Sunday, 5 February 2017

Making Your Own Adult Leggings, EASY PEASEY

Making your own leggings is EASY-PEASEY. I always assumed it would be terribly hard, exasperating and just not worth the effort. I spend so much time envying the pretty leggings that little girls get to wear (I KNOW!!) and imagining lovely candy striped legs, but it is impossible for me to find leggings I actually like. And tights, don't get me started. I try to like wearing them, but they just don't stay put for me. So I decided to try, and it could not have been more easy!

On an almost daily basis I wear Forever 21 grey leggings, they do a shade that just seems to match all my clothes and so I regularly order some in to the store (because typically they never have them when I go looking). And it struck me, that as those fit me perfectly, I already have a pattern. So the last pair that bit the dust and got holes where you don't want holes got sacrificed to my grand plan. I scoured the shops in the Montmarte area of Paris, Marche Saint Pierre and the best jersey I could find this grey with flamingo print. Not my cup of tea exactly but I was impatient to test my theory.

What You Need:

*An old pair of leggings that fit you perfectly, pref ones that are holey
*Jersey fabric, amount will depend on size and height, I am a size 8-10 and I bought a meter, there was some left over but not as much as I expected, if you are unsure I suggest you do the first step at home and take your disassembled leggings to the store to make sure you get enough. It is essential you check the fabric has a decent amount of stretch!
*Elastic, enough to comfortable go around your waist, with an extra 2 inches, approx. I suggest 1.5cm wide ish. Use the waistband on your old ones for a guide.
*Cotton thread that colour matches your fabric
*Sewing machine and all that jazz

Step One

Cut up your old leggings. Start by cutting off the waistband (perhaps it could be useful for another project?). Then cutting one leg off the pair, and then finally up the seam on that separated leg. You should be left with a shape like the one above. Always cut as close to the seam as you can. The discarded leg can be used to test your stitch and tension or practice sewing on jersey or what have you. It can be used for making something else too.... 

Remember if you have no idea how much fabric to buy, you will need two of those legs so you could measure its widest point (+seam allowance) and length (+seam allowance) to get a vague idea.

Step Two

Fold fabric in half, right sides together and pin leg pattern to it. If you want, draw a line roughly one cm away from the edge, taking care of curling, all the way around.

Step Three

Take one leg and fold in half with the sides touching.

Pin in place.

Stitch using a zig zag stitch, remember how much space you left for seam allowance. I would practice on your spare old leg first, and test its strength. I gave it a good tug, pulled it on over the thickest part of my leg etc to see if the stitches would break. Once I was satisfied I moved on to my new ones.

Repeat for second leg.

Step Four

Turn both legs the right way out and match the crotch seems up. Pin together as pictured. The seams must match up totally. I put a second pin in further down to prevent the legs becoming misaligned.

Then proceed to pin up the butt seam and the front (sorry!)

I am attempting to show you what I mean, but it should be obvious really. Just make sure everything lines up and is tidy.

Then stitch away!

Step Five

You should have something resembling leggings now. All that is left is the waistband. If you have ever made a simple skirt, this will be familiar business.

Roll the top over, first a little bit, then enough to comfortably accommodate your elastic. This is so that your waistband is nice and comfy and tidy too. Pin in place and just to make sure, tack it around with a large running stitch and remove the pins.

You can see my tacking here.

Step Six

Using zig zag again, stitch around the waistband, on the edge, all the way around, leaving one inch open. Measure your elastic, it should be the circumference of your waist, plus two inches. I just guess by holding it against  me. Feed the elastic around using a safety pin.

Overlap the elastic and stitch over several times. Make sure it is strong. Push it into the waistband and stitch up your gap.

As an after thought I got a bit worried that the elastic might get twisted as I wore and washed them, So I stitched over the elastic where the front and back seams were. 

Et Voila!

Excuse the panty lines on the second picture, I am deffo not the kind to wear just leggings and a tshirt (unless its to bed), but I wanted you to see that they fit mighty well. My housemate said they looked bought!

You will notice I did not hem the ends. Apparently jersey never frays. Plus my only not plain leggings, my absolute favorites, which do peek into one of the photos on this tutorial, are also left unfinished. I have been wearing them for a couple of years, and its never been an issue, plus its less bulk and pressure on your ankle. And less chance of breaking your stitching. For the sake or ease, I won't give myself extra work!

I am VERY pleased with this. It took me longer to write up this tutorial than actually make them, I think all in all it was about an hour. Nothing was too fiddly, it was a piece of cake. I spent the morning reading up on sewing jersey fabrics, having special needles and feet and all sorts. Tilly and the Buttons suggests just using an ordinary sewing machine and a zig zag stitch so I thought what the hell. So here is proof, you don't need any fussing to make your very own leggings. I feel a very expensive fabric order coming on.... 

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Some More Pretties

I am having one of those periods where there is so much I want to do but never enough time to get it all done. I have mental crafty to do lists as tall as this crate wall! I have managed to do a few, but there are more mitts to embroider, pins to make, skirts to sew..... lots and lots.

This little cropped cardi was in the unwanted pile of a friend, so I snapped it up and gave it some loving. What do you think? (Incidetally, I also made the skirt, a little too short but that's all the fabric I had left, and the shoes were snagged in a charity shop too!)

This dress was the cause of not enough fabric (also because my mother wanted a cushion cover made from it too!). I am kinda pleased, I mean I am not so keen on the back of it but, well, for a first go why not?


Something else I picked up in a thrift store, it was such a soft fabric. A little big so I took it in, then loved it up with some velvet and lace trim.

Hippity hoppity happy. Though I would like to add a pocket too.

And finally....

In my quest to try to learn how to crochet (what a mighty quest that has become), I made this little pin.

I made it by crocheting a doily flowery thing, and collecting a few little treasure to attach to it. Think of all the thrifty possibilities!

Monday, 18 April 2016

DIY Fairy Wings for Cheap and a Day Out in Wonderland

YEARS ago 9 (and I mean almost 10 years I think), I fell in love with the bizarre quirks of a singer named Emilie Autumn (listen to my favourite track here) and stumbled across a video of her making the most gorgeous fairy wings. The video is somewhat irritating, I do admit, but she made making her wings look incredibly easy and I vowed that ONE day I would make some. I just needed an excuse!

Finally, finally! I found my excuse. A date in a Russian wonderland where the dress code was all things winged, be it a bird, a butterfly, fairy or whatnot. There was no question what I would attend  my day out in Wonderland as, so I quickly got to it. 

The basic procedure is to make the wing shapes from wire, use some tights to cover them, then make lacey holes using incense and then decorate them with paint, glitter, flowers and ribbons. (See the vid for more details).

It was not as easy as I thought. First of all I bought wire that was too weak so had to go out and get more. I then spent AGES getting the right shapes only to have them totally distort when I put the tights over them. It so happened that half way through I mildly Tom and Jerryed my head on the kitchen counter (think about those huge bumps they got whenever Jerry whacked T over the head) which possibly made me more haphazard. Thankfully my housemate stepped in and helped out. She drew the lines out and I played fill in the gaps with the paint. Two coats each side. When totally dry I mixed copious amounts of glitter into glue and painted the clear sections and parts of the green tips. We burnt out some holes as Emilie suggests using incense, and then I wired them together, covered with tape then ribbons with the glue gun before finally adding vines, more ribbons and a flower and then straps. Voila!! 

Considering it was our first go, I am quite happy with our handiwork. I made a quick crown to go with it too.

It is basically two pieces of the vines bent around each other, with ribbons attached at each end so that it could be tied shut, with a few flowers glued on and a bird clip nestled in.

A faerie is gotta be covered in nature right??

Now here is sneak peak at our day out at La Moulin Jaune....

A few of me dressed as a fairy...

And a few of the rest of our trip.

The people at Le Moulin Jaune asked that we don't share pics, to keep the surprise safe, so I have only shared a few with you here. The rest are tippoty top secret.

(Try Me...)

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The Acquisition and Alteration of an Antique Blouse

I can't help but feel I should have found a garment name starting with an "A" to finish that heading  ^-^ Ah well!

I recently found this beautiful little top on Etsy but knew from the measurements that when it arrived, the bottom band would be too tight to fit comfortably. But as you know, this never stops me from buying pretty clothes....

It is very old, the seller said 1910s, and as such had a few marks on it.

I didn't make any effort to remove the marks, I figured they would fade with time, plus it seems part of its history to me.

 The top is basically one piece that goes over the head, with buttons under the arm to hold it together and then on the band. Though it fits on the bust and everywhere else, the band is just too tight so I decided to alter it a bit.

I raided my antique lace stash and cut off two pieces that would fit from the underarm button to the band, hemmed them and stitched them to one side of the top.

I then added a popper to the side that wasn't fixed. So that I could still get it on and off easily.

So it looked like this. Under the button, on the inside is the popper fastening. It stays closed and the lace peaks out. Kinda perfect I think. 

Well almost.

I ended up adding some touches of red. The button is actually on the back. I am quite tempted to embroider some daisies on the front band in pale blue. But it hasn't happened yet....

For now it is finished.



Side detail.

I am looking forward to hot summer days and picnics in the park for this one.