Sewing the Astoria from Colette Patterns’ Seamwork Magazine

The Astoria Sweatshirt

About a million years ago, Colette Patterns released the Astoria sweatshirt pattern via the Seamwork magazine. At the time, every sewing blogger and their cat seemed to jump on the bandwagon and sew at least one. My Instagram feed was full of them for ages. I’ve stayed away from Colette Patterns; I don’t think they could possibly live up to the fan girl hype. The recent Rue debacle just confirmed my thoughts.

Astoria pattern from Seamwork Magazine

So why I have sewn not one, but three Astoria sweatshirts? Basically I was gifted the Astoria pattern, possibly last year. I ended up sewing one in May as a birthday present for a friend. I wanted to sew her something simple and quick and having rifled through my patterns, it was either an Astoria or a t-shirt. After sharing the finished thing on Instagram, I forgot all about blogging about it.

Navy blue Astoria sweathsirt

Another Two Astorias?

As you know, I’m trying to sew in a more ethical way, choosing slow sewing and better fabrics to build up a really great wardrobe that I’ll want to wear and wear. As part of that, I’m trying to use up the fabric I have already. I don’t think that ditching the fabric I have and buying more is particularly eco-friendly. When I went shopping for the fabric for my friend’s Astoria, I couldn’t remember how much fabric I needed. Usually I add new patterns to Evernote to avoid over or under-buying fabric. So I ended up with enough fabric to also make one for myself.

Navy blue fabric with gold flecks

After rifling through my fabric, I realised I had a metre of navy jersey with gold metallic that would be enough for another Astoria. Quite frankly, there can’t be enough navy blue in my wardrobe. Obviously I don’t want to have exactly the same plain blue sweatshirt as my friend, so I decided on some embroidery which I’m going to get done this week.

Pros and Cons of the Astoria Pattern

I’ll be honest, I won’t be sewing another one of these. On the plus side, it’s a really quick pattern and the three quarter sleeve version can be squeezed out of a metre of fabric. On the negative side… well, where do I start?


Firstly, the PDF is so wasteful. It’s the worst laid out pattern I’ve ever worked with. I don’t see why the size range isn’t split into a smaller range and larger range, so you’d print far less out. Most of us are sewing for ourselves, so we don’t need all the sizes on one PDF.

Worst PDF pattern ever?

After I’d cut out the pieces to make the three-quarter sleeve version, this is what I was left with:

Astoria PDF creates a ridiculous amount of waste

I mean look at that. Hardly any patterns pieces needed and yet how much waste? Before considering more ethical sewing, I hadn’t even though about the waste created by PDF patterns. My girls jumped on all of these leftovers for colouring in but even so. How many sewists are just throwing all of this in the bin?

Poor Fit

Pattern annoyances aside, I just don’t like the fit of the thing. I feel like I have to apologise to my friend and get her another present, because the plain blue one I sewed for myself is such a poor fit. It’s much tighter than I expected, I think going up at least one size would have been a good idea. The gold and navy one is slightly better because the fabric is much stretchier. Both have lots of drag lines from the armscye and the neckline doesn’t lie particularly flat.

Will I wear them?

At the moment I can’t wear the plain one, it’s far too tight. I’m still going to finish the embroidery I planned for it though and then it’ll have to wait in the wardrobe for me to lose some weight. The sparkly one I can wear, and I think it’ll look pretty good with my circle skirt. I might even wear it for a birthday night out next weekend, along with my gadget case masquerading as a clutch bag!

Colette Patterns Astoria sweatshirt from Seamwork Magazine

I definitely won’t be sewing another one though. It’s easy to go up a size, but I don’t even want to work out how to get rid of the drag lines. Or how to make the neckline lie flatter. Life is too short frankly.

Next one the sewing table

I’m determined to finish the Marigold jumpsuit I cut out and pinned last year. I know, I know, I’m terrible for actually finishing things. I’m not convinced a jumpsuit would even suit me, but it is part-way finished. Speaking of jumpsuits, I’m so in love with this one that Elena made. To be fair, I love pretty much everything Elena makes. Anyway, yes, I will finish my jumpsuit and then I need really consider what my wardrobe is missing and go from there.

I’d love to know what you’re sewing – inspire me!



  1. Sherri
    13th August 2017 / 11:56 pm

    I’m working on Stylearc Heidi Hooded Cardi in a reversible french terry. One side is teal blue and the other is a dark brown with this trim I found on etsy I’ll also be working on Butterick 5997, a blouse that has good reviews on Pattern Review. I bought purple buffalo plaid from Girl Charlee.

    • Toria
      14th August 2017 / 7:11 am

      I love things that are reversible! The trim is lovely 🙂 I hadn’t seen that Butterick pattern before, I think your choice of fabric is perfect for it.

      • Sherri
        14th August 2017 / 7:23 pm


  2. 14th August 2017 / 8:48 am

    I found the astoria pattern useful. – I have adapted it a fair bit so I can use it for recutting mens sweaters – if you get a very large cotton knit one, then sew with overlocker and I usually turn the hems over about 1cm and blanket stitch and finish all edges with a crochet edge. (I since drafted up a new knit block to suit recutting sweaters better but the astoria worked well as a starting point to see if the sweater recuts work – my own block is longer, and the sleeve heads are evened out).

    know what you mean about pdfs, some lay out better than others – I tend to tape them and trace the size I want, but at times I wonder why those square and rectangle bits are put in the middle of a bodice piece, or just an instruction on length width of triangle….but then the pattern maker has to assume that the sewer may forget and then give a rotten review of the pattern how instructions were unclear etc (its only when I started doing patterns for others that I found out some pros and cons)

    • Toria
      14th August 2017 / 9:32 am

      Yeah, maybe as a starting point for adapting it could be a useful pattern. To be honest that’s not what I’m looking for, and so this pattern just isn’t up to much for me. I know lots of people really like it though.

      I think, on the whole, indie patterns try to hold sewists hands too much through the process of making something. That might be ok when you first start to sew, but if you haven’t developed your skills down the line because these patterns are spoon feeding you everything, then maybe they’re doing a disservice to sewing? I know plenty would disagree though. At least there is plenty of choice out there as far as pattern companies go, so we’ll all find something we prefer.

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