Hey, everyone! Long time, no post! That was unexpected, but we’re all fine over here. One week Flickr (where I store my blog photos) was down when I needed to upload. Then our computer showed the blue screen of death and was out of commission for awhile–luckily that has been fixed. And then it was school vacation week. Life! What are you going to do? Oh, well. Thankfully I’m back, and while it’s been a surprisingly busy week, I really wanted to get this post out.
It’s been awhile since I had a real craft fail, but these tights are definitely that! And it’s not the fault of the pattern. Oh, no. It was a combination of user error in the form of a serious rookie mistake and a miscalculation on my part about how stretchy my fabric was and what that meant for the pattern.
So let’s dive in! I made tights! Yes, I actually MADE TIGHTS! You don’t see a lot of patterns for tights, although it’s not hard to imagine that you could combine a leggings and sock pattern or something, but as someone who loves sewing from a pattern more than drafting or hacking patterns, I wanted a tights pattern. After making my fun wedding guest outfit back in October, I realized that the cost of awesomely-colored tights could really add up. I started to wonder if there were any patterns out there to make your own. That’s when I stumbled on this blog post from Lauren Taylor’s blog, Lladybird. A long time ago, she had tried out the Rose Hip Tights by Seamster Patterns.
This is an “old” pattern as far as modern indie patterns go, and it came out before there were a lot of indie patterns on the market as we know them today. That made it a little hard to track down because Seamster Patterns seems to have disappeared in the mid-twenty-teens. I thought I had hit the jackpot when I found the pattern on Kollabora, so I bought it and tried to download it.
Here’s a PSA for any of you that think that is a good idea–don’t do it.
I couldn’t get the pattern to download on my computer. It seems the site had made me a mysterious login and password which I hadn’t chosen and couldn’t access. After searching the internet, I started to see forums and discussions pop up where other people had tried the same thing, paid money, and gotten no pattern and no response from Kollabora. I had also e-mailed both Kollabora and a blogger friend who had once made the pattern to try to find out what happened, but had gotten no response from Kollabora.
Then I remembered reading an article by the Craft Industry Alliance about the founder of Kollabora and her newest venture, CraftJam, so I e-mailed the help section of CraftJam to see if they could assist me, even though it seemed like a bit of a long shot. Around the same time, my blogger friend sent me a copy of the pattern, since I had paid for it and didn’t seem to be getting a response from Kollabora.
Luckily, CraftJam was both very responsive and kind enough to dig up the pattern and send it to me. Their customer service was amazing and they really went above and beyond since they are a different website from Kollabora altogether.
As for Kollabora, while it’s still around, it isn’t really active at this point. That’s a long, drawn out story, but I wanted to share it in case anyone else has the same issue that I did. I don’t recommend flooding CraftJam with questions about Kollabora. I just wouldn’t try to buy any patterns from Kollabora at this point since it seems to be largely inactive at the moment. Maybe someday a new company will buy it and revitalize it, but as of this writing I don’t think that has happened.
All of that means that I’m now blogging a pattern that is more or less unavailable, which is an interesting choice. I know. I still want to discuss it, though, because some of you may have this pattern, but have never tried it, and I have a not-so-good memory, which means I might just forget I made these tights if I don’t blog them! Haha. Sad, but true!
So let’s get to it. This is the first time I have ever tried a Seamster Pattern, and this one is really cool. The Rose Hip Tights have options for thigh high stockings, low rise tights, and high rise tights. I decided to make the high rise tights. It’s clear that the designer put a lot of thought into these. There are only four pattern pieces–the main leg piece, the foot, the crotch gusset, and the waistband (or leg band for the thigh high stockings). The seams are strategically placed to look nice and not chafe, which is cool, and there are instructions for how to adapt the pattern to your fabric depending on your height, foot length, and the fabric’s stretch. The sewing is not too difficult. I think I did all or almost all of it on my serger. (I’m struggling to remember since I made these in fall 2021). Overall, it was a nice, quick project. And the thought that I could have tights in whatever color I wanted was pretty appealing.
I decided to try the pattern out first with double brushed polyester (DBP), which I bought from Cali Fabrics. I got some in mustard yellow and some in lavender. DBP is, as far as I can tell, what they make those super soft leggings everyone loves out of. And the nice thing is that the fabric is usually not very expensive. Seems like a win, right? Well, it could be…if you don’t mess it up like I did. Hahahaha. Here’s where the rookie mistake comes in.
When you cut out a pattern piece on folded fabric, you are actually cutting out two mirrored pattern pieces. When you cut a pattern out on a single layer of fabric and need two of a pattern piece, you need to cut one with the pattern right side up and one with the pattern upside down to get those mirrored images. Well…in my mustard fabric I cut two right side up. Yep. I’ve been sewing for a respectable number of years now, and I totally did that to myself. And the real kicker is that I didn’t even notice until I was sewing the crotch seam, almost at the end of the process! I was very confused for a moment there! Haha. Then I figured it out, but I was so close to the end, that I just decided to finish them so I could at least check the fit. Guess what? Perfect fit! Too bad one leg will always look inside out.
Sadly, the purple pair is also a bust.
These two fabrics had a slightly different amount of stretch to them, and using the calculations in the pattern, I decided to sew an XL and lengthen the yellow by 4″ and shorten the purple by 2″. I did not change the foot length. Figuring out exactly how much to shorten or lengthen was the one part of this pattern that I found confusing. I managed to cut the purple fabric out correctly and the sewing went great. When I put them on, however, the crotch of the tights was probably about 2″ too low. Looks like I didn’t need to shorten them after all. Ugh. I knew I would never wear these as tights if they fit like that. Another fail! (A pretty funny fail, just like the last one, but a fail nonetheless.)
On the plus side, I tried one pair of tights with optional elastic in the waistband, and the other without, and I liked both options. The feet fit great, and it was a cool pattern with a great fit overall.
After telling my mom about it, she suggested cutting off the feet and using them as footless tights, leggings, or pajamas. This seemed like a brilliant idea (Thanks, Mom!), so I did that and just used my regular sewing machine to make a little bar tack at the edge on the serged seam so it wouldn’t come undone. After testing these, I found they wouldn’t work as regular leggings for me, since they are a little see-through. On my daughter’s purple leggings (blogged here), there is a bit more ease, and they really aren’t see-through. With the tighter fit of these on me, though, they are. So, they could still be pajamas (the yellow) or footless tights (the purple). And maybe the feet could make some “interesting” socks? I don’t know. In all honesty, these may not stay in my wardrobe for long, but we’ll see.
And despite the total failure of this particular project, having this pattern in my pattern library really is a win. It’s a good pattern with real potential. I also appreciate a good laugh at my own expense once in awhile. 😀
That being said, if you have a great tights sewing pattern or fabric recommendations for sewing tights, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!