Monday 16 November 2015

Joggers Are The New Leggings

Having made ten squillion pairs, I'm pretty much over the Playful Kitty leggings pattern from Ottobre magazine 4/2014. Not only was I filling Dolores's wardrobe with them, but because they were so quick to whip up, I made quite a few pairs for her friends when gifts were called for. The ruched detailing of the Green Lines pattern (from Ottobre 1/2014) was a nice variation on the theme, and that almost became my new favourite variant. But the Streaky Legs sweatpants pattern seems to have snuck in there and become the one that I reach for when knit trousers are called for now!


The Streaky Legs pattern from Ottobre 1/2015 (pictured below) is a very casual unisex trouser pattern that goes up to size 92. Because Dolores is a bit skinnier than some kids her height, I used the size 92 for length but the size down (86) for width. This approach worked well during my first foray into making them when I used the size 86 for length but size 80 for width. As I was making that first pair, I felt some concern that the dropped crotch style might be uncomfortable or annoying to wear. Although Dolores's language skills aren't quite up to giving me a full garment review yet, she hasn't expressed any dislike and they don't seem to impede her in any way. 

The pattern consists of just three pieces: a front, a back and the ankle cuff. Both the front and back are cut on the fold, but a more economical fabric lay may be achieved by cutting the back piece with a centre back seam instead. I did that with the red rainbow pair you can see in this post. The addition of the CB seam also gives an easy indication as to which way round you should go when getting the wriggler dressed. 


Although designed to be sweatpants, I reckon this pattern could be made in a variety of knit fabrics: jersey, interlock, Ponte de Roma/double knit (BTW, can anyone tell me what the difference is?), sweatshirting and french terry. 

Cream Jammie Bottoms:

Recently we've been dipping our toes in the scary world of potty training, and it is becoming clear that 'separates' pyjamas are going to be much more useful than the all-in-one type that she is busy growing out of anyhow. I always offer her the opportunity to sit on the potty in the morning (TMI for non-parents?!) and I can see that jammies that she can wriggle free from herself are going to lead to more success going forwards. I saw some suitable 'separates' pyjama sets in a charity shop recently, but I decided to leave those for another parent who can't sew to snap up, and went home to search my stash for suitable fabric. The fun thing about sewing pyjamas is that you can use fabric that wouldn't be right for day wear. I probably wouldn't put a toddler in white or cream trousers as they'll become a stained hot mess within seconds, but cream pyjamas are likely to come into contact with nothing more stain-making than a bit of porridge. 

The fabric I used was some luxurious and slinky organic cotton interlock from Offset Warehouse that they kindly sent me a couple of years ago to try. The contrast cuffs are made from scraps from the stash. Because both the front and back pieces were cut on the fold for these, I stitched little ribbon bows to the centre fronts to distinguish the front from the back at a glance. At least that's the theory. Rather than making matching pyjama tops from scratch, I turned some hand-me-down onesies/vests into T-shirts by cutting off the bottom and adding bands of contrast knit (see above). I now need to make a giant stack of these, along with some more pyjama bottoms, so that doing panic-laundry doesn't entirely take over my life. (BTW, here are some more ideas for reworking onesies/vests.)

Two-Tone Turquoise Joggers:

I made the above joggers for Dolores's friend Arthur's second birthday. I know that Tanya, Arthur's mum, really appreciates handmade clothing that is well made above cheap shop-bought stuff any day, so I knew I'd be on safe territory with these. The fabric I used was a very small piece of amazing turquoise interlock that was given to me by a student that I taught at one of Tilly's Coco classes. Interlock is basically double-sided jersey, and this fabric was light turquoise on one side and a deeper turquoise on the other. The student (gutted I can't remember her name) used the deeper tone for the body and sleeves of her Coco top, and the lighter tone as contrasting cuffs and collar, which looked a-mazing. 

Following that student's lead, I planned to use the deeper tone for the trousers with the lighter tone for the cuffs. However, I couldn't quite fit both the front and back pieces on the remaining fabric, so necessity being the mother of invention and all, I had to make the front piece with panels so I used the contrasting tones for some cool colour-blocking action (seen more easily in the above picture). I literally wouldn't have thought to do that if I hadn't had to! I topstitched the seam allowance down where the panels join so it wouldn't feel too annoying around Arthur's knees, and I really like that row of visible stitching. 

Rainbow Joggers:

Ages ago my best mate bought Dolores this phenomenal 1970s-esque rainbow batwing top (it's from the Little Bird range, before you ask). It's still a little big but I'm determined to get maximum use from its awesomeness. I love rainbow elements on clothing and was inspired to make a cosy pair of joggers that she can wear with this top featuring even more rainbows!

Using left-over scraps from the Girl Charlee sweatshirt lining of my sailboat raincoat, this is the warmest and snuggliest pair I've made from this pattern to date. The sweatshirt fabric, however, has very little stretch so after cutting the cuffs from the same fabric, I abandoned them as I don't think she'd have been able to get her little feet in and out! Instead I found a scrap left over from the best denim skirt ever made by me, which is way stretchy enough. The rainbow trim has been in my stash for longer than I remember, and I simply stitched two lengths down the side covering the side seams. I LOVE the combo of red, denim and rainbows! It reminds me of a childhood spent watching Sesame Street!


I'm really happy with all these versions of this pattern, and have almost got it out of my system now. When a pattern has to be traced out, like the Ottobre ones do, I feel it is a waste to only use that pattern once. I may have gone too far in the other direction now! But it is fun to see how one pattern can make such different looking garments, for different uses or to be worn by different people. However, I'm now using the largest size of this pattern (92), so unless I dabble in some pattern grading, I'm going to have to move on to a new pattern obsession soon. 


Pattern: £0 (the magazine originally cost £10, but having already used this pattern before as well as others from the same edition, I've decided that it's already paid its way)
Fabric: £0 (cream organic jersey given to me by Offset Warehouse, turquoise interlock given to me by a student, red sweatshirt fabric given to me by Girl Charlee, all cuff fabric from my stash)
Ribbon bows: £0 (I got them free back when I was at university and have had them in my stash ever since)
Rainbow trim: £0 (I probably bought this with real life money at some point, but so long ago that I can't remember and therefore I'm declaring it £=nothing)
Total: £0

Hurrah! Everything came together to make five useful toddler garments for nothing but my time and energy, and the power needed to run my sewing machine. 

What about you? Have you fallen in love with a quick and easy sewing pattern recently? How many have you made and do you have more lined up? Can you recommend a simple pattern that is great for making gifts, either for kids or adults?


Knitlass said...

Amazeballs! I've been eyeing up that pattern too - will have to give it a go. Love your upcycling ideas and yes, two part jammies are quite a revelation after the poppertastic all-in-ones babies wear. However, the transition to nighties is another thing entirely - my daughter (age 6) still hasn't got her head round them, and always wears pyjama bottoms underneath.

anne82 said...

Lovely bottoms! I'm strongly on the streaky legs camp. It's a nice versital pattern. For my daughter i'm now going to try the pants number 9 from this autum 4/15. It's a little more pants like, but still from knits.
I love it that ottobre has so many patterns for knits, and usualy you can keep using the patterns for quite a while (meaning they don't outdate very fast)

brooke said...

I love those turquoise pants! The top stitching literally topped them off ;) And Dolores is getting so big!

Mother of Reinvention said...

Wow, fabulous. Sprogzilla would have loved them when she was wee. I have never sewn an Ottobre design but they look great and very practical. Rainbows are very, very cool. I did really love the Burda children's patterns to sew for her. I made loads of pairs of woven trousers and some fabulous shaggy fake fur, fleece lined hooded jackets and they always had people asking where I bought them. I even made her tartan punk trousers. No wonder she doesn't want me to sew for her now. Xx

Jo said...

I love Ottobre. I can't afford to subscribe but I buy back issues when it is my birthday as a kind of present to myself! I have made adult and children's clothes from them and they are so well designed and cut. Love your little trouser collection. Jo x

Unknown said...

Love these brilliant turquoise joggers! I've not heard of this mag before so will definitely have to seek it out. I love the way the joggers combine a simple elasticated waist and cosy ribbed cuffs!

Rebecca @ Pattydoo said...

Love the two-tone turquoise! Seems like a great pattern; nice and simple.

Anonymous said...

What lovely joggers! I did the same when making "comfy clothes" as my daughter calls them (PJ bottoms) and made several pairs using material from clothes that the rest of the family no longer used. I made 8 pairs in one day, they really are essential for quick toddler potty trips! I find its very satisfying to sew up something useful and utilitarian rather than just frivolous party dresses (though I love those too)and its even better when the fabric can be re-used from other cast off garments. Cassandra

Hazel_Myope said...

I love the rainbows, but what I really love is the blue trousers that turned a problem into a feature! They look like they were always meant to look like that. :-)

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