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.

Sew Thankful

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This is the time of year when my heart is filled with so much love and happiness, as we all celebrate the holidays. In my family, we try to come together to celebrate as a big, giant group, and usually have around 22 people around the dinner tables at Thanksgiving. I truly have sew much to be thankful for, even during the many, many years that my husband was deployed, and others where we had lost part of our family to cancer or other tragedies.  The love and libations continued to flow and keep me grounded and hopeful.

This year, I am focusing on homemade gifts to express my love and thankfulness for my family members and friends. I decided to blog about one such project that I am working on as a present for my sister. She is always telling us that she is my sistersicle at work because they keep the Texas temperatures near refrigerator temperatures. Because of that (and a REALLY awesome sale that I caught at Simply By Ti Fabrics), I have decided to make her a hoodie. I made myself one before using Sinclair Patterns’ Alexis Hoodie Dress, and my sister borrowed it and loved it, so I decided to make her one exactly the same (but with her dimensions so that it will fit her like a glove).

My sisters have always been there for me, despite our rather significant age differences, but no matter what, they try to be there with love and support. I try to do the same, and also love giving them gifts whenever I can. It’s not everyone who can say that their little sisters took care of them when recovering from a massive stroke, and taught them how to speak English again. My sisters did this for me and so much more. I can’t ever thank them enough or tell them that I love them enough.

I decided to use Navy with Pink and Blue Flowers DBP and Navy Glitter French Terry (which is currently out of stock, but Simply By Ti still has Black, Olive, or White Glitter French Terry in stock).

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You can see the navy color much clearer outside, and also see the fun accents this hoodie has, like the hood lining, sleeves, and pocket linings all being super soft DBP.

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I hope that she will be happy with her gift, and be as thankful as I am to have her in my life (and my other sister, too, in case she reads this. Haha).

Happy holidays to everyone!!

Please be sure to visit the other stops on this awesome Sew Thankful Blog Tour!!
Week of November 6th:

Week of November 11th:
Week of November 18th:
Week of November 25th:

Elle est très belle!!

Sinclair Patterns has done it again! This time, I was lucky enough to be selected to test their newest pdf pattern release: the Elle Panel Pencil Skirt.  This exquisite feminine skirt flatters curves and entices the eyes with its ability to use panels and color blocking to compliment its wearer’s assets. It comes in a range of sizes from 0-22, but might soon be available in sizes up to 5X (if rumor from the designer becomes reality).  The pdf pattern comes with each size available in a multi-sized and layered pattern, organized into the dimensions of petite (for 5’1″-5’3″), regular (for 5’4″-5’6″), and tall (for 5’7″-5’9″).  This pattern is meant for either a knit fabric as a pull-on skirt, or woven fabric with an invisible zipper.

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I tested a size 16, using both a stable knit and a woven fabric, in that I used a flocked scuba fabric from Mily Mae Fabrics (https://milymaefabricshop.com) with side panels in faux leather. I made sure to make my waistband out of the scuba, to provide the stretch needed to get the skirt over my hips. I LOVE the ingenious built-in kick pleat in the back of the skirt. It was so easy, yet adds that additional touch of fashion and sophistication.  As usual, I LOVED the way that the Sinclair Patterns pattern came together to form the garment that I made. It was quick, easy to sew, and so easy to understand.

You can make your own gorgeous Elle Panel Pencil Skirt by visiting https://goo.gl/16HQJt to get your copy of the pdf pattern while it is still on sale for the low introductory price of just $8.99, a couple of yards of your favorite fabrics, and voilà! A masterpiece to be stylish and comfortable in!

Make sure that you join Sinclair Patterns’ Facebook group to stay current on all of the new patterns headed your way, as well as all of the latest sales and coupons! Also, sign up for the newsletter on the Sinclair Patterns website, and all of that information will be delivered straight to your inbox! (Hint: there may or many not be a 40% off coupon for 1 pattern of your choice through this weekend…Sign up today at https://goo.gl/S7LKWK)

 

Day 2 of the SewLaura SAL: Construction Zone!

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No need to bust out a hard hat, but it is Construction Day!! Day 2 of the Sinclair Patterns’ #SewLaura Sew Along (SAL), hosted/sponsored by Sly Fox Fabrics will cover all of the construction steps of the pattern’s tutorial. I have provided a video that covers every step, and is available at Sly Fox Fabrics Sew Along Group on Facebook.
Items to highlight (as to not give away all of Sinclair Patterns’ trade secrets of awesome construction) are:
1) When stabilizing shoulder seams, you should leave some lead and lag bits to your stabilizer as it goes through the machine. You never was clear elastic to come into contact with the feed dogs or to be reused. You want to make sure that it is facing up at all times.
2) When attaching the pockets to the bottom panel, you want to make sure that you attach the interfacing to the Wrong side of your bottom panel and the pocket gets sewing to the Right side of the bottom panel in the same location.
3) When you are attaching your bottom panel to the bodice, you want to make sure that you Outline the pockets when you are sewing and not straight across the top.
4) If you decide to construct ties or use closure hardware, make sure to include the interfacing Inside of the collar (Wrong side of the fabric would have the Piece #8 interfacing being ironed to it). You want to ensure that you iron it where your placement will be. Everyone feels a little differently about where they want that closure, but it is suggested to have it placed 1-2 inched from the waist. In this case, you would need to reinforce this particular area on the Inside of the collar by ironing on that interfacing there. If you prepare and place ties, you would sandwich them in between the shawl collar and the edge of the bodice that you are attaching the collar to.
5) In this pattern, you will see how important the ironing really is to be able to have things like your interfacing adhere, but also to keep your collar laying flat, as well as having the hem marker for your sleeve hems.

I chose to go ahead and include the sleeve hemming discussion on Day 2’s video because it was the last step, and it would give you more time to work at your own pace and to ask any questions. (Also, I was SUPER excited to finish, if I’m honest. Hahaha)

Day 3, will be catchup day and questions, but you can TOTALLY hold off on the hemming until whenever you are ready. Pics Must be in the Pic thread by Friday in order to be considered to win a prize in Sly Fox Fabrics Sew Along Group.

Can’t wait to see your Laura Cardigans!!

#Day1 of the Sinclair Patterns’ Laura Cardigan SAL, hosted/sponsored by Sly Fox Fabrics

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Today, we will all print out and prepare our patterns, prepare our fabrics and cut out our pattern pieces in our prepared fabric.
In case you haven’t done a Sew Along (SAL) before (or never worked with a PDF pattern, or are new to sewing), I will try to take these blog posts slowly and with lots of explanations.
For the Laura Knit Cardigan pattern from Sinclair Fabrics, you want to use between 2.25-2.5 yards of light to midweight knits that are easy to manipulate, such as double knit, ponte, sweater knit, or interlock.  We all need to wash our fabric before we start anything, as it takes a minute for the dryer to be done with our precious fabrics. It is important to launder prior to cutting and sewing up your pattern to avoid any issues with puckering or shrinkage later on.
All of you should have purchased your copy of the Laura cardigan pattern from SinclairPatterns.com. Now, you need to log into the Sinclair Patterns website, download, and print the Memo, Tutorial (optional), and your size range (petite is 5’1″-5’3″; regular is 5’4″-5’6″; and tall is 5’7″-5’9″).  You will want to choose the size closest to your full bust measurement to print out.  You want to print page one of your pattern first in “Actual Size”, so you can test the printed page key to make sure that your ruler and key match at the 1 inch by 1 inch markers.
Once you have printed your pattern as “Actual Size”, you will trim your pages. The tutorial suggests top and left to be trimmed, but I have always trimmed bottom and right for years, and that works on this pattern, too. Next, you will tape your patterns together, and then cut out the pattern pieces.
There is a suggested layout (located in the tutorial) for the pattern pieces onto the fabric that will help you in maximizing the usage of your fabric. I use pattern weights to help me keep the pattern piece down as I use my rotary cutter. Others use chalk to outline before cutting with scissors. Please note on the pattern piece, it mentions which fabric to cut, which direction, if on a fold or not, and how many of that piece you will need.
Once you have cut out your fabric, you are done with Day 1! Yay!! Buckle your seatbelts! Tomorrow is going to be the Construction of the Laura Cardi day!

OMP! Sinclair Patterns’ Penny Classic Leggings are pure perfection!

This week, I had the pleasure of testing a pattern for Sinclair Patterns (https://goo.gl/S7LKWK): the Penny Classic Leggings pattern. It is a pattern for either cropped/below-the-knee (capri) length or full-length leggings. The waistband is available either in a classic waistband or a comfort (wide/yoga) waistband. As with most of Sinclair Pattern’s offerings, this pattern comes in 3 size categories: petite (5’1″-5’3″), regular (5’4″-5’6″), and tall (5’7″-5’9″), in US sizes 0-22. The Australian-based pattern company hints at an expanded range of plus-sized offerings in the near future, which is an exciting possibility!

As usual with Sinclair Patterns, the fit was spot on for my body shape and size. It is an instant classic for me! I actually cut and sewed up both length options for the leggings (cropped and full length). I stuck with the classic waistband, as I am not a fan of the comfort waistband style, and there were so many others who were in the testing group.


These leggings are better than any others on the market that I have tried so far. I am a plus-sized woman, and my size 16 (in Sinclair Pattern’s sizing) fit without any need to try to adjust the seat, rise, or length. I didn’t even have to grade my pattern for the perfect fit, as I was pretty spot on with the dimensions for my size. I didn’t even have a problem with the legs turning on my calves, as some patterns require you to adjust and make sure that your front and back are cut out at a perfect 180* from each other.  This wasn’t necessary on the Penny, as the legs are cut out as a whole, which is AMAZING.  As many of you who have tried to make leggings before know, these are common issues, and sources of hours of tailoring that must be done to muslins/toiles/trial runs on cheaper fabric. With the Penny, I, personally, could have cut straight into my $16/yard athletic knit fabric with no looking back (but I took the cautious route, just in case, and did a muslin pair out of plain DBP. hahaha). I loved that I didn’t need to spend 3 hours tailoring them to my seat, to avoid the pitfalls of too much or too little fabric in delicate areas. THANK YOU, SINCLAIR PATTERNS!!! These are Pure Perfection!!

I chose to do the full leggings in double brushed polyester (DBP) from Southern Belle Fabrics (https://goo.gl/c5Uw6F) and the cropped length in a gorgeous athletic knit from Mily Mae Fabrics (https://goo.gl/mmpKpu), which made the best workout capris that I have ever owned.

The pattern suggests using your hips measurement to establish you size, but that grading might be needed for your waist, knees, and legs to get the fit that you are looking for. I went with the hip measurement which was 1/2″ below my actual measurement, assuming correctly that the negative ease found in the stretch amounts of my fabric choices would offset the difference in pattern size, when compared with my actual measurements.

The pattern calls for 1-1.25 yards of fabric for the cropped length, and 1.50-1.75 yards for the full length version. Both DBP and athletic knit/supplex worked beautifully and rivaled any off-the-rack activewear. Cotton lycra or any mid-weight fabric with 50% stretch that has good recovery would be lovely to make into your own personalized pair of perfect leggings, too. If one was wanting a higher rise in the leggings, the comfort waistband offers a slightly higher rise than the classic waistband does.

These were an incredibly easy sew, and you could be done with your leggings in under an hour, especially if you had the pattern already cut (as I had with my second pair). It is rated as 2/10 in difficulty, placing it firmly in the “easy” category.
The pattern comes with  Letter, A4, and A0 version files, meeting almost any printing need.

I did not have to trim off any excess fabric from the bottom, which was a first for me, when leggings are concerned, which was a pleasant surprise.

Don’t wait to pick up your copy today! There is an introductory sale on this pattern, making it only $6.99 now through February 28, 2018 at (https://goo.gl/S7LKWK).

Onto a sewing a new beginning… Hello! and it’s #SewSofia

Sometimes life gets us all wrapped up in chaos. It’s the little things that help me step out of the entropy cyclone/cycle, depending on what it is. Like so many others, I have a hard time stepping away from any unfinished project or task. Sometimes, this habit is a helpful.  At other times, it can lead to my downfall in another arena (like, say starting my blog, for example). haha Today, I put my little foot down and say ,”Hi! My name is Jess, and I have a problem with procrastinating and focusing too much on a single task.”
BUT, I can remember to make lists and lists and have the best of intentions, and HOPE that I force myself not to neglect this journey.

Most of my blog entries will be sewing-related. It’s my life-blood. It brings me the best feelings, especially when I can share my finished projects with others.

Fair warning: I help a pattern maker with her sewing circle, so there will be a lot of shout outs to Oxana and her awesome patterns, BUT I do love a good pattern and some awesome fabric, so my love gets spread around to a large group that has come to feel like my family.

This week, I am leading a sew-along (SAL) of the Sofia Knit Sweater patter by Sinclair Patterns (available at sinclairpatterns.com for only $5.99 with the promo code SewSofia until the end of January 2018  #SewSofia) starting on Friday, January 12 at https://m.facebook.com/groups/203137420235033. There will be great fun, shenanigans, prizes, and most importantly SEWING of the most beautiful knit sweater! Doesn’t that make you want to join in on the fun??? Even more exciting is that Southernbellefabrics.com has generously agreed to sponsor the SAL, and so now, there will be one grand prize awarded to the winner of a $25 shop credit. Isn’t that even more enticing?? You just need your copy of the pdf pattern, a couple of yards of knit fabric, a few notions, and a device on which to join in on the fun!

I tested this pattern before its release, and I can say without hesitation that it is a flattering and well-made pattern (the Sofia Knit Sweater pdf pattern by Sinclair Patterns). The plus sizes are made with a plus-sized body’s curves in mind, not just a gradation from a size 6. Her detail-oriented patterns are truly works of art.

This fun sewing time will also help me in my quest to sew one item per week for 52 weeks straight. (you can join our quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/192544541303173/).

So, for today, I wish you the best that this new year has to offer, and welcome you in my journey to help spread good cheer, sewing advice, and honest pattern and fabric reviews.