Tag Archives: mama bear joggers

End of Summer Leftovers

Do you like leftovers? Some are good, others are tasteless. Well, in this case I’m talking about using fabric left over from other projects.

I sewed up another Laundry Day Tee, the sleeveless version, by Love Notions from the fabric left over from the Classic Tee. This a versatile pdf pattern and the no-trim pages of Love Notions patterns are a big time saver.

Some sewing tips:

1) When you print out a pdf pattern with layers, don’t print only one size or all the sizes. I usually print out 3 or 4 sizes because I might want to use the shoulder or neckline of a smaller size, and it helps to see a few sizes in case you want to grade up or down in certain areas.

2) Don’t print out the entire pdf for a pattern with multiple variations. Look for where it tells you which pages you need for the option you are sewing.

3) Customize your pattern. A pattern is a starting place, and you can use it to make your ideal garment with some changes. I cut the neckline wider at the straps and not as deep, and now it is perfect for me.

I wore it walking to the library and took a selfie. The breezy wider hem shape was perfect for keeping me cool.

4) Measure clothes that fit well and compare to pattern pieces to help cut the right size.

5) Take notes on makes. I do this but often leave out important details, and my memory fades.

6) If there is a pattern piece for the band on a knit, don’t use it. The length you need will differ depending on the stretchiness of your knit. You may need to shorten it. This rayon/spandex knit is very stretchy and I had to snug up the top of the side seams and then stretch my binding tighter to avoid droopy underarms.

I’m wearing the top with one of the two denim shorts I have sewn.

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I don’t wear clothes that are classified as activewear. I don’t ride a bike or go to the gym. One active thing I do is walk. Since I’m out walking my dog every morning and night, why not sew a sporty walking outfit.

I had some navy ponte fabric left over from the full length pants I sewed at the beginning of last year. Ponte is a double knit fabric. I think I wore polyester double knit shorts from K Mart when I was about 10, but this fabric is a nicer, more breathable rayon/nylon blend. It was just enough for a pair of shorts, although I did need to cut the inner waistband from another bit of rib knit I had. The pocket linings are from a scrap of silky fabric which helped to reduce bulk. The pockets are nice and deep to hold phone, keys, and poop bag.

I sewed the shorts with my sewing machine and then serged to finish the seams. The pattern is another repeat: the Patterns for Pirates Mama Bear Joggers with the waistband of the Itch to Stitch Mountain View Pull-on Jeans. It’s satisfying sewing a pattern that has already been altered to fit.

The shorts feel sleek, soft, and firm. They are thicker than leggings, and not as skin tight and revealing which makes them just what I wanted. When I came home from my walk this morning I didn’t want to take them off. So I didn’t – I wore them all day.

I topstitched the hems and around the pockets with a zigzag stitch and I very much like the sporty look and lack of a ridge I’ve gotten when using a double needle. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s easier than threading up a double needle.

More photos of garment and construction details to follow because this is a sewing blog, not a fashion blog, ha! How the clothes fit on the body is important to see, and the final piece.

The knit tee was an upcycle cut from a XL tee I had on hand. I again used the Laundry Day Tee but with much of the swing removed due to fabric width limitations. I chose the neon/lime green color to give me more visibility when walking at dusk.

Do you wear woven tops with knit bottoms? The opposite is very usual with a tee shirt paired with jeans. Somehow I got the idea that knit bottoms should be worn with a knit top. I need to experiment with this.

I used the hem of the original tee shirt for the binding so I didn’t have to iron a strip in half. That’s why there is a line of stitching on the binding. I like a good shortcut.

right side of tank
serged wrong side

I sewed the blue floral top back in July and I struggled with getting the neckbands and armbands sewn decently. I don’t like the method of measuring the neckline, calculating 85%, and marking the band and fabric circumference into fourths that the standard instructions have you do. It’s too hard for me to get it stretched evenly and takes too long pinning. I messed up and sewed folds into the shirt side of the seam and had to rip and redo. For the green tank I cut a longer strip for the band, didn’t join or pin the band, left a tail unsewn at the start, and then stretched the band as I sewed it on with a basting stitch, stopping before the end and making a mark for sewing the ends together. It’s kind of like joining quilt binding but with a straight stitch. Tanks are the worst to sew because there are three bands instead of one! I would buy some tanks if I could find a brand and size that fit well, but at this point it seems easier to just sew them.

I love these leftovers! The two knit sleeveless tops and knit shorts are first rate pieces that fit well, are comfortable useful clothes, and in my opinion look good too.

More Summer Sewing

I sewed a third pair of shorts, and a simple skirt.

The shorts are made with gray knit fabric, a cotton jersey.

I used the Patterns for Pirates Mama Bear  Joggers, modified with a higher rise and slimmed down hips and thighs, with the waistband from the Itch to Stitch Mountain View jeans, the same combination I used for my navy ponte pants in January.   It is a double waistband with the elastic stretched and sewn to the seam allowance with a zigzag stitch.  These shorts are so comfortable I could wear them to bed.

I topstitched a dense zigzag in a blue thread for a decorative look on the pockets and hems.

I had some of the tan cotton twill left over from my Angelia shorts, so decided to sew up the Love Notions Allegro Skirt.  This is the same pattern I used for my denim shorts.  It’s an a-line shape with an elastic waist.  I changed the pockets, but I made them too hard to get into.

My goal was to have a casual summer alternative to shorts. I don’t know if it’s the fabric or the pattern, but I don’t like the way it hangs on me.  I either need a fabric with more drape, a different color, or a different silhouette.  This make is a dud – I feel like I’m wearing a middle school uniform!

I achieved my goal for this summer with sewing 3 different pairs of shorts, 2 sleeveless tops, a dress, and a skirt.  The red top is an old Hanes tank and the yellow print top is a refashion from a few years ago.

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For future summer sewing, I could still use a casual dress with pockets and lightweight, loose cotton pants.

What’s next?  I don’t know, maybe I’ll take a breather and ponder the meaning of life, clean house, or take up a hobby. More likely I’ll reorganize my sewing stuff and keep on sewing!

Ponte de Roma Knit Pants

My first make of 2020: slim navy knit pants.

I wanted a pair of winter pants that would be very comfortable for working in my home office,  but still presentable for walking in the neighborhood and going out.

Ponte de roma is a fabric I had never sewn with.  Ponte is a double knit, resulting in thickness from the two layers, with a greater stability and firmness than other knit fabrics.  These characteristics make it easy to sew with. Pants made from ponte are opaque, not as clingy and skin tight as leggings, and can have pockets. The ponte I bought has a composition of 66% rayon, 30% nylon, and 4% spandex. Other pontes have polyester as the primary fiber.

My pattern was the Patterns for Pirates Mama Bear Joggers.  I bought these because they have a variety of waistband, pocket, hem, and rise options. Looking at the size chart, I discovered my measurements put me in a size M hip, XL high hip, XS thighs, and a L calf! I have strange proportions! This explains why I have problems with getting a good fit in ready-to-wear.

Below is a diagram from an article on the New Mexico State University website.  I’m a heart shape.

I compared the medium pattern piece to my already modified Itch to Stitch Mountain View Pull-on Jeans (laid on top) which are designed for a stretch woven.

It seems the joggers pattern is shaped for a diamond figure, and I have the concave proportions of a heart.

I had to reduce the hip and upper thigh, add width to the lower leg, and add to the rise.  I also shortened the legs by about six inches. This is another advantage to sewing: instead of lopping the six inches off the bottom of a pair of pants I shorten the pattern in two places, above and below the knee, and am able to keep the proportions correct.

As I began sewing the pants, they started morphing into the Mountain View pants which I’ve made several times.  I prefer the construction sequence of those pants with the outer leg seam sewn last, which allows for ease of altering.  I also used the Mountain View waistband, which is quick and easy.  An inner and outer waistband are sewn together and the elastic is stretched and sewn to the seam allowance.  I realized I really didn’t need the other pattern.  It makes more sense to use the pattern that I had already fitted.

 

I should have used a thinner fabric for the pocket lining because they bag out a little at the bottom.

Worn with a pullover sweater I knitted way back in 2007 and still wear.

The back:

Worn with a raglan tee shirt I sewed in December:

Dressed up with a favorite thrifted velour sweater knit top, and matching purse:

I gained a few pounds post holidays and some of my pants have been feeling a little tight when sitting or eating. These ponte pants feel super comfortable and cozy, look flattering, and are a welcome addition to my wardrobe.