McCalls 6760 as Culottes

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Hey everybody! Another week is gone and Easter is nearly here. I think I’m gonna spend the few days I’ll have off sewing and hopefully eating loads of chocolate! What have you planned instead for the holidays?

Last week I’ve shown you my first pair of culottes, today I’ve another one! I’m in a serious culottes-mode at the moment and I can’t wait to get my hands on the new Butterick and Vogue patterns for more options. Here in Australia we are a pattern season behind and I’m itching to buy the new releases!
For this second try, I wanted something with a bit less flare than the Tanias, just to play a bit with the width of the legs and also with a different shape. I was curious to see how I’d look in a slightly slimmer culottes, so here they are. As you may guess, I’m still trying to understand which style suits me the best.

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This is an adaptation of M6760. It’s a jumpsuit pattern, but it wasn’t hard to modify to get a pair of culottes out of it. I’ve basically traced the leg pattern pieces and shortened them by 31cm, slashing and overlapping so the bottom is still the original width. I then trued the side seams and that’s it.
To get the fit right, I’ve done a 2 cm sway back/flat derrière adjustment, removing the excess just below the back seam allowance, tapering to nothing at the sides. Also, as I chose the size based on my hips measurements (size 8), I’ve narrowed the seam allowance to 1 cm at the side seams at the waist, gaining the 2 cm total I needed there. I’ve also left out the inseam pockets as I really don’t use them a lot and I prefer the look of classic trousers pockets better.
Looking at the pants spread open, I probably could have reduced the crotch length of a few cm. As I said, this pattern is designed to be a jumpsuit and therefore the crotch has to be longer to allow for movements, when joined to the bodice. If I’m gonna make another pair, I’ll give this modification a go.

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For the waistband I’ve used the BHL Charlotte Skirt pattern piece as I l really like its width. When I sew it in thou, it was gaping a bit so I’ve stitched a dart in correspondence of the side seams, creating a sort of shaped waistband. You might also have noticed – or maybe not because it should be invisible! – that I’ve moved the zipper to the side. This was completely a boo boo, as I’ve accidentally sewn the center back seam close and serged it. Instead of removing all the stitching, I’ve moved the zipper. Not a big deal, I think.

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For a neater and nicer inside, for the first time, I’ve used some bias binding to finish the edge of the waistband facing. Why I’ve never done it before?? It looks so professional! No more trying to blindly catch the folded facing while stitching in the ditch from the right side for me, thank you very much.

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The fabric I’ve used is a floral cotton sateen left over from my BHL Georgia Dress. I really like the print and it is the perfect weight for bottoms. This sateen holds beautifully the wide legs shape, without collapsing and draping too much. To accentuate the width of the legs even more, I’ve hemmed the culottes with 5 cm horsehair braid, which I was able to find in this lovely matching gray. I bought it online from a millinery shop and they carry all the colors in three different width and I was really tempted in buying every single one!

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I’m very happy with the look of this culottes, but I probably prefer the Tanias. Maybe I could try to sew them up using this kind of material and see how they look. I’ve another cotton sateen with big blue flowers that would be perfect. What do you think? Too much body for the Tanias? Tell me.

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Midi Tania Culottes

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Happy Sunday everybody! Autumn is here, but the weather is still warm and sunny, so not much to complain about, I guess. But let’s talk about sewing and let’s talk about culottes, please! I’m seriously obsessed with this sort of pants, that’s why my latest makes are two pairs of them. As you might guess, I’m very easily influenced by the mass trends and I often try to imitate what is see in the shops or on the magazines. I know it’s not one of the most original ways to put together a garment or outfit, but I like to think I add to it my own share of creativity sourcing the suitable materials in the colors and the prints I like and also adapting patterns to achieve a certain look. And if not so, at least what I make is of better quality of whatever I usually find in the shops.

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Anyhow, I’ve always been convinced that culottes wouldn’t suit me, but then I thought it was all about finding the right shape. I was just doing that when Megan Nielsen came up with this awesome tutorial on how to make midi length Tanias. It was a matter of just a few days and I was already tracing and cutting my own pair!
Megan’s tutorial is very easy to follow and the pattern alteration didn’t take long at all. Megan suggests to make your modifications based on how much ease you want at hip level. I add, make your decision based on how much fabric you have on hand or want to use as this is a well known fabric-eater pattern. I didn’t want to splurge on fabric too much, so I did my best to make the pieces fit in a 60″ wide material folded in half. I basically traced a size S from the original Tanias and then slashed and overlapped to about 29 cm at hip level, included seam allowances. The length you want your culottes to be is also a factor to keep in mind when altering the pattern: obviously, the longer the leg, the more fabric you need. I lengthen mine of about 28 cm from a size L hem.

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Being this pair a trial, I decided to use a cheap fabric and I’ve opted for some polyester suiting in this sort of light army green. The marvelous fact about polyester is that barely needs ironing and I can basically wash this garment and wear it straight away once dry. Very easy to care. I’m pretty sure I’ve only used 1.8m of fabric and I could have probably been able to squeeze the culottes out of 1.7m if the material wasn’t cut all crooked.
As with my previous pair of Tanias, I let them hang for over a day to let the fabric relax before the hemming. Then it took us – Owen helped a lot! – a whole afternoon to get the bloody hem right and I think we could have made it a bit more even, but It’s ok. For the hem itself, I’ve run a line of stitching a 1/4″ from the raw edge, folded the hem under following the stitch line and then folded again. Heaps of steam and pins helped keeping the hem in place while I’ve machine stitched it down. Easy breezy even if a bit time consuming being the culottes legs pretty wide – the downside of DIY I suppose.

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I’m very happy with this first pair of longer midi and I think I’m not going to modify the pattern any further. I like the overall ease and the length too, even if making a full length of culottes-pants is very tempting! Fabric wise, next time I want to use something lighter to see the difference the fabric can make over the look of this pattern, I just want to find something opaque so I don’t need to hem a lining too ;)
Tell me, have you been trapped into the culottes-mania too? My second pair is on its way…

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In Swim Style!

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Hi everybody! It has been a long time since I wrote my last post, more than a month, but fear not: I’m back! Today we finally hit the beach – literally, as there was low tide and no sign of ocean! – to take some photos of my latest make. Let me said it out loud: I’ve made a bikini! A bikini!!! But let me show you the no-water beach first . I really find this amazing and strange at the same time, in Italy we don’t have this sort of tide changes and the sea is always there for you to enjoy… very different isn’t it?

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Anyway, as it often happens with me, it all begun with the fabric. I regularly check the new arrivals section on the Tessuti website: they always list beautiful fabrics and several months ago I set my eyes on an awesome cherry print swimwear Lycra in pink. I simply had to have it, even if I’ve never sewn with this kind of material before and I had no swimsuits in my plans either. It took me a few days to finally decide I really needed that fabric in my life, so I bought some along with a matching plain pink one. This fabric is now out of stock on the website, but there is some left in aqua and let me be honest, I’m doing my best not to buy it. It must be because of the cherries!

Once I got the fabric, I needed a pattern. At the time everybody was going mad for the Papercut Soma Swimsuit and the few versions I’ve seen around the blogosphere let me decide to buy it. It really is a very cute pattern, my favorite variation is the one with the bustier style top and front triangle detail. I tried to make it, in a cheap black Lycra as I didn’t feel confident to cut into that awesome cherry print yet, but the size I chose was completely wrong, too big, and so I left my yummy cherries rot in a corner until today.

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It took me months to finally decide to give swimwear another go. Probably and partly because of the lack of nice patterns for this sort of garments: I find the ones by the Big4 pretty dated-looking and there were very few other alternative options around (now that the new Named Ticket Collection is out I can say I’m in love with their bikini and can’t wait to make one!). Anyhow, I then stumbled over an Australian swimwear pattern company that I’ve never heard of, Swim Style, and really liked their bikinis. I bought two straight away, the Sun Lover and the Bandeau Bikini and ended up making the first one as it is a bit easier.

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The Sun Lover bikini includes two styles of briefs, high and low waist, which I chose, and has bra cups inserted between two layers of lining. I really appreciate this as I’d never wear a bikini without the protection of foam cups. The straps are crossed over the back and threaded thought the casing at the center back. More about it later on. The pants back continues toward the front, creating a flattering panel which gives you the opportunity to play with color blocking or different prints.

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I cut a size 10 for both top and bottom and I’m pretty happy with the fit. I followed the instructions step by step and didn’t have any problems – wording and diagrams are clear enough and I loved the elastic measurements charts telling you the exact length of elastic needed for each size. I found this very helpful as I often wonder how much should I stretch the elastic as I sew, usually resulting in a too tight or too loose application. I think this is a great tip, this way you are pretty much sure your bikini will hug you nicely without cutting into your skin or dropping off you. It’s the first time I find this sort of information in a pattern and I’m extremely happy about it. On the other hand, I haven’t sewn lots of knit garments yet, so maybe there are other companies out there suggesting elastic measurements.

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Once my top was finished, I tried it on and noticed that the back sections weren’t staying put, but they were collapsing under the pressure and the pulling of the straps fed through the casing instead. I think it’s the same sort of problem I’ve seen written somewhere about the Soma Swimsuit with the back cross over elastic, the back bands collapsing in an unwanted way. It wasn’t a very appealing look for a bikini so I tried to fix the problem inserting some boning at side seam points and next to the back casing. This helped, but didn’t solve completely the issue so I had to find another way to keep the top closed and flat at the same time. I decided to un-stitch the casing and sew the two ends together, eliminating the opening – there is enough room for me to put the top on and off without rip it open and I’m now happy with how the back looks. If I’d sew it again, I’d probably cut the top out of a unique piece or add side seams, eliminating all together the center back opening/seam. I’d also insert the boning before sewing the binding for a more neat finish, to hide the ends of the casing.

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The bikini is constructed so that all the seams are encased and the resulting look is very professional. The only step I’ve done differently was sewing the straps following the Papercut tutorial here. To form the straps, the Sun Lover has you to fold and tuck under the binding and top-stitch it as you go, which I find rather annoying as it is hard to keep everything in place and aligned using such a slippery fabric. The Papercut method instead, is way faster and easier: just sew the straps right sides together to reach the edge of the top binding, turn them right side out and top stitch. Easy breezy.

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I’m very happy with this top, even if it’s quite different from the store bought ones I have, offering a bit more coverage than what I usually reach for. I find it very comfortable though and surely I won’t be worried of flashing too much skin on the beach. Similarly, the briefs are quite low cut too, covering a good amount of bum. I don’t find this style particularly flattering on me, but I do love the front panel so I think I’m gonna wear this pants a lot anyway. For a more tan-friendly sort of bottom, I’ve sewn up another pair of briefs too, the low rise ones from the Soma pattern. There is only one problem, can you spot it? Of course you can, the print on this pair is bloody upside down! What was I thinking of when I cut them?? Argh! Too bad, I’m gonna wear them no matter what and one day I’ll make another pair with the print going the right way, but at the moment I’m too annoyed to even think about it. How stupid!

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The back of this pair of briefs is plain pink, I really like playing around with color blocking!

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About the rest of the supplies, the white swimwear lining I used comes from Booby Traps, the molded foam bra cups – which was a real pain finding in the right shape – are by Sullivan, and 1cm wide elastic and thread are from a local shop. That’s all.

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Sewing with Lycra is definitely more challenging than sewing with a jersey or other knit, but it’s nonetheless doable. I’ve completely sewn this bikini on my sewing machine, without using the serger or a walking foot – as it was badly pulling the threads of the lining – and the whole process hasn’t been that stressful either. I’ve used a 75 stretch needle and the zig zag stitch for all my seams, a narrow one for the seams and the widest for the top-stitching. I find sewing small projects is way more time consuming than stitching together a dress or a skirt, but it’s very rewarding as well. There are a lot of little details to take care of and it’s harder to get seams matching on such small pieces, but if you get things right, the result is a unique piece of art. I did my best here and surely there is room for improvement, but at least I’m familiarizing with this sort of material and trying to learn the best way to handle it. I’m curious to try other swimwear patterns above all now that I’ve stocked up on some very cute Lycra prints in Melbourne! Here in Australia is already autumn, but temperature are still warm so you’ll probably see a Beverly Twisted Bikini very soon…

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Papercut Patterns – Rigel Bomber #2

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The Rigel Bomber is definitely the star of my closet at the moment! As soon as I’ve finished the first one, I immediately bought the fabric for anther one.
This time I’ve gone for variation 2, the one with geometric sleeve details. I really enjoy playing with different textures, colors and fabrics and this version gives you the possibility of doing exactly that. It all begun with the ribbing, the black one I bought from Pacific Trimmings, which is super thick, very elastic and it also has a great recovery. It’s pretty heavy duty and good quality stuff and I really wanted to use it, so I looked for a suitable fabric to pair it with. Needless to say, here it’s very hard to find decent medium to heavy weight materials, never mind in a nice print or color, but I eventually managed to find something suitable for my project.

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This fabric is a sort of faux polyester suede in a very cool shade of dusty navy which I think complements very well the ribbing. It has a very soft hand and drapes nicely, perfect for the Rigel. It doesn’t like the iron thought as it becomes shiny if you press it too much, ask me how I know!

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I really liked the look of this navy paired with the black so I collected little pieces of different black fabrics for the sleeve details. I had quite a few to choose from, but in the end I set for a trio that gave me a sort of gradient effect, from light black to very deep black. For the lightest shade, which I positioned towards the front, I’ve used some black lace on top of the suede, the second triangle is made out of pinwale corduroy and the last rich black is velveteen. I’m very happy with how this color experiment turned out and I like all the pops of black on this navy background.

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For a more edgy look, I’ve decided to do something different with the pocket openings and inserted some zippers in place of the welts. You can find out all the details on how to do it, in this post here. While for my first Rigel I’ve purchased a Riri zipper from the US, the three zips for this Bomber are YKK, bought online from M.Recht, here in Australia. They don’t slide as smoothly as the Riri, but they’re still of very good quality and they’re way better than the zips I find locally. Of course, the zipper tapes and pocket bags had to be black!

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To be coherent, I’ve used some black satin back crepe for the lining and again it’s polyester. I know, I know, I’m using way too much poly these days but it’s all I can find around unless I buy online, and for this Rigel I wanted to get the right shades of black, otherwise my plan wouldn’t have worked, so it was better purchasing everything in person. This satin was very easy to work with and after this second project using this sort of material, I am now a shiny-lining converted fan – I love how elegant and luxurious it feels and looks.

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Bagging the lining was way easier this time, as I knew what I was doing thanks to my previous Bomber experience and also to this awesome tutorial by Jen at Grainline Studio, which shone a bit more light onto the whole process. For more comfort and durability, I also changed the lining pieces a bit, adding a 2.5 cm center back pleat and about 1.5 cm length to all pieces.

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Size wise, I cut an S, basically just because I wanted more ease so I could wear warm and cozy knit sweaters underneath the jacket. The difference in between each size is only few centimeters, but I prefer the fit of this second Rigel, slightly more slouchy and relaxed. The only modification I made was adding 7 cm to the sleeve length as I like my sleeves to be long and I’m now very pleased with the fit.

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And the black ribbing that started it all? Actually, it was way easier to handle and sew than what I expected. Obviously it was very bulky in some places, but using a walking foot was all I needed to let my little Brother sew everything without complaining. The quality of this ribbing is excellent and it looks 100 times better than the one I’ve sewn to my first Rigel. It’s sold in 80 cm lengths so I got two and I had to shorten the band pieces a couple of cm each to make them all fit. This didn’t cause any problem as the ribbing is very elastic and the size of each piece was just right – I think it looks better this way anyhow, a bit more snugly around waist, wrists and collar.

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I really enjoyed taking part to the #rigelbomberjanuary, it was fun seeing what other sewers came up with and it’s amazing how different is every Rigel made – from quilted fabric to leather, from wool to cotton, plain or printed, everybody’s take on this pattern is truly impressive.

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I’m on a serious outwear/jacket mood at the moment – I love sewing and handling heavier fabrics! – and I can’t wait to be in Melbourne to go fabric shopping and buy some coating for the Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat. I totally don’t know when I’m gonna wear a coat, but I really need the Cascade in my wardrobe, it’s just perfection. So if you have a favorite fabric shop in Melbourne (or Brisbane as I might be lucky enough to stop there too!) to recommend me, please let me know, I’m so excited to put my hands on some awesome materials!

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How to add zippers to the Rigel Bomber pockets!

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Today I’ve started working on my second Rigel Bomber, because, you know, it’s an awesome pattern and once you’ve made one, you want more! Since the making of my first Rigel, I’ve been madly pinning inspiration photos on my Pinterest board - there is something for everyone, from sequins to lace, from velvet to fur, and few of those bombers have zipper pockets. While I don’t think I would wear a sequined or lace jacket very frequently, I find the zippers very cute and useful – I often wish all my jackets had zipper pockets, so I’d be sure of not losing whatever I put in them.

I spent the afternoon figuring out how to add those zippers to the Rigel and this is how I did it. Mind you, I’m not a sewing pro, but this method worked for me so I thought it would be nice sharing it. If you have a better way of doing this, please do comment along and let me know, I’m always eager of improve my sewing skills, learning new techniques and happy of reading your thoughts.

Here we go!

I’ve cut the front panels and pocket bag pieces as per instructions and transferred the pocket markings onto the wrong side of front panels, but because the zipper is narrower than the welt, I’ve halved the high of the markings. The original markings were about 14.8 cm x 2 cm, while mine is now 14.8 cm x 1cm.

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I then flipped the front panel to the right side, pinned a piece of interfacing where the markings are (I roughly cut a rectangle a bit bigger than the markings) and transferred again the markings on top of the interfacing. I’ve used light weigh iron on interfacing, placing it wrong side up, so when I’ll pull it over the back, the glue will stick to the wrong side of the front panel and it will nicely stay in place. Also I cut the interfacing edges with pinking sheers, so when I press it, it doesn’t show through the right side.

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I stitched around the pocket markings and to make sure the short sides were exactly the same length, I’ve counted the number of stitches used to sew the first short side and done the same for the second one.

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Then I cut through the interfacing and front panel, in the center of the two stitching lines, stopping about 1.5 cm before the ends and cutting a V on both ends, taking care not to cut through the stitch-line.

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I’ve flipped the front panel to the wrong side and pulled the interfacing thought the opening, pressed and let the glue stick to the wrong side of the main fabric (as I said, I’m using iron on interfacing). Here is how it looked like.

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Now it’s time to insert the zipper. I didn’t bother finding a proper pocket zipper, which has both ends closed, I’ve used instead a regular metal zipper, 15 cm long. To help the zipper lay flat and even, I’ve hand stitched it close, at the top, where the teeth end.

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I’ve pinned the zipper in place, making sure it was centered and the tape evenly showing and then I’ve top stitched all around it. If you think pinning is not for your, you can either hand baste the zipper or use double sided sticky tape to temporary keep it in place and then sew. Boom, zip done, now for the pocket bags!

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On the wrong side of the front panel, I’ve stitched pocket bags A and B, one at the time. I’ve started with piece A, aligning the straight long side of the pocket bag with the outer edge of the zipper tape, right side of pocket bag facing down, pinned and stitched in place. Then I’ve placed piece B on top of A, right side facing down, matching the raw edges all around and stitched B to the zipper tape. Because the construction on of this pocket opening is slightly different from the Rigel instructions, the top of pocket bag B (basically the side joined to the zipper tape) needs to be trimmed down about 1 cm and it can be easily done once the pocket is already sewn together, without changing the original pattern pieces.

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As you can see in the photo above, I left myself with very little seam allowance to play with. It was pretty fiddly to stitch the pocket bags to the zipper tape and next time I’ll make sure a) I cut a slightly smaller pocket opening, just a couple of mm, or b) top-stitch the zipper a bit closer to the zipper itself resulting in more room on the wrong side for stitching the pocket bags. That said, in this case I really like the amount of black tape showing, it will match the ribbing and shoulder details.

Once both pocket bag pieces are sewn along the zipper tape, stitch them together along the edges, all the way around, sewing thought the zipper tape at each ends – but obviously taking care of not stitching thought the front panels! You can either finish the edges with a zig zag stitch or with your overlocker. I hope my pocket bags are gonna last for a while, I’m a bit worried about that teeny tiny seam allowance…fingers crossed.

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And there you have it, a Rigel Bomber with zipper pockets!

Papercut Ooh La Leggings!

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It looks like January is all about Papercut Patterns here at CarlyInStitches! Today it’s the turn of the Ooh La Leggings, a pair of ‘fuseaux’ with front and back seam details, in three lengths variations – long, 3/4 and just below the knee. The pattern suggests the use of high stretch knit fabrics with a good return, but obviously I couldn’t find any I liked here where I live, so I’ve opted for some soft and not-that-stretchy Ponte de Roma in a dark gray. I thought I could wear this warmer long pair of leggings during our trip in Tasmania and in the meantime look for more appropriate materials for future pairs. I like Ponte Knits though, because of their heavier weight and dense structure, which helps smoothing those ugly panty lines and also provide some sort of modesty (if we can talk about modesty for a pair of leggings!).

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For this first version I’ve cut a size XS, even if my waist measurement falls is in between S and XS and my hips in between XS and XXS instead. I’m pretty happy with the fit and I think the comfort will improve when I’ll sew them up in the recommended sort of fabric. This pair is far from being uncomfortable, don’t get me wrong, but they are not certainly made for jogging.

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The pattern went together really easily and as usual I was intimidated by it being a knit project, with curved seams nonetheless, for no reason. All my worries vanished once I started sewing – instructions are clear and I had no problems stitching these leggings together. The only mod I’ve done is inserting the elastic following Gertie’s knit skirt instructions (from her latest book) which have you to stitch together the elastic ends, divide the elastic in quarters marking them with pins, then sewing the elastic to the waist edge on the wrong side, turn it down towards the inside and secure it in place. To do so I’ve top stitched it using a narrow zig zag stitch. This is a very quick and easy alternative to threading the elastic into a channel, which is what you are instructed to do for the Ooh La Leggings.

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I really like all the topstitching involved – it accentuate the curved seams, making them even more visible. I omitted the pin-tucks along the front leg seams thought, as I was worried they would pop on this Ponte, but my next pair will surely have them, they’re so stylish! I think a good alternative would be topstitching the seams all the way to the bottom leg – I think it would help the seams laying flat and it would look cool too.

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I’ve constructed all the leggings on my regular sewing machine, but then I’ve overlocked the edges as I prefer a neat inside for the garments I make.

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And to set these gray leggings off, I’ve sewn a magenta (I’ve told you I like this color combo!) t-shirt to go with them. The pattern I’ve used is the Grainline Scout Tee, with added length to body and sleeves. I don’t love to show my ass around in super tight clothes so I thought a longer tee was needed. I’ve also added a hem band to the sleeves, just because. The fabric is a super stretchy cotton Lycra. So stretchy in fact, I think this tee grew already quite a lot vertically. We’ll see what happens in a couple of wearing sessions!

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I love the Ooh La Leggings – they are easy to make, they require very little fabric and notions and the sewing is still quite interesting with those curved seam details and topstitching. Plus, they have a very high waist, which I love, love, love!
Now let’s go and find some cute fabrics to make more!

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Papercut Rigel Bomber!

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Boom! #rigelbomberjanuary number one, done! More to come, no doubt about it! I’ve so much to say about this first version that I don’t know from where to start.
This pattern has been in my “to do” list for ages, but I’ve never got to sew it for a couple of reasons (both pretty stupid). First, it’s a jacket and therefore I thought it would have been difficult to sew, and second, I usually never wear this sort of garments since I live in a tropical area and I don’t need them. The excuse of going on holiday in Tasmania – where I secretly hope to find some snow! – was good enough to let me decide participating to the #rigelbomberjanuary, and about the difficulty of this make, well, I was completely wrong.

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Let’s talk about the supplies first and how frustrating is, sometimes, finding them here where I live – Mackay – and in Australia in general.
The shell fabric is from my stash: I bought it about a year ago with no plans for it, but just because I loved it. It’s a polyester (my guess, as it was labeled as “assorted”) black and silver zebra jacquard, very prone to fray and to leave bits of thread all over the place. Apart from that, it was really easy to cut and sew.

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As everybody who has already sewn this jacket has said, the Rigel really benefits of a lining. First of all to hide the interior – pocket linings, seam allowances and so on, and secondly to avoid any sort of clinging and sticking to the other clothes you’re gonna wear underneath. So the lining was a must have and I wanted something “special”. Being my main fabric already a print, I’ve opted for a plain material but in a happy, bright and contrasting color: magenta! I love the contrast with the black and silver and I could use this palette over and over again … actually, I think I’ve done it already (more Papercut Patterns to come)! Anyhow, the lining is some more polyester crap, a slightly stretchy satin which make me think of the wonderful movie that is Million Dollar Baby and all those silky and shiny boxing robes. I’m head over heels about this material – it feels luxurious and expensive and I wonder why I’ve never use it before?? It was rather easy to handle too and to be honest all I needed to achieve a nice result was a new and sharp machine needle (I’ve used a size 80).

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Finding the shell and lining fabrics was easy, while putting my hands on some decent ribbing was quite an adventure. I searched all over the Internet, trying to find something local, but ended up buying some from Pacific Trimmings in the US instead. I think it was more of an excuse to justify the shipping costs of the zipper I wanted, and in the end I didn’t even use that ribbing as it was way too heavy weight for my fabrics. The zipper in question is a Riri one, a very good one as it seems, and on the Pacific Trimmings website you can completely customize it – you get to choose the material and color of the tape, the color and width of the teeth, the pull and of course the length – and there you have it, the perfect match for your project! I went for black cotton tape and 6mm ruthenium teeth and I’m so excited about the matching than I can’t wait to sew or knit some other garments needing a zipper to order more! The price isn’t exactly what I call affordable, $22US for mine, but it really is a good zipper and you can tell the difference from the shit I’m used to find here.

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Back to the ribbing, I’ve ended up using some I sourced from a local shop, but I’m not completely satisfied with it. I wish I could’ve found something slightly heavier as this one hasn’t a lot of body and looks a bit floppy. I’m also worried it’s gonna stretch out of shape sooner rather than later. I even thought about interfacing it, but then, is this even possible?? Suggestion about where to find in Australia good quality ribbing are very much welcome.
To sew the ribbing to the jacket I’ve used a stretch needle as the regular one I was using for the jacquard and satin fabrics wasn’t doing a good job. It was a bit of a pain changing needles around, but sadly I’ve only one sewing machine to play with at the moment.

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Now about the size of this bomber. I’ve cut an XS even if the chart suggested me to cut an S. When I checked the finished garment measurements, I’ve realized the Rigel has plenty of ease built in already and didn’t want a huge jacket, so I decided to go with the smallest size. My version is pretty light-weight and I don’t plan on wearing chunky sweaters underneath – but if I was to sew a winter Rigel, maybe in wool, I’d probably go up to an S, for more comfort around the shoulders and back area. The only modification I’ve done is lengthening the sleeves by 2.5 cm and even if I’m happy with how they fit me, next time I’m gonna add a few more, just because I prefer longer sleeves. I’m very happy with the all over fit and I’m sure I’ll wear this jacket a lot (the day I’ll move to a cooler climate of course).

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For the lining, I’ve followed Lauren’s directions, who kindly shared how she’s done hers here on her blog. So basically I cut the lining pieces out of the shell pattern pieces, eliminating the corresponding facing bits and adding 1 cm seam allowances. I then sewn everything together and attached the lining to the facing, leaving 1 cm unstitched at the bottom fronts, and understitched towards the lining with matching magenta thread. I then joined the lining to the jacket, right sides together, along the neckline, zipper and bottom facing and understitched. Then I’ve joined the lining to the jacket at the bottom, stitching it to the ribbing seam allowance, right sides together (here is where the 1 cm left unstitched before, came in hand), and finally I did the same for the sleeves. To turn the jacket you need to open back up a seam section of the underarm lining, which you’ll stitch close again once the bomber is right side out. The whole process was new to me and I had to fiddle a bit with the bottom front facing corners, but in the end it all went OK and I’m super excited to have pulled it off! The inside of the jacket now looks as good as the outside and it could really be worn inside out. Also, I didn’t bother adding a back pleat for ease and comfort as the satin has a bit of a stretch, but if I had to use a more stable material, I would definitely add one.

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I also added this matching satin ribbon in between the facing and the ribbing, at the center back, so I can hang my Rigel up, nice uh? The only problem is, I think it’s upside down and it should lay the other way around, but who cares …

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And I was almost forgetting about my first welt pockets ever! Yep, I didn’t bother doing a trial as I felt confident enough to try them on my real fabric straight away. The instructions are very clear and I just followed them step by step, taking it easy, and it all worked out very well. And of course, the pocket bag had to be pink! Pretty, right?

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Sewing this sort of autumn/winter garments really excites me, I’m definitely a fan of warmer clothes! That said, I’ve already another Rigel Bomber planned, this time in a heavier material so I can use that black heavy duty ribbing I got from Pacific Trimming. And at the shops I’ve seen some printed velvet that is calling my name and imploring to become another jacket too. I’m sold, on every front!

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