Sunday, February 15, 2015

Procrastination Sewing: Linden and Manila.

Linden Sweatshirt and Manila Leggings.

I took a long weekend (Monday is Presidents' Day here in the US) with the purpose of starting to dismantle, sand, prime, and paint my kitchen cabinets. It's a huge job. My cabinets are old and janky and most of the hardware is rusted or painted shut. It took me an hour just to pull off three doors and some of the screws are just stripped beyond use (Steve has magic ways of dealing with stripped screws; or at least, it seems magic to me!). The insides of the cupboards are all painted as well, and let's just say I've never really given them a good scrubbing in the eight years we've lived here, and I doubt the prior owners did either. You can imagine. I don't mind painting, but the prep (especially in detailed areas) is blaaaaaaah.

With a nice four day weekend and that giant and dirty task facing me, I did what any redblooded creative would do: I procrastinated. First by sewing up a shirt and shorts for Joe, and then (while the walking foot was hot) by sewing a few comfy items for myself.

Thrift Score - Izod Sweatshirt 2x Mens

The other day, I was sent to the grocery store on my own (always a mistake), and I just couldn't resist stepping into the neighboring Goodwill, which was advertising a Presidents' Day Sale. I found a cute pair of pants and cardigan that I will wear as-is, and I got also got a pile of clothes to refashion. One of my best scores was this gorgeous gold Izod sweatshirt, in Men's 2XL. I don't even have words for how beautiful and soft this sweatshirt fleece is. It is a sad fact that most yardage still pales in quality to really good RTW. In addition to being my favorite shade of "glorious yellow," this fleece is like golden fluffy clouds. When I grabbed it, I think I uttered a gutteral "MIIIIIIIIINE," to the surprise of my fellow Goodwill customers. 

When I got it home, I immediately set about trying to coax a Grainline Linden Sweatshirt out of it, which was tricky considering the original sweatshirt was not raglan, and even a 2X men's sweatshirt sleeve isn't as large as your average raglan sleeve. I managed it by shortening the sleeve significantly (preserving the cuffs as-is), which turned out totally fine and makes me wonder why the Linden sleeves are like five inches longer than this - clearly too long for my short arms. Otherwise, this is a straight size 12.

Izod to Linden
The little Izod logo was preserved.

I reused all of the ribbing from the original shirt, which was great. Ribbing is another fabric you can't seem to find in decent yardage. I have ordered a variety of ribbings from different sites, and they mostly ... pretty much suck. My local fabric stores have nicer quality, but only carry black and white. Whereas the ribbing attached to cheap clothing at Target is so much nicer. What is going on there? Anyway.

The final result .... well, I'm not going to pretend this is the most flattering item of clothing that I own, but ahhhhhhh, fluffy cozy warm golden cloud! So comfortable!

As far as the Linden pattern, this was my first time sewing it up. I bought it, somewhat against my better judgment considering it's just a simple baggy raglan after all, basically because I want to be Jen when I grow up. Her style is just so cool! She just looked so comfortable and hip in her boxy sweatshirts and skinny pants (and super great hair, and ... and ... I think I have a bit of a girl crush here), I couldn't resist. True to my expectations, this was an extremely easy and fast sew on the serger, and the shape is really cute and relaxed. I can't speak to the instructions, because I barely followed them; this is not my first raglan rodeo. I am looking forward to trying the pattern out with a softer jersey for a more figure-conscious relaxed tee. If I were to be perfectly honest, the pattern is probably a bit overpriced; then again, I tend to use simple patterns like this so much, I get my money's worth from them. The same can't be said for more fussy styles.

Given the cost of sweatshirt fleece these days, I was glad to try the pattern out on a $3 thrifted sweatshirt. The fact that said sweatshirt was about 500X nicer than any fleece I could ever buy by the yard just sweetened the deal! This was a very thrifty make!

And the virtue doesn't end there. I also grabbed this Merona turtleneck (another $3) because I liked the striped knit.

Thrift Score - Turtlebeck

And made it into this:

From Turtle to Tee

This was a simple upcycle. I cut off the turtleneck, lowered the neckline a smidge and used the turtleneck fabric (pieced) to bind the neck. Then I shortened the sleeves, took it in a bit at the sides, and reshaped the hemline to a curved shirt tail style. I can't stand wearing turtlenecks, I'm super weird about things touching my neck (and you wondered where Joe got his sensitivity?). Plus I feel like they look frumpy on me (but maybe that's just because I feel so squirmy and uncomfortable). Cowl necks are okay, because they're loose and don't touch the front of the neck, but real turtlenecks are ick.

Manila leggings and repurposed thrifted top
The kitchen walls are painted now. Next I'm working on the painted cabinets. Eventually I want to paint the wood ones as well.

And finally - yes, I know this post is long, but all of these were really quick sews! - a pair of Manila Leggings from Colette's "Seamworks" magazine.

Manil leggings, cuff detail.

For these I used some black rayon ponte de roma I bought at Stonemountain to make another Mabel Skirt. The good news is that I still have plenty for the skirt! (I chronically overbuy, I know.)

Again, this was my first time sewing this pattern. Based on my measurements, I cut out a size Medium, but graded to a Large at the waist. That turned out to be unnecessary, and you can see that the waistline actually gathers a bit. I could have done a straight medium.

Manila waistband

What I love about this pattern: The nice high rise, the cute cuff detail, how fast it sews up. The inseam length of this pattern was perfect for me, which was awesome. (I'm only 5'4" and have short legs, so if you are taller you definitely want to make sure these will be long enough.)

What I don't love about this pattern: It is obviously not made for my body type. The thighs and bottom turned out too roomy for me, and the calves are weirdly tight! Now, I grant you: I do have freakishly muscular calves for someone who barely exercises. And pear shape I am not. So if you are a pear shape with more ample bottom and thighs and narrow calves, this is your pattern! But I had to trim down the hips and thighs considerably to make these more wearable, and if I were to make these again I would forget about grading out in the waist and grade out in the calves instead. Ha! Luckily knits are very forgiving.

But hey, awesome new leggings! The ponte is thick and sturdy enough that I feel I could get away with wearing these in lieu of actual pants, at least on weekends (I admit I am not yet at the point where I feel comfortable wearing leggings instead of pants to work). Yay for comfy weekend clothes!

And now I should probably get back to scrubbing and prepping those damn cabinets. Procrastination sewing is the sweetest sewing!

Do you engage in procrastination sewing?


  1. Oh yeah, I am a pro at procrastination sewing! I love your refashions-- especially the striped shirt. I would never guess that was once a turtleneck. I tried the Manila leggings and mine were a disaster. It was the fault of the cheap fabric I used. I want to try them again. Yours look great in that ponte!

  2. i would love and wear all of these pieces. i have to agree that i still feel fabric is behind where it should be. but has also come a long, long way. it's awesome that more and more people are taking up sewing.

    you look great in all of these pieces. yes, i do procrastination sewing, especially before vacations/travel. although i do it less and less. i realize i don't like the stress anymore. i can't wait to see your cabinets!

  3. You've sold me those leggings. I have a big backside, huge thighs and a very delicately turned ankle! They sound like my kind of pants! :)
    I've also thought the Linden seems too basic to bother with, but then I've never seen one I haven't liked, yours included. I would wear it to death I'm sure.
    That's some good distraction therapy sewing, well done.
    Good luck with the kitchen reno!

  4. Very good idea to thrift ribbing - must try that! Your Linden looks terrific.

  5. Love that you are sewing for yourself.
    If you need ribbing and have the time to plan, I have so much ribbing it is not funny and I would happily post cuffs and neckbands, cut to size to you, if you post me a swatch.
    We could be fabric pen pals. I have just re-sorted my three (blush) tubs and I out a photo up on flickr for you.
    Just let me know!

    Good luck with your reno's.
    xx N

  6. Oh, lovely, lovely yellow Linden! You are so right, why is some cheap store clothing fabric much better than stuff we can buy? I constantly look at RTW clothing and think 'where the heck did they source that fabric??'. I guess they just have it manufactured to their specs because they use so much. But wouldn't the mills catch on and make a bit more for others? Sorry to bang on about it but, YES! As a fabric-store-owner I totally agree.
    I can't wait for the weather here to cool down so I can make a Linden. Such a great shape. I wanna be Jen too.
    Sounds like those leggings are made for my shape, ha. Nice procrastinating. Now, scrub!

  7. We've just finished the whole 'dismantling of kitchen cupboards for sanding and painting' and I envy you not one bit, hehe. But procrastination sewing is always allowed :)

  8. I was just thinking about starting a sewing project that needed ribbing but I'm totally clueless on how to find good ribbing and how to order anything online that might match. So I'll put that project off for a bit since it was going to be a procrastination project anyway :) I guess I need to keep an eye out for gigantic men's sweatshirts. What fun sewing you made!


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