1.26.2014

The Roly-Poly Tunic + Fancy Pants Leggings

I first became interested in sewing not because I had a love of textiles.  Nor was it because my inner artiste (preferably said with a French accent) had an insatiable desire to create.  It wasn't even because I was looking for a creative outlet.  Nope, it was a whole lot less inspiring and more practical than any of that.  The truth was, after Jude was born I saw the most adorable boutique kids clothing and natural toys and they were way out of my price range.  The DIYer in me was convinced I could make something similar for a lot less.  Yes, it's true.  I was drawn to sewing because I wanted to be a big copycat... more or less.  :)

There can be a fine line between copying and inspiration.  I really don't believe there's any truly original idea.  We're all influenced by what we see, if only subconsciously.  One of my favorite places to find inspiration, like many of you, is Pinterest.   So when I laid eyes on this pin, I felt my inner copycat insisting that I recreate (um, copy) it.  Especially since Rachael from Imagine Gnats had invited me to be part of her pattern tour and I had chosen the Roly-Poly Tunic for Iris.  Iris even has a pair of shoes that are somewhat similar to the pair on the pin.  How could I resist?  It was destiny.  :)

roly poly tunic and fancy pants leggings

I don't know why I waited so long to make this tunic.  Maybe because I had made a somewhat similar pinafore here and the fit was a l l wrong.  It was way too wide for the (at the time) baby but too short for Tia.  It never was worn.  

roly poly tunic and fancy pants leggings

But, oh this roly-poly tunic fits perfectly.  

roly poly tunic + fancy pants leggings

It comes together fast, too.  And I mean fast.  I skipped the topstitching, which made it even faster.  I just haven't been into topstitching lately, so skipping it was an aesthetic choice more than one made out of laziness.  :)  I promise.

roly poly tunic + fancy pants leggings

I love the subtle detail of the front pleat.

roly poly tunic

I made the tunic using Carolina Chambray Black and finished it with wooden buttons.

roly poly tunic + fancy pants leggings

The pattern has the option to make the tunic reversible, but I liked the chambray so much I knew I'd choose it every time.  So I lined it with this cotton couture in soft white.  I pretty much use this stuff to line everything these days.  I love it.

I cheated on my favorite legging pattern - the Sunki pattern and decided to try the Fancy Pants Leggings pattern, which came recommended to me by my friend, Inder.  My verdict is - I have a new favorite leggings pattern - at least for babies and toddlers.


fancy pants leggings
business in the front

fancy pants leggings (back)
party in the back

I really love the contrasting panel- so cute for littles in diapers.  Both pairs of leggings have cuffs, which are hard to see in the photos.  But I love them.  Such a nice touch.  Also, they are a one piece leggings pattern (outside of the waistband and cuff) and the fit was great!  I had read one-piece leggings patterns results in baggy knees, but there were no baggy knees here!  

Initially, I was intimidated to sew with knits because I worried about how my machine would handle them.  Would sewing with knits cause me endless frustration?    Would the final product look homemade... in a bad way?

roly poly tunic + fancy pants leggings

So I was delighted to learn that sewing knits is easy.  Finding the right knit fabric, however, hasn't been easy. 

roly poly tunic + fancy pants leggings

Most of the knit fabric I've used for leggings has been much too thin (for leggings), in my opinion.  It's one of the major downsides of having to do most of my fabric shopping online.  I've discovered I personally like a knit fabric weight of a minimum of 9-10 oz  for leggings.  Even worse, several pair of the Sunki leggings I made got very pilly, even though I bought the fabric from a highly recommended retailer.   

If anyone has any recommendations on where to purchase high quality knit fabric in a heavier weight, I'd be grateful for your suggestions!


fancy pants leggings
Lines converge!

For these leggings, I found a super thick knit that was a dream to work with/sew.  I'm not thrilled with the way the stripes look when stretched, but the fit is good, so they mostly aren't stretched.   The thick knit gave the leggings such a nice shape.  I loved the pattern so much and they came together so fast that I immediately make another pair in a grey knit I had sitting around.  The grey knit wasn't as thick as the black and white but overall, they looked great on her and I think they'll hold up well.  

Iris Lucia gives this outfit her stamp of approval.

my iris girl

If you're interested in the Roly-Poly pattern, or any of Rachael's patterns, all of her patterns are 20% off for the month of January with the code 'januarytour'.

Thanks, Rachael, for letting me try out your Roly-Poly tunic pattern.  I'm a huge fan!  :)



26 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous outfit! Yes, finding good knit fabrics can be difficult. If you can locate any by Hilco or Lillestoff I can really recommend the quality. They're both German manufacturers. Lillestoff are even organic. They tend to be pricey but really worth it for the life you'll get out of the garments.

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  2. Such a cute outfit! I'm about to embark on my first pair of leggings, the Oliver & S Playtime pattern. Thanks for your tips on fabric and I look forward to reading suggestions from other commenters.

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    1. oh watch out! leggings are so addictive! :) good luck with your first pair! i don't think you can make just one. ;)

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  3. Very cute outfit! Thank you for the write up... I have been eyeing this for ages and 20% off is just the incentive I need to add it to my collection :)

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    1. oh great! it's such a fun pattern and so fast. i hope you love it as much as i do! :)

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  4. love this outfit! and i think you perfectly balanced inspiration with your own creativity. so cute on her. also do you know about ponte knit? i think it'd be great leggings material.

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  5. Totally love this. Perfect fabric combo - maybe I should get this pattern after all!
    And agree with Jane - Hilco & Lillestoff knits are fab in terms of quality

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  6. oh, yes! this is THE STUFF, my friend :) wonderful outfit, adorable girlie (as usual!), lovely pics, and that pleat. well, i'm a huge sucker for that pleat. thank you!!

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  7. I love this in the chambray! And that pleat totally makes it. And I loved it all even more with the striped leggings...just fun and a little different and one of those outfits that would just make me happy every time I saw it on. And that model is pretty cute, too ;)

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  8. So freaking cute! Two adorable patterns here. So, did you opt to use elastic in the leggings instead of the waistband? I have to say, one of my favorite things about the Fancy Pants is the lack of elastic - in a nice stretchy fabric, they stay on great, and Joe says they're SUPER comfy. I do also love the nice close fit of the leggings - if anything, they're a little skin-tight "Men in Tights" on Joe! But they really do fit just right.

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  9. As usual I love it. The pleat, the chambray, the straight. Hahaha, is so cute!! About fabric, did you chec Chez Ami? According to their website they have heavier weight knits. ;)

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    1. Ups! Orthographic corrector in another language. I tried to say Did you check?

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  10. oh, the cuteness! that little tush as she peeks behind the tree - just makes me smile:) I'm a sucker for chambray in any variation, so of course I love this tunic! Good choice with the pleat - love the interest it gives to the front. And as always, your pictures are stunning!

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    1. thanks so much, Lucinda. i love your style so much.

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  11. I absolutely love this entire outfit! This is a good reminder for me to look back at the things I pin and actually use them as inspiration :) I'm also curious to see the suggestions for thicker knits as they seem to be harder to find. My daughter has some great knit things from Hanna Andersson but I have no idea where to buy that type of fabric.

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  12. And now I shall pin this and copy YOU. Ok, I'll skip the pin and just go make it for KCW. I have a chambray dress that I want to "up cycle" and a pinafore pattern from when I first started sewing. Win.

    Also, really enjoying your on-going knit/leggings discussion. (There's a sentence only a sewist would say) I always wonder how they hold up in real life!

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  13. Gorgeous outfit! So stylish but still great for kids. I love the fancy pants leggings pattern too...so cute!

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  14. I think I've lost track of your knit leggings pattern tryouts. We need a table please with the pros and cons of each pattern!
    Iris is looking so incredibly cute in these pictures!

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  15. love love love love love! Rachel, everything is perfect. I actually want that outfit for myself!

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  16. I love what you did with the leggings! I made two pairs just the other day but mine look far less classy than yours!
    And they look great paired with the pinafore! Such a cute outfit!

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  17. This is such an adorable outfit. I really like the subtle colour of the tunic and there should definitely be more stripey leggings in the world! I'm so happy to hear you like my pattern :)

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  18. I have been sewing a lot of leggings lately too (O+S Playtime leggings are my fave) and I'm with you on the quality of knit. I bought some from a well-known online retailer recently that was listed as medium weight and "perfect for leggings" but they are still a bit thin. I wonder whether the other offerings from the Etsy shop you linked to are as nice as the ones you had bought? Also, the tunic is a-dorable. I love it!

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  19. I have NEVER noticed the front pleat detail.....so awesome!!!

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    1. I like that detail, too! Thanks so much for stopping by... and taking the time to leave a comment! :)

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