Monday, 8 September 2014

Biker-style ponte pants tutorial with free pattern pieces


So, you saw my ponte pants and want to make some of your own?

Let's do it!

Supplies:
You will need approximately 1 metre of ponte fabric, a leggings pattern* and a printout of my additional pattern pieces for the quilting and knee detail (download free here).

*I used the Megan Nielsen Virginia leggings pattern and modified it as described below. You can use your own leggings pattern or make one by tracing a pair of leggings (remember to add seam allowances).

Method:

The Virginia leggings pattern has no side seams. You need to create some by folding the pattern in half lengthwise (see below) so the two crotch curves match up as closely as possible. Open out again and trace separate front and back pieces using the fold line as the new side seam. Don't cut it out yet. Next you need to add at least 1.5cm all the way down each of the long leg seams (inside and outside leg). This is because ponte knit doesn't have the same amount of stretch as leggings fabric. Larger sizes may need to add more leg width. 

Check your printed knee and quilted pieces against your leggings pattern. Add width if necessary to match your leggings width. 


Cut out all your pattern pieces, including the printed ponte pants pieces, from ponte fabric that has been folded with selvedges together. Take note of grainlines and direction of greatest stretch.



With the two front pieces right side together sew the crotch seam using an overlocker, zig zag or other stretch stitch. Repeat for the two back pieces.


Mark the placement of the quilted piece on your front leggings pieces. Mine is marked in white chalk 27cm from the top of the side seam. Adjust yours as necessary depending on your size. Hold them up against your legs to check placement.


Fold over the top 1cm of the quilting piece and place it on the leggings front piece level with the chalk mark you just made. Pin in place.


Topstitch along the top edge of the quilting piece. I chose to use a straight stitch and stretch the fabric as I sewed so the resulting seam has some stretch. You could used a triple stretch stitch instead but I find it to be less neat than a straight stitch. You can see the seam being stretched as it is sewn below.


Using your sewing foot as a guide, stitch quilting lines through the two fabric layers all the way down the quilting piece. Remember to stretch as you sew. I moved my needle to the right to get stitching lines approximately 1cm apart.


This is the finished quilting. Don't worry if the sides are a bit uneven.


Fold the edges of the knee pieces over by 1cm and place them so they overlap the quilting pieces by 1cm. Pin in place.


Topstitch along the top and bottom edges of the knee piece, stretching as you sew.


If you fancy pockets, add them to the back leggings pieces now. I used the pockets and placement from my Jamie jeans pattern and topstitched them in place. If you don't have a jeans pattern, use a pair of jeans as a guide.


 Trim any excess fabric from the edges of your quilted and knee pieces then sew your leggings together with an overlocker or stretch stitch. I like to sew the inside leg seam first, matching the crotch seams, then the outside leg seams. Add the waistband, hem the lower edge and you're done.




Hooray. Ponte pants!


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Ponte pants and another Briar t-shirt


Ponte pants. Ponte pants, ponte pants!



With quilting and knee patches.

Up until a week ago I didn't even know I needed these and now I can't get enough of them.


I liked them so much, I made another pair in black (a bit looser fitting). 



I've lightened these pictures to show the detail.


So comfortable.


And then my sister saw them and requested a pair....with back pockets.


So, here's what happened. I was chatting with my sister and she mentioned that she'd seen someone wearing ponte pants and how great they were and how she'd asked where this person had bought them from and this person said she'd bought them three years ago and they were no longer available. She chatted on a bit more but I wasn't really listening. My mind latched on to the words 'ponte pants' and careered off imagining what such things might look like and, more importantly, how I could make some. I knew immediately that mine would have a slight biker look. When I got home I googled some images and found my inspiration:

My inspiration was this ebay listing
I decided to use the Megan Nielsen Virginia leggings pattern as the basis for these and draw up some pattern pieces for the quilted area and knee patches. I created a side seam (this leggings pattern doesn't have a side seam) and widened the legs a bit to account for the limited stretch of the ponte.

And THEN, I drew up these pattern pieces all proper like so I could make a tutorial and include a download so anyone who also feels that they must have ponte pants can have them tooooo!

But you will have to wait until tomorrow for the tutorial and download. Also, the download will only be my quilted piece and knee piece. The Virginia leggings pattern is copyright, but you can get your own from here or use a different leggings pattern or even trace some of your own leggings and make your own pattern. 

So let's get that leggings pattern ready and tomorrow we'll make some ponte pants!

Oh yeah, and I made this t-shirt with the Megan Nielsen Briar pattern. Stretchy at the front and sleeves, woven at the back with a pleat for movement (described here).


 Oh and one more very exciting thing. Burdastyle recently asked for nominations so they could compile a list of the 50 best bloggers for sewing enthusiasts. AND I MADE THE LIST!!!! I can't believe it. Thank you so very, very, very much to whoever liked my blog enough to nominate me. I'm just happy that anyone wants to read about what I've made. Burdastyle now wants people to vote for their favourite blogs from the Top 50. There are some really great blogs on the list, so it's worth a look.

Until tomorrow xxx

Friday, 5 September 2014

Vogue 1313 in scuba knit!


I've been wanting to make this pattern for ages and I finally got my hands on it. Rather unadventurously, I made it exactly like the picture on the pattern in black with off-white side panels. However, I didn't emulate the startled pose of the model, who looks like she's trying to regain her composure after slipping over.

Here's the hilarious pattern photo:

Vogue 1313
I made the dress in size 12, a size smaller than my measurements would indicate, and the fit is good. It's a very comfortable dress that is not tight-fitting. I used black scuba knit from Spotlight with off-white ponte for the sides. I'm wondering if scuba knit is the same as neoprene, does anyone know? Anyway, it was lovely to sew and is very nice to wear - warm, but not sweaty. I bought a fancy zip from Spotlight too, nice and silvery.


It's hard to see the details of the dress with the black fabric, but there is decorative shoulder stitching, enhanced by the addition of fleece scraps on the inside. The seams are all topstitched too. The fleece backing on the shoulders added a lot of thickness which made it difficult to insert the neck and arm facing. Next time I would heavily trim the fleece to help this issue. The facing is made from a thin knit fabric to reduce bulk.


The only other issue I had was that the zip, despite being the recommended length, was slightly too short for the opening. It would look nicer finishing right on the neckline.


Otherwise, this was an easy dress to make and I do like that optical illusion that slims the body on both sides!


Looking at these pictures, I probably should have put on some more delicate shoes, but this is how I've been wearing the dress during the winter, with a jacket of course. Now spring is here I'll be daring and try it with bare legs!


I love this pattern just as much as I knew I would. The loose fit, the stretch fabric, the zip, the drop waist and the slouchy pockets. It's very me and I'm happy.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Scrapbusting and repurposing - Vogue 1316


With a habit of saving every fabric scrap and a sewing room that is bursting at the seams (haha, pun intended), it was time for me to take action. Ok, this project did require the acquisition of some new fabric and a pattern, but Spotlight were having a sale and patterns don't take up much room and I think overall I saved a few square centimeters of space. Anyway, I got a new dress so that's always a positive!

Here's what I started with:

- a pair of track pants in charcoal knit
- a long, thin strip of chevron print upholstery fabric from Remida (creative reuse centre)
- leftover scraps from my polka dot Jamie jeans
- some pale grey ponte knit from Spotlight
- some brown lining fabric that I bought for another project and didn't use (not pictured).


And, of course, the pattern - Vogue 1316

Source
I really liked the grey print, so wanted that to feature centre front and centre back. I attacked Isobel (my dressform) with pins and did some experimenting until I had a combination I was happy with!


I had to fiddle with the chevron print as the pattern was off centre. I sewed two lengths together to achieve the pattern placement I wanted before cutting my centre back and front pieces. There were a LOT of pattern pieces in this dress, so I tried to stay organised and not lose any. 


The instructions have you piecing together all the little front bodice pieces, which have lovely shaping built in to them, then the skirt front. It was so exciting to see it all come together and I just couldn't bear to stop sewing until I'd reached a point where I could hold it up in front of the mirror and prance about a bit. I love the front of this dress.


 Oh yeah, and I added pockets. I used the pictures and explanation by Carolyn and did exactly the same. It was actually Carolyn's beautiful version of this pattern, made from old corduroy jeans, that inspired me to make it in the first place. The pockets were a bit fiddly and there are a few wrinkles behind them, but I'm very happy I added them to the dress.


As I mentioned, I wanted the grey print at the back, which was not how the colours were arranged in the pattern. According the the pattern, I should have used the grey polka dot for the centre back. Looking at the dress now, I think the polka dot would have been preferable, but a) I didn't have enough and b) it is really not enough of an issue to worry about. It does go to show how well thought out the use and placement of contrasting fabrics is in this pattern though. I used an invisible zip at the back instead of a normal zip.


I made this dress in a size 12, which is one size down from that indicated by my measurements on the Vogue pattern. The fit is snug, but perfect. No tight spots and the wrinkles on the sides are from the pockets, not fit issues.


As I mentioned, it was a joy to see this dress come together. My main struggle was with the lining. It didn't want to sit where it should, out of sight, even though I tried to understitch and press it into submission. In the end, I tacked it down here and there with hand stitches, kept invisible by placing them in the seamlines.


 So there we are. A dress I love made from some old pants and a few scraps. Fan-bloomin-tastic!

PS. I have entered this dress in the Repurpose, Reuse, Refashion challenge with Sew Amy Sew. Check out the Flickr group for some great refashioning ideas.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Meet Edward Tulane


Not long ago, the delightful teacher of my younger son's class came to me with a proposition. She was planning to read 'The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane' to the class and wanted a stuffed rabbit to use for associated activities. She had searched everywhere for a rabbit that was distinguished enough to use as Edward, but had not found anything. Well, it seems that word of my sewing addiction has reached the school as the teacher asked me if I could make something that would fit the bill.


I don't make many toys, but creating this adorable rabbit was certainly a project I could enjoy. I googled as many images from the book as I could find. I also found a lady who has posted pictures of her own beautiful Edward Tulane stuffed rabbits. I found a book in the library ('Creative soft toys to sew' by Creative House) with a rabbit pattern that I thought I could modify to look the part. 


I decided to make everything from materials I already had, which was not difficult given the resources in my bursting-at-the-seams sewing room.

The main body is made from a lovely off-white cotton (op shopped) and the ears are made from scraps of white fur fabric left over from dance costumes. The clothes are also made from scraps. I used felt for the eyes and nose.


After I had made and stuffed the head, I slimmed down Edward's face with hand-stitched darts below the ears. I wanted the ears to stand up as in the book illustrations so inserted copper wire into each one. I used long wire so it also ran through the head and down into the chest area to provide head support.


I layered the parts of the eyes and handstitched each layer together before sewing the eyes to the head. I thought that was safer than trying to embroider the eyes straight on.


The clothes were made using a pattern for baby clothes, which I modified to fit Edward. I tried to make the colours of the clothes and the lace embellishments as authentic to the book illustrations as possible. I also added some hand stitches on the hands and feet to make rabbitty fingers and toes.


I loved this project and was over the moon with the final result. I think my Edward turned out a lot like the rabbit in the book and, although I am not a soft-toy fan, I was a bit sad to have to let him go!


I took him to JJ's class the day after I finished him. Since then, I have had so many children come up to me and say how much they love Edward. The teacher is reading the book to the class at the moment and the children get to take turns holding Edward during the story. It makes me all glowy every time I think about it. The class also made me a lovely card and the teacher bought me a beautiful scarf to say thank you. Thank YOU Mrs G for all you do for the children and for involving me in this fun project.

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