Friday 27 November 2009


To be honest, I have some politico-philosophical work to do. As damaging and negligent as ‘fast fashion’ is, I do see fashion trends as the relevant social and cultural barometers that they are. Innovators and creative peops who act as conduits to the zeitgeist play, and have always played, an important role in teaching us about our times, and some of these do so through the medium of clothing. Inevitably, this gets replicated, filtered and digested by clothing manufacturers who mass produce some of these resultant looks for anyone who wishes to partake. The speed and low price points at which the high street versions appear can be dizzying.

I guess my personal crux lies thus: I enjoy checking out the magazines, and hitting up Oxford Street when I’m back in London. I want to know what is happening in the society that I am a product of, even if I choose to opt out of some of it’s ‘trappings’, and desire to see it’s values significantly altered. But I can’t abide the route that these trends take to get to the magazines and high street stores. I know how I can experience new and current flavours, trends and styles (mainly by heading to Brick Lane on a Sunday) and how people could purchase more responsibly the manifestations of these trends (buying from ‘edgy’ independant designer/makers through market stalls, etsy, etc.) but I can’t see how the ‘trickle down’ effect to the high street, with it’s emphasis on turnover and profit, is anything but inevitable. Plus, aside from it's phenomenonaly rapid and cheap turnover, the high street is sometimes also capable of interpreting and developing some really interesting and desireable items. I hate myself for saying it, but sometimes I find the high street a real source of inspiration. Personal contradictions abound. If anyone has anything to contribute to these concerns, my moral wellfare would be very grateful for any input.

All of which is my funny way of introducing a recent creation: the jeggings! As you may know, I’m a fan of loose tops, smocks and tunics. They are cute, super-comfy and permit a big dinner! But to balance this silhouette out, I feel skinnier leg wear must be deployed. Tight jeans can feel restrictive, especially if you are wearing them all day. I’m not much of a fan of leggings since my involvement with them as an under-ten year old. Please enter the third option: Jeggings!

I spent a long time researching jeggings in shops and on the internet. There seem to be many varieties within this sub-section of bottoms. Some are effectively just leggings, with no fastening, elasticated waistbands and fake topstitched pockets and fly fronts. Others work much like jeans, with functioning fly fronts and pockets, but have been fashioned from extra stretchy fabric. Oh, and fear not, I have waited way long enough to jump on this trend band wagon to be in fear of actually being trendy, as this pair I found in the children’s section of Zara proves!

I decided to use some more of the navy stretch fabric I used for my first version of Ruby shorts (I really can’t remember how or why I ended up with so much of this particular fabric), and apply massive amounts of jeans-style topstitching to evoke a denimwear feel. I based the pattern on an existing one I traced at a clothing company I used to work for, but graded it up a size due to the sad outcome the last time I attempted to make this pattern. I was too lazy to attempt a fly front, but was sceptical that the fabric had enough stretch accommodate a simple elasticated waistband, so I opted for a concealed side zip with a fabric panel behind to prevent the zip rubbing against my skin.

They have patch pockets for the back, non-functioning fake front pockets, and a fly front ‘ruse’ created simply by topstitching the fly shape. I also made a fake lap-seam effect on the outside leg with yet more topstitching, which didn’t go well near the concealed zip (who would have thought) and I ended up breaking two needles and holding up proceedings until more could be purchased.

The half-time fitting showed that they were inexplicably too big and required taking in. I also spent approximately a thousand hours altering and re-altering the leg shape to get the desired skinny look but without the constricting feeling that would prevent all day wear.
Then end result is marred only by the cheapness of the fabric, and its inability to retain the garment’s shape for more than one wear. But in general I’m happy, and thankful I mustered up enough patience to mark all the alterations I made onto the pattern, so I have a good basic tight trouser pattern to work from in the future. I may not be any closer to the answers, but at least now I have some new trousers in which to ponder my philosophical quandaries.


Andrés... said...

here a fan!

Drop Stitches Not Bombs said...

Greggings! (Great Jeggings).

FITZ said...

I'm up to three pair already. Two identical and a third for, you know, variety. They go with *everything* and extend the life of warm weather dresses that now can go over. Well done.

Karen said...

Jeggings are awesome! I started wearing them about a year ago and wearing them almost every day now.

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