Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pattern Notebook: PB Jam Leggings

Dear Internet Gods, please look on these pictures of me in very tight clothing with total indifference. Many thanks.  (We sewing people are nicer than the rest of the internet, but once an image is out there, there's just no getting it back.)


I also have a short disclaimer; I feel like something of an impostor.  I'm no marathoner, I've never even run in any kind of race, the longest I've ever run is about 7K.  I basically just started running a few months ago to cope with stress.  I feel like my recent glut of running related posts might be mis-representing how much activity is really going on, but let me tell ya, I'm in no danger of nipple chaffing!  Ok, enough with the consciousness already, on to the sewing!



Here's a totally staged shot of me running in my local park, wearing the most awesome PB Jam leggings from Melissa Fehr.  I was a tester for the pattern, so I got to make it up a couple of weeks ago. I've worn them 4 or 5 times since I made them, and I can't keep them out of the wash long enough to actually do the hems.  I think I'd call them a roaring success!  Once of the nice things about being able to sew is that when I get a couple of hours spare, I'm going to make up a few more of these and I won't have to worry about laundry to go out for a run. Well done Melissa - these are really awesome leggings!

By the way she's got 10% off the pattern through January 2nd with the code "FEHRTRADEEARLYBIRD", so If you're tempted to buy, make sure to grab it before then!

Pattern Notebook


View / Size used: Since I was testing the pattern, I went by my body measurements, which are waist: 29", hip 39".  I cut size S.

Fabric Used: A poly-lycra blend from the FIDM Scholarship store, the same stuff I used on my last leggings.  The contrast is left over from my Vogue 1314 dress

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: 
Not a pattern alteration, but after I'd made them up, I took a little out of the CB Seam right under where the pocket goes. 

I made the pocket up a little differently than the instructions said.  I cut two pocket pieces, finished the top edge of one, sewed them wrong sides together, and then caught the other in the elastic after I folded it over. There's no visible topstitching on the outside, and its securely caught on three sides. 



Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes absolutely, the construction order would be fairly easy to figure out, but I was glad I followed the instructions because there were a few tips in there I would have figured out too late, like when to add in the pocket at the back.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? 
I love the fit through the leg - they are super comfy!  I love the pocket at the back.  It means I can put my phone in there and I don't have to wear my armband.  That way I can wear my hoodie when it's chilly (it does happen, now and again).  It's also much easier to pull out my phone and put back in than my armband.  I love it!


I was a little trepidatious to sew all these curves, so I used my sewing machine rather than my serger for construction.  I had forgotten that these aren't like armscye curves at all - there's no easing - the seam lines are exactly the same length, these curves fit together just perfectly. Also - there's lycra!  You can just pull on the curves to line them up, they'll spring back afterwards.

One of my very favorite things about the pattern is how quick it is. Since I was testing the pattern, I kept a timer going.  It took me about 40 mins to assemble and cut out the pattern, and 3 hours to cut and sew the leggings.  Not bad at all!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the finished garment?
Man, I love that pocket in the back.  I also liked the opportunity to use a little bit of a crazy print without having totally crazy leggings.

They're a little long for me, but the fit is good through the thigh and calf, so if I make them shorter, I will just take it off the hem and move the colour blocking a little higher, as it is, it's just below the back of my knee.



Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I'm certain I'll make it again.  I'm even thinking of putting the colour blocking back together, and doing different style lines, so I don't have two identical leggings.  I would most certainly recommend them!


Construction notes: 
In order to get the side seam to be inconspicuous, I cut the two contrast side pieces lined up, like they would be once they're sewn together.  That way the pattern isn't interrupted and it looks like all one piece. 




I could have accounted for the seam allowance, but since it's only 3/8" I figured it would be fine.


I wasn't thinking and didn't serge the seams as I constructed the leggings.  I was waiting to see what the fit was like, but there was no need to do that, there are inseams and side seams, so it's easy to adjust the fit when they're mostly made up.


I attached the elastic with a zig-zag, mostly because I was testing the fit and it's easier to rip out zig-zaging than serging.  I'm glad I did because the elastic I used wasn't suitable.  It was the same elastic I used in my previous leggings and the stretch wasn't firm enough.  I replaced it with the recommended braided elastic, which stretches out about as much as my first type, but it doesn't stretch as easily so they don't fall down like my leggings did.

Machines / settings used: 
Janome 7318 for sewing and basting.  I used a 3.5 mm zig-zag (1.5mm wide) for construction.  3mm (4mm wide) for attaching the elastic.

Brother 1034D serger to finish seams.
Differential Feed: 1.2
Stitch Length: 4
Stitch Width: 6.5
Tensions:  Left Needle: 4.2, Right Needle: 4.2, Upper Looper: 4, Lower Looper: 4


I'll bet you can guess what my next review will be...


Hope you guys had a happy holiday!

20 comments:

  1. You look great in these & no need to apologize for not being a marathoner!! Good review - wonder if you also made Melissa's top pattern ??

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  2. Oh, just saw your last line so will wait for that review!

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    1. Thanks Nancy! I'm going to try to get the review of the top up this weekend sometime!

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  3. Oh thank you! I'm looking forward to making these patterns. I have a favor to ask--can you please show the bra fabric? I was not able to locate power mesh with 1.35 stretch, so I'm planning on using swimsuit lining. all the mesh I have in my stash hasa 50% stretch (both directions). Even if you cannot accommodate my request, thank you for this review and Im looking forward to your next one!

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    1. Hi Rose! I will certainly show you pics of the bra fabric. It's just a mesh that I found in the FIDM scholarship store in downtown LA. I think it has about 30% stretch in one direction. Swimsuit fabric would probably work, but the reason that I would prefer some kind of mesh is just because it's more breathable. One trick I learned from bra making is that if the fabric is too stretchy, simply using two layers makes the stretch much firmer. See what the stretch is like with two layers on opposite grains (which is how the pattern instructs you to cut it, it might work that way. If you're looking to buy some power mesh, Melissa posted some fabric suppliers for activewear here: http://www.fehrtrade.com/article/748/where-to. I see that Spandex House has a good stock of power mesh: http://www.spandexhouse.com/products.php?navId=98&navId2=36&navName=Mesh/Net%20(See%20Through)

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    2. Thank you! I'm looking forward to the review!

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  4. You do look like a runner to me. You're right. These leggings are a quick make.
    I've learnt a bit more about how to make these better next time from your right up.
    Now I have to be patient and wait for your top review:))
    I think it's going to be as good.

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    1. Thank you! I LOVE your shiny dancewear top - I would totally wear that for a night on the town, it's so cool :)

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  5. These leggings look so cool! They almost make me want to take up running.

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  6. Your leggings look great. And your staged running photos are fantastic.

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    1. Hahah, I'll have to rope you in next time and we can really take the staging up a notch!

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  7. LOVE your version!! I gotta get my review up on my blog of these leggings. Hurray for cute and functional running tights!!

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    1. Thanks Kathy! I'm looking forward to seeing your version. Who knew that the elastic was so important?

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  8. Your leggings look terrific. I like your fabric combination.

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    1. Thanks so much! It's was a very satisfying way to use up scraps :)

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  9. I have just bought both the leggings and the top patterns on the basis of your review:-) I don't look like a runner, more hippo than bambi but I have shuffled my way around three marathons and countless half marathons. If you put on a pair of trainers and jog YOU ARE A RUNNER!! Loving the action photos! And the leggings.

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    1. Wow - a half marathon seems like an eternity to me - that's really an amazing achievement! I'm so glad the review was helpful, and thanks for the encouragement :) I do need to put those trainers on and jog more often!

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  10. Just wanted to chime in my thanks for your sharing all of your great projects. You and I seem like we are the same type of runner (you go girl! no apologies for not running marathons!) Hmmm, I wonder if I could do these leggings in a stretch fleece for my colder winter runs (looove the tropical look of your photos, by the way).

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    1. I'm sure you could! some wool ponte would actually be really perfect if you can get your hands on some :)

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