Pockets…for Snacks!!!!

Like most of us, I find a lot of activewear to be pricey and often ill-fitting, or perhaps not passing the squat test. Even though I am plus-sized and disabled, I do work out to maintain my fitness levels and live my healthiest life. And like many, I use monitoring apps on my phone for fitness tracking, and also for providing distraction by listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks.  I love nothing more than a good fitting pair of squat-proof workout leggings with pockets to hold my phone.  Also, pockets can carry very important items: SNACKS!!

Unfortunately, these days, I am left with only one alternative in order to get my unicorn leggings with the bells and whistles that I want: I make my own. This way, they fit all of my plentiful curves, even in a grand plié or deep squat…and hold all of my necessary things.

My favorite-fitting leggings have been the Penny Leggings (aff) by Sinclair Patterns. Unfortunately, these awesome leggings do not come with pockets. So, I decided to hack them in.

Before the hack, the Penny Leggings fit me perfectly and work for so many different occasions and fabrics.

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Since it is SO hot here in the summer, I decided to hack the shorts and capri length of the Penny Leggings. I started by printing and assembling the pattern as it is. The Penny Leggings are written so that they are a single seam legging pattern with a waistband. Next, I label the front and back areas of the pattern, to make sure that I don’t lose my place, nor sew up the wrong areas together.

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Next, I measure on my body where the sides of my hip are compared with the layout of the pattern and mark that. I want this point to be the center-point of my newly created Side Stripe that will double as the back of the pocket. If this is a bit difficult for you to do, you can always do a muslin with a rough guess as to where you want the pocket to be. My measurements fell with it almost being directly in the middle of the pattern, but slightly a bit to the front (but every body and pocket placement preference is different). You can also choose to make your Side Stripe wider than the 4″ that I chose. Whatever size you choose, you need to then add 1/4″ seam allowances to each of the parts that are cut and next to the newly created Side Stripe (so that when you sew the Side Stripe in, you aren’t losing 1/2″ on the width of your leggings with the 2 new seams that have been created on the sides of the new Side Stripe).

Here are my markings and cutting of the Side Stripes:

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In this pic, I am also marking where I would like my pocket placement to begin and end.4w9E+nHyQxe22KG%sS4EmQ

Now, I made a pocket template that would be the same width of the newly created Side Stripe and approximately 7″ long. You can choose to make this pocket as long as you wish, but I chose my length, based on the size of my phone.

Next, I cut out a pocket that I will sew Right Side to Right Side with a cover stitch/zig zag/twin needle/stretch stitch to lock the pocket onto the Side Stripe piece (it might feel weird sewing the pocket in a way that feels upside down, but this it forming the bottom of your pocket, so when you flip it up, it actually forms the pocket area).  I chose for the pocket to sit on my mid-thigh area, but you can choose how high or low to seat your pocket.

Then, fold the pocket back so that the Wrong Side of the Pocket is facing the Right Side of the Side Stripe. Topstitch it in place to add more structure to your pocket and also to keep the pocket anchored while you sew.
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Then, fold down the top of the pocket and topstitch the very top to that your pocket has a finished top edge (Wrong Side to Wrong Side of the Pocket piece…to/from itself), making sure that you are not sewing your pocket shut by sewing the pocket to anything other than itself (NOT the Side Stripe).

Next, pin or clip the Side Stripe with the anchored pocket to each of the pieces of the pattern (Front and Back pieces with their newly added 1/4″ seam allowances), Right Side to Right Side. Then, sew each, sandwiching the new Pocket in between the Side Stripe and the Back or Front Piece, and then the other).
This is what it will look like when one side is completed. Then, complete the other side.
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Since the Penny leggings require one panel per leg, you will need to do this process twice, but they will be mirror images of each other.

When you are done, you are ready to move back to the tutorial for the Penny Leggings and follow the instructions for assembly. When completed, they will look like these:

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Please feel free to ask any questions, and I will do may best to answer them.

Thanks for joining me in my snack pocket hack of the Penny Leggings (aff) by Sinclair Patterns.

We Gather Here Today in Thanksgiving…a gathering tutorial

As we get ever-nearer to the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US, I am frantically trying to juggle all that has to get done, including my outfit. I have decided that I NEED to sew up a pattern that I own which requires gathering…a LOT of gathering, so I was thinking that maybe others would like to follow along as I give some hints and methods for gathering woven and knits.

Just so that everyone is on the same page, I am going to be demonstrating the techniques with a sewing machine, a serger, and explaining how one could even gather your fabric by hand sewing it. *gasp* Hand stitching isn’t everyone’s favorite method, but it works, if you are away from your machines or just prefer the analog life.

I am going to demonstrate these techniques with scrap fabric, so that the stitches can be clearly seen. With wovens and a home sewing machine, I recommend the two rows of parallel long straight stitches/basting stitches method. First, you sew 2 parallel rows of elongated (like a 4-5 length stitch) straight stitches (almost a basting stitch). **Don’t do a backstitch/locking stitch to start or end these rows of stitches.

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When you are done choose ONE ROW (I usually choose the top row) and make sure that you can gently pull the thread form BOTH ends. What you want to do is to gently pull from one side, predominantly, but will need to end pulling from the opposite side of the SAME thread/row (if you try to pull entirely from one side only, it could end with you pulling that thread completely out). Another choice that you have is to gather a little bit from the opposite side and tie a securing knot to keep it in place (or you could wait until the end, or live dangerously, if you know that you are going to sew over and secure both sides of the gather with your machine as it attaches to another pattern piece.

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Slowly inch from one side to the other, keeping in mind the gathering needs for that pattern (sometimes, it is only a few inches that have to be gathered at 50%, and sometimes it can be more or less of either of these measurements).

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When you are done gathering the entire piece, it can look as tightly gathered as this.

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This method can also be used on knits, but I recommend just gathering on your serger, if you have one, as it is a lot faster.

For gathering your fabric with a serger, there does exist a gathering foot for most sergers, but since a lot of people that I know do not own this, I am going to demonstrate this with a standard presser foot.

First, you want to adjust your serger settings. I choose to move my differential feed to 2.0 (from N) and stitch length to 4.0 (from 2). This allows for the machine to do all of the hard work for you.

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Next, I assist the gather by bunching up my fabric in an orderly manner so that it feeds through the serger at an enhanced gather rate. If you only need a 25% gather, you don’t need to do this.

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When it is done, it will look like this.

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Finally, I will demonstrate how easy it is to gather by hand. You have a lot more control with this method, but it can take longer, depending on the length of your gather (for the Emma, it is a very long gather, and about 3 tiers of it (meaning 3 different gathers around the entire circumference of the dress). Hand sewing is not going to be my go-to here for this project (but that’s a personal preference).

First, you will make sure that your thread is knotted and start your gathering stitch from the wrong side of the fabric.

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Next, you will sew your stitches and either stitch and pull gently to gather to your desired gathering percentage,

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…or gather the fabric on your needle to gather it as you go.

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When you are done, you just knot off the end on the wrong side, and you are done!

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If anyone has any questions about any of these techniques, please feel free to leave me a comment or find me on Facebook.com/JotDesigns and ask all the questions that you have. Thanks!! And I hope that your holiday gatherings are relaxing, peaceful, and filled with lots of love!

🎵Vacation [Romper] All I Ever Wanted…Had to Get [It Right Away]🎵

What fun it has been not only testing for Ellie and Mac, but being able to join in on their amazing Get Ready for Summer Blog Tour!!

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I decided what says “getting ready for summer” like sewing up Ellie and Mac’s new Vacation Romper? It is SO comfortable and cute and screams summer vacation!!

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I made one change to the instruction on the pattern to be able to achieve my chevron effect from the striped double brushed poly from Mily Mae Fabrics that I chose to use: instead of following the instructions of cutting one Front and one Back piece on the fold, I cut 2 pieces on the bias to create one Front piece and the same for the Back piece. I added in 1/4″ seam allowance to the cut line area to be able to accommodate the new center seam for the newly constructed Front and Back pieces. Then, I had my matched up stripes, forming new chevron-eque patterns for my romper. After that, I followed the tutorial, and voila! A comfy and fun outfit for vacations, or any time.

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To be perfectly honest, I didn’t want to be in vertical “prison stripes” nor to have horizontal stripes, so this chevron saved my fabric and my vanity. Haha AND it was so comfy that when I tried it on, I didn’t want to take it off, and I slept in it. It is Beyond comfortable and snuggly! Plus, as a higher bonus: I have the optional pockets sewn in!!!

It is a quick and easy sew, so if you don’t have this pattern, you should go and grab a copy at https://bit.ly/2rwazyz! And pick up 3-4 yards of delicious fabric at Mily Mae Fabrics!

Please visit all the wonderful bloggers on the Get Ready for Summer Sewing Patterns Blog Tour for some incredible inspirations.

  1. May 7th: Seams Sew Lo
  2. May 8th: Tenille’s Thread
  3. May 9th: Seams Sew Lo
  4. May 10th: The Sewing Goatherd
  5. May 11th: Aurora Designs Fabrics
  6. May 14th: Our Play Place
  7. May 15th: Momma Can Make It
  8. May 16th: Aurora Designs Fabric
  9. May 17th: QuiltsbyJoann
  10. May 18th: Liviality
  11. May 19th: Momma You Can Make It
  12. May 21st: Margarita on the Ross
  13. May 22nd: Sewing Blue
  14. May 23rd: Kathy’s Kwilts and More
  15. May 24th: Momma Newey’s Makes
  16. May 25th: Jot Designs USA
  17. May 28th: The Scatty Sewer
  18. May 29th: Granma Texas Sews
  19. May 30th: Fee Bricolo
  20. May 31st: My Sewing Roots

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The Dreaded Twin Needle (duh duh duuuuhn)

Really, the twin needle is your best ally for sewing up knits on a traditional sewing machine! Don’t be afraid! There are a few things that I can show you to help you on your way to twin-needle rockstar status… Here is a link to a video where I explain different kinds of twin needles, how to thread up your sewing machine for twin needle sewing, a bit of troubleshooting advice, and lastly, comparing and contrasting with a coverstitch machine.
I realized that although I had said in my head that the numbers for the twin needle sizes (eg- 2.5, 4.0, 6.0, etc) are the distances in mm between the needles, those words never actually were said in my actual tutorial. Oops!
I had the honor of sharing this snippet of advice on Facebook’s Sly Fox Fabrics Sew Along group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/SlyFoxFabricsSAL/), so please give them some love! They have great fabrics and great sew alongs!!

#twinneedletutorial #theSpaceInBetween #KnitSewingHero #Twinning #TwinNeedleNinja #NotTwinemies