Pistol Lake Style 207:

French Terry Crew Neck Sweatshirt


Both Shane and I really love the old-school American style our grandfathers wore. LL Bean, vintage Levis, and simple, rugged shirts. We've been wanting to sew up a really awesome crew neck pullover sweatshirt for a long time, so we've decided to make that our next design.



Here's what we were thinking...

A Rough Sketch

1. Flatlocked
While it is cheaper and easier to use an overlock and coverstitch, we like the look, profile, and strength of the flatlock. We already flatlock our henleys and hoodies, and have access to the machines and operators, so we want to run with it.

2. Traditional Sleeves
We thought about using a raglan sleeve, like our henleys, but with the sweat triangle, we think there is too much happening on the front of the sweatshirt— so we’re leaning toward a traditional sleeve. 

3. Sweat triangle
We’re thinking of having the ribbing v gusset set-in, and flatlocked as well, which will make the seams extend past the v.

4. Beefy ribbing across the bottom and cuff
We really like the weight of a wide cuff — so we were thinking about going 3 1/4 inch. 

5. Contrasting thread
The first styles will be a light heathered grey/granite color, and we like the look of a strong contrasting thread so we were thinking about a dark charcoal poly thread. We'll probably sew up one with white thread to see how it looks too.



We’re pretty confident we found the fabric. It’s a 15oz 100% cotton french terry and is insanely rugged yet has a soft hand. Here's a photo:

I think this is a case where less is more -- no poly, or anything else, which a lot of fabrics depend on for heathering. We’ve just had better luck with organic fabrics when it comes to resilience and piling. 

It’s not too heavy, and not too light. We want to be able to wear the sweatshirt by itself, on summer nights and fall days, but also over a button up comfortably, if thats your thing.

Also, we're really not fans of fleece for athleticwear - nice on a cold winter day, but try to throw on a fleece sweatshirt after sweating your guts out at the gym. Feels pretty gnarly.

We thought about trying to import loopwheeled cotton but we're pretty sure that'd be cost prohibitive and would increase the lead time of sewing these guys up.

Other Design Considerations

Athletic fit
Shane and I are both pretty athletic and we design for ourselves, so our fit is different from the stout/boxy fit on a lot of great vintage pieces. After selling thousands of tee shirts we found that an athletic fit will work well for non-athletic people, but vice versa is not true. 

This is a non-starter for us — we want our shirts to fit the same way from day one til wash one hundred. We accomplish this by garment dying our shirts which pre-shrinks them and gives them a soft-vintage feel. Garment dying is a pain in the ass because we have to do new patterns every time we buy more cotton, but it's worth it. This will impact the colors and heathers we can offer, but we’ll get into that later. (and a note to self, check on pigment dying.) 

Reasonable price
It’s just two of us and we keep costs low, but we also sew near us in Los Angeles, so while we can’t compete with a Uniqlo on cost, we feel we can make high quality shirting at reasonable prices. We won’t know our costs until we prototype the first shirt, but what would you guys see paying for a sweatshirt like this?

Next Steps

After we incorporate any feedback from you guys, we’ll finalize the drawing. We'll then use our existing hoodie block to make a new pattern so we can keep a consistent fit with what we know works. Next we’ll sew up the pattern into a first fit sample. When we do the fit test we’ll snap some pics/vids and see what you guys think. 


Any thoughts? Things we should consider changing, improving, or adding? Is this a sweatshirt you’d buy? What colors would you like to see this in? We posted to MFA on Reddit, if you'd like to weigh in. 
If you’re interested in following the progress, feel free to pop your email in here and we’ll email you when the fit test is done.