Kantha Hoodie — Butterick 6863

Kantha Hoodie — Butterick 6863 - Marcy Tilton Fabrics
B6863 is a new chic hoodie pattern designed for knits, and, it is oversized enough that with minor adjustments works in a woven fabric as well. When I saw all the wonderful new Kanthas at MarcyTilton.com I knew I had to make one up as a hoodie/jacket for myself. Please see the end of the blog for general notes when making the hoodie in a knit.  

Dark Blue Moon* Cotton Patchwork Kantha Woven Notes

*The dye lot on our current stock of Blue Moon Cotton Patchwork is slightly different from that of the Dark Blue Moon Cotton Patchwork used on this garment. The blue in our current stock tends toward cobalt rather than navy.

Adjustments to the pattern:

  • Added 1-1/2” width to the bottom of edge of the sleeve. This provides more ease over a shirt and is more comfortable to wear.
  • Added 3” to the overall length of the jacket.
  • Added 2-1/2” to the length of the sleeve so I could fold back a ‘cuff’ and show the reverse side of the fabric.

Cutting the front and the hood: The pattern pieces were laid out so that the already finished/selvedge edges of the Kantha cloth were used for the front center seamline and also for the finished edge of the hood. No tie was added to the hood.

Seams: I wanted the jacket to be reversible. First all the seams were serged and pressed as flat as possible. Then I zig-zagged over the seams to stabilize and hold them flat. I used a dark blue thread in the needle and a paler blue in the bobbin, stitching with the right side on top. The colors/patterns in the design are random enough that the seams done this way virtually disappear.

Depending on your machine situation you may want to experiment with scraps for a seam finishing technique that works for you. It will be different if you want the hoodie to be reversible. Everything else was finished with hand stitching — hems, zipper and pockets.

Hems: Since the Kantha has 2 layers of fabric I gently pulled them apart at the hem and turned each side under, slip stitching them together. Later decorative hand stitching was added to finish.

Zipper: The zipper was stitched on by hand, mirroring the original finished edge stitching and done so it shows on both sides of the jacket. I used a YKK #5 molded plastic reversible jacket (separating) zipper from Wawak.com. The pull on this zipper flips from one side to the other so the zipper works when either side of the fabric is on the outside. The zipper was laid in place underneath the right side of the finished edge of the fabric. I pinned one side of the zipper in place and experimented with double sided tape to hold the other side as I stitched. Either method works but the double sided tape holds with more stability and you don’t run the risk of getting poked.

Pockets: Because the jacket is reversible I had to think about how to add the pockets. I decided that what would work would be to have one usable pocket that would sit on the right front side irregardless of whether the patched Kantha/‘front/right’ side or the whole cloth/‘back/wrong’ side was exposed.

  • Cut a patched/Kantha-side-up right front pocket. Place on the patched/Kantha-side-up right front and hand stitch in place. The hand stitching goes through all layers providing a pocket ‘image’ when the whole-cloth-side-up is out.
  • Reverse the jacket and cut a whole-cloth-side-up right front pocket. Place on the whole-cloth-side-up right front and stitch in place. The hand stitching goes through all layers providing a pocket ‘image’ when the patched/Kantha-side-up is out.

All pocket edges were first finished with slip-stitching as explained above in ‘Hems’. The curved opening edge was stitched with the decorative hand stitching before it was attached to the body of the jacket. Then, the edges of the pockets were attached to the jacket with the decorative hand stitching.

Best to stitch the pockets in place after the zipper is installed to make sure the pockets line up correctly. Some of us learn the hard way.

Hand stitching: I used a simple tacking stitch done in both directions; stitching first one way and then the other. First set of stitches go this way ////, then the second set of stitches goes the opposite way \\. When they overlap and meet at the ‘points’ it ends up looking like this /\/\/\/\/\/\/. This is similar to the stitching that they use in India to finish the edges of the Kantha cloth. I find hand stitching a contemplative experience — I love to do it.

General Notes on B6863:

Knits: Use a stable mid-weight knit like a Ponte, Fleece or French Terry. If this is your first knit project I recommend the Ponte as the edges won’t roll on you as you sew.

If the edges of your fabric roll so much they are making you crazy, simply cut the seams a bit larger and pin the pieces together in the seamline. Since knits don’t ravel the seams don’t need to be finished. You can leave the hem/pocket/sleeve edges unfinished so that the rolling of the knit becomes a design element.

This hoodie is designed to be oversized so a drapey knit works nicely. If you want a closer line use a smaller size than normal. Be sure to fit before you cut.

Zipper: Sometimes it is challenging (impossible) to find a zipper the exact length of your hoodie in the right color. If this happens use the longest separating zipper you can find that is shorter than the finished front center measurement and install it so the top is flush with the neck opening. If you look closely at view B on B6863 you hardly notice that the zipper doesn’t reach all the way to the hem like it (fortuitously) did on view A. The zipper in view A is stitched on the outside of the hoodie, utilizing the color contrast as a design element.

The zipper in view B is stitched to the inside of the hoodie. To do this I face the zipper teeth towards the side seam on the seamline, with the right/front side of the zipper to the right side of the fabric. Then stitch close to the teeth on the back/wrong side of the zipper. Next, fold the zipper to the back on the seamline, press and top stitch on the right/front side and you will have a beautiful clean finish. Again, I use double faced tape to hold the zipper in place so it doesn’t shift. I always pin the zipper in place firsthand check to make sure it is going the right way before I apply the tape — I’ve ripped out too many zippers going in the wrong direction in the past to avoid this step!

Hoodie Tie Opening — I use a small buttonhole for the tie opening. Stabilize with a scrap of interfacing and stitch this in place. Easier to cut open before you stitch the tie channel in the front of the hood.

Hoodie Tie — If you can find cording to match the color of your hoodie, great. If not you can get creative. View A uses a 3/4”piece of striped knit, cut vertically so it curls in on itself, knotted at the ends. A strip of knit makes a great tie. View B uses a piece of ribbon, folded and stitched together.


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