achievement unlocked: two Toaster sweaters

I have finished garments to show!

I made two Toaster sweaters. The pattern is by Sew House Seven, & I used the version that was licensed to Simplicity–pattern number 8529. It only cost me a buck in one of the $1 Simplicity sales at JoAnn. For a while, I was like, “Who needs patterns! I’m going to draft everything from scratch!” But in my personal opinion, the Big 4 (which is now the Big 1, as they are all oqwned by the same corporation) have been upping their game lately & turning out a lot of designs I’d like to try. & when the cost is only a dollar or two during a sale, why the hell not?


I made view B, size XL with both sweaters. The gray one is sewn up in the snuggliest, softest cotton fleece sweatshirt knit. It’s super-cozy. The black one is a slightly more lightweight organic black cotton sweatshirt fleece. I splashed out for organic because it resists pilling better, as I have discovered the hard way with a couple of other sweatshirt projects over the years.


I embellished the sweaters with squares from the Cotton + Steel panel they released as part of the Beauty Shop collection. I bought it several months ago on a whim, not really having any particular plan for it. That’s unusual for me. I usually don’t buy without a purpose. Then I made a couple of t-shirts for Ramona’s doll, embellished with little designs cut out of quilting fabric, & I liked the combination a lot. I realized I could embellish my own tops the same way!


I’m pretty into this pattern. I made the cropped version with a funnel collar, & finished with a banded waist. It’s deceptively simple. The funnel is created with a cut-on facing. I don’t love the way an exaggerated drop shoulder looks on me, because I am kind of narrow-shouldered to begin with, but I can’t deny that it is comfortable, & definitely elevates the design beyond a basic boring sweatshirt. & imagine it in stripes, with the body meeting the sleeve with the stripes running at a nice crisp 90-degree angle! I’m unlikely to ever sew anything like that, as Breton stripes are not my style, but I suspect other people would be all over this idea.


The whole thing came together super-quickly, which is why I made two in less than 24 hours. I feel that I should mention that I sewed the cuffs & waistband using the ham-hot method I learned from Mallory & Zede at They do the podcast “Sewing Out Loud,” & I’m a member of Mallory’s Facebook community, The Self-Sewn Wardrobe. I think I was one of the first hundred people to join, & now there are over 12,000 members. That is bonkers! I also coined the hashtag #teamcutthatshitout (in reference to cutting directly into patterns, rather than tracing & then cutting) in the group, which has kind of become a thing.

Ham-hot means that you fold your cuffs right side together “hamburger-style” (so the shorter ends meet, & then you fold again “hot dog-style”. Then you stitch the short edge where all the raw edges meet. Flip the cuff (or waistband, neckband, whatever) right side out & boom! It’s all sewn together with only one line of stitching, which reduces bulk. & it has the added bonus of securing the inside & outside cuff seams together, so you have a better chance of getting perfectly aligned seams when you join your cuffs to your sleeve.

For real, people have been going nuts for this technique for months in the Self-Sewn Wardrobe, & I was like, “What’s the big deal? Who cares about having two seams?” Then I tried it for myself & seriously, it’s a gamechanger.


I sewed these sweaters up right before Jared, Ramona, & I left to spend the holidays in Boston with Jared’s family. I have been wearing them almost non-stop ever since. I have always avoided cropped tops because I thought they didn’t flatter my top-heavy body shape. But the magic of sewing for yourself is that you can make adjustments to make sure a cropped shirt still reaches the waistline, even if you are busty (the main problem I’d always had with cropped RTW tops). You can also make fit adjustments for your pants & skirts to make sure they fit well across the belly, so you can feel confident about that area rather than attempting to obscure it with a longer top (to name another styling issue I have struggled with). Sewing has also just made me more confident about my body overall, because I can sew things that fit, rather than feeling constrained by all the RTW that wasn’t drafted & adjusted perfectly for my specific body. I’ve also accepted that nothing I wear is going to trick anyone into thinking I am thin, so I might as well just wear what I like!


Another thing I love about these sweaters is that I think they are my first truly perfect sews. There’s usually always something I can quibble about with a sew, even if it’s just an interior seam that got flipped over & stitched down the wrong way at an intersection, or a wobbly bit of topstitching, or a button placket that is just slightly misaligned. But these are both absolutely flawless in their execution. If I had to identify a flaw, I’d say that I probably could have sized down to a size L & done an FBA, & then maybe the sweaters would be a little more fitted & flattering through the shoulders. But since I made these guys to layer them over long-sleeved tops in cold weather, I ain’t mad at the looser fit.

A quick note on my schedule of posts: I am going to aim to post my #365daysofsewing round-ups on Mondays, & completed project posts on Thursdays. I really wanted to get this one up on Thursday, but there was a pretty steep learning curve on figuring out exactly how to use my new camera. I am obviously still fiddling with it. But hopefully I will be able to stick to this schedule!

pattern: Sew House Seven Toast sweater/Simplicity 8529
view: B
size: XL
fabric: gray cotton sweatshirt fleece, black organic cotton sweatshirt fleece, & the Cotton + Steel Hankies panel, pink colorway
likes: They are so comfy & so cozy. The funnel collar & dropped shoulder set them apart from the average sweatshirt. Construction is quick & easy. I love the panel embellishments I added, especially the “measure twice, cut once” one.
dislikes: The gray fabric is already starting to pill a bit. The funnel collar facing is only secured at the shoulder seams, so it is inclined to flip out. I fixed this in the back by adding my label, but it’s still an issue in the front.
quality of sew: 10 & 10
make again?: 100%

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

3 thoughts on “achievement unlocked: two Toaster sweaters

  1. Those look great! I have been going through my closet, and I realized I have a ton of boring sweatshirts, and not enough fun sweatshirts. Would you say this pattern is a quick sew for someone who does more quilting and less garment sewing? I might have to pick up a copy of the pattern at Joann’s when they’re having a sale…

    Ps. I kinda dig stripes. :p

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