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March 2017

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REVIEW: Hey June Handmade's Sloan leggings from Sprout Patterns

This is my second Sprout Patterns project review—the Sloan Leggings by Hey June Handmade—and for those who are all about the tl;dr, I loved this one just as much as the Concord t-shirt from Cashmerette.

The big news from this project is PRINT ORIENTATION CONTROL. I didn't even know it was an option for the Concord t-shirt, but let's just take a moment and appreciate how satisfying it is to be able--in the 2D view on the site--to click and drag the art to align with a particular place on the pattern pieces.

If you don't care about pattern matching, or if you can't look at a pattern piece and see intuitively something like "that is the hip area of the leg" or " that is the center front seam," then you might not care about this feature. If you do though, you will understand why I love the option to control something like--in the case of this project--whether the final garment (pictured above) will have "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" on, say, a butt cheek.

But on to fabric: I ordered two different designs, each in a different fabric: “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” by Celia Forrester in sport lycra and Tree Lace - Emerald by peacocquettedesigns in cotton lycra jersey. When they arrived, the contrast between the natural fiber textile and the synthetic fiber textile was striking. I don’t want to make a value judgement—your preference will depend upon a number of factors (hand, color saturation of the print, shiny vs matte surface) but ultimately i’d suggest that you order test swatches in advance if you are uncertain which fabric to choose. I’m particular about leggings, and my preference depends upon whether i intend them for fashion purposes or athletic wear/underlayer warmth.

This pattern requires some additional notions: fusible tricot interfacing and clear 3/8” elastic. Unless you have a sewing room fully stocked with all kinds of elastic and interfacings, you’ll have to hit up the local fabric store or order them from a separate vendor. Since you get the instructions as a PDF as soon as you place your order, there’s plenty of time to negotiate getting that stuff in advance of its arrival.

(Brainstorming aside: I wonder if Sprout is considering a “notions option,” where you could pay an extra $5 or whatever and your package include the appropriate notions for the project? But maybe it’s not cost-effective. Anyhow.)

The two fabrics I chose had very different characters in terms of ease of workability. The cotton lycra is clingier, doesn’t slide around as you pin it, whereas the sport lycra’s smoother surface makes it a much slipperier textile. The seams in this pattern are very simple and well-drafted in terms of matching up, but if you are nervous about sewing with stretch fabrics and/or slippery-smooth fabrics, you’ll find the cotton lycra a middle-ground fabric choice.

That said, if you know you want the sport Lycra but haven't sewn it before, you get enough scrap after cutting out your pattern that you could do quite a few practice seams as samples before jumping into putting your leggings together.

For the t-shirt I made previously, the instructions noted that i could use either a stretch stitch or a zig-zag. For the leggings, a stretch stitch is noted as required. I assume this is for strength of the seams, given how much stretch is in the fabric and how snug the fit is on the garment. Even my super-cheapo domestic machine ($75 Brother from a craft store, because I rarely see at home) has stretch stitch and serpentine stitch options, but if you only have an antique machine, you still might do okay with a standard zig-zag.

My cotton Lycra leggings at left. I used the serpentine stitch #16, as shown at bottom right.

I completed a pair of leggings in just under two hours, start to finish; and like with the Concord t-shirt, I did all my cutting on my living room floor and stitching at home with a domestic machine in order to get an idea how these patterns would go together time-wise for a home sewist. Again, i’m not utterly unfamiliar with sewing garments from stretch fabrics, but at the same time, i wouldn’t call this a challenging project for even a novice stitcher. It’s a fun afternoon of sewing, and results in a great pair of custom leggings! Think of the possibilities for dance costume design...!

Have you tried a Sprout Pattern yet?

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