Pattern Review: Cowlneck Pullover Jacket

Before the snow really started flying I tossed around the idea of sewing up a transitional jacket for O. Something that would work through the Fall and Spring. Now we live in the Northern end of the Midwest- Fall and Spring are no joke, I would need something he could wear a couple layers under. I started my pattern search.

My search went something like this: fun girl’s jacket, cute girl’s jacket, boy’s pea coat, unique girl’s jacket, still different style girl’s jacket, boy’s pea coat, repeat….

I don’t have anything against pea coats it just wasn’t what I was looking for. So I complained on Twitter, what else is a girl to do. I was directed to the Cowlneck Pullover Jacket.

Unisex cowlneck pullover jacket (12 months upto age 6)PDF patterns - Reversible, 6 ways to wear, cowl neck, pullover jacket, side buttons

Anyone who has sewn clothes for boys has felt their choices were kind of boring. So you can imagine this pattern caught my eye. It’s reversible, can be worn a number of different ways, and I admit I like it when I can use a pattern for his little sister too.

The Prep

I bought the pattern on Etsy, so no instant download, but it was emailed very quickly. The file opened, printed, and pieced together very nicely. Read over the PDF before you print, there are a number of pages with a lot of ink you likely won’t want/need to print.

I pulled the sizing chart and got worried, really worried. This pattern is advertised 12m-6T. My measurements put him in a 6T. He is still hit or miss on whether 4T is too big for most patterns.

That seemed like a big leap so I made up a quick muslin. I didn’t do the whole jacket, I just put together a jacket shell real quick. I decided on the 5T. I have a nice plaid and flannel combo waiting for this project- but still really nervous about the sizing I sewed up a fun version first. Just in case it was small…or huge.

pullover jacketI used a cotton superhero print. (He’s into Spiderman) and a light red flannel. I picked these up on super sale at my Joann’s.

Fabric Selection

Based on my experience I think a fabric with more body than cotton will give you a nicer result. I think just a little bit of give/stretch in your fabric would be nice in a couple places.

Pattern Review: Sewing Instructions

Get really clear from the start what is the lining and what is the exterior. I started out thinking one thing and changing my mind as I sewed. This left me really confused as I sewed. The biggest difference in the end is how your buttons will be seen.

Cowlneck pullover Jacket

Yes I did fussy cut Spiderman into the collar.

While at first the diagrams seem really clear there are a couple tricky spots that can be confusing. Specifically I think the image is a bit misleading when you are attaching the cowl portion. Pin and turn before you sew when in doubt.

Mark the back of your garment with a pin or fabric chalk. It rapidly becomes hard to tell which piece is that back and it’s very important for construction to know that.

 Things I Liked

It was a fast sew. Even if you consider I had to rip and resew one of these necks, it didn’t take long to get this sewn up. It does look like the  advertised image, even if my 3 year old wasn’t interested in taking it on and off to see all the options!

boys jacket pattern

The 5T sleeve worked pretty well. You get some forgiveness because you can make that cuff as big or small as you need.

The Drawbacks

The directions called for creating a open V on one shoulder. I may have overcompensated knowing my kid’s head isn’t tiny. Bottom line I don’t like what that opening does to the neckline. You can see below how wide it makes the neck opening, especially when the collar is open. I didn’t need it, he pulled the jacket on and off without undoing all the buttons. I would leave a 1/4 of the shoulder seam open instead of 1/2.


boys jacket

It’s shorter than I thought it would be. If I sewed it up again I would go at least 6T length or draft my own pattern “extra long”. It’s a bit hard to tell, but  the 5T is hitting him just below his waist.

jacket review

 Issues Not the Pattern’s Fault

reversible toddler jacketHe doesn’t like it. So that’s an issue! Because of the weather he is frequently bundled and zippered up in things, but for some reason he found this neckline really smothering. He wouldn’t be convinced otherwise. He is ok with it when the collar it all the way open, but that is about it.

Bottom Line

I would recommend this pattern for people who aren’t worried about having to draft extra sizes, or tinker with the ones given. If you have experience with reversible garments that is a definite plus.

I wouldn’t recommend this pattern to people who are uncomfortable doing intuitive sewing to get past a few steps light/confusing on the directions.

I’m not placing this one in the solid win category. But if he decides it’s ok to wear, I would make another one. I may make one for his sister for the spring.

Do you have a favorite boy jacket pattern?


PS See all our Sew You Had a Boy Posts HERE.


{ 26 comments… add one }
  • Amy Mayen February 14, 2013, 9:08 am

    This is so cute! Such a bummer he doesn’t like it, I hate when that happens! I’m making Bella a dress now, I wanted to add lace & she was adamant that she would NOT be wearing it if I did. Why do kids have to develop their own opinions anyways?!! I love his Spider-Man cowl neck.

    • onceuponasewingmachine February 14, 2013, 11:30 am

      Ha! I think he might change his mind. Right now he gets he has to put on a winter jacket yet- so I think he’s irritated I’m trying to double his jackets up!

  • Cindy February 14, 2013, 10:53 am

    Love the super hero print and that fussy cut Spiderman…perfect! The cowl neck is a neat silhouette. I hope he changes his mind.:)

    P only likes to wear hoodies for jackets so I haven’t given any other designs a try.


    • onceuponasewingmachine February 14, 2013, 11:31 am

      I figured if I was dragging the poor kid into a fabric store again I could say yes to the superhero print once and awhile 🙂

  • Leila February 14, 2013, 1:38 pm

    Sorry to hear he doesn’t like it buttoned up but the pullover looks tremendously cute! I love the fussy cut Spiderman. You are smart to do that. I have a Spiderman kid her, too.

    • onceuponasewingmachine February 14, 2013, 6:42 pm

      Thanks Leila! I’m hoping he likes it more in the spring. That’s like a lifetime away for a toddler!

  • Kara February 15, 2013, 7:56 pm

    So cute!

  • Ajaire February 17, 2013, 7:42 am

    It’s too bad when you go through the efforts of sewing and then they don’t love it! The good news is that it turned out great! The spiderman on the collar is a fun touch.

  • Karen February 17, 2013, 8:04 am

    I’m sorry that he isn’t thrilled with the neck when buttoned up. Neither of my children would be either but it looks fabulous unbuttoned! It could be layered over turtle neck shirts and sweaters that would cover his neck. I love that you used a superhero print to make him happy and that spiderman was fussy cut to be center stage. It’s nice to have another option when sewing jackets for boys. You did a wonderful job with this one!

    • onceuponasewingmachine February 17, 2013, 8:18 pm

      Great idea, layering will be the way to go for now!

  • Karen Schulz February 17, 2013, 6:32 pm

    Visiting from Sewing Barefoot. It looks fantastic. Kids are funny about whether they like stuff or not.

    • onceuponasewingmachine February 17, 2013, 8:24 pm

      At least they are also prone to changing their minds!

  • Jill Flory February 19, 2013, 7:51 am

    It is adorable – even if he doesn’t like it! And I so understand how that feels – my teenager is always wanting me to make her stuff and I won’t anymore because she never wears it when I do make something! There is always something wrong with it!
    I liked your clear review of the pattern. I find it hard to come up with a pattern I really like – I always change them up somehow!

    • onceuponasewingmachine February 19, 2013, 8:12 am

      That’s a bummer! It seems true the more I sew the more I know I’m certain most patterns will require adjusting- even children patterns!

  • Gretchen@BoxyColonial February 20, 2013, 10:45 am

    I LOVE that! It’s so hard to find great boys’ clothes (I have 4 boys, so I’ve definitely spent my share of time trying). I can see how he would find the neck uncomfortable, though….too bad!

    • onceuponasewingmachine February 20, 2013, 5:40 pm

      Thanks Gretchen! Maybe he’ll grow into it 🙂

  • Justine/ sew country chick February 20, 2013, 10:53 am

    The jacket does look fun and beautifully made. Maybe there is too much fussiness around the neck for your little boy? You should check the boys patterns out on Burdastyle. They have some beautiful, classic and interesting boy styles.

    • onceuponasewingmachine February 20, 2013, 5:39 pm

      Thanks for the tip I will.

  • Heather Feather February 20, 2013, 11:05 am

    That pattern is awesome! It’s got great details for boys, and I love that it’s reversible! I have never seen this pattern before so thanks for sharing!
    Thanks for linking up!

    • onceuponasewingmachine February 20, 2013, 5:39 pm

      I really like the reversible aspect too!

  • Venus February 20, 2013, 11:30 am

    The jacket looks great! I love the fabric. It’s too bad he doesn’t care for it, but I can understand why. I have the pea coat pattern and I love it! No needed adjustments on that one.

    • onceuponasewingmachine February 20, 2013, 5:38 pm

      Good to know! This is the first pattern I’ve tried. I do like the style of the coat- even if it takes some adjusting.

  • kilee February 20, 2013, 8:50 pm

    It looks so cozy! I hate it when it doesn’t work out for them to love it. What a fun project!


  • Rachel February 20, 2013, 9:20 pm

    My first time visiting, and I just love what I see! Great review! I love your honesty!!! As a mom who occassionaly sews for my kids, I can SO relate!!!! Thanks so much for sharing this at For the Kids Fridays at SunScholars. I hope to have you back to share more… and I can’t wait to check out more of your blog!!

    • onceuponasewingmachine February 20, 2013, 10:26 pm

      Hi Rachel, Thanks for visiting! I think there are pluses and minuses to a lot of patterns good to know what you are getting in to!

  • Shannon February 21, 2013, 8:24 pm

    This turned out adorable! Looks like a great pattern 🙂 Thanks for sharing this at The Weekly Creative!

    Shannon @ Sewing Barefoot

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