September 22, 2016

Boxwood Joggers

So, I wanted this to be another entry into my “Great Things to Sew” series that started with the Vivie dress a few weeks ago.  However, I’m not sure that this is a great thing to sew.

Last spring, I bought the little girls joggers before our Disney vacation.  They were lightweight and soft and I thought they’d be the perfect thing for the girls to wear home from Florida, comfortable, light weight but warm enough when we transitioned to spring in Ohio.  They were cute and both the girls liked them, but I bought them at the Devil and the quality was as to be expected when you buy $8 joggers from Walmart.

I decided that I would sew the girls joggers for the upcoming school year.  I like the way they look, figured they’d be perfect for long school days without being sloppy and I could use better quality materials to produce a better garment.  A lot of PDF pattern makers feature jogger-esque pants, but, honestly, I have trouble looking past things like mismatchd patterns and bum circles even if the pattern is big enough for older kids and doesn’t have to have bum circles.  It’s a problem of mine, I admit it.  I once rejected a house we were looking at being because my green furniture didn’t match the red walls.  Yes, I know you can paint but that’s how I look at things.

ANYHOW, I finally found the Boxwood jogger pattern and it was exactly what I was looking for.  Slim fit legs,  a non-baggy crotch and a good range of sizes so I could use it for both kids.  I had some leftover french terry at home and cut out my first pair and it was a mess. I think I had the grain of the fabric wrong or something, because the leg was all twisted.  Thankfully, it was ten year old fabric that I bought on clearance to begin with, so I didn’t feel awful tossing it.

So, then I used some really good athletic fabric to make a pair of joggers for Baby Bee.  I struggled with the cuffs and the waist band.  I kind of winged the process and my serger didn’t like it. I ended up ripping the waist band off and re-sewing it, with semi-better results.  I decided I could live with the way they looked even though they weren’t perfect and moved on to a pair for Littlebit.  And, same problem.  I couldn’t get the waistband to go.  I followed the instructions.  I cut the elastic as directed and the elastic just seems to small for the circumference of the waist.  It requires so much stretching as you’re sewing that it will bunch and gather because you need more than two hands to sew this neatly.  And I pinned the crap out of it, too.

I got them to be acceptable, like Baby Bee’s first pair and decided to try again with new found knowledge.  I followed the directions, exactly, even foregoing my usual way of adding a waist band to add it how the pattern maker wrote.  Same problem.

In the end, the elastic measurement is just too small.  Perhaps I’m using waist band elastic that isn’t as stretchy as the pattern maker used?  Maybe I’m a dunce?  This is not a difficult process and despite altering my technique three times, I still couldn’t get my waistband to turn out how I felt it should per the pattern.  I ripped off my third waist band in as many pants.  I serged the waist band to the pants, leaving an opening, and threaded my elastic through before finishing it off.  Much neater and cleaner and that’s the technique I opted to use on my final pair of joggers.

As an aside, I opted to serge on the leg bands before sewing the legs up.  The circumference of the leg bands were as small as I could get through my serger and I decided this should make for a cleaner finish and it did.

So, now to the pattern.  Do I recommend it? With some conditions, yes.  It’s cute.  It’s versatile and once it’s together it looks fabulous and it’s everything I wanted this pattern to be, however, I didn’t expect to have to fiddle so much on such a straightforward garment and that makes me hesitant to insist you run out and buy it. I feel as though the fault was mine and not the pattern makers, but the fact that I had the same problem every time leads me to believe that something is missing for me. I used the same elastic all three times (the same brand and width) so maybe that’s it?

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