All the long leggings

Moving to a colder climate meant that I needed to switch out my exercise shorts and capri leggings for longer leggings this year. 

The first time I tried the Jalie 3462 Cora pattern, the result was a disaster, but I think that was due to my fabric not being stretchy enough, so I thought I would give the pattern another go.  I didn't want to use my favourite fabrics though, in case this second attempt didn't work out either.  I used some swimwear lycra that one of my sisters gave me.  I didn't have enough fabric to make the curved waistband, so I used a really wide, soft elastic (maybe 10 cm wide?) inside of a straight casing. These turned out much better than the first pair.  I think I really need to review my collection of Jalie patterns, trying some of them a size up or size down or in different fabrics.  I think I have been too quick to write off patterns in the past and seek a shiny new pattern, when all I really needed was a different size.

These have a large pocket at the back, but personally, I prefer side pockets.

This next pattern is the Greenstyle Creations Super G Tights.  I think I graded from a large in the waist, to a medium in the hips and a small in the legs.  I also shaped the legs a bit more to have more room in the calves and less in the ankles.  The fabric is a beefy, very stretchy polyester from the Fabric Fairy.  These are my warmest leggings.

I like the big side pockets.  I had to piece the pocket fabric fabric together to get this to fit in 1m of fabric, which explains the extra ridge near the bottom of the pocket.  My memory is hazy, but I think I cut the long gusset on the other grain.  My fabric is so stretchy that it doesn't matter.

I also made a matching Greenstyle Creations Power bra.  The sizing for this pattern seems unusual, as it put me in an E cup, and I am definitely not an E cup!  I made the E cup just to see how it would turn out, but this fabric is so stretchy, that I don't know if I need to go down several cup sizes or just use a less stretchy fabric.  I dyed the elastic to match.  It should have been a perfect match, but for some reason, my elastic only too the blue dye and left all the red dye in the water.  

The next pair are the Jalie 3674 Isabelle tights, modified to have large side pockets.  You can see all the lumps of things sticking out of my pockets.  These are made out of a lighter weight supplex, which feels so beautiful to wear.  The fabric makes these my favourites, but I have to make sure I am wearing lighter coloured underwear, and I don't have any matching tops.  These photos were taken during a dusk bushwalk, which is why they are not very clear.

These next ones are my "self-drafted" pattern, originally modified from a stylearc pattern.  Additional modifications this time around were eliminating the mesh panels and lengthening them to ankle-length.  In these photos, I am wearing them hiking, but I made them for running.  Each of the previous patterns have the wide waistband with a 1 cm wide elastic sewn into the top seam.  I don't like this elastic too tight (seems to trigger sciatica), and whilst a wide waistband is more flattering, I find that it falls down for running, probably because the elastic is not tight enough.  Instead I prefer straight waistband enclosing a ~4 cm wide elastic.  The elastic is snug, but not too tight, and they don't need to be pulled up whilst I am running.  Also, big pockets for my phone.  These are not as compressive as the other patterns, and I could probably modify my pattern to take them in a little, but I don't mind if they are not tight, just so long as they stay up.  The fabric is a heavier-weight supplex.

Now I have a drawer full of warmer workout wear, but really, I'd love it to be warm enough to wear shorts and a tank again.


Stylearc Mimi Top

On a recent holiday to Melbourne, I had 10 minutes to duck into Tessuti whilst my family bought treats from the nearby Lune Croissanterie.  I'm not in a stash building phase, so I picked just one beautiful silk fabric to sew up straight away.  I'm not sure what this colour is even called, but I am seeing it everywhere at the moment (Pantone 2030 seems close, but it doesn't give it a name).  

In keeping with my "sew-not-stash" desire, I chose a simple pattern, the Stylearc Mimi woven top.  The feature of this top is the sleeves.

The sleeve gathering is a little unusual.  First, as series of tucks are sewn.

I changed the order of construction and finished the hems with a rolled hem on the overlocker after the tucks were sewn.  Most of this top was constructed on the overlocker.

Then rows of shirring were sewn over the tucks.  I chose to use the shirring method of zig-zagging over the shirring elastic and then pulling it to the desired amount of gathering, before knotting the ends of the elastic together.

The final result.  If I sew this top again, I will probably sew a few extra tucks, because I would like the sleeves to be a smidge tighter.

Because I hemmed the sleeve before sewing the sleeve seams, I decided to french seam the few cm near the hem.  Looking back, I'm not sure why I didn't just french seam the whole seam??

 We had a few warmer days this week, so I was able to wear it out.  I'm not coping too well in this cooler climate and can't wait for summer, so I can wear all my favourite clothes again.  I'm thinking that green shorts or pants to match the green in this fabric might be a good addition to my summer wardrobe.  It is an unusual green, but also seems very current, so I will be on the lookout for fabric.  Let me know if you see any this colour!



Okay, so this is not Instagram, but in celebration of #BRugust, I thought that I would post some of my unblogged undies from the past few months.

First up is a pair of knickers cut from leftovers of a t-shirt I made my daughter. This is the back view.  The cotton is fairly substantial, so I made it a quick sew by cutting them as one piece and not even bothering with a gusset.

I made this sports bra to fit in with last year's workout wardrobe entry.  I modified the Sewaholic Dunbar sports bra  to have the strappy back and used fold-over elastic for the edges.

The next sports bra was made from some interesting fabric I picked up from Tessuti.  It appears to be two layers of nylon lycra bonded together.   I separated the layers in the non printed edge of the fabric to source fabric for the bindings.  It is a very supportive bra, but the fabric is not the softest, so I probably should have used something else for the bindings.  The pattern is one I made from cutting up a RTW bra years ago and have made over and over. I used the leftover fabric to make a super quick skirt for my daughter, which was essentially two almost rectangles sewn together at the side seams, with the top folded over to make an elastic casing, and not even a hem. 

The next set is more of a lounging set, as they are not particularly supportive.  It is the Barrett bralette from Madalynne, in a microrib knit.  One of the knickers is traced off RTW and the other is the Megan Nielsen Acacia

Next, the Hanna bralette by Studio Costura.  I'm not sure, but I think these knickers might be the Watson brief, by Cloth Habit.  I don't have a favourite underwear pattern.  I have a collection of maybe 6 or 7 patterns and just use what I feel like on the day, taking into consideration the fabric I am using.  This set, made from Dutch knit t-shirt scraps, has become my go-to, as it is super comfy as well as being a little bit pretty.

This week I finally got around to making a matching Jalie3131 bra for these Jalie 3886 Julia briefs, which are also Dutch knit leftovers.  You can see the briefs have faded already.  I tried to make a Julia bra, but it was a disaster, due to my elastic choice and pattern size.  The elastic on the bottom of this bra band is so firm that I have had to add an extra set of hooks to get it to close.  I haven't worn it yet, but I'm hoping it is as comfy as my previous versions.

Pretty good scrap busting!  I like my underwired bras, but bralettes are fabulous for using up scraps, and new knickers are always welcome.


Can I drape a pair of jeans?

After writing up my previous post, and reading the draping discussion at Pattern Review, I got to wondering if perhaps I could drape a pair of jeans to fit me.

I had a large piece of denim scrap, so this is how I set about finding out

  • I drew horizontal lines across the fabric, at 5 cm increments
  • I sewed the fabric into a tube and slid the tube up my leg, and used a band of elastic to keep it up.
  • I pinned in the shape of the leg, doing my best to keep the marked lines horizontal
  • I pinned in a side dart, which would later become the side seam
  • I pinned out a back dart, which would later become a yoke
  • I marked the CF and CB seams
  • I folded over the top edge at the height I wanted the waistband.
This is what I got.  The fit is a bit loose at the front, as I did the draping at night, when my belly is often bloated, and I took these photos in the morning, when everything is flat again :)

The above photo shows that the horizontal lines are going skewiff at the upper back thigh.  I tried to mark in a better crotch curve, by standing in the position shown in the photo below.  This draping is not glamorous!

I then cut up the seam lines and laid out my pieces.  I promised myself that I would not compare these to an actual pattern until I was completely finished.  You can see that the back crotch curve is a little unusual.  The legs are also curvy, which is not typical of patterns I have bought.

I marked off a waistband.

I marked off a back yoke.  It does not go as deep as the dart, because I do want them to look like regular jeans and also so that a pocket can fit below the yoke.  The bottom edge of this yoke is curved, but I might go back and make it straight.

I then marked the same horizontal lines on my next piece of fabric.  I was hesitant about cutting into new fabric, but when I unfolded the fabric from my stash, I found that it has discoloured anyway.

I laid my "pattern" on the fabric, matching the horizontal lines.  The pattern does not sit exactly flat.  I decided to follow the lines rather than have the pattern flat, in case the fabric had distorted during my process.

I then sewed up a quick and dirty muslin.  Here they are without a waistband (or fly or pockets). 

I did have to take in the side seams in several places, and I raised the crotch seam by about 15 mm.

They are not perfect, but they don't have the horizontal wrinkle under the bum that I usually have.  Is it even possible to get rid of wrinkles at the back knees?  I never notice knee wrinkles on other people.  Is that because they are not there or just because I don't notice?

I don't know whether to continue on to make a pattern and another pair.  I don't need any more jeans at the moment, but it is always good to have patterns that fit.

What do you think?  Are these worthy of a pattern?  Also, if you have any tips for further improvements, please shout out!


Sewing Jeans 2019

I made a couple of pairs of jeans for a PR wardrobe competition earlier this year.   I had to make them in a fairly short time frame.  I wanted a skinnier leg than my previous pattern and I decided to try out the Megan Nielsen Ash Jeans rather than just make the legs on my usual pattern skinnier.

Well, that didn't work out for me.  I have read quite a few reviews for the Ash jeans, most of them glowing, but nobody else has mentioned that they felt weird and couldn't walk properly in theirs.  I didn't muslin the pattern, but I did use a fabric that I no longer loved, just in case.  I tried these on before attaching the waistband and was so disheartened that they sat crumpled up in a corner whilst I got on with something else.  Seriously, I couldn't walk in them.  After a couple of days I stopped sulking and sewed on the waistband, just to see if maybe that would miraculously fix the problem, but no go.  Here is what they look like.

Probably I should use a stripe if ever I decide to muslin jeans properly, because you can see all the weird things going on under my butt and down to my knees.

I didn't want to fall down a fitting rabbit hole because of the time constrains, so I then did a rub off a RTW pair of jeans by SABA.

I lay the MN Ash pattern on top of my rub-off, just to get an idea of what was wrong with the first pair.  At first glance, the patterns don't look so very different.

Then I slid the pattern around so that the centre front seam and crotch curve lined up.  This view suggests that the leg angle is very different and maybe that's why they felt so different to walk in.

Somehow, the height at the side seems similar at the front but nowhere near matches on at the back??

I made a dark navy pair and a green pair.   The green fabric is an enzyme washed denim and is beautifully soft.  These are the photos I submitted for the competition, but since then I have unpicked the crotch seam and shortened the front crotch and resewed them back together (yes, I unpicked top-stitching and overlocking and the seam, but it was worth it).

If I am going to use this pattern again, I should do adjustments for knock knees and full calves.  I have read alterations for these, but they don't feel like the right solution for me.  I feel like I need shaped seams rather than straight seams.  I want extra width at the calf without any more width at the ankle.