Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Comfort and Joy


Not that anyone's keeping tabs, but I've got one final posts-worth of makes from my Spring/preggers sewing plans to share with you. It's all about the comfy bottoms! Warning: not particularly glamourous images contained below. And look away now if big ol' preggers bellies freak you out! 

In the end, I decided not to try a maternity jeans refashion, NOR did I refashion the thrifted leopard leggings, NOR did I make a maternity knit skirt. Instead I borrowed a stack of mass-produced maternity jeans and trousers from several friends, decided to keep the leopard leggings (my only non-maternity pair of leggings) as the are, and accept that I'm just not particularly a skirt person, especially during a time when sitting crossed-legged is increasingly difficult!


So I made some leggings, some navy blue (pictured at the very top of this post), some red (pictured above and below, although I doubt you've missed them!). In the aforementioned Spring sewing plans post I was talking about a couple of pairs of traced/self-drafted leggings/treggings things that I made during my first pregnancy that I then wore to death during and after. As I admitted in that post, I was never entirely happy with the fit of those two original pairs, so I planned to buy another sewing pattern and adapt it in the hope that I would land on the perfect fit. Then I realised what a lame-arse I was being. Those two pairs were so damn close to what I was hoping for, why bottle out and assume someone else's pattern drafting would be closer to the mark?  


So I unearthed the pattern pieces and set to work. The original pattern was formed from separate front and back leg pieces, and I decided to rework them into a single-leg pattern piece with no outside leg seam. I then made further tweaks that I hoped would improve the fit, and made a version up in some navy blue four-way stretch double knit that I bought in Ditto fabrics in Brighton. The result was excellent (in fact I'm wearing them now) but still not perfect. I prefer maternity bottoms that sit underneath my bump, and the navy blue pair still felt maybe 2cm too high round there. Plus, there seemed to be a tiny-but-unattractive excess of fabric at the front crotch area if I stood with my legs together. I made further tweaks, plus decided to make a 3/4 leg version of the pattern to wear to preggers yoga class, and stitched it up in some lovely red cotton/spandex blend jersey kindly sent to me for the purpose by Girl Charlee. BINGO!!!! Just what I was after: the perfect (for me) fitting maternity leggings. Most shop-bought maternity leggings that I've seen either cover the bump entirely, or come up pretty high onto it. Mine sit just wear I want them, but are high enough around the bum and hips that they feel totally secure and there is absolutely no risk of them working their way south! I'm so happy with it that I may develop and release this pattern in PDF form one day....


My final pair of comfies should have been one of the easiest and quickest makes ever. Except they weren't. No fault at all of the pattern itself, mind. For these I used the wide legged trouser pattern from Wendy Ward's 'Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking' book (pictured below). I teach at her workshop in Brighton where she has all her patterns on card for students to trace out and make during a class. I told Wendy of my intentions to make the trousers for maternity-and-beyond use and was moaning that I couldn't find any suitably drapey fabric, and she very generously offered me some soft and slinky grey knit that was lurking in her stash. So the next time I was at the studio, I traced and cut out the trousers, then proceeded to put all of it, scraps and cut pieces directly into the scraps bin whilst tidying up! I didn't realise what I had done until I was sitting on the train heading home. I sent a panic text message to Wendy and she later rescued the pieces for me! I felt more than a bit stupid.

(image source: MIY Collection/Wendy Ward)

The next stupid thing I did was choose some inappropriate fabric for the waistband. The waistband piece requires thicker, more sturdy knit than the legs (the latter can also be made in drapey woven fabric). I used some of the leftovers from my MIY Collection Brightside shrug, which although blending nicely colour-wise, didn't have anywhere near enough stretchiness to perform well as a waistband. I was bemoaning my mistake to Debbie, one of the regular students at Wendy's MIY Workshop, because she is a big fan of this pattern and has made it for herself and virtually every female she has ever met. Bless her, the next class she brought in the leftover waistband fabric from a pair she'd recently made for her hairdresser, so I cut out a new waistband and replaced the old one! Once again because of my preference for firmly-under-the-bump waistbands, I cut the waistband piece approximately 3/4 the depth of the original pattern piece so there wouldn't be so much fabric round my waist (the waistband is designed to fold in half). I'm not showing these trousers off particularly well in these images (plus they have been washed and folded up without being ironed!), but you'll have to trust me that they feel luxuriously slinky. Although a massive improvement on the first attempt, waistband has ended up still feeling a bit tight for a third-trimester belly, but I know that I'll wear the living hell out of these when this pregnancy is over. 


Massive thanks to Wendy, Debbie and Girl Charlee for helping me expand my comfy-trouser selection!!!!

What about you? What is the most comfortable (if not glamourous-looking) garment you've ever made?

13 comments:

Jen Barnard said...

I'd love to buy the leggings pattern if you publish it. As a wheelchair user bottoms are always too low at the back and too high at the front for me, I also get extra fabric bunched up at the front. Yours look perfect for me. I have yet to actually finish a garment, at the moment I'm trying to salvadge a dress that just isn't working in the fabric I picked. I think I'm going to keep the skirt part from the woven fabric and make a knit boice for it.
jen dot barnard at btinternet dot com

Frankie Carson said...

I love the loose flowing trousers! In fact I think youve given me a reason to add that book to my want list!!!
Frankie
Www.knitwits-owls.blogspot.co.uk

Frankie Carson said...

I love the loose flowing trousers! In fact I think youve given me a reason to add that book to my want list!!!
Frankie
Www.knitwits-owls.blogspot.co.uk

Fabric Tragic said...

Comfort is king! I think my number one comfiest make is my Hudson pants - worn constantly, beloved by all females who seem them, a source of bemusement for the husband! ;)

Tasha said...

Good on you for continuing on with your pattern and finding the right fit! I have some super-old knit pj bottoms I made that are (naturally) extra-comfy. As far as things I can wear outside the house, I recently made a simple gathered-tier maxi skirt using the waistband that fits me best, which is divinely comfortable and easy to wear.

MrsC (Maryanne) said...

A delightfully pragmatic approach as always :) My secret pyjama wears are dresses made from merino knit, but also wide legged trousers with the very deep stretch cuff like you have done, only high. I like them because I am quite long to the waist so the rare RTW items I have sometimes flash a bit of tum, and this way I feel warm and covered up! :)

Jane said...

Oh yeah, I was totally in the 'under the bump' camp with maternity clothes but found it so hard to find them! Wish I had been sewing back then. Good work on perfecting the fit. There's probably a market out there for a pattern!

Kathryn said...

Yay well done on persisting with the leggings! Perfect comfy wear for pregnancy, and I love the colour you used for those yoga ones. I'd say my most comfy makes are definitely my plantain tee dresses - no waist constrictions, not too high a neck, and jersey fabric - perfect for lounging, travelling and crawling about playing with a toddler!

Portia Lawrie said...

SUCH a lovely pic of you and Dolores too!! Wendy's trouser pattern....comfiest ever!

Mother of Reinvention said...

Comfy trousers are a godsend pregnant or not. Your trousers and leggings are lovely. Leggings are really hard to get the perfect combination of fabric and pattern. The red is such a glorious colour. Xx

Wendy Ward said...

Those trousers look great Zoe, I'm so glad all the fabrics came together in the end. In fact, that looks like a super-comfy wardrobe you've got going on there!

prairie underground sale said...


Very cool! and Cute picture

Kerri Menke said...

I wish I could wear maternity leggings all the time! Those target ones look fabulous. Keeping them on my radar for baby #2! Ps you look fabulous!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...