Thursday, April 9, 2009

Teaching Teens Twin-Needle Stitching? Easy McCall's M5512*

I'm quite proud of these leggings. They look so ready-to-wear. Actually much better than anything you would find in the Bloomingdale's legwear department, which really is the best place real-time to find something for the part of your body that enables to walk. Can I just say how pleased I am with these? My main objection is that they're a bit high-waisted for my low-rider taste. My fear is that my teen-age students will say the same thing. But I've no clue about how to convert them into low-rise leggings. Absolutely none. Hey, maybe my pupils won't care. High-waisted jeans and skirts are back. Why not leggings? I'm not sure even Hilary Duff, whose name is on this pattern, would dare to wear belly-button hiding accessories. I understand that bare midriffs are out of style unless you are Britney Spears up on the stage singing "Womanizer." I understand, sympathize and have no interest in showing off my naval to the masses. Even teens who don't want to wear cropped teess might have a problem. I mean, these might feel like a girdle to them! They don't wear full-coverage underwear, why would on the planet would they opt leggings cut the same way?

So I'm nervous about this. The complaints, the groans, the sighs, the shrugs! But I'm not about to alter the pattern, at least in a three-hour timeslot. We need to start and finish on the dot, which can be done because I did this past weekend. If you stick with the pattern. Ignore the instructions though. McCall's would have you make a casing and slide the elastic through with a safety-pin! That's just plain dumb. I cut a length of elastic, which I stretched out to fit my post-high school hips. Stitched that into a loop. Marked the elastic and the leggings waistband into quarters with blue chalk. Matched up those on the sewing machine, using the three-step zig zag. I'm not going to tell you how I finished it, because I think it looks bad. Here's what I'd do next time. With the sewn elastic flipped to the wrong side, I'd anchor all that down with a straight stitch (tension 4) on the outside, getting as close to the raised edge of the elastic as possible.

Here's another thing I'd do differently. I'd use the twin-needle straight stitching at the bottom (right now Steam-a-Seam is holding the hem together). Now I know how to use a twin-needle, but it took me a long time to figure it out. I had to get over my fear of breaking the dang things. I still get nervous about that even now. Anyhow, I know how to set up a twin-needle stitch, but I'm thinking this would be difficult for a teen to do in what's being pegged as a beginner's class. What do you think? Should I just tell 'em to use a zig-zag instead or are they going to get all cranky on me about it looking homemade? Please advise now, before I head off to a local pub for a pint of Guinness Stout.

Perhaps you're wondering about the flocked appliques. Those are iron-ons! Two of them set me back 50 cents. Such a bargain. I only wish there were more of them left at Vogue Fabrics, but last time I looked there were about three hanging on a wall hook near the business office. I'm heartbroken because I can envision these appliques on a gazillion other things - blouses, jean pockets, more leggings even a wool felt hat.

One more complaint about the leggings. I prefer mine longer, closer to the ankles. I could lengthen them (I think) by simply splitting the pattern at the calves, adding some inches with extra paper and them taping the whole shebang back together, right? For those of you who like to wear leggings, what style do you prefer? Fabrics? Embellishments? I'm toying with the idea of offering this workshop for adults in the fall. What say you?
* I made these leggings using a 1 yard remnant of supersoft jersey. Set me back all of $1.99!

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