Winter Wear: The Halifax Hoodie

Halifax Hoodie | Octaves of Color, a Creative Blog

Halifax Hoodie | Octaves of Color, a Creative Blog

I live in the Midwest in a 70-year-old condo that lacks insulation in the exterior walls. When the temperature drops, the walls become cold to the touch, like the inside of a refrigerator. By late Fall, it starts to get downright chilly inside, even with the heat on. Since I know cranking up the thermostat can only do so much good (the heat is escaping through the walls!), I bundle up even when I’m at home. All winter long, I wear cozy sweaters and sweatshirts, often paired with my puffy vest for a little extra warmth.

This year, I decided to add (at least) one more sweatshirt to my wardrobe—this time, made by me. I printed off the Halifax Hoodie pattern, dug up a yard and a half of my favorite bamboo stretch fleece and got started.

Halifax Hoodie Pattern

Halifax Hoodie | Octaves of Color, a Creative Blog

The Halifax Hoodie pattern by Hey June is a highly praised women’s sweatshirt pattern. Adrianna, the creative force behind Hey June, is known for producing fantastic patterns that are packed with tons of options and sold at a great price. The Halifax Hoodie is no exception. The Halifax offers three main bodice options (shaped bodice with or without a full zipper, and high-low bodice with angled side seams), four neckline options (notched with hood, zip-up with hood, funnel neck or ribbed neck) and an optional kangaroo pocket. The hood and zipper are the features that drew me to the Halifax, although, that’s not the version I’m featuring today! 

Test Garment & Adjustments

Halifax Hoodie | Octaves of Color, a Creative Blog

My first Halifax was a test garment that I never intended to wear. Ever. The fabric is a printed French terry that I got at the thrift store for $2. Although I will never wear it, I completed the muslin so that I could give it back to the thrift store. Someone else might like it!

Based on my measurements (32” full bust, 27” waist, 36” hip) I opted to sew size XS for sleeves and bust, graded out to size S at the hips. After sewing my test garment, I discovered that I needed to shorten the bodice length by about an inch and that I really didn’t need to grade to a larger size at the hips.

Halifax Hoodie for Real

Halifax Hoodie | Octaves of Color, a Creative Blog
Bamboo Stretch Fleece

To make my first real Halifax, I used my favorite Bamboo Stretch Fleece from Nature’s Fabrics. This is my third garment made from this fleece and I love it as much as ever (see the others here and here). It’s soft, stretchy and has great recovery. For the cuffs and bottom band, I used bamboo rib knit in the same color. The light heather gray hue is neutral and easy to wear with my other winter clothing (which is mostly black and blue).

Halifax Hoodie | Octaves of Color, a Creative Blog

Alterations for Fabric Choice

The bamboo fleece I used for my final is much stretchier than the French terry I used for my test garment. It has slightly more vertical stretch and a lot more horizontal stretch. Although I sized down for my hips in my final version, the hips were still too large in my final fabric. I ended up unpicking the entire waistband and pin-fitting the bodice to fit my hips just right. Then I recut the hip band to measure 90% of the length of the finished bodice. Rib knit is super stretchy, so it’s common to cut the band shorter and then stretch it slightly to match.

Halifax Hoodie | Octaves of Color, a Creative Blog

I also noticed that the underarm area had more fabric than I preferred. Again, I did a quick pin-fitting to determine how much fabric to remove under my armpit.

In both instances, after pin-fitting, I basted the seams before serging them. This allowed me to make sure I had my seams just the way I wanted before I let my serger knife cut off the excess fabric. Seams can be unpicked and resewn, but cutting is irreversible!

Other Alterations

Halifax Hoodie | Octaves of Color, a Creative Blog

This Halifax matches view D in the pattern exactly, with just a couple of modifications to the kangaroo pocket shaping and construction. The pattern calls for binding on the curved pocket openings, but I chose to use a rib knit facing on the curves instead. I like the way the double needle coverstitch looks along that seam. I also made the curved openings less curvy so I could get better hand coverage. Finally, I reduced the width of the pocket (only at the bottom) so it looked more proportional with the reduced bodice width.

A New Favorite

Halifax Hoodie | Octaves of Color, a Creative Blog

I don’t say this often, but I can see myself making the Halifax pattern many more times. This sweatshirt is cozy and fits me better than any other sweatshirt in my closet. I can wear it with jeans or leggings and I love how it looks with my puffy vest. I am sure it’s going to get a lot of wear this winter. If you’d like to pick up a copy of the Halifax Hoodie, you can get it here.

Happy sewing!

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