Hi, guys! It’s Kelly from Handmade Boy and I’m here to share my Grand Slam hack. Inspired by my sports loving little guy, I took the Grand Slam and gave it a trendy, athletic look with a cool funnel neck, thumb holes and side seam pockets, along with a bottom band. Yeah, this puppy has pockets and thumb holes. And Thomas thinks I’m the coolest person ever because of it.
All of the twists I did are very easy to do. Most are borrowed from other PAB patterns! For my fabric, I went with a polyester blend ponte. It has a beautiful drape that mimics the name brand athletic shirts and has a stay dry feel to it.
To do the fun accent stitching, I serged my pieces wrong sides together. Then just open up and topstitch the seam allowance down on the right side. Super easy to do and it keeps the inside of the shirt super smooth which is fantastic for really sensitive kids. I did this technique to attach the sleeves, bottom band and thumb hole cuffs.
To achieve the funnel neck, I scooped out the neckline about an inch lower in the front and half an inch wider on the shoulders. The original front neckline is in purple, the new neckline is in red in the picture below. If you don’t do this, you will end up with a turtle neck.
To create the funnel neckband, I measured the new neck hole (16″ for a size 6) and used that for the length of my new neckband. I wanted the funnel to end up 6″ tall, so I doubled that to 12″ to account for folding over, for the width. My new pattern piece for a size 6 neckband was 16″x12″. I use 1/4″ seam allowances when I do modifications, if you want to use 1/2″ to keep consistent with the Grand Slam pattern, you will need to adjust for that by adding to your length and width.
He is a pirate in case you are wondering what he is doing. I guess pirates wear athletic shirts. Who knew?!
Construct and attach your new funnel neck just like you would the original neckband in the grand slam instructions. (Sew the short sides together, forming a band and fold in half and attach to the neck hole.) Before you attach the funnel neck, you can add button holes to add a faux drawstring like I did. I advise to not do a full drawstring for obvious safety reasons and not do a faux drawstring at all for very young children who may still put things in their mouth. I did tack my string down, but still better to be safe and avoid it on really young kids.
For the awesome thumb holes, I stole the pattern pieces and instructions from the Pine Lakes Pullover. Easy! The size 6 cuffs matched up perfectly with the size 6 long sleeve Grand Slam.
Nice dirty hands, huh. He was playing outside when I pulled him in to do a quick shoot. He was practicing his baseball. He really wants to win a blue ribbon this year! I cleaned his face and forgot his hands. Sorry! He’s a kid. It’s real life in my house.
And now the detail that made Thomas totally giddy, side seam pockets!
These were stolen from the Essential Sweats Pattern. I used the pocket pattern pieces and the instructions for constructing them. This was done after the sleeves of the shirt were attached, but before sewing up the side seams. I determined the pocket placement by simply putting them up high enough so that they didn’t hang out the bottom of the shirt. Not a lot of thought in it. If you don’t add a bottom band, make sure to account for hemming when placing the pockets.
Because I did not subtract any length before adding the thumb hole cuffs or bottom band, my shirt is a little big. But, it should fit him perfectly next fall, which is just what I wanted.
The bottom band was a simple addition. Just measure the width of the bottom of the shirt and double that. I subtracted 1 inch to have it bring in the bottom of the shirt a little bit, but not a lot like a sweat shirt. My bottom band was 4″ wide and 28″ long. Simply sew the short ends together creating a band. Fold in half matching up the raw edges and line up with the bottom raw edge of the shirt and sew into place.
And that’s that! Very simple and easy to do! As you can see, Thomas is thrilled with his new shirt! He is all set for of a cool spring morning of baseball practice. Or for taking a nap. It’s a pretty cozy shirt after all. 😉