Monday, January 13, 2014

OMG I made leggings!

Hello all, sorry for the radio silence lately. I have some posts partial written but 2013 just didn't seem like "the year of finishing posts" or something. LOL

Today though I have a doozy because I broke out of my comfort zone and made something I never would have thought I would or could! That's right I made leggings!

Now, let me say that I don't usually wear leggings (and never as pants, sorry I'm just too old fashioned and too big for that...plus I have a flat tush so they don't have a rear to accentuate lol) but I'm going to Quebec City next month on a field-trip with DD2 so I knew I needed some extra layers.



I was thinking about sweatpants (too bulky) or normal leggings (too thin) and then I came across some fleece lined tights. Now that sounded warm and not too bulky, but my first purchase was terrible. They weren't fleecy at all (which means a soft fuzzy inside to me) and they looked moth eaten when they were on!

My next thought was some fleece lined leggings I saw but I after my first purchase I was hesitant to spend that kind of money.
Then I saw some posts and happy reviews about Cake Patterns Espresso Leggings


and discovered that they were a) available in my size and b) totally customizable!!!  I thought...I have got to give these a try. So I bought the PDF off of the Etsy site and started doing some measuring.

This weekend I finally got around to cutting out and sewing the pattern I traced out and I am thrilled!

The leggings I made aren't 100% perfect but baby, they are sooooo close (98%?).
I have never had a pattern fit like this on the first test and I can honestly say that the fault is not the pattern it's me and only because I was being extra cautious.
The best news is that they fit my apple shaped front, they don't bag over my flat tush and they don't bunch up ANYWHERE.
They do need a wee bit more room in the front thigh (seems my thighs are like my abdomen - more in the front than the back) and they are a bit long (tall?) in the crotch-waist (which has NEVER happened before but is totally due to me being paranoid about things rarely fitting me there). Totally wearable though and so comfy. These test ones will probably become dog walking leggings for wearing as an under layer with my jeans to keep me warm. I don't need much more than that for walking at night here in the rain-forest of BC.

For Quebec I have some polar tec with lots of stretch (Sewing Cake recommends 5% spandex/lycra)  coming the mail from The Rain Shed. They have been a great place to deal with and I'm in love with them.
 I ordered a couple of samples around Christmas and then just ordered my fabric choices last week. Now normally I would never order material to make something for a trip in less than three weeks (NOT the fastest sewer) but the Espresso pattern is so quick to sew up, I have NO worries that I'm going to be able to get 2 pairs of leggings done in time for January 31st.
As soon as I do I promise to post some pics...just not of me wearing them LOL

**Sewing for Apples addendum - one of the things that I did when I did my measurements for the pattern was to measure and use 2 separate measurements for my waist.
 I took a separate Front Waist and Back Waist measurement and inputted those numbers in rather than just the 1 number.
One of the problems I have as an Apple (carries weight in the front mainly in the abdomen) is that while a pattern may fit my waist it will often "pull" to the front because there is too much material in the back and not enough at the front.
By doing the two measurements I fixed that and my leggings don't skew at all. Yay

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Refashioning my Refashion

In my last post I remade some new knickers but as I mentioned they weren't quite perfect for my apple body shape.
After wearing them for a bit I noticed a little problem and it's one I'm way too familiar with; there isn't quite enough material in the front. They kept slipping down. Now a quick tug brought them back up but that's not really the thing I want to be known for at work or out in public! LOL
My first thought for a solution was just to add another row of the elastic lace at the top.


That worked.....sort of. It added the necessary coverage in the front but added way too much at the back and sides. Not a huge issue but as we all know, most sewers sew because we want more than just adequately fitting clothes - we want clothes that really fit us. Adequate is for off the rack!
What I really needed was what I have now called an FAA. That's a Full Abdomen Adjustment. It's kind of like the familiar FBA (Full Bust Adjustment) but a little... lower. Same theory though; more material needed width wise and height wise, to cover a fuller figure part.
Has anyone else ever done something like that? I'd love to see what other sewers have figured out for the "apple" figure.
Please comment if you know of another blog that's talked about this!


My next attempt at a fix went kind of like this.
Start by marking the center back, center front and sides with pins.


I want about 1/2 or less of the elastic width at the back (I wanted the elastic at my waist and not my hips but I could have left it where it was, no problem. I also thought it would be easier to re-fashion this way rather than going to no increase at center back. I'm not 100% sure what I will decide for the pattern fix. Maybe 2 patterns?!?) - pin elastic 1/2 way down.


I need all the extra elastic width in the front - pin close to the edges.


Find a nice easy slope for a transition from front to back that doesn't leave wrinkles (3/4 of the way down at the sides?) I did this part while I was sewing, no pins. Not the most scientific or precise method, but it worked for me.

Sew and pray and see how it turns out. Hey, not half bad. It looks a little odd but after wearing it for a while it's pretty darn comfortable! Besides, who's going to be looking at my undies anyway?!? Well, except for you all!



Thanks Sew Sassy for having minimums to buy so that I had enough lace left over to make over most of my new panties! (I did not have enough to re-re-fashion the blue ones as I used blue lace on 2 pairs. I may take it off the 2nd pair and use it on the first or I might just make those wear 'around the house day' undies, where no one cares if I have to adjust periodically.)

Next - figure out how to make all these changes onto the paper pattern I made when I had the originals all laid out flat. I could actually end up with a drawer of nice underwear for a change! LOL


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Refashioning underwear.

Well, as you can see, not a lot of posting has gone on in the last year.
There are a couple of reasons for this but probably the main one is that I haven't done a heck of a lot of crafting. There has been a wee bit of sewing and the same of knitting but since I was barely feeling the crafting mojo I had even less blogging mojo going.
I will try and remedy that! I promise.

So to start my latest project (I promise to catch up on previous projects soon) - underwear refashioning!

A while ago, while away from home I popped into my favorite clothing store. I didn't find any regular clothes I wanted to buy but just at the end of my visit (as younger family members were getting tired of being there - parents, you know what I mean!) I spotted a sale on knickers. So, I quickly grabbed the 'special' (5 or 6 for ?$), paid and headed out the door.
Problem was I was assuming that if I wore pants in a size Q (Like I'd really tell anyone what size I wear!) then panties in a size P/Q would be the right size....wrong! They were close and maybe for fancy pants only worn for an hour or two they'd be fine but not for regular everyday wear and as they were cotton....

So they sat, languishing in my underwear drawer too un-comfy to wear regularly and too new to throw out.

I thought I might be able to do a re-fashion on them but never really got around to until - I realized I was going to be traveling with a school group next year and rooming with someone I didn't know and who I just really didn't want to share my slightly ratty (but comfy) knickers with. Eeek!

Eventually I came up with a plan; first take off the top elastic and see if that helps. The real aggravation to the fit was the top elastic biting into my squishy bits. Those bits of mine are squishy but not quite that much!
I tested the fit on one pair after removing the elastic and it was much better but.....not quite good enough to bother with a whole lot of fussing, if you know what I mean, so I left them.
A lot of the time if I leave a project I'm having trouble with and let my sub-conscious work on the problem, it comes up with an idea.
Which it did!
My sub-conscious said; if you're going to take the top elastic off and replace it with elastic lace (which I find much more squishy-bits friendly) then why not take the panties apart at the side seams and add a strip of the lace down the side too, adding some extra to the side seams?

Sub-conscious....what a great idea, let's go try that. So we did and here's how it went and what I learned along the way.

Step 1 and 2 - take off the elastic at the top and take out the side seams so you're left with a flat piece like so.



 Step 3 - pin some elastic lace (purchasable in a WIDE variety of colours [the variety I got]

 and widths for a great price from  Sew Sassy ) to the sides. I used 2 inch wide elastic, Sew Sassy has a lot in that width and more in other sizes.
As you can see I didn't do a hem on the bottom, just did a quick fold-over and assumed the sewing of the side would take care of it. So far it's working.

Now you don't have to pin your lace to the very outer edge of the fabric. If you don't want/need the full width of the elastic feel free to just pin your lace where you need it. You can trim back your side seams later (for fullest see-through) or do a 2nd line of stitches at the edges of the elastic (so it doesn't flop around or fold over on you.). The choice is up to you!

Step 5 - sew the side elastic. I used the magical 3 stitch zig-zag. I LOVE this stitch for sewing anything knit. It flexes with the knit, it's easy to do and I like how it looks. Tie off all your threads and trim the elastic at the top.

Step 6  - pin (if you want, I didn't bother by the 3rd pair) and sew the elastic lace around the top of your underwear. I will admit the I didn't pin, or pre-cut the elastic for this step. I just laid it down and sewed for a bit, then laid more. When I got close to the end I cut it where it gave me enough for a bit of an overlap, then sewed up one side of the overlap, across the overlap at the top and down the other side to the very beginning.


Voila! New to me knickers!


One of the things you may find is that your panty material, if it's a  knit, may try and roll over on you. To combat that I would lay the elastic on the material down from the top and sliiiide it up to the point that I wanted, unrolling the fabric as I went.

As an add on - I did some more modifications based solely on my body shape after I finished. I'm an 'apple'. That means I carry most of my weight in my front which causes some interesting problems in fitting. I will share those modifications in another post later.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Silky Pillowcases - done!

Why yes, yes I do post a lot more when I'm on vacation, how nice of you to notice LOL!

Well here we are, two posts in two days. I'm thinking this is probably as close to a miracle as I'm going to get this week ;-) Here they are, two green "silky" pillowcases with Tiana borders.
They aren't perfect but one of the things I've had to learn over the past few years is that perfection and I don't really do well together. I'm not perfect, my sewing isn't perfect but on the other hand I certainly pay more attention to detail than the big clothing/decor corporations and I'm learning to be okay with that.
So ...ta da!

Pretty simple construction just one big rectangle sewn up 1 side, Tiana border attached (with some fancy stitches my machine does) and then sewn up the other side. Both sides were serged since this material frayed like crazy.

There's really nothing special about these except that they're probably one of a kind, fill a need for Little Miss C and they're danged pretty. I guess they are special! Time to wrap them up!

Ta!

Monday, June 11, 2012

On the sewing table

This week I'm off (on leave, vacation, escaped...what ever you want to call it!), so of course I have lots of sewing planned (and a whole lot more chores planned too!). I know I won't get it all done...I never do, but I thought I'd give you a glimpse of what's on the sewing table waiting to go.

First up is a birthday present (don't worry, it's for Little Miss C and she's too young to be blog reading on her own!)
By the end of the week (or even earlier I hope) this will be a pair of "silky" pillowcases with a Tiana border so a little princess can sleep happily without having to choose between a Disney pillowcase or a "silky" one. Ah if only all of life's dilemmas could be solved to easily.
Green was not my first choice for this project since Little Miss C is more of a pink or purple girl but it was the best match the store had and who knows, maybe it's her new favourite colour, since we all know *that* can change in a heartbeat with a 5 oops, 6 year old.

Next on the table is a mix in blacks and whites;
This will become the No Pattern Bias Skirt in the current (June/July no 161) issue of Threads. By the directions there are supposed to be 5 different materials but again my local fabric store failed me and I could only find 4 that fit my requirements. Besides a desire for black and while like the picture in Threads my biggest need was mainly that it be cotton! For me there's no point in making a summer skirt that's supposed to be for hot weather wearing if it's not cotton or linen or some other natural fibre. Sadly that means a limited selection since Fabricland has an affinity for polyesters and such. With no air conditioning at home or really at work either (not that I'm likely to wear a skirt to work!) and being a larger woman...natural fibres are my true friends!
3 of the 4 are shirting material with the 4th (top) being a quilting cotton. I know, I know, that's pretty much a no-no for clothing and it's SO not the same weight as the others but hey...it's skeletons and pins! I couldn't resist! Keep your fingers crossed that I can get this work with only 4 patterns of fabric. I'm pretty sure I can but extra good wishes never hurt.

Well, if I plan to get any sewing done I'd better get a move on.

Ta!

Monday, June 4, 2012

What is or isn't sewing?

I was getting ready to write todays post (it was going to be about how I didnt sew this weekend) when I started to think about the things I*did* do this weekend; mended some stuff, restyled a shirt so Id actually wear it, hemmed a pair of pants and spun some lovely wool.
 
Of the 4 main things (besides laundry, grocery shopping and dishes..ick) I got done this weekend 3 of them included a needle and thread so why dont I, at first "glance", consider that sewing?

An interesting question that made me think. 

Is it because I think of sewing as a creative process? Possibly. Sewing has always been one of my creative outlets and I love that sense of accomplishment I get when I have taken a pile of papers, materials, and threads and turned them into something else. Within that narrow definition then what I did this weekend would not qualify as sewing. But then, if not sewing.what? The major components of sewing were all there; scissors, needles, thread, a plan.
Perhaps its that there is a difference between Sewing and just sewing to me and Sewing involves some creative process to me.
Something to think about. ;-) 

Ta


Sunday, May 20, 2012

I sewed!

I finally did some sewing! After a bout of procrastination, a skirt mental block and 2 months out with a bum hip (who knew sewing could be so dangerous?!?!) I finally got some sewing done this weekend.
Even better? It's a long weekend here in Canada so I have another day!

Who knows, I might even get something worth taking a picture of!

In the meantime I will share a picture of my first finished project of the year.


This is a short row scarf I made from a pattern in spin Off Magazine. It's a very easy pattern and my first ever time knitting short rows. It's made from hand spun yarn that I spun last year after buying the roving at the Ryder Lake Spin In. It's from a wool I don't remember with angelina and silk mixed in. You can see some of the gleam of the silk in the 2nd photo. It's lovely to wear and I'm quite proud of it.

So stay tuned, I might have some pictures of sewing soon, now that I'm back at the sewing table. In the meantime here's a look at what I'm back to working on; Simplicity 8640


Ta!