My favourite kind of projects are simple ones. Simple doesn’t have to be boring!
This time, I made two pairs of leggings in buttery soft modal jersey, and an oversized dolman tee in variegated rayon. They mix-and-match perfectly into my wardrobe, but for the purposes of this post, I’ve styled them together!
Shall we begin with the leggings? Cali Fabrics carries a bunch of colours in this modal jersey, and owner Ron told me it’s one of his favourite fabrics. It’s 45% polyester and 55% modal. Basically, it feels like modal on the outside and poly on the inside. The “good” side of this fabric is buttery soft with an almost suede-like texture. I keep patting my own legs when I wear these! The inner face is less soft, but I don’t find it at all scratchy to wear. I’d say it’s a lightish medium weight – not opaque enough for leggings-as-pants, but great for anything else.
The modal has about 20% 2-way stretch, so I had to make some adjustments to my trusty Cake Espresso leggings pattern. (I usually sew leggings with 50% 4-way stretch.) I’ve made at least 20 pairs of leggings over the last 5 years, so I have rather a lot of thoughts on them! Shall we dig into Leggings 101?
Legs. They move and bend! And if your fabric doesn’t move and stretch with them, then the hems ride up and the waist rides down. Looking at the two pictures above, can you see how much extra length is created over my knee and under my tush when my leg is bent? If the fabric doesn’t stretch 4-way, then you need to add height to compensate. For these leggings, I made them 2″ longer at the ankle, and added 1.5″ rise at the waist.
I also added an inch of width on either side of my pattern piece (for 2″ extra circumference on each leg, and a total of 4″ at the hips) and again, it connects to length! You know how when you stretch a fabric sideways, it loses height? If these were snugger, then every time the fabric had to stretch, they’d ride down. The end result of adding height and width is a very comfortable pair of leggings that stays put all day!
Now for the top! I’ve been eying this fabric for at least a year, and I’m glad I finally got to use it. Unfortunately, It seems to be now sold out… but there are lots of other great variated knits in stock!
The pattern is Tessuti’s Isla top, which also seems to be unavailable online? (Did I jinx the fabric and pattern with this shirt?) As you can see, it has slim-cut sleeves, a very boxy bodice, and tapers to a snug fit at the hips. This may be the only shirt in creation that looks *worse* when you pose with your hand on your hip! It’s cute in real life though, and I like the mix of volume and fit.
The coolest part about the pattern is that there is no shoulder seam – instead, the front continues over to the back and makes a yoke. I love how it looks in a horizontal print!
Like I said, these projects are simple. The trick is to pay attention to the fabric, and pick a pattern that brings out its best qualities. There’s something to satisfying in making the right match!
Gillian is a teacher, cat lady, and colour-fanatic, and blogs at craftingarainbow.wordpress.com .