Susan of Knitter’s Delight turned me on to the McCalls 6173 legging pattern recently. Apparently she’s made scores of them. Literally. Since I jumped on the skinny jeans bandwagon, I may as well jump on the leggings bandwagon too. Why not? Who doesn’t want to see a middle aged woman in double knit leggings?
When I was shopping with Susan recently at my local Yardage Town, I picked up the pattern, but they only had the larger sizes envelope. I bought it thinking I could fit as I went. But I made such extensive changes to make them fit, I won’t even bother reviewing the pattern formally. I plan on getting the correct size though, because I think this is a super easy pattern to sew up in an afternoon. I think I spent more time changing the thread on my serger and coverstitch than I did sewing these leggings up.
The pattern instructions and construction are super easy. This is not a complicated pattern at all. It’s one pattern piece. For reals. Super easy. Because I had bought the large size, I had to severely taper the legs from the thighs to the ankles. I’m 5′ 4″, and I took off 2 inches on the length of the legs. I probably chopped off from inner leg seam at the ankles in about a 1 5/8 inches tapering to nothing at the upper thighs. I could probably add some height at the waist in the back to accommodate my butt. So for the ladies with flat butts, this is the pattern for you. The crotch curve seems pretty decent, but hard for me to really confirm since it’s technically not the right size for me.
I probably could have taken in the inner seam on the thighs a bit more aggressively. They are a little baggy there for a legging. I might fix that, but then again, I might not. I’m not a big one for altering. I would rather make a new garment or chew off my own arm than alter something.
At any rate, here are the pictures…
I love the leggings and hope to make a bunch of them, just like Susan.
In other sewing news, I made another knit version of New Look 6035, but I haven’t taken pictures yet. I made it in navy ponte to wear to a lunch yesterday. I sewed it one size smaller and the fit is spot on now. Love it! I will post pictures tomorrow if I think of it. I was able to sew it in a 1/2 hour, so this is really a quick way to increase your wardrobe. I love wearing skirts with tights in the fall/winter. This may be my go to “uniform” going forward. Love it!
I love sewing with knits. They’re so fast!
I cleaned my sewing area.
I am not a dirty person, but I can be messy. While I like a clean room just like the next person, cleaning up is not high on my priority list and I can live with a messy room probably far longer than I should. So that’s a long preamble to explain that it was pretty bad when I finally cleaned up my sewing area this week. It took THREE DAYS. Ok, it wasn’t an entire 3 days, but it definitely spanned 3 days as I couldn’t focus on it for long periods of time. I got distracted by the LFN Style post and Pinterest LFN Style board, as well as other projects.
Here’s what it looked like before I had tackled much of the mess. I started on the sewing table, so that area looks relatively neat in this picture. The top photo is my cutting table. The middle photo has a chair buried under all that fabric, believe it or not. And the bottom photo is my sewing table after I had cleaned up a majority of the mess on it and in mid-progress of organizing all the little bits.
A few weeks ago (yes, I’ve been wanting to clean for weeks but hadn’t actually started until this week), I bought a plastic drawer doohicky from Home Depot. Unfortunately, it was a depressing shade of metallic gray plastic. Nothing a little spray paint couldn’t cheer up and make matchy matchy for my room. I have a tool box that I use for my sewing table, but I think this drawer thingy will be a lot more useful. Especially since I take my tool box with me to draping class every week, which means I leave a ton of stuff just laying everywhere for the last 10 weeks of the class.
Two days ago, I bought some fabric online to make sewing machine covers for all my machines so the table will look nice when I’m not using it. My bedroom window faces the entrance walk to the house, so when I have my shade open, everyone can see my machines as they walk up to the front door. Not so photogenic and usually I just keep the shade closed which is not great for me who craves natural light all the time. Ideally (meaning for the first week only probably), I will clean off my sewing table after every use and put the covers on the machine so the table and room look nice when not in use. Well, that’s the (unrealistic) goal anyway. Oh and I bought some printed double knit (not a print per se since it’s so subtle, but more of a texture) for another a-line skirt and some mustache print cotton to make into PJ pants a la Karen. I really wanted to buy the sexy Santas like Karen did, but I thought Jack might ask some funny questions about them. Sigh. Oh well.
For some reason, the chair in the corner of the room is a magnet for fabrics. That pile was ridiculously and precariously high. I’m surprised it stayed perched like that. I actually sorted the fabrics and sorted my fabric closet out so I could put them all away. It is fun to sort fabrics though. I really should do it more often. It’s amazing to rediscover what’s in your stash. It gave me a lot of ideas.
Now I also had a huge mess of opened patterns that I kept moving around. It was over 15 patterns! I used ziplock bags, the gallon size, to keep them separate. Then I crammed them into the middle lower cabinet. I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to store the downloaded patterns that are taped together. They are so bulky!
Now I’m ready to sew and hell has frozen over.
Above is the sewing table. To the left of the table is the new home for my dress form and the dresser to the left of that is where I keep a bunch of sewing notions, like serger threads, zippers, elastics, buttons, double fold bias tapes, etc. Now I just need to receive the fabric for the sewing machine covers and make them.
Above is the chair that was loaded down in fabric and my cutting table. I have my next two projects on the cutting table, ready to go. I cleaned up the counter top behind the table as well. All my rulers are on the right. The middle cabinet below is jam-packed with the patterns I put away.
And there’s my pressing area. I just have to put a few more things away (they’re out of sight in these pictures in the hallway waiting for me now) and my
Spring Cleaning I mean Fall Cleaning is done! I’m hoping it will remain neat for more than a week, but I’m not making any promises.
In other sewing news, the elf on the shelf returned this year to keep an eye on the little boy who lives with me and report back his behavior to Santa. One night the elf sewed himself up a t-shirt while I was sleeping. Jack came in that morning to see the sewing machine on with the elf in front of the machine and a tiny little t-shirt freshly sewn up. Jack was stunned! His reaction was so cute. He walked into my dark room, lit only by the tiny bulb in my Singer Featherweight and said, “Oh. My. G0d.” very slowly. He was so excited to see what the elf had sewn. Later Jack said he didn’t know that boys could sew. I quickly set him to rights.
Last night Elfie (that’s his name) wore his newly minted t-shirt while drag racing in our hallway.
I’ve talked about my style disconnect before. I feel very different on the inside than I look on the outside. I won’t go into any psychological theories as to why. It’s not important the why. It just is. I look very feminine on the outside — I’m curvy. I have curly hair. I have a traditionally feminine look. But I think and feel drastically different on the inside. I hate shopping (except for fabric shopping). I love Sci-Fi. I’m a little rough around the edges. My sense of humor can seem a bit off to some and acerbic to most. I’m not always politically correct.
I grew up in the 80′s. Fashion for women was not body conscious. Think oversized, big shoulder pads. It was also a little androgynous. I had an almost crew cut length short haircut with long purple bangs that hid my eyes. That 80′s style and that of the 90′s had a bigger effect on me than I have previously thought. Right now I am really drawn to minimalist looks and styles. Clean lines, boyish figures, a limited color palette of blacks, greys, whites, tans and browns. I know I have previously declared myself a print fabric person, but now I am seeking out solids and textures rather than prints. The print-iest I will go right now is a stripe. No florals for me. No geometric designs. And certainly no paisleys.
It’s getting cooler here and all I can think about is coat porn, as Tom and Lorenzo call it. My Burda coat that I have muslined, but haven’t constructed yet. My faux fur and leather vest that I haven’t finished yet. And of super cool fall clothes. I keep thinking of my style icon, Nikita (Peta Wilson) from the 90′s tv show, La Femme Nikita. I have spent hours looking for stills of some of her wardrobe. She dressed to kill. Literally. Especially in the later seasons, as she became a more sophisticated spy with more responsibilities within Section One, the most covert spy agency in the world. ;)
I’ve also called myself a dress person. And that’s true. I love me a dress. But since moving to San Diego, I’ve found I wear dresses less and less. To almost never. (Except for my maxi dress). They just don’t fit my lifestyle since I’m not working yet. Right now, I’m wearing jeans, skirts and occasionally pants, but no dresses really. Maybe when I start working again dresses as a wardrobe choice will become more prevalent, but right now, I don’t even consider them for my daily wear.
I don’t use Pinterest much, but I did create a LFN Style board to inspire me. It’s filled with minimalist designers and looks I’ve found. You can peruse my LFN Style board here. My curvy body type doesn’t suit a lot of the clothes obviously designed for long, lithe, boy-body models with very little bosoms, but my hope is that I can pull some of the details that make these designs cool into clothes that I make for myself. In theory, at least.
I’ve already sewn one top that I think recreates the LFN style a bit, my grey and faux leather Renfrew top.
Who’s your style icon? What style do you gravitate to the most? Does it jive well with your body type? Do you have a style disconnect like I do?
This week’s class was very interesting. Some students wore dolman knit tops made from the patterns we worked on in the last class. They looked positively amazing. It really makes a huge difference when a garment is fitted to your body exactly. Even in a dolman knit top (which is less fitted than other types of garments). I was really impressed.
After show and tell, we worked on draping the 8 panel flared skirt. Very interesting process. Too detailed to explain here, but in short… You start with the front panel. First you determine how much flare you want to add at the hem and mark your muslin with all the lines you need to drape (here’s all the too many details to write part). Draw in your flare from waist to hem on the side that will seam up with the side front panel only. The other side will be the CF fold. True up front panel pattern. Using the grain line and flare of the front panel pattern, prepare your muslin for the side front panel. Make sure to include enough muslin width to accommodate the flare on both sides of the pattern piece. Pin the two grain lines together of the front panel and side front panel and mirror the flare of the front panel onto the side front panel. Then trace that flare on the other side of the side front panel. You continue this process for the back side and back panels in order until you have all four pieces. The back panel will only have a flare on the side that meets the side back panel. The other side will be the CB seam where the zipper will go. Use these pattern pieces, once you true them up, to cut out two each of the fashion fabric for the whole skirt.
And this is where I left my flare panel skirt yesterday…
I have three of the four panels draped so far. My flare was 5 inches wide and flared out starting from the waistline, rather from the hipline. I think that look is more flattering on my figure and less body conscious. The less conscious I am of my body, the happier I am.
Next week we are working set in sleeves. I’m very excited about that. It will be nice to have the proper shaped sleeve cap tailored for my body in my pattern arsenal.
Until next time, happy sewing and draping!
I know posting has been sparse in these here parts for a few months now. I’ve been grappling with some pretty major time sucks (taking the draping class and teaching Lego Robotics) and a wee bit of navel gazing. I haven’t been sewing as much as I would like to and there hasn’t been a whole lot to report. Ergo, very few posts in the last six months. I have been struggling with fit in the last half of the year. It’s been quite a thorn in my back. I am lucky to have so many good experienced sewing friends who have been there and done that in regards to fit though. And I do know there is a light in the tunnel even if I can’t see it yet. But it was a mite depressing at times and there was a point where I thought I would give up sewing altogether. It doesn’t help that my weight fluctuates a lot. Sigh…
So all that was a lot of blah blah blah to explain away the fact that I haven’t finished my faux fur and leather vest, nor started my totally geographically inappropriate Burda coat yet (despite having bought the most luscious wool, silk, bamboo and cashmere fabric you have ever seen or felt).
But I do have a couple of items of note to share with you. First off, Kyle was in town for a conference before Thanksgiving and we met up to shop at the infamous National City Swap Meet, a glorified flea market where the LA jobbers come to sell fabric dirt cheap. You never know what you’re going to find there. I came away with a great striped knit and striped sweater knit. I hope to make a drapey sweater for my best friend Cayce with the sweater knit. She was here visiting for Thanksgiving and joined Kyle and me for the fabric treasure hunt.
Kyle bought a ton of fabric, especially her beloved turquoise and brown double knit. :) I’m stealing a picture of the two of us from her blog.
Last but definitely not least… I made a ponte knit version of my favorite skirt pattern, New Look 6035 (original review here). I heart this pattern. The A-line design is super flattering on my figure. It drapes beautifully and hides my tummy while giving the illusion I have a waist. What’s not to love about all that???
This pattern is meant for wovens, but I thought it would be a super fast make if I used a ponte knit and left off the waist band. And it was! I just added an extra two inches at the top so I could make a waist band casing for the elastic. I cut both front and back on the fold, being careful to match my stripes as much as possible. Of course I decided to make this skirt about 1 hour before I was supposed to leave for a Chanukkah party last night. I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish it in time, but I did. Phew! I was definitely sweating it though. Literally. Who’da thunk that you could get a sweat out of sewing?!?
And I love this skirt in a knit fabric. It’s perfect with tights for the fall or winter. I want to make at least 3 or 4 more of these knit skirts for my San Diego wardrobe. Love.This.Skirt.
Happy sewing everyone!