the open sleeve, so it will be a tight fit, but you have to pull the whole hoodie inside out through one of the sleeves. Hopefully you either did not attach the cuff, or only attached one side of the cuff.

Once you pull the hoodie inside out, so it is right side out, the last step is to finish the cuffs. Since I machine sewed the gray cuff to the striped purple side before adding the zipper, my cuffs were half on already. I just needed to attach the gray cuff to the solid purple side.

To be honest, the instructions here and here for how to finish the cuffs were kind of confusing to me. So I just hand stitched the gray cuff closed to the solid purple linind side. I used a blind ladder stitch (http://www.squishycutedesigns.com/ladder-stitch/) Just make sure your inside sleeve is not twisted before you sew it, otherwise your cuff will look twisted when you wear it. I made that mistake, and had to redo one of my cuffs to make it look nicer.

Ok, I hope that explaination was a little helpful. I know it is kind of confusing because I combined different sources, and didn't use a real pattern, but instead cut a pattern based on one of my existing hoodies. Hopefully you could follow it well enough though. If you have any questions, I am responsive via email!

Thanks, and good luck!

How to Make a Bead

How to Make a Bead

In this post, I will introduce a very basic method of making a simple round or donut shaped glass bead. A nicely shaped round bead is the very first technique a beginner lampworker needs to learn. It may look simple, but it is deceptively so. You will need to learn to control glass in and out of the flame to make it nice and donut round.

Safety and Disclaimer

Lampworking is dangerous! It involves manipulating very hot glass with an open flame. There are very real risks of fire. Please refer to my "Lampworking Safety" post for safety precautions and details. You resume all responsibility for your own safety! Do not lampwork without understanding all of the risks.

How to Make a Bead

Here's a step-by-step guide to a very simple round bead with no embellishments or patterns:

Preparations: Coat your mandrels with bead release the night before. I dip my mandrels so that about 4-5 inches on the end is coated. Some people like dipping mandrels in the middle so you can hold it with both hands. It is personal preference.

The bead release that I use is Fusion Bead Release. It is very very strong. I've never had a bead break the bead release while I am working on it, even when using bead presses and molds. It's even a little too strong, since it requires some force to get the beads off the mandrel after annealing.

Some bead releases are flame dry, so you can dip them and dry them in the torch flame as you need them. I always air dry mine, so I dip mandrels the night before.

It is a good idea to invest in good bead release from the start. It's a cheap thing, and will save you from lots of frustration. I previously had a cheapo bead release that came with my hothead kit, and I was constantly frustrated from beads breaking the release off the mandrel when I did so much as poke a plunged dot! I'd end up with a half made bead spinning on the mandrel, dangerously close to sliding down to my hand! Just get good bead release - you'll thank me!

Turn on torch. If you have a hothead, turn on your fuel and light the flame. If you run on propane/oxygen, remember POOP!

Assemble all of your glass and tools, and put them in an easily accessible location on your bench. You don't have a lot of time to be searching for tools when you have a hot bead on a mandrel in one hand, so it's best to have everything organized and ready to go before you start.

Step 1: Heat the glass rod. To do this safely, you have to move the rod in and out of the flame so it heats slowly. Also twirl the rod so gravity plays on it equally, never letting the end droop too far.

If you stick the rod in the flame too quickly, the glass rod is prone to shatter. Tip: start heating the glass rod by putting it in the very top of your flame where the fire is coolest. Then slowly bring the rod closer to the widest part of the flame. I usually work in the flame area about 3-4 inches from the torch. You should see the glass rod start to ball up as it melts. Don't let it get so hot that it melts.

Step 2:As the glass gets hot, start heating the coated mandrel as well. It should heat to an orange glow.

I am right handed, so at this point I usually have the glass rod in my right hand, and the coated mandrel in my left hand. Head up the bead release on the mandrel until it glows. This will allow glass to stick to the bead release. If your mandrel is not hot enough, your glass will not catch. Just heat it up a little more.

Step 3: As the glass becomes molten, start winding it around the heated mandrel. The glass and the mandrel should be in the flame as you do this.

I still have the glass in my right hand, mandrel in my left. I usually wind the glass a few times completely, until I get a size that I want.

Step 4: When the bead is the size you want, start pulling the glass rod away from the mandrel, continuing to rotate the mandrel the whole time. The glass will get thinner and thinner, and eventually break, a technique known as flame-cutting.

Rotate the bead on the mandrel around, and let gravity shape it. I rely on gravity to shape my beads quite a lot. I believe that you should never start using tools until you can consistently make good symmetrical beads using only fire and gravity.

Heat the bead in the flame to get it soft and movable, but not dripping! Take the bead out of the flame and rotate it along the axis of the mandrel, allowing gravity to shape it as it cools. Reintroduce the bead to the flame and repeat this step until the bead is nice and round. It is important to shape the bead outside of the flame when you are a beginner, until you learn flame characteristics. It is too easy for a beginner to heat their bead too hot, and have it drip off the mandrel into the bench. However, you must also be aware not to keep it outside the flame for too long, since if the bead gets too cold, it will crack! You want to keep the bead at the "just right" temperature.

Step 5: Take the bead out of the center of the flame to its cooler edge. Continue rotating the glass. This process is called flame annealing -- it makes sure the glass' temperature doesn't drop too quickly, which can cause it to break.

There is some controversy over whether "flame annealing" is really "annealing". It is definitely not good enough to "flame anneal" your beads without going into a real annealing cycle in the kiln. But it is better than nothing, especially if a beginner does not own a kiln.

That said, I will still typically flash my beads in the flame just before I put them in the kiln to garage. Just don't think that "flame annealing" will get you off the hook for buying a real kiln. It won't. A percentage of your beads will still crack if not properly kiln annealed. For further discussion on the science of annealing, see my "Science of Glass" post.

Step 6: Further anneal the beads using either vermiculite or fiber blankets, and then eventually a kiln.

I sound like a broken record but - kiln anneal if you can, fiber blanket or vermiculite if you don't have a kiln. To anneal the beads, you just put the bead (still on the mandrel) into a kiln. Usually you leave one end of the mandrel poking out so you can still move the bead around to make room for other beads if necessary. Run your annealing protocol (see my recommended protocols here), then wait several hours for your beads to anneal and the temperature to be brought back down to room temp.

Step 7: Once the beads are at room temperature, soak them in a bowl of water that is also at room temperature. Then you can more easily remove the bead from the mandrel.

This step is optional, but soaking the bead release in water helps in easing the beads off of the mandrel, especially if you are using extra strong bead release like Fusion Bead Release. If you have any persistently stuck beads, I have found that using a simple riveter works really well to remove beads stuck on mandrels. I recommend this one.

Step 8: Use a bead hole reamer to clean out the hole.

Once you have removed the bead from the mandrel, you will still have some leftover bead release inside the hole of the bead. You want to clean this out before you use it for any jewelry purposes. You can buy a bead reamer to remove the bead release manually. However, I have found it is faster to use a long diamond coated reamer as a dremel insert. You can use the dremel to clean out beads much faster than doing it one by one by hand.

And voila! You have a bead! I hope this short tutorial is helpful for beginners interested in getting into lampworking! If you have any questions or comments, please reply in the comments section below! Thanks