Every month I receive a fun surprise box of fabric from Vinegar and Honey. And every month I hem and haw about what to do with it- but when this month’s box arrived, a lovely plaid ponte, I had an uncharacteristic moment of certainty, and decided that I needed to make a matching outfit for my daughter and I- specifically mommy and me skinny pants!
If you had asked me in 1999 whether I would ever wear skinny pants- the answer would have been an emphatic NO. But, as I’ve gotten older and trends have changed, I’ve found myself gravitating more and more toward a very fitted pants style, especially if they have a high waist to hold in my tummy when I’ve had too many chicken nuggets off my daughter’s plate (why do toddlers insist on feeding you their food while subsisting on air themselves?)
Thanks to my pattern hoarder tendencies, I already have the Jalie Eleanore pants, the Patterns for Pirates SOS Skinny Jeans, and the Style Arc Elle pants. I may also add the Love Notions Sabrina Slims and Ottobre 5/2014 patterns to my collection if I can’t get the fit I’m looking for with the patterns I have (or, I could learn pants fitting and just make the ones I’ve got work!). Ultimately, I would like to write a thorough comparison of the different options, but after my adventure in crafting this outfit, I’m unsure about whether I’m qualified- I’ll let you read on and be the judge.
I decided to start with the Style Arc Elle pants. Style Arc is an Australian company that puts out an impressive array of independent patterns- and I’ve heard good things about their drafting. The only thing that tends to put people off is the fact that you can only order one size at a time, either in pdf or printed format. This makes grading between sizes difficult.
Since I fit mostly into their size 6, that’s the size I ordered, as I figured I could always adjust for my slightly smaller waist by taking in the elastic in the waistband. The Style Arc patterns come printed on a heavy weight tissue that reminds me of freezer paper, and is easy to fold and store. Seam allowances are marked, in case you need to make adjustments, and the instructions are very succinct. I wouldn’t recommend them for a beginner, but for a more advanced seamstress or a simple pattern like the Elle pants, detailed pictorial instructions aren’t really necessary- if you have experience sewing up a pair of leggings you’ll be fine. Probably (keep reading!)
See how excited I was?
I cut out my pattern, and focused hard on laying out my pieces so that the plaids would match-this is the type of detail missing on ready to wear clothes that I enjoy fixing on handmade garments. You might be noticing right about now that these photos don’t feature matching pairs of skinny pants. Here’s why: unfortunately, while I was cutting, I was multitasking a little too much- chatting with my husband, taking photos of my process and putting the baby down for the umpteenth time- and I didn’t realize that I had cut FOUR BACKS. How can that even happen?
It. was. terrible. It was also 1Am, my lighting was awful, and so I don’t have photographic evidence, but you’ll have to trust me that our backside is not shaped the same as our front, so everything was really wonky. Not realizing my mistake, I tried a dozen fitting adjustments, and finally gave up. When I went back to the project the next day, I decided that before I blasted the pattern on my blog, I had better check and make sure the pattern pieces had been cut and sewn correctly. I seam ripped all those seams, and finally discovered my mistake. I. Was. Horrified.
Of course, I had already posted my intentions to the Facebook and Instagram, so I couldn’t just pretend it never happened, and there was still the matter of needing to sew up the fabric.
So here I am, confessing my idiocy to you all, my head hung in deep sewist shame. Feel free to post your worst sewing mishap in the comments to cheer me up.
Despite my feelings of inadequacy, I had to salvage the fabric somehow, so I thought back to this fail friday/tip tuesday post, and took a look at the amount I had left. Just enough to cut the baby a pair of pants, and myself a matching top. Or the front of one anyway. The Lane Raglan was already on the top of my pile, so I used that, since no one can have too many Lanes, and making a Lane always cheers me up a bit.
Since I only had enough plaid for the front, the back and sleeves were cut from a plain black ponte from Surge Fabric Shop, which is also excellent quality. While I was at it, I re-cut my Style Arc pattern from the black ponte, because there was NO WAY I was going to give up on those, now that I knew it wasn’t the pattern’s fault that my first pair had fit so badly. I’m nothing if not doggedly determined.
I’ll save those for a later post, but for now, you can check out my plaid Lane-that-should-have-been-pants. Ya know what? I kind of love it.
The baby’s pants went together much less dramatically, using the Peekaboo Juniper Jeggings. I cut a size 2 for width and a 18month for length, since my daughter tends to be short in the legs like me, but has a fluffy bum due to her cloth diapers. I love how these have all the fun details of real jeggings: a faux fly, faux front pockets, and real back ones.
I think the waist could be taken in a bit more, but those back pockets are just too cute, and the overall fit is perfect.
An hour before our photoshoot, I went to grab a matching shirt from her drawer….and realized that the only thing that worked was a thin short sleeved tee. I’m all for suffering in the name of good photography, but I don’t extend that level of fortitude to my children- and a freezing toddler does not make for happy pictures.
So, I grabbed some super soft sweatshirt fleece from Cali Fabrics and whipped up a Brindille and Twig Scuba Hoodie. I changed the construction of the front pocket slightly so she could feel the soft reverse side of the fleece, and used a brushed hacci for the bands and lining.
I’m so glad I took the time to do this, because she absolutely loved the new hoodie, and having a place to warm her little hands.
I can’t get enough of her at this age, especially the cute and slightly painful way she smashes my nose when she goes to kiss me.
Seeing the photos of us together took the sting out of my ridiculous mistake, and reminded me of the joy of matching with my little (and only) girl. She probably won’t let me sew for her forever, and I want to soak up every moment.
Now I’m off to work on sewing up my Elle pants the right way, but don’t forget to check out the other bloggers on the tour, and enter to win the giveaway! If I haven’t lost all credibility, you’re also welcome to follow me on Instagram and Facebook, where I share more real-life sewing mishaps and victories.
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Don’t forget to visit all of the amazing Mommy and Me Christmas Outfit Inspirations in our Mommy and Me Christmas Blog Tour hosted by Seams Sew Lo below!
- December 4th: Seams Sew Lo
- December 5th: Katewillknit
- December 6th: Tenille’s Thread
- December 7th: That’s Sew Lily
- December 8th: Stitched by Jennie
- December 9th: Petite Stitchery & Co
- December 10th: Seams Sew Lo
- December 11th: kathys kwilts and more
- December 12th: Sewing with Sarah
- December 13th: Octaves of Color
- December 14th: My Crazy Crafty Beautiful Life
- December 15th: I Have Purple Hair
- December 16th: Nu Me NuYou
- December 17th: Frullemieke
- December 18th: Sewing Blue
- December 19th: Auschick Sews
- December 20th: Violets and Jewels
- December 21st: Seams Like Style
- December 22nd: Aurora Designs