If it seems that all I’m making at the moment is leggings, you might just have a point. I am doing a little bit of secret knitting on the side, mostly because you can’t take a sewing machine and overlocker on the train without getting some seriously funny looks; although now that I think about it I’d love to take a sewing machine on one of the big trains that has charge points by the table and sit there sewing – I think the looks would be on a whole new level to the sideways glances you get for knitting!
Anyway, back to the sewing. I actually have a huge pile of sewing sat next to the machine but it takes me so long to thread all the needles and get my desk organised to be able to overlock and use the twin needle on my sewing machine that I’ not moving them, or fitting another needle until I’m fully up to date on the leggings front. And, if I make the leggings before I get to the point of needing to do a big proper grown up declutter and tidy up of the studio then I don’t have to find somewhere for the fabric to be stashed. It’s slow tidying at its very best.
And with the girls’ pairs all finished, and worn, and sat in muddy puddles, and washed and worn again, it was time for some for Pip.
I love leggings for little people, they’re so cosy and they’ve got room to wriggle and move and stretch and do all the things that babies and toddlers should do, while also looking incredibly cute. We’ve had some gorgeous pairs over the years (and if you’re not planning on getting to grips with an overlocker I can happily enable a legging addiction by pointing you in the direction of Lottie and Lysh and Maybelle & Bo!), but that little boy of mine possesses spectacular abilities to grow both out of and through his trousers. Perhaps three children is what it takes to wear holes in the knees or perhaps he just does it in style!
So, back to Innsbruck and the wonderful wall of jersey: we chose two prints for Pip on the basis that if I was only having half a metre of each then we could stretch to two. There’s still a nautical pair in my future, but I couldn’t resist starting with these monkeys.
I seem to have developed a bit of a habit of underestimating my son’s height on all available opportunities. I know I held up a tape measure vaguely in Pip’s direction and half a metre seemed loads, even allowing for shrinkage, but somehow when I got that half metre home it just didn’t look that big any more. I’d tried Elma’s elephants on him and while baggy, they weren’t ridiculously huge, and that’s an age 5. Only when I laid the age 5 pattern piece over the fabric did I remember that they’d fitted nicely into 3/4 of a metre.
This patten started out life as the age 5 size of that Oliver + S pattern but with some fairly heavy macgyvering to end up with something that fits him more closely but without being too stretched, so he can pull fleecy waterproof trousers over the top without them bunching up.
Although I knit while the children are up and about and awake, sewing tends to be a nighttime pursuit for me, and if I’m making something for one of them I always start second guessing how big they’ve got and wondering whether it’s too big or too small or just too too. With Pip’s monkeys I was worried that the ankles would be too tight; I was so tempted, not to wake him up exactly, but maybe to sneak a little foot out of his sleeping bag and just try it on. I’m sure he wouldn’t have woken up; well maybe not.
The sewing fates were on my side though; the ankles fit, and the chosen length of ‘this is the longest I can make it’, turns out to be just about long enough, at least for the next five minutes. The hem on them is absolutely tiny though; literally the ends finished on the overlocker, flipped under and sewn down so for the next pair I’m going to cut them slightly wider and put cuffs in.
And the verdict from their small wearer:
“Mine monkey trousies!”
He wouldn’t let me take them off him when it was bedtime; and so after we’d washed off the mud, and his sisters’ efforts at decorating, back on they went – I think that makes them a hit!