Cozy Quilted Soho Tunic With Pockets

A few weeks ago I made a Sinclair Soho dolman v-neck sweater from a marled dark green sweater knit. It was easy to make and super cozy. I’m wearing it a lot, but I have one complaint: I feel the sleeves attach at a rather awkward spot, which on me is too close to the elbow. I think the sleeves would look better and be more comfortable if they seam were moved up closer to the top or eliminated completely. So for my latest Soho I hacked the pattern a bit and extended the front and back bodice to include the sleeves. I basically just took the sleeve pattern piece, (digitally, in Affinity Designer) cut it in two and attached part of it to the front bodice and part to the back. I shortened the sleeves by .5 inch to account for not needing the seam allowance, and then I shortened them by another full inch because the Soho sleeves are a bit too long for me. I ended up cutting the two bodice pieces with attached sleeves on the fold, which I can do because I was using 58″ fabric and I’m a size 4p. So I just had a top-length front, back, neck band, bottom band, and pockets to cut. I cut the whole thing out of 1.5 yards of fabric.

I made a few other minor modifications to the pattern, including grading out the lower few inches of the bodice and extending the bottom band to be the same size as the bottom edge of the bodice so that the bottom of the sweater would be looser and not cling to my hips. I made the pockets about an inch deeper to make sure they would be deep enough for my phone and so that I could anchor the pockets in the seam attaching the bodice to the bottom band. (I usually don’t pass up any pocket opportunity and often add or enlarge pockets, but I didn’t include any pockets or bottom band on the green soho as I made that as a regular knit sweater top.)

I used the interwoven squares quilted knit fabric in the clematis color from Surge Fabric Shop. This is a 60% cotton, 35% polyester, 5% spandex knit with a cool pattern, reminiscent of the tumbling blocks quilting pattern, that looks like interwoven 3D cubes (or just a bunch of upside-down or right-side Ys depending on how you orient it). I love the fabric, but it wasn’t quite what I expected when I ordered it online. Based on the photos on the Surge website, I was expecting a brighter, pinker purple, similar to the boots I’m wearing in the photo. In reality, the color is more of a dusty violet. In fact, it almost exactly matches the grape brushed sweater knit I also bought from Surge. (To be fair, this is a tricky color to photograph in indoor light. My initial indoor iphone photos of this fabric looked very pink and I had to futz with the color in my photo editor to get an accurate representation. The color looks more accurate in my outdoor photos, which I did not color correct at all.)

I also didn’t fully understand that the fabric is actually quilted. I was assuming it was a quilted look, but actually it is three layers of fabric joined together. The top layer is where all or most of the cotton is, and it feels very soft. The bottom layer is a smooth polyester, and the middle layer is a fluffy polyester that looks dark purple like quilt batting. The result is a very warm and snuggly fabric on the outside that is fairly smooth on the inside. However, I did not realize that when I cut it, purple fuzz would start to seep out of all the cut edges. It’s not a huge problem, but it does mean you should be prepared to cut away fuzz balls as you sew and fold under or overcast all of the raw edges.

The end result is soft and cozy and looks great. The v-neck looks awesome and the pockets and band look pretty good. The fabric is heavy enough that there is no way to make the pockets completely invisible, but with the understitching, they tuck in pretty well and don’t look bulky, even when I put stuff in them. I felt pretty warm wearing this outside over a cotton t-shirt on a chilly winter day while my photographer was bundled up in a parka.