Small Girl wanted “long johns” (leggings) like Mavis’ in Hotel Transylvania. I found some magenta/black striped jersey, which was deemed a suitable substitute for the red/black stripe in the film and a pattern that didn’t look too taxing for my first stretch project. I traced the pattern (Simplicity 1785, more on that later) and cut an age 4 waist on an age 5 leg length. Then I looked at the result and lengthened the leg by a good couple of inches. I cut out the fabric, set up my overlocker and couldn’t get the result I wanted with the 4 thread safety overlock stitch. Everything then sat and waited while Christmas, New Year and a leaking ceiling in my den all happened. Once two out of three of those events were in the past, it was time to try again.
This time I set up the sewing machine instead of the overlocker, grabbed the manual and some fabric scraps and tested out a couple of the Juki’s stretch stitches. They were much more successful at holding the seam together. Ambitiously, I then tried the overlock stitch, which was not successful and resulted in a delay while I changed the needle, cleaned out the bobbin case and rethreaded the machine. I sewed all the seams and hems with a reinforced stretch stitch and finished seams with a 3-stitch zig-zag. Elastic went into the casing fine and I did a small machined hem on each leg. Small Girl was into them and dancing a hornpipe within seconds of my knotting the thread ends.
I’m very happy with the results for a first stretch sew. The fabric is from Stone Fabrics and is great – washed well (really well, came out of the machine as pristine as when it went in), has a lovely feel to it and is good to sew. I bought a metre and am fairly sure there’s enough left over to make another pair the same. I think it would work up well into the Jamie Christina maxi dress for an adult too, though clearly rather more than a metre would be needed.
I’m pleased with the pattern too, if a little surprised by the lack of leg length. There was just a tiny handful of notches to match, one pair of tailor’s tacks to make and only TWO pattern pieces. Well hello J
Simplicity 1785 is proving to be a very useful pattern for Small Girl – I’ve already used the pattern for the tutu dress trim to make a standalone tutu, and I’m pretty sure that I’ll be making the t-shirt dress (possibly in black a la Mavis) and perhaps a top or two. As well as more leggings if the Mavis ones stand up to the beating that she’ll give them. It’s multi size to age 8 so we have plenty of wear from it yet, even if I have to lengthen a few more pieces. I might even make her the headband, but minus the flower.
My overlocker was a disappointment on this project, though I’m pretty sure that the problem could have been resolved with a bit more effort. The seam wasn’t snug enough, even though the edge finishing was perfect. I should probably have tried a slimmer needle. I put the slimmer needle into the sewing machine instead as I couldn’t face getting the screwdriver out yet again to change two needles on the overlocker if I could get away with one on the Juki. I was very happy with how the sewing machine handled the stretch fabric, and would be more than content to use that on future stretch sewing, with the overlocker kept for finishing edges on larger projects or for school carnival costumes. I could do with figuring out the overlock stitch on the Juki too and the safety stitch on the overlocker. I probably spent 90% of the total project time under the bonnet of either the wee beastie or the sewing machine – the leggings actually worked up very fast indeed.
It still feels very weird to have something finished quite so quickly! I am happy to have finished some stretch sewing, it wasn’t as bad as I expected.