Weekend Sewing

What to do on a Sunday evening to save your weekend from complete non-productivity

I was really hoping to get the blue tunic finished this past weekend. However, after thoroughly botching the zipper insertion*, I decided to take a break from annoying polyester crepe and take a stab at using up the remainder of the Pink Suit fabric, which has been lurking around the basement for the last few months.

ETA: Emergency Clarification: this project was for Syo, the eight-almost-nine-year-old. This is her in the next photo; I did not miraculously grow my hair ten inches, nor did I shrink two and a half feet. You may now return to your regularly scheduled blog-reading.

Back view

Diving through stash, I also located the bag of lace that came from my Grandma’s stash, presumably dating back to the days when she used to make us underwear for Christmas. I picked this bit of stretch lace, enough to do the cuffs of a pair of leggings and a single line across the front of the matching leotard. I thought it would be a nice break from All Pink All The Time.

A super-simple leotard

Frankly, I was a little surprised when Syo got up this morning and eagerly put the leggings on. I was not sure that pinkpinkpink was going to be a popular colour. And the fabric has a bit more stretch in it than the last pair of leggings I made her, so they’re a bit loose, even after I took in the inseam a bit.

Lace top-stitched down with a zig-zag

I was pretty stoked when I came upstairs from finishing the set last night and realized my husband was just finishing the episode of Breakout Kings he’d started when I went down to sew. Had I really cut & stitched all this in under an hour?

… turns out it was the extra-long season finale.

Edges: clear elastic stitched on with triple zig-zag and then topstitched under with the "athletic" stitch.

But still, two hours (minus commercials, because he records and skips through those) for the set. Not too shabby.


The pattern is, again, Kwik Sew 1670, in a size 8, which is just a little big for Syo (who will be turning nine in two months). It includes both the leotard and slightly cropped leggings. This time I disregarded the lengths Kwik Sew suggests for the elastic on the leotard and sewed it in straight rather than in the round, putting a wee bit of tension into it but not enough to ripple the fabric. And I quite like how it turned out. It does involve a bit more thought in terms of construction order—sew crotch; elasticate leg openings; sew side-seams; elasticate arm openings; sew one shoulder; elasticate neck opening; sew second shoulder; turn all elasticated edges under and topstitch in the round. I *really* like that this got me both the ease of putting in elastic flat and the nice finish of topstitching in the round. As you can see I topstitched with my “athletic” stitch, rather than the triple zig-zag. It’s a bit of a different look; not sure if I like it any better, though.


Now I really need to make something for Tyo before she notices that Syo’s gotten two (three) things in a row…

Or, y’know, finish the blue tunic.

*Funny story. I wasn’t actually going to *do* a zipper insertion, except then there was a nice dress-length zipper in the proper shade of blue in the package from ElleC, so I thought it was karma and figured I’d throw it in. Bad idea. Bad, bad Karma. Either that or ElleC is sending me cursed zippers, which I might not put past her, but I think the culprit in this case is the *really annoying fabric*.



Filed under Sewing

21 responses to “Weekend Sewing

  1. That leotard and leggings set looks supremely comfortable. I’d love one, but it would make me look like puddled Pepto-Bismol. Probably best to leave it to the kiddies.

    You have more patience than I do with polyester crepe. I would have tossed it out by now!

  2. She sure looks happy bouncing around in the new leotard and leggings. The band of lace looks really nice, it’s a good placement for creating a break on her body.

  3. I am shocked that you could think I could be capable of sabotaging someone’s sewing. I may threaten to drive to your house to physically abuse you (and I would be capable of it), but to curse a zipper. Never. Some things are sacred.

  4. Cute! I like the lace on the top – it looks really nice. I think it is interesting that you are using clear elastic – does it stretch out too much when she is wearing it? Maybe it is just the clear elastic I happen to own, but I find it doesn’t have super great recovery, and I would think it might lead to saggy leg-holes with long term use. I tend to use the 1/2″ braid elastic on the legs and the 3/8″ braid elastic on the rest of the body because I have pretty thick legs and I HATE when anything moves down there – I use about 5″ less elastic than Kwik Sew recommends for my size as well. Maybe it is a personal quirk, but I know I prefer things to be tight rather than loose and baggy.

    Also – interesting idea about sewing elastic down in the flat! I saw on Fehr Trade recently where she used her serger to do the first part of an elastic insertion, and then used the coverstitch/twin needle to do the second part after the fold-over. It has a very neat look, but it was on a wide elastic waistband, so I think it would look slightly different on a smaller elastic. I recently tried doing the elastic insertion with my serger – the results are actually fairly nice! But it is sometimes hard to do round things on a serger (not impossible, just annoying). Anyway, I might try your flat elastic insertion technique to see if it makes it any easier to sew on the serger in the future.

    • The clear elastic I have I find has really good recovery—it returns to its original size after being stretched and doesn’t smoosh out in length when being topstitched like most of the regular elastics I have (at least on my main machine, which doesn’t have an adjustable presser-foot tension). I don’t know about over time—the older pieces where I used it, it was only on necklines, and it’s certainly held up well for that, but that’s not exactly a heavy-stress use. It certainly doesn’t seem saggy right now, as long as I’ve inserted it properly ( 😉 ), and I haven’t noticed any problems with the leotard I made her a couple of months back.

      But then, she’s probably not putting quite as much stress on her stuff as you do on your figure-skating gear, either. 🙂

  5. “elasticate”
    Is that a real word?

    Gee those are pink. Like pink pink. Glad she’s up for wearing it though! I probably wouldn’t have when I was her age, although I blame my Mom for that since she kept me practically exclusively in pink until I was 6. Except for days when Dad dressed me. Thank god for days my Dad dressed me. My childhood photos could’ve used more of those days.

    I really like reading your posts. You go into the perfect amount of detail. I’m still slightly baffled by knit wear, but I’m learning so much about how to deal with all the annoyances with it. I will def be stocking up on clear elastic when I next make a knit top!

    • Well… I didn’t make it up. I’m not convinced it’s “really” a word (would you prefer elasticize?) but it seemed to convey the meaning I was looking for…

      It is a lot of pink, even with the lace. And I don’t even have a traumatic history with the colour…

      Jeez, I can’t remember my mom ever dressing me. I would’ve brought down the house if I had to wear something I didn’t like…

      So much has to do with the *type* of knit fabric. If you’re starting out, I’d say go for something like a ponte de roma doubleknit, something that’s got lycra for recovery but won’t curl and wriggle like crazy. Those are not really any harder to sew than a regular fabric. The really thin, drapey, or stretchy ones are much more of a b*tch.

  6. I had a brain fart while reading this and thought that first picture of Syo in the pink suit was you, and I wondered where you had been hiding that hair…

    After I figured out it was a small human being, I was better able to admire the clever lace placement. I just made a knit tee and was wondering…what kind of clear elastic are you using? Is it the same as the kind that occasionally gets made into loops-for-hanging-on-a-hanger on RTW clothing?

    • I thought so too! I was so confused!!

      Cute little leotard, and well done on the quick timing. 😉

    • LOL! Oops. I knew i should’ve led with the front view… although I always have said that Syo’s the one who got my figure…

      I use 1/4″ (6mm) wide clear elastic, it’s thin, really stretchy but with really good recovery. My fabric store sells it by the metre. Yeah, pretty much the same as those hanging-loops.

  7. I would so look like uncooked knockwurst in that…….

  8. I am almost – not quite – but almost – convinced that sewing up leggings, leotards and bralettes is a simple thing to do for the three daughters in my house…… 😉

  9. Your baby is such a big girl! Love that pic of her!

    • I know! Wasn’t she just a baby the other day? No?

      It was a weird photo shoot—she kept doing these wild gymnastic poses, but she had this calm, contemplative face. The two didn’t go together really well. Hence the weird cropping…

  10. Pingback: Minimum Blogable Unit | Tanit-Isis Sews

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