Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sweater + Ottobre Woman = Wool Knickers

So I went to the thrift store a while back (I have no concept of time right now with all the travel) and bought a bunch of sweaters to chop up for sweater recon and refashion. Like a lot. Like way too many. I was in some sort of sweater buying haze. I don't know what I'm going to do with them all.

I bought this one because it was a men's XL so there was plenty of fabric to work with, it was a really soft merino wool, and it was a light color that should dye well if I ever want to try dyeing. As a sweater, it has no redeeming features. Not only did it have some (light) stains and several moth holes, it is hideous! That tight hip band is not going to be kind to anyone's figure. (In this photo you can see the bump I gave myself on the forehead with my ill-advised shelf-moving technique. I finally put up the last shelf on Sunday and moved the last of the Carol Collection out of my living room and into the sewing room.)

I threw this one in the wash to felt and it didn't (although the holes became more prominent), it remained a soft, lightweight knit but it was surprisingly warm when I put it on for the photo. I finally hit upon the perfect use for it. I hate having to give up wearing skirts when it gets cold and was trying to think of a solution. Making a warm slip really wouldn't do any good because as Carolyn experienced the other day wind goes right up your skirt! Then I thought of some wool knickers, and this sweater was absolutely perfect--lightweight, warm, washable without felting, and plenty of it. I was going to have to draft the pattern, which would be pretty simple but I just hadn't had the time or inclination to do it yet.

One of the things Karen loaned me is an Ottobre Woman from Spring/Summer 2008. I liked several of the items but what I was immediately thrilled about were the fitted knit exercise pants, #15.

Wool Knickers Pattern

Based on a quick glance at the picture I knew they'd be a perfect fit because I thought the line drawings were a front and back view, and that the back view showed a really curvy bum. Only when I looked closer did I realize that the "curvy bum" was actually a front view maternity bump. LOL. So I didn't know how the bum would fit, but stretch patterns are very forgiving and that's why I love 'em.

I had to wear pants to work on Monday and it was horrible. One of my co-workers came to my office and said, "I'm sorry I can't stop staring at you, I've just never seen you in pants." Hee. This is not exactly true because at some point every winter I devolve into pants and am like a bird that has lost its plumage, all sad and droopy, until Spring comes again.

My serger was already threaded in cream so I tackled the knickers on Monday night. So far I haven't really gotten the hang of timing my projects so I don't have to change serger thread with each one. I'm on a roll now, though. I had it in cream to make Simplicity 3775 out of the G Street plaid knit, then I did these knickers. Next up will finally be the Butterick 4589 off-white silk pinstripe blouse from the professional wardrobe plan I posted a while back. And after that a BWOF blouse in the silk print leftover from Vogue 2858. Then I'll change the thread color. At least this is the plan. We know how good I am with plans.

The pattern was quick to put together, just an inseam and a crotch seam. I made them long enough to go over my knees so that for really cold days I can wear them long to keep my joints warm, like the traditional poodle haircut with fluffy balls of hair where he needs to be most warm (I had no idea that haircut was utilitarian until a poodle-owning friend explained it to me). As an aside, yesterday was officially the last day for that epic fail of a skirt, Vogue 8037. What a horrible pattern. I kept the skirt because I love the colors, but it is lumpy and bumpy and generally hideous and I am totally over it.

To get more length in the leg I cut sections off the sleeves and seamed them in. I used the turtleneck ribbing for the bottom of the legs, and the hip ribbing as the waistband. The fit was actually quite good on a size 38 right from the pattern sheet, I just had to take the CB seam in a little bit at the top for a swayback.

I really need to figure out how to dye them gray, as they look terrible in this light color. I was trying to get a shot of them and could only think of that line in Bridget Jones where she says, "Have bottom the size of Brazil" and an acre of cream fabric over said bottom doesn't help. There will be no closeups. (I'm not fishing for compliments here. The shot on the right is very flattering and I like it, but the other ones I took were horrifying and immediately deleted.)

16 comments:

Cotton Picker said...

Great idea. I plan to do the same so that I can continue wearing dresses and skirts this winter.

melissa said...

hahah I'm glad I'm not the only one who sews based on serger thread colour!! Mine's been threaded with black woolly nylon for, let's see: my green hoodie, my nephew's green hoodie, my mom's black knit dress, my black yoga tee, and now my fiance's navy sweatshirt. I actually will have to rethread it after this, though, as I'll be switching to white and pink for my niece!

And you definitely get a gold star for spectacular recycling with that sweater! I'm loving the last photo - with the red top and black boots you're SO equestrian!

Amber said...

Oh man this is such a good idea. I am so over trying to sew a pair of pants, my body is just too weird and plus I look much better in skirts. I need to do this immediately. Now, which country shall I compare the size of MY bottom to? Must ponder.

Little Hunting Creek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Little Hunting Creek said...

Little Hunting Creek said...
Those leggings/knickers are a genius idea to wear under dresses.
Why not refashion the skirt too?
Like you, I also sew projects based on thread color- I hate rethreading. We could have a secret handshake :)

Alana said...

Good idea in many ways: for practical warmth, eco-friendliness, creativity, and fashion.

Of course, I mean "fashion" after you whip them off at work!

Dawn said...

What a great idea!

Claire S. said...

I agree - that's a fabulous idea. That cold winter wind blowing up the skirt is so not good !

Rachelle said...

Great idea! I don't wear many skirts, but I broke down and wore a skirt to work the other day, and even with the heavy tights I bought to keep my legs warm, it was...um... pretty drafty.

Vicki said...

Clever idea! I bet the man who last wore that jumper (as we call them) never thought it would end up under your skirt..lol!

colour by number said...

I just got back from walking the dog in the Chicago cold...I need your knickers!

badmomgoodmom said...

I went wild with a box of $1 sweaters from a thrift store.

I made a few camera cases
http://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/2007/11/minimalist-camera-case.html

and a laptop sleeve,
http://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/2008/02/not-minimalist-laptop-case.html

Pictorial nstructions are included in the posts.

Dana said...

My mom had a saying - where there's a will there's a way. Now you can wear dresses/skirts more often in the winter. Good thinking.

Interesting about the poodle haircuts. DH and I were just talking about those poofs on their hips. Maybe where their kidneys are?

Anonymous said...

love them! for easy dying to gray, order a packet of i-dye from dharmatrading.com. its inexpensive and easy to use right in your washing machine. you'll use the whole packet, so might want to find a few more items to toss in.

TracyKM said...

Great idea...I often complain that my thighs get cold when I walk (wearing pants). I've thought about making a wool over-skirt, LOL.
I've made toddler pants out of sweater arms, and I've made 'yoga' pants out of t-shirts, so I think I could do the yoga pant pattern with a sweater.

Tigerlounge said...

HI Gretchen - I just moved to New Mexico, and I seem to have gone from lady-like to lumberjack in about 10 minutes. It's cold here! THanks for this idea... I'm going to give it a shot and see if I can salvage my sense of style....