You may remember from a previous Wardrobe Architect post that my beloved and I have a penchant for wearing 'Stretchy Wear' when relaxing (just another pseudonym for loungewear, or tracksuits). I've been planning to branch out with my sewing into Stretchy Wear, once my knit sewing skills were good enough, and I particularly wanted to make Stretchy Wear that would transcend the couch and be stylish enough to wear in public without feeling lazy and saggy-arsed. Stretchy Wear doesn't have to be unflattering to be comfortable!
I scored a fantastic quality ponte remnant at the Clegs Boxing Day sale this year (does anyone else ever bother with Clegs? I tend to find them disappointing most of the time, but their post Christmas remnant sale which I found quite by accident was amazing). I managed to squeeze a pair of Style Arc Elle pants from it plus a self drafted pencil skirt from it. Despite the Elle Pants being designed for a stretch woven the ponte worked perfectly as it is such a stable knit. This is my first ponte experience and it really is a great fabric. No fraying, no curling, no slipping - the stitches sink in and behave beautifully. I didn't even need to finish the edges. I finished the outside hems with my little recent curved hem technique which I think is rather cute (although my beloved did call me Urkel the other day in them, so unkind). They are very very comfortable and I officially love ponte - I'd love to make another pair in a marle grey.... These pants have replaced some ghastly RTW pants I've had for years that are so tired - I've pretty much worn them every day since making them, except when in the wash! Success!
Item 2 in my ensemble is a wool blend Tessuti Mandy boat tee. I was faffing around with the pattern a few weeks ago trying to make it more dramatically bat wing, a bit like the Blair top from Named but I wasn't dramatic enough with my sleeve alteration. I lengthened them to wrist length and deepened the armscye a couple of inches - it's comfortable enough but not exactly what I was aiming for. I also decided to play around with the hem and initially chopped a fair whack off the bottom with a plan to make a fitted hem band but it looked so ridiculous. I was beginning to run low on fabric so ended up adding back the length in wide band and leaving one side open to tie in a knot. There wasn't quiet enough to actually tie it, so I cheated and made a little ring band to wrap around the free ends and hand stitched it in place to mimic a knot. A whole lot of faffing but I rather like the Flashdance-meets-ballerina look! The fabric was another great buy from the Clear It store in Fitzroy. I'm fairly sure it's an Alannah Hill knit, a wool blend pointelle with tiny holes throughout for $5/m. It's deliciously light and warm and I'm tempted to go back for more at such a good price. There's still a heap of it there....
My final piece is the free Sami Cami from Iconic Patterns, a fairly new Australian independent pattern maker. My wool Mandy definitely needs another layer underneath due to the sheer fabric, and I'm in desperate need of some neutral underlayers. I'm very happy with the fit of my camisole, and could almost go down a size I think. I cut the straight size 10 and added an extra inch in length (in cold weather I'm a tucker and hate short tops popping out) - next time I'll just do a bigger seam allowance. The pattern suggests making your own binding and straps from the fabric, and I actually did try this first with a tiny piece of leftover fabric from my pink wool Mandy with reasonable success, but it took forever and does look a bit crappy (but a good technique to know if one cannot get matching elastic). For this version I decided to try some regular lingerie elastic (fold over elastic is a bit hard to come by in Australia) and used the instructions kindly provided by So Zo for her camisole pattern. She suggests sewing with the lingerie elastic underneath the fabric but I found this to be disastrous because I could not stretch the elastic slightly without stretching the fabric on top - my binding was so sloppy and ripply - I was a bit gutted. I just cut it straight off (would have been a nightmare to unpick) and tried again, this time with fabric down and elastic on top (the elastic is zigzagged straight onto the edge of the right side of the fabric). It's not perfect but it's a hell of a lot better. I think my next attempt will be better again. It hardly uses any fabric (and quick once your preferred binding technique is mastered!) so it's a great one to use up little leftover bits of knit fabrics or even refashion t-shirts. This knit is a nice pale pink Lycra cotton blend from a Darn Cheap - Ill get at least another 2 out of the metre that I bought - 3 camisoles for about $7 isn't too bad all.
|Source - Iconic Patterns|
So that's my first stylish Stretchy Wear ensemble. If I have a red wine or chocolate emergency I can just change the slippers for some flats and I'm ready to head out the door in (adequate) style and comfort! Have you a favourite Stretchy Wear garment you've made or need to replicate?
Oh, and btw....
Sarah (that's moi!) of Fabric Tragic will be wearing a self made item every day of May, including to work. She will also endeavour to style her non-work outfits in new combinations and permutations to shake up her look. She will also NOT BUY ANY FABRIC for the month of May, instead sticking to her Autumn/winter sewing plans and only making things out of Le Stash.