The cheetah sweatshirt


Have you ever bought a panel, because it was sooo beautiful, only to realize later at home that it's so small and split up you'll have a very hard time making a full item for yourself out of it?

That's exactly what happened to me with this beautiful cheetah panel - which was clearly made for kids' clothing. But of course I was already at home when I realized that. It took me a while and some thinking, but then I had an idea on how to make the item I wanted with the whole panel and nothing else.

cheetah fabric sweatshirt selfdrafted modified sewing pattern Minn's Things panel

Edit March 2020
Beth has updated the Ali Sweatshirt pattern. It is now unisex with a slightly different fit and is available in more sizes. Even though I highly modified the pattern for this project, please note that I used the older version of the pattern. 

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When I saw this awesome cheetah panel in a local fabric shop, my inner cat lady screamed in a very high pitch.
You must understand, I have a big thing for cats. I always had. Besides my 2 kitties and many RTW shirts, socks and decorations I do have some proof online: my cat paw bracelet, my cat fabric dress, my cat fabric covered pattern weight, my cat fabric shirt. I have painted cat faces onto old shirts and made a window curtain screen with painted cats. Add to this cat fabric curtains, another cat fabric shirt and two more cat fabrics still in my stash. I'm sure I forgot a lot. Enough prove? Great.

cheetah fabric sweatshirt selfdrafted modified sewing pattern Minn's Things drop shoulder sleeves
Sleeve band detail

And because I love all the cats, be they big, small or strange (looking at you, Flat-headed cat!) I immediately fell in love with the cheetah panel. In fact cheetahs were my favourite animal for a big part of my childhood.

cheetah fabric sweatshirt selfdrafted modified sewing pattern Minn's Things no yolk back view
So many cats! 

For this reason only I bought the panel without any additional thinking or asking. At home I spent some time petting the soft cheetah face and dreaming of a super comfortable sweatshirt made out of it. As this was shortly after I made my two Ali Sweatshirts, I immediately had this pattern in mind. Also because the fabric is some kind of sweat. With that plan in my head I unfolded the fabric for the first time to serge around the edges to prepare it for washing and drying. That was when I realized how unbelievably small the panel was. Damn! Why tf?? A lot of sighs happened.

cheetah fabric sweatshirt selfdrafted modified sewing pattern Minn's Things

So after washing and drying I took out my Ali Sweatshirt pattern pieces and tried different layouts. But not even the cheetah head was big enough to fit on the front pattern piece. So with a lot of measuring of myself, the fabric and the pattern, I managed to resize the front and back pattern pieces so they would fit onto the fabric. Similar problem with the sleeves: As big as the original Ali sleeves are, there would never be enough fabric to get to long sleeves out of it. So I had to resize those as well.

cheetah fabric sweatshirt selfdrafted modified sewing pattern Minn's Things cropped with waist skirt

It took me quite a lot of time, but in the end I had every piece cut out and no leftover fabric.
There were so many changes, that I feel I can hardly call this an Ali anymore: the bodice is a looot slimmer and a bit shorter and not straight anymore and not finished with a band. The back yolk is integrated into the bodice - though I kept the shoulder seem between front and yolk piece. The sleeves are also a lot slimmer and shorter. And I made the drop sleeves less drop-y by removing several centimeters from the bodice pieces.

cheetah fabric sweatshirt selfdrafted modified sewing pattern Minn's Things back without yolk
No yolk!

Considering all the trouble I had with this make I am quite satisfied. Except for the bulkiness at the armpits - short drop sleeves are not ideal with stiff sweat fabric. And the length. It's slightly too short for my jeans, but too long to be a good crop top. So far I either wear it with jeans and a longer cami/tank underneath or with a waist skirt like in these photos. It may not be perfect, but I still love it and wear it a lot.

cheetah fabric sweatshirt selfdrafted modified sewing pattern Minn's Things Pinterest

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2 comments

  1. OMG I love this so much! I would have snapped up that panel as well! You did a really good job of getting the sweatshirt out of the panel 🤘🏻🤘🏻🤘🏻

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