Thursday, February 19, 2015

Manila Leggings Fail

The alternate title of this post is: Why You Have TNTs.


Let's get this straight right off the bat: I love Seamwork magazine. The patterns are cool, the articles are in-depth and unique, and I learn something each month. But I've had no luck actually making the patterns (see my Oslo cardigan here). I've made a ton of leggings from my TNT, McCall's 6137. That pattern is only one piece. The Manila Leggings have a front, back, waistband, and the super cool petal cuff. I wanted to try a pattern with more pieces to see how it would affect fit and maybe provide more opportunity for fun details.

I'm now 6 months pregnant. My other pairs of leggings actually fit fine, I just have to yank the rise way down under my belly. I prefer a low-rise legging anyway, pregnant or not. To determine the right size for my Manila leggings, I extensively studied a pair of RTW leggings as well as my me-mades. I ended up tracing off a size small, though my 38" hip put me at the top end of a small/lower end of a medium. I then removed 1" from both the front and back rise (to match my RTW pair). I tested my fabric against the stretch guide provided with the pattern and it worked.


Oh the fabric...it is an AMAZING poly/spandex ponte from Mood, with an almost embossed floral pattern. Nikki from the Mood Style blog made a great dress with it here. It's thick and what I imagine scuba fabric to be. I'm beyond sad that the leggings didn't work out because the fabric is insane.

Anyway. I'll spare you photos of the leggings on me (I'd have to be fairly uncovered and showing too much preggo belly) but they are far too tight in the legs, too baggy around the waist, the front rise is too long and the back rise too short. The finished dimensions match my RTW leggings but the stretch of the fabric doesn't, so they're too small. They might work when I'm not pregnant, so until that time they're going into the UFO pile. No sense messing around with either the leggings or the pattern in the next three months.


A note about construction: my fabric was so thick that I used a flatlock stitch on my serger for all the construction. A flatlock stitch butts the cut ends of the fabric together rather than creating a seam allowance. I noticed that my RTW leggings use that stitch on the waistband to reduce bulk. I did a few test samples with grey thread before switching to black.


I love the way the flatlock turned out, especially on the waistband, and since it's not difficult to do I'll try it again in the future. For reference, my settings on my Brother 1034d were: left needle 1, right needle (not used), upper looper 4.5, lower looper 6; stitch length 3.5; differential feed 0.


I can still get the benefit of the Manila leggings if I use the petal cuff pieces on my TNT. It's likely that I'll do that in the future, rather than messing with the fit of the Manila. Ain't nobody got time for making TWO TNT leggings patterns!



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10 comments:

  1. What a shame! I've made a couple of pairs of scuba leggings, and I found I had to add extra width and extra length to the legs and rise, because the fabric is only 2-way stretch. HOpe they fit you post-baby! :)

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    1. I would have loved to muslin these since I've never used scuba-type fabric before (all the pontes I've worked with had much less heft) but I didn't have anything close. Let's just call this a learning experience!

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  2. That is amazing fabric. I do hope these work out later!

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  3. Sadness! I made the Manila leggings recently too and found they really aren't drafted for my body type at all. The calves were really tight on me, and the hips and bottom were too roomy. But in my case, I was able to trim the down and get a good fit and the calves, while tight, are still fine. Next time I'll grade out in the lower leg and down in the top. I feel like they're made for a curvier figure than mine.

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    1. I had kind of the same fit issues, so I guess I'm glad it's not just me?

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    2. Hi Beth. I guess it's not just me, too! I'm on my fifth pair (!) and still making adjustments. And my first pair were the test pair. The second pair I used a fabric not ideal for leggings. This fifth pair are finally a workable fit but I would like them longer and the back rise is too low. I've come to the conclusion that you need a stretch of at least 70% (i.e. 10cm stretches to 17cm) - much more than their visual aid - and I need to cut a small at the waist/crotch (almost heading to an XS) grading to a L at the calves. And I do not have bigger than normal calves. I'm experienced at sewing but this makes me feel like a novice. I mean, it shouldn't be so hard to do leggings! All the best.

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  4. I hope they do fit post baby - that material is amazing! I also love seamwork but have had no joy with the patterns. Like inder-ific my manila leggings were too tight around the calf but too loose around the body and waist, mine were also way to short for some reason.

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    1. I can't think of a time when a pattern was too tight around my calves, I was starting to think it was just me. But now I know that there are at least three of us who just had a problem with this pattern :)

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  5. The pants pattern was made too short in my opinion and my size med were too tight but the waist fit perfect. So what I did was add a half an inch to the outside of the front and back panel. I left the waist the same being that it fit the way I wanted it to. The front panel was too high so I had to cut the top down by 2 inches in the center and tapered it off as I cut toward the side. I also had to add a few inches to the bottom of the leggings because they were so short. This pattern does not work with ponte. I made one with ponte and one with knit using the same corrections and the ponte was still way too tight even though the jersey fit like a dream.

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