I went from store to store at the mall across from my Clark Kent Day Job, and came back unlucky. Nothing. Not even a pair of black leggings was available!
The same thing happened while looking for tunic tops in December - I found 2 on sale that I could wear underneath my t-shirts, which all have shrunk upwards, and have no chance of being worn without a camisole or something else underneath. Unless someone wants a flash of my belly. Woo!
I don't think I'm a weird size or shape. I have an hourglass shape, larger hips and thighs, and short (5'-2"), and am SO tired of having problems finding clothing that is flattering and fits properly. And I'm not willing to spend an arm and a leg on something that fits "ok."
But in a world of skinny jeans and horrible flashbacks to the 1980's and early 1990's, buying clothing to replace old tattered and pilled clothing, and pants that don't fit due to last year's weight loss, is SO frustrating.
I prefer online shopping, as in-store service really has gone downhill. If a clerk even looks at me while talking with their friend while scanning in my order, I'm fortunate. Kids these days (yes, I said it!)!
Anyhow, back to Leggings. I started looking online, and found Sweetlegs and an assortment of other companies available in Canada. But...I have a Husqvarna Viking Emerald 116 sewing machine that is beautiful and runs like Gideon & Fynn in a field of tall grass. Why not sew leggings?
And that was that. The end of me thinking that store bought clothing is the bomb diggity.
Where to get fabric was the next issue. Fabricland patterns are awful. And I feel their price point is generally out to lunch. How Jo-Ann's fabrics hasn't come to Canada yet, is beyond me. And I'm not willing to pay the approximately 30% exchange rate with customs, packaging, and taxes on top of it. It really doesn't save me much to order fabrics from the States - even Jo-Anns. And a tank of gas to Ogdensburg just for fabric doesn't save either!
So I googled fabrics in Canada, and was so lost - SO many choices. Where do I start?
I decided at that point the join a few Canadian Sewing groups, and there were so many suggestions, it sort of helped, but not really.
I finally found some fabrics on Black Rabbit Fabrics, and fell in love with this Feathered Fabric by Girl Charlee Bolt Fabrics. I also obtained:
- Beautiful Blue Stripe Knit
- Black Stripe Knit
- Geeky Math Knit
Orders are weird - they don't generally come in metres, but half metres or half yards - so you have to ensure you read the fine print as to how the seller is selling their Yardage (metreage?).
Next up was finding leggings patterns. I just asked one of the sewing Facebook Groups what their best leggings patterns suggestions were, and decided on Patterns for Pirates Peglegs. From the Facebook group, not only can you share your delight, finished projects, and participate in sew-a-longs and other events, there are also some lovely codes to test out a few patterns at no cost to you!
|First leggings from some old Clearance Fabricland Jersey Stretch Fabric|
I love this, as I've been able to discover some amazing pattern designers and chatting with like minded OCD sewers! And now I'm spoiled with hand holding step-by-step instructions, pictures, and a whole wardrobe to make worth of patterns! Most designers have a Facebook Page similar to P4P (Patterns for Pirates), and the sense of community keeps me coming back for more!
I ended up making my first and second pairs of leggings from the stripe knits, and used the Unicorns in a Rad Patterns Lucky Bra, and Peg Legs leggings band, the feathers into part of the Halla Soho Hoodie with Kangaroo Pocket, and the Math in a Halla Star Dust tank top and another Halla Hey Babie Ruched Hoodie.
Part of the above bits to my new and improved wardrobe included repurposing clothing I no longer wore for whatever reasons (stains, size, etc.), and I LOVE the effect of mixing fabrics and reusing fabric that still has some life in it!
All of the above patterns have a plethora of different options included, so I could have 5 of the same named top, in totally different styles and fabrics.
I LOVE that I can create a larger hip area vs my upper torso - and it looks natural and fits like a glove!
The patterns are PDF, so I print them on Draft mode on my printer, and spend time taping together the pages, then cutting out the actual patterns based on my sizing. I'd say 90% of the time, I'm cutting the smaller top torso and larger mid to lower body sizes (like a Medium top and Large Bottom) - but the fit is perfect!
I also find it less daunting if I cut the fabric the night before actually sewing - it saves time and gives me Project to look forward to for after work.
Cutting has ALSO changed. The ladies were talking about cutting tools, and rotary cutters - then there's me with the awesome Singer scissors Husband got me one Xmas. I love them.
But, I had a Walmart Gift card, and ended up getting a pair of Fiskars rotary cutters to see if I liked it, and what all the whoopla was about.
Oh. My. God.
It is like cutting through butter - the ease of cutting and lack of time spent painstakingly pinning patterns to fabric is amazing. I also used this technique enough on my 8" x 11" scrapbooking resealing cutting board, that I realized how annoying moving fabric in order to continue cutting was. I'm treating myself to an Olfa 24" x 36" cutting board from Cleaners Supply (weird name for sewing gear, but it was highly recommended by a multitude of ladies, and Canadian with dirt cheap shipping). It was half the cost to order this mat, 144 buttons, and 10 bobbins vs the cost of the mat alone anywhere else.
Now - the first time I sew a new pattern up, there are some ripping of seams when I put a piece on the wrong way, not quite understanding where a piece goes, or just pure fatigue. The second time around is easy peasy, as I've already worked out any kinks!
- The online fabric stores have regular enough sale, contests, and clearances, that I know to pay greater attention when it's time to order fabric.
- There are a LOT of custom fabric groups - I'm ok with more popular and not-as-unique fabric designs (at 1/3 to 1/2 the cost). Although I think if the Floral Wars (Star Wars with Beautiful Flowers that I see everywhere...just never for sale in Canada) went up, I wouldn't be able to resist.
- Join Facebook groups - there are patterns for testing, available at no or a greatly reduced cost (for PROPER patterns with superior instructions), support from the pattern and fabric designers, support from fellow sewers, contests, and challenges to make you sew beyond your normal comfort level.
- Sewing your wardrobe is rewarding in so many ways - pride of a job well done, learning new skills, others noticing your unique clothing, and so much more.
I'll showcase each project as I go (and remember)!
I'll leave it at this beginning for now, but can't wait to share my projects!