Why does 2020 seem so long ago? Two years ago I was busy sanitizing groceries, making sourdough, homeschooling my child, etc. I always told myself that it was temporary, a couple weeks. I would get to sew “tomorrow” and tomorrow never came. The hobby that I enjoyed so much started to feel like another chore. It didn’t matter if I sewed something for myself, I was living in sweatpants. My sewing was consumed with masks, repairing masks, and the occasional make for my growing child. I was mentally exhausted. I didn’t realize that I was in ‘Groundhog Day’. Fast forward almost two years to the day and I decided that I was sick of feeling this way, I needed to think of something that would make me feel like myself, not something that I was sewing for someone else, just something for myself, that was NOT a mask.
From there I moved on to a few new sports bras. I like the FREE Hyacinth Pattern from OhhhLulu. I used Tricot and Powernet and I added a band. Do you know what started to happen? Putting on something that was new, basic but new, gave me that quick boost of confidence that I forgot that I missed. It felt sooo good to wear something that wasn’t just that same pair of sweatpants. To be fair, I was alternating between two pairs of sweats.
Alas, the joyous spark was ignited. Then I started to think about what I could make that wasn’t so “casual”. At the same time Chalk & Notch released the Wren. I like that it is drafted for different cup sizes and has a shirt and dress within the same pattern. I used Rayon. One technique that I always use is French Seams . I love the finish of them. Yes, it takes longer but I do sew for longevity and it is worth it.
Hobbs Thermore Batting – This batting is low loft and can be stitched up to 9” apart, which makes it great for this project, and was originally created for quilted clothing. It’s also a poly batting so is perfect for what I was after.
Enough for armholes, and the length of the zipper times 2.
I looked at the finished measurements of the pattern to determine my sizing since I knew I was adding a stretch on the sides. I went with the size that was closest to my measurements.
Hacking Pattern Pieces
I highly suggest doing the non-curved back version, as I had to do a lot of hacking to get just the back piece to dip down a little. The curves of my back are not in line with the pattern’s back. When I make another one, I will be doing the straight bottom. Using the straight bottom will also make hacking the side a lot easier.
Using the front side and back side, mark the seam allowance at the armcye. Match these 2 pieces up. Since I used a stretch fabric, I pulled the hem of my pieces to overlap more. I wanted the edges where the side meets up with the front and back to be more parallel to the grain. You also need to add a hem either before cutting, or extending past the bottom SA.
I didn’t do this, but after wearing mine the first time all day, I realized that I should have trimmed the armhole seams off. Learn from my mistake.
Before you start, read through all instructions, since this was my first time doing this, there are some steps that could be done in a different order. If you’re an experienced sewist, use your gut, as I know I will be doing it in a different order next time, but I just haven’t wrapped my head around how to go about it.
Pin the front to the batting, making sure to keep everything flat. Baste around the outside within the SA.
Trim batting to line up with the edges of the front. Repeat with other front piece, back and collar.
Quilt the exterior to the interior within the max distance for your batting. I used a triple straight stitch to quilt mine since there is some stretch in the twill, and I wanted to be able to move freely.
Sew shoulder seams of exterior, and attach the collar.
Attach zipper with a basting stitch.
Sew front and back lining pieces together at the shoulders.
Hem side pieces. Don’t be like me and forget how much you added for your hem, write it down. Trying to figure it out was torture.
Pin and baste the side pieces to the back (exterior) RST, starting at the notches and working your way towards the armcye and hem.
Pin lining back bottom (hem) to the exterior back bottom RST, keeping sides out of the way. Stitch together using pattern’s SA, making sure it lines up with the hems of the sides.
Understitch the SA to the lining, starting at least ½” from the side seam. If your hem on the back curves, clip SA, along the curve before understitching.
Tuck sides between the 2 back pieces (exterior and lining), so that backs are RST. Fold SA from the bottom towards the lining. Pin and stitch side seams. Trim SA, then pull it right side out. Press seams.
Flip the front exterior and lining pieces so that they are RST, making sure not to twist the shoulder seams, meeting the hems together. Pin the hem, flipping the bottom of the zipper out of the way, and stitch.
Understitch the SA to the lining from the side seam to at least ½” from center front.
With front pieces RST, pin the side to the front exterior and baste. Work in the same manner as you did the back, to complete the side seam, making sure to turn the SA toward the lining. Trim SA, clip curves, turn right side out, and press.
Pin and baste shoulder exterior and lining together along the armscye. If you didn’t remove the seam allowance from the armcye, do that before basting.
Smooth front lining over to the zipper. Pin and baste in place. I used wonder tape to help with easing the lining to the front.
Match the neckline seam of the lining to the SA on the exterior collar. Pin and baste together. This will be covered with the collar lining, but will help hold everything in place until then. You won’t be able to get right up to the zipper, and that’s okay.
Attach the zipper, stitching through all layers. Add foldable elastic along the edge of the zipper to cover the edge and the SA. This will only go to where the lining stops at the neckline. Leave about ½” past the hem of the zipper to fold under. I attached on one side of the elastic to the zipper, then folded it under and pinned in place for the later. You can do it this way, or attach both sides at the same time.
Pin collar lining to the exterior along the top and front, folding bottom of collar up at the bottom along the zipper. Stitch making sure to stitch along the same stitches you already have from attaching the zipper. If desired, understich the top collar SA to the lining. Turn right side out, and press.
Fold the tail of the foldable elastic up under the zipper towards the inside. Stitch in place and trim any extra.
Pin zipper edge to the lining and top stich from the right side.
Fold collar lining opening under extending just past the seam where the collar meets the neckline. Pin and stitch in the ditch from the right side.
Finish off arm openings with foldable elastic. I slightly stretched as attaching, and this helped to keep everything smooth along the supplex area.
Other things I did
I also hacked some pockets on the front, but they are really small, so I need to figure out better measurements for this. On top of that, I added a windflap to the inside, but my measurements were completely off, so I didn’t share this in my tutorial either.
I never thought I’d be saying this but there are some things in the sewing world that scare me – like full stress and panic, clenched teeth, sweaty palms. So what do I do? I avoided them like the plague. And the one that really sets me into a tailspin – ZIPPERS!! Who knew something so innocent as a zipper could cause such angst!
In the past, I would seen a cute jacket or sweatshirt and there it would be, staring at me with it’s shiny teeth – the dreaded zipper! So I would do what any logical person would (absolutely not logical!) and first buy the pattern, print, tape and grade my size, buy oodles of @pheefabrics to make said project and finally stash it away for a future date when I would miraculously no longer fear the zipper.
The time finally has come – too many patterns sit sadly waiting to be sewn. I have wanted to make a jacket with @pheefabrics Supplex for the longest time. With fall creeping into the Northeast, I wanted to make one more than ever. So first I headed to the Phee Fabrics Facebook group for moral support and then to this blog post on installing zippers on knits.
I was armed and figured if I was going to try and learn a new skill, I might as well go all in and found a pattern that had not one, not two but THREE ZIPPERS! The Evergreen Jacket from Hey June Patterns has a plethora of cool add-ons, but I was most interested in having a two tone affect with the bias zip and collar. I love the look of black, red and gold accents – so cherry and black Phee supplex were the answer.
I have never sewn a jacket, or any top for that matter, in @pheefabrics Supplex and now I feel like I have really been missing out! Phee Supplex is not only a game changer for leggings but also the exact weight and look I wanted in a jacket. It has a sporty feel and great weight for a seasonal transition piece. And since it’s not bulky, I can wear it throughout the colder months under my huge “I live in a cold place and on’t care if I look fashionable so I don’t freeze” winter coat 🙂
So off I went with my pattern and fabric, zippers and seam ripper (that got used far more than I care to admit) but I was determined.
Here’s what I found from my experience with sewing this jacket and zippers:
DO NOT RUSH! If you have an appointment or are tired or stressed that day, it’s not the time to start on this project. I think jackets in general require some care and attention – after all these are more involved in construction than many of the other patterns I have sewn.
In the same vein as above, take it SUUUUPPPERRR SLOOOWWW when actually working with the zippers. The entire project can be made on a regular sewing machine using a basic straight stitch (if you are using Supplex which does not fray). Do you see that little slider for speed on the needle, move it all the way to the far left (or the slowest speed possible on your machine.) This may seem a bit excessive, but even with it all the way down, the zippers will only take a few minutes to stitch in. This helps to prevent breaking needles (none were injured in the making of this jacket) and straight stitching.
Use a zipper foot (if one is available) – here is a close up of mine on my machine. If you do not own one, it may be possible to complete this jacket since the seam allowance is ⅜” but I would highly recommend trying to find one that will fit your machine. It really makes life easier.
There is no such thing as too many pins. This really helps keep things straight and prevents the fabric from stretching and bunching when you are sewing.
Make sure to read through the entire pattern first (this goes for any time you sew) – you can see here where I sewed the zipper into the wrong seam and had to rip EVERYTHING OUT! No fun!
I hope this helps you feel less intimidated by zippers and encourages you to try out something a bit more challenging – the result, in my opinion, is totally worth it!
*** Please note – This blog contains affiliate links to products that I love and trust, and know you will as well. By using these links you are helping to support me, with no additional cost to you, while I continue to inspire your sewing adventures***
During the month of September 2019 the team at Phee focused on free patterns. The only rules were that the pattern had to be free and utilize Phee Fabrics.
Here’s the thing, the team at Phee works extremely hard behind the scenes to bring everyone all the best of their work. Now, we know the quality at Phee is consistent, so you know what you’re going to get. Pattern designers work hard also and a lot of designers draft with their body shapes in mind and adjust the sizing based on their size block. There are very few designers that take multiple body shapes into account. One of the most challenging things for new and frustrating for experienced sewists is to adjust a pattern to their body. Dealing with an awkward fit and then comes in the concept of making a “muslin”. Typically muslin is a type of fabric but it can also be used to refer to the first one you make, a trial of sorts. Through multiple places I see people asking about using a different fabric as a “muslin”, a cheaper or different base. That will result in a different fit (be forewarned). Another thing that draws people in is FREE! The idea of getting something for free is appealing, it gives you a chance to try a pattern designer before purchasing other patterns from them. These are some of the free patterns our dedicated sewists have worked up for you.
If you have any other free patterns that you have used with Phee please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to this blog
Do you ever look at patterns and think, I really like that, except for…? That’s how I felt about the GreenStyle Open Back Pullover. I like the open back, I like that there’s a deeper scooped back, as well as a closed back option. I like that it can be sleeveless, or have long or short sleeves. I like that there is a crew neck, as well as a scoop neck, along with a hood option. Most people love “hoodies” and banded sweatshirts. I am not one of those people.
Banded bottom shirts are not a good look on me. I own one banded bottom shirt, and it hangs unworn in my closet. I’ve tried to wear it, it looked cute on the hanger when I bought it years ago, but on me, it looks like a maternity top. If I were an expectant Mama I would wear it and look adorable. But since I am a Grandma and long past the age of having babies, it’s just not the look I am going for!
Luckily, it is super easy to hack the Open Back Pullover to not need a band. You are going to want to pay attention to your hip measurement. Make sure you measure the widest/largest part of your hips and booty. If it falls within the measurements for the size you are making, you’re good to go. But if it’s at the upper end or bigger than the size for your bust and waist, you will want to grade your pattern out to a larger size, starting at the waist. Then use a ruler to add 4″ of length at the bottom of the front and back pattern pieces.
Follow the pattern tutorial, (it’s a pretty easy pattern) and instead of sewing on a band at the bottom, simply pin and press the hem up 3/4″ and zigzag or coverstitch to finish the hem.
I like that I can wear a regular bra with the high scoop back, and wear it like any other top. The low scoop back would really show off a cute Power Sports Bra and be fun for yoga class or working out. I thought about using powernet in the scoop opening, (there is a pattern piece for that), but the open back is just the right amount of sexy. It would also be fun to use powernet as the upper back pattern piece for an even airier feel.
I made my top out of Circular Knit, and would totally consider a long sleeved, closed back version in Rayon Spandex or Ribbing for cooler days. If you’re looking for a more traditional hoodie feel, Cozy French Terry would be so soft and plush! Supplex would give a more athletic feel, and would coordinate nicely with Super G’s or Stride Athletic Tights. I’m glad I gave the Open Back Pullover a shot. It’s a simple, slightly sexy 😉 , comfortable look.
This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission/credit if you purchase through my links. As always, I only give my honest opinion. After all, my blogpost represents me! 🙂 Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, patterns, awesome fabric, and pattern hacking. ❤
I’ve wanted to write a leggings comparison blog for FOREVER. I recently had my daughter and knew I wanted to wait until she was out of me to hopefully get the best fit for my post partum body. I used Phee supplex for all of them and 6 different leggings patterns.
I compiled some info to compare all of the patterns. The calf and thigh circumference are of the pattern pieces and the thigh measurement is taken from 6 inches down the inseam. The waistband height is of the pattern piece minus seam allowances and the width is taken from the center of the pattern pieces.
DIBY Anything But Basic Leggings
Stretch Required: 50%
Size made: 12 + 2.5 inches based on thigh placement
Drafted Height: 5’5
Calf Circumference: 11-3/4
Thigh Circumference: 16-1/4
Waistband Height: Tall: 3-1/8 Short: 2-1/8
Waistband Width: 27-1/4
Pocket Size: No pocket
Extra Options: None
Types of Waistbands: Short/Tall
Dislikes: Crotch and butt curve really flat/wide hip/minimal options
Size Range: 34-67 inch hip
Comments: There is a very pronounced hip curve that after wearing caused some rippling the waistband also constantly rolled down. If someone had more around their hips I would recommend using this pattern and then using a waistband from another pattern. The ease throughout the legs is really comfortable and DIBY does have the most expansive size range.
Apostrophe My Fit Leggings
Stretch Required: You pick
Size made: Side pocket panel, 24 inch inseam, contour waistband, snug fit
Drafted Height: Custom
Calf Circumference: 14-3/8
Thigh Circumference: 21-1/8
Waistband Height: Contour: 3-1/2
Waistband Width: 25
Pocket Size: 6-1/4×3-1/2
Extra Options: Ruched side/Side panels/pocket/waistband pocket/different waistbands/completely customizable
Types of Waistbands: Elastic/Yoga/Contour/Back pocket
Dislikes: There isn’t a % of ease given for your measurements so mine didn’t turn out how I like
Size Range: All
Comments: The directions for how to find your measurements are great and I really appreciated that but I was initially frustrated that the ease isn’t given for the different fits. I chose the snug fit and they are very large around my knees and calves with about a 1:1 ratio. They have a lot of potential and are completely customizable but I don’t know if I have the patience to work them out.
Greenstyle Strides Updated
Stretch Required: 50%
Size made: L cropped length, high rise
Drafted Height: 5’8
Calf Circumference: 9-3/4 in (capri line)
Thigh Circumference: 15-5/8
Waistband Height: High: 5 in Mid: 3-3/4
Waistband Width: 28-1/4
Pocket Size: 7-1/2×4
Extra Options: Cross Cuff/Waistband pocket/5 lengths
Types of Waistbands: Mid/High
Dislikes: No thigh/calf measurements. I would add a little calf ease next time.
Size Range: Hip 32-50 sizes are being expanded
Comments: Strides have always been my go to I love the accent piece on the back. Through trying all the different patterns and seeing the different amounts of ease throughout the strides are a pair that I would wear for working out but would pick something a little more relaxed for everyday wear. I do think the back on these is the most flattering especially for those with long butt problems like me LOL.
P4P Peg Legs
Stretch Required: 50%
Size made: XL waist L hip low rise, 1″ longer than capri length, contour waistband
Drafted Height: 5’6
Calf Circumference: 10-1/2
Thigh Circumference: 17-1/8
Waistband Height: Contour front: 7 in Regular: 3-1/2 in
Waistband Width: 25-1/4
Pocket Size: 6×4
Extra Options: Side pocket/colorblocking/waistband pocket/4 lengths
Types of Waistbands: Mid/High/Contoured
Dislikes: No print layout
Size Range: Hip: 33-58
Gusset: Oval with more pronounced oval on one side
Comments: Overall this pattern has some amazing options for being a free pattern. Lots of people really love the contoured waistband and choose to add that on to their legs of choice. I don’t love how the contour waistband goes down so far in the front, possibly from pregnancy being so fresh, I think it accentuates that part of me. This pattern did provide the best front crotch curve for my body and the back is pretty flattering too. For anyone’s first pair of leggings I think this is a great starting point and it’s FREE.
Stretch Required: 50%
Size made: S->M waist L hip mid rise ankle length
Drafted Height: Based on inseam for lengths
Calf Circumference: 11
Thigh Circumference: 17-3/4
Waistband Height: 2
Waistband Width: 28
Pocket Size: Waistband pocket 2-1/4×3-3/4
Extra Options: 4 rise options/7 lengths/key waistband pocket
Types of Waistbands: Fabric or exposed elastic
Dislikes: No waistband options
Size Range: Hip: 34-61
Comments: I love these pants. They don’t move around AT ALL. I wore them for a really long run and they didn’t chafe or move around at all. I also really enjoy that they have no side seam I think it makes them look more seamless. I would wear these to run everyday, the minimalness of the waistband makes them super easy to wear under my running vest. If I was going to wear them for everyday I would look into adding a contour waistband probably from the strides. This is my second 5004 pattern and I’m not sure why I haven’t made more I love these just as much as the jessie!
Stretch Required: 60%
Size made: X ankle length
Drafted Height: Trunk height per size
Calf Circumference: 10-1/4
Thigh Circumference: 15-7/8
Waistband Height: Elastic: 3/4 in Fabric: 2-3/4 in
Waistband Width: 29-1/2
Pocket Size: None
Extra Options: 3 lengths
Types of Waistbands: Elastic or fabric
Size Range: Hip: 22-53
Comments: I love that it includes kids and adults sizes and that there is only one seam in the waistband. Not having any outer leg seam or front seam. The inseam sits forward though because of no front seam. These are SUPER fast to work up and I will definitely be wearing them again.
We all need to take a minute to giggle at my posture in all these side pics sometime’s I’m up straight sometimes I’m still pregnant LOL.
My favorite pants for running were the 5004 Ninjas, I went for a 9 mile run and didn’t have to adjust them at all. I like how the waistband on these is really minimal so when wearing under my running vest I didn’t have any bulkiness. Although I love these for running I wouldn’t wear them for everyday as I don’t think they’re the most flattering. I am curious how they’d look adding the strides waistband too them and if that would help them be ‘cuter’. For my next pair I would like to do the pegs crotch curve, it looks like it fits me the best with the back of the strides. I am really tall and have been pregnant for three years (actually) so my booty is more deflated than it used to be. I think the accent piece on the strides give me the most flattering backside.
The Jalie Claras have a higher required stretch than the other patterns which is something to note and are the only pair that don’t have a from crotch seam. If you find that point usually is irritating for you then definitely try these. They are really comfortable and I will be wearing them again.
Negative ease: When the garment is finished smaller than your body measurement. With the supplex the garment is much smaller than your body measurements because it has such great stretch and recovery. This is a list of the patterns from least to most negative ease so the patterns at the top stretch less to fit you (aren’t as tight) as the patterns towards the end of the list.