Monday, 29 December 2014

Me-made tights!

I have done something completely unexpected and made myself some tights! Not only that, but it's going to me my new pattern, but before I get onto that. I shall go through the how's and why's.

It all started off with a striped wool knit and a random comment about tights really. It kind of flicked a switch that wouldn't go off until I explored the idea properly. I remember Carolyn's tights that she wore during me-made May and I was in total in awe of them at the time. She took wearing me-mades to a whole new level for me. I do love wearing hand made, but I was quite happy to sit back and accept that I could not be bothered with the idea of making underwear, tights or t-shirts. Alot has changed this year and my ambitions have grown, so I re-read her blog post where she explained how she made them and set myself a challenge.

The first pair I made from that tutorial are totally wearable, but the pattern needed refinining for me to want to use it time and time again, so I made a tights block. Obviously the more work I did, the more it made sense to make it into my next pattern. I'm not saying that this will always happen to every self-draft I ever do, but it feels that this is something that alot of people could use.

I don't know about you, but I have a real issue with RTW tights. I buy Large and sometimes X-Large, just to get the length I want. I am not tall and have a 29" inside leg, but as you can see from the photos, I have curvy legs which stretches tights on the width leaving me little for the length. I also love to have tights that go right up over my hips and cover my belly. I'm always tugging tights up as high as possible in a bid to reduce drop crotch and muffin top, which makes me question why didn't I make these sooner? Hopefully I've addressed all these things and more, but really don't know if this is something that fellow sewists want to make too. I can't tell you how fun (and easy) they are to make though. Making tights is reeeally addictive and I'm even considering binning all RTW tights. Bold moves and statements a plenty.

So what are they really like? See for yourselves. FYI, since posting pics of me in a swimming costume I am not even a little bit phased about these pictures. Funny how these things go!

This first pair has a two piece leg (main leg piece with a shorts top) and heel turn gusset (like you have in a pair of socks)...

Whilst this second pair is directly inspired by Carolyn's tights with a one piece leg and inner leg seam. These are the easiest and quickest, whilst the first pair have some really good colour blocking and stash busting potential.

The waistband is finished with 1.5" wide elastic for a secure top and I have test worn all of my samples to date and there is little shifting and crotch sagging throughout the day. They are designed to be snug and smooth to reduce mis-shaping, but are not tight like support wear. The grey pair and the shorts top of the lace pair are made from cotton lycra, so it's actually like wearing some nice warm leggings. I didn't fancy having lace around my bum and tum, so used the softer cotton lycra instead!

Time for some more photos

These were sewn entirely on my overlocker using a three thread stitch, but if you are used to sewing knits on your sewing machine then a zig zag would do. My favourite samples so far are the lace ones for looking like actual tights and the cotton lycra for being so warm. I have not used any specialist or technical fabrics, just whatever was available at my local fabricland. The lace is a nylon/spandex mix, the cotton lycra has 5%lycra and the coral and purple are 100% polyester knits. All have at least 50% stretch.

So, what do you think, are you interested? Is this something you had ever considered?

The pattern is with the testers as we speak and will be available to buy just past the middle of January. The pattern comes in three leg lengths (29, 32 and 35") with different foot size options (EU35 to 42). There is absolutely nothing stopping you however from reading Carolyns post and having a go at creating your own pattern. It was actually quite fun to do, but be careful where you place those pins!!!