I've been a member of the Facebook group International Knit Sew-a-longs since last spring. This group has been hugely inspirational and has introduced me to a massive sewing pattern source called Makerist.de. Think of it as an Etsy for sewing and knitting patterns, fabrics, notions, etc — only in German. (There's also an English-language version, Makerist.com, but their selection is just a fraction of the main site.)
Home sewing in German-speaking countries is HUGE and so is the supply of indie sewing patterns. Hanging out in the group and seeing member makes has opened my eyes to the key differences in German/European indie patterns compared to the English-language ones:
Knits are super popular. Whereas the majority of indie sewing patterns I've come across with before are for woven fabrics, Makerist is chock-full of cozy, comfortable garment patterns intended for knits.
Playing with color, print, and fabric combinations. Huge selection of the patterns have interesting shapes and design seams, and the patterns are drafted with the combination of different prints in mind. They're also ideal for using remnants or fabric scraps.
It's not just for women. Many indie pattern designers don't limit themselves to just women's garments but do a lot of children's patterns, too. You're very likely to find both kids' and grown-ups' version of the same pattern. And men's too!
Hoodies. Oh my. OK, this might be personal confirmation bias but I swear, every other pattern I come across has either a hood or a big collar, or in best cases, both. And I love it.
So who's Kathy and what does this all have to do with her sister?
The October sew-along pattern in the group was a pair of women's garment patterns from Konfetti Patterns: the Käthe sweater and its sister version, the Käthe's Schwester hoodie. I opted to make the hoodie version because it's the perfect trifecta of sewing patterns for me: it's got a hood, it's tunic length, and it comes with a pocket. (The only thing that'd make it even more perfect is raglan sleeves...)
I fell in love with the deep scoop neck and pleat detail the moment I saw a photo of the pattern. The pattern comes with tons of variations. The hood can also be sewn without the pleats or with pintucks, you can make the sweater with or without the hem ribbing, with or without a kangaroo pocket, add cuffs or just turn the edges, add piping...
There are also four different sleeve styles and three body lengths to choose from. I wanted a tunic so I cut the front and back pieces to the middle length and then added ribbing to the hem. My hands are always cold so I opted for the long cuffs but cut the sleeves to the regular length — this makes for super cozy, super long sleeves!
The pattern instructions are in German, obviously, but the booklet comes with very detailed, step-by-step photos. Most of the construction was very familiar to me, even with the language differences. The parts that required a bit more time and attention were the pocket, bust darts, and the pleat detail on the hood.
The instructions booklet comes with a tip for altering the placement of the bust darts to fit your body. This was super helpful since I actually ended up lowering it by about an inch or so. I'm not entirely convinced they're quite in the right place but having the instructions there gave me the confidence to alter the pattern.
If you're looking to broaden your sewing horizons, I can heartily recommend joining the International Knit Sew-a-longs group. Even if you're not ready to dip your toe into the international pattern pool yet, the ladies on the group will certainly inspire you with their makes. Everyone on the group has been super helpful and reading the sew-along threads has been so much fun. And I've picked up quite a few international patterns to try!
I love my Kathy's Sister's Hoodie so much I already have the fabric combo to make a second one.
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