Tag Archives: Stylish Sews

Fleece Pants, Episode 2: The Sister-in-Law Edition

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Sister-in-Law Fleece Pants

Mere moments after I unveiled my first attempt at fleece pants, my Stylish sister-in-law determined that she had to have her own pair. There was just enough of the same purple-grey heavy fleece left, so I set her to tracing out the pattern in her own size. She really is a trooper—she tackled tracing her first Jalie pattern with only a minimum of “OMG WHICH LINE AM I ON?” and had her pair cut out in record time.

Unfortunately, in her efficiency (and my distraction), a couple of problems we should have foreseen came home to roost. The first one being, she traced the pattern in her real size, not upsizing. (This makes sense in that she will probably want to make the pattern out of something not fleece at some point, of course.) And, I had intended to perform a rather larger version of the Gigi alteration* I did on the kids’ shorts made from this pattern last summer.

My changes

What I should’ve done on Stylish’s pants pattern, too.

However, this kind of slipped our minds in the excitement of cutting and pinning.

Stylish tackled the stitching and even topstitching (much facilitated by using the blind hem foot as an adjustable edge-stitching guide on the Memory Craft. Which, I should say, has generally excellent attachments, although I am not fond of its zipper foot.), and got the hang of it quite quickly, with only a little confusion over the construction order. (Did I mention this was her first pair of pants ever?)

Unfortunately, when we got to the try-on point (and I’ll refer you back to my Pink Suite post if you need construction details, or just go to the Jalie website and read the instructions yourself), the same issue that I had was happening: dangerously low rise, especially (actually, only) in the derriere.

Some quick thinking was in order. The pants were stitched up, lacking only the waistband. Unpicking fleece… um, not happening. Obviously we had to alter the waistband.

Jalie 3022 Last-ditch waistband alteration

Jalie 3022 Last-ditch waistband alteration. AKA “What I did instead.”

So we did.

And, while it may not be the most elegant solution (and no, I don’t have a good shot of how it looks… I didn’t really want to pester my SIL to allow me to post photos of her butt on the internet), it works, and she has worn them every bit as much as I have over the winter.

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So Stylish!

And she has already bought fleece for her next pair…

*Gigi is the pet name of the incredibly sweet lady who is the mother of both Osiris and Stylish. She also has a marked pear-shape, which she passed on to Stylish, and even Osiris in modified form (he has a very curvy butt for a guy). Tyo is well on her way to developing this shape as well, although in Syo’s case it seems to be a bit moderated.

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Baby Steps

New Look 6641

I salvaged this pattern from an assortment of sadly bedraggled sewing paraphernalia that belonged to the late grandmother of a friend of my husband’s. Let’s just say that it was a bit of a sobering look at what I don’t want to leave behind for my heirs to deal with when I go. This pattern was one of the few that was reasonably intact (actually, completely unused) and not 80s-old-lady-esque. It’s also size 3-8, which puts it borderline small for my children but pretty much perfect for Stylish’s.

The fabric, on the other hand, is one my aunt offloaded kindly donated to me a year or so ago. It’s a polyester sweatshirt knit of, yes, unmistakable 80s vintage, and I’m pretty sure I remember my cousins wearing properly oversized unisex sweatshirts out of this exact fabric in the closing days of that nefarious decade. ¬†It’s really not the right material for the pattern, but it’s fuzzy, soft (at least for a few more launderings), and was a handy stable knit for Stylish’s first stab at knit sewing. And free and taking up space. And her girls thought it was ace for nighties. Kids these days.

The Waif Models

Stylish did this one all on her own—the most I helped with was a bit of the pinning. Oh, and on the construction order. I had her put the sleeves in flat. Much, much easier. Although she is understandably annoyed about how I keep making her read pattern instructions, and then telling her to ignore them.

I had her trace the size three (smallest in the pattern), with the expectation that it would be a bit roomy on the Waif (who is currently four and a half with the chest-diametre of a kids size 1.) The sweatshirt material is not as stretchy as called for on the envelope stretch gauge. A pro for this pattern is that the neck band is nicely shorter than the neck opening (although the length difference was too big for this particular fabric and Stylish wound up with some little tucks that I did not make her fix). A con is that the neck band is way too wide. One of those things where the proportions are just off, in a way that screams “home sewing.” (Yes, another of those legitimacy things. I kind of love cataloguing them.) The fabric choice doesn’t help with this. The Waif is not at all bothered, however. In fact, the only one not happy with the situation is the Waif’s older sister, Fyon (five going on six), who has had to wait impatiently a whole three days now for her mother to make one for her. It’s a harsh and untenable situation. Probably there’s something in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child against it.

Also, Stylish used the rolled hem foot on the sleeve ruffles, and turned up the bottom of the dress hem using my hem gauge, and stitched them both with a precision that is entirely disgusting and uncalled for in a second project. We didn’t try to match the stripes on the side-seams, but were fairly careful about the placement along the sleeves. And neck band, but then we put it on (and I did the pinning so this is actually my fault) inside out so our nicely-aligned stripe is totally invisible.

What I didn’t have her do was any really knit-specific techniques, other than using a lightningbolt stitch for stretchiness (her fancypants machine has all kinds of stitches to choose from.) I think I’m afraid she will want to steal my serger, which really only came to me because Stylish didn’t seem likely to use it (it was originally her mother’s machine.) Not that I wouldn’t mind a serger upgrade, but that really, really, really isn’t in the budget at the moment.

Anyway, the most important people in the equation—Stylish and her Waif—are happy. So all is well in Sewingland. Except with Fyon; hopefully she’ll get her 80s nightie soon. Somehow the long weekend got away from us…

(To those of you wondering at the degree of Stylish’s sewing addiction commitment… while I can’t, of course, guarantee the future, she has purchased several patterns of her own, plundered my stash, and bought fabric for a winter coat. So at least for the short term, I’d say she’s hooked.)

(In my own sewing news, I am wearing a very comfy pair of fleece Jalie yoga pants I’ll write up as soon as I can blackmail a child, or sister-in-law, into taking photos. I miss my photo-spot in our old basement. I also miss my tripod and my camera charger. /sigh.)

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Confessions of a (sewing) pusher

Kathleen of Little Hunting Creek is right. I feel like a pusher.

Recently, my Stylish Sister-in-Law finished her first ever sewing project.

So Stylish!

Ok, I maybe helped a bit.

By, y’know, casually mentioning making this, or that, every time I’ve seen her since we moved back. And possibly by shoving my phone (with pattern-tracking app) in her face at every opportunity. You know how fun it is to dig through your patterns, virtually or otherwise? Well, it’s even more fun to do it with someone else. (Or two someones… I’m working on my other SIL, too, but she works full-time so it’s a slower process) Anyway, finally a week or two ago she cracked, and went through my entire pattern catalogue and presented me with the list of her choices.

Most of them were lovely sundressy things that, while they might or might not have been good beginner’s projects, are just heartache waiting to happen, as we perch here on the cusp of the Canadian winter.* I didn’t want her first project to languish unworn in a closet for six to ten months. So we negotiated, and she opted for the tunic version of New Look 6789.

This pattern, humorously, is the same pattern I helped my friend Trish make last summer. Which, I might add, I still haven’t made up for myself. /pout. Stylish has expressed interest in making up the skirt and maybe even the pants, as well… but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Stylish already had fabric, salvaged from a long-abandoned “old fashioned dress” project a family friend had apparently started for Stylish long and long ago, which has languished, half-draped and loosely basted, in a bag in Stylish’s storage. I’ve never draped anything, so I don’t want to comment on the quality or lack thereof, except that it’s pretty clear that it wasn’t anywhere near done.

Anyway, Stylish acquiesced to my tracing neuroses and traced the pattern all on her own. I took a back measurement to confirm my hunch that some waist-shortening would be in order, but otherwise had her trace a straight size twelve. We’re much the same size, but very different in shape, so I didn’t want to jump the gun on a bunch of alterations.

And then, I made her iron her sadly-crumpled fabric, quite possibly the first time she’s ironed anything in her life. She did it quite well, and may even have enjoyed herself.

The sewing itself was a joint effort, particularly since I elected to have her follow the pattern instructions and begin with the front princess seam. Was your first seam of all time a princess seam? Yeah, mine neither. I did the bust part and then let her do the rest of it (other than the zipper). The serger is at my MIL’s, so I made her finish the seam allowances with a triple-step zig-zag. I feel pretty mean for doing that; I don’t think I finished a seam in the first fifteen years I ever sewed. But it’s a pretty ravelly fabric. She’s most satisfyingly particular and precise in her sewing. It makes me pretty jealous, frankly.

So Stylish.

And, voila! Not perfection; it could use a little more shaping in the back, I think. (But then that might also cause more ripples and necessitate that swayback adjustment and stuff.) And the band gapes a bit and we should’ve placed the straps a little closer together for her narrow shoulders. But still pretty smart for a first try, I do think. I am grinning ear to ear every time I see her in it. And it’s not too hard to throw a sweater over, either, since it’s, um, not exactly sleeveless season here anymore.

And she wore it out to her birthday dinner tonight, so I’m pretty sure that counts as a win.

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