Author Topic: What to Sew While Losing Weight?  (Read 16985 times)

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Offline marie-louise

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What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« on: January 16, 2012, 02:32:46 AM »
I've started a diet. So far I've lost 8 pounds in 4 weeks, partly by joining Weight Watchers online and mostly by increasing the amount of exercise. I'd like to lose about 40 more pounds; then I'd be back to my best adult weight.

Here's my problem. For a variety of reasons, I want to take things slowly and aim for losing a pound a week. That means for most of this year, I'm going to be progressively changing sizes.

Suddenly, I don't know what to sew and what size to sew it in. I'm having sewing withdrawal!!!

I know a lot of people have lost weight on this forum. What did you do as you were losing?






Offline Jewels

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2012, 12:28:09 PM »
I also am losing weight this year.  It will be a little more than 40 unfortunately.  And it will take me all year to do it.  I'm planning on mostly seperates and staying with some core basic patterns that I can easily add flair to for different unique looks but are easy to adjust and quick to sew up.  I find skirts are very forgiving for weight changes especially ones that the hip/waist can easily be taken in some.  Pants in my mind would be harder to alter and shows more quickly weight changes.  Just my thoughts and may or may not work and I'm sure someone else has more experience and better ideas for accomadating these different stages.  I'm just looking at is as an opportunity to change out my wardrobe a lot.  :) 
Julie

Offline marie-louise

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2012, 01:23:21 PM »
A few ideas I've come up with so far, but more ideas are welcome! It's just not the same, thinking about sewing something you'll only wear for a couple of months.

Marciae mentioned that a size of 1-seam pants will get you through 25 pounds or so. I've made several pairs of them in my current size, and I suspect she's right. So I can make those in progressively smaller sizes.

Last fall I started trying to get over my [irrational] fear of sewing with knits. I'm planning to make a lot of T-shirts and yoga pants in various sizes.  I'll wear them and then give them away when they are too big. Meanwhile, I'll get more practice getting the necks and hems to look better.

I watched Peggy Sager's jeans webcast last week. Making a pair of jeans never crossed my mind before, but she made it look easy. I was planning to buy jeans in progressively smaller sizes as the year went by (I live in California, you can wear jeans almost anywhere here) but I ordered her pattern. Duh, I can make them instead! It's sort of like knits-my first few pairs of jeans will probably look a little homemade, but after a few pairs I will get the hang of it.

I just finished a couple of robes and I'm working on a nightshirt.

I'm really stuck on how to take things in/ remake things. I suspect I will become really good friends with my seam ripper over the coming months. Why, oh, why, did I make so many Sewing Workshop tops with French seams? And topstitch everything?

PS For those of you who don't know me, I'm retired and need clothes for 2 ends of the spectrum: the casual shirts/ jeans/ jackets you'd think, but I need dressy clothes as well-we go to a lot of plays and symphonies.  Oh, and I have no stash, so I can't use this as a good opportunity to use up fabric I've already bought. Anything I make, I'll need to purchase now. (It makes it harder to think about giving things away in a few months when you've just bought it!)

Offline ejvc

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2012, 01:58:08 PM »
Marie-Louise:

Congratulations on your weight loss so far, and (speaking from my experience) the slowly-and-surely way is the way to go.

I must confess I just sew whatever when I'm losing weight, and then if it's eventually too big I donate it.  Also I sew a lot for other people.  I found that many things would fit throughout much of my loss, and if I stopped sewing I'd be sure to plateau!

Elastic or tie-waist skirts are good, as are swing jackets that fit at the shoulders mostly.
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Offline SylviaS

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2012, 06:01:09 PM »
Marie-Louise, thank you so much for starting this thread. It is so close to my heart!  I have 53 lbs to lose, 4 gone, thank goodness, this year.  How lovely to live in California!

I have just come back to sewing as I found it so hard to buy clothes I liked and which had a good fit. However, all the styles I love are for the slim me (I used to be a UK size 8-10) and could wear anything and look good. I really think coming back to dressmaking has made me want to lose weight but like you I want to do it slowly and sensibly. I am aiming for a UK size 12. (Now a 16/18)

I love designs and fabric and I love the finished clothes but to be honest the sewing part is just a process to be got through for me. I am a perfectionist so it is hard going. I have started pattern drafting and really enjoy that and it doesn't worry me that I will have to change my blocks (slopers) to keep up with my changing shape.  But sewing something and then not be able to wear it because it is too big?  Arghhh!!! And as for alterations!  I am almost allergic to them.

I'm retired too, and I find I need my smart clothes mainly for lunches. (But I love smart clothes!)  However most of the things I really need are for in the home and so I guess that is where the answer lies.  I think I will hone my sewing skills by making simple, comfortable but reasonably inexpensive clothes so that I look good at home while I am waiting for the weight to disappear. 

One question!  I have never made 1 seam pants. Which pattern do you recommend please?  I live in trousers in the house so they would be a good place to start.

Please let's keep this thread going. I need like minds to help me along.

Hugs, Sylvia

Offline marie-louise

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2012, 06:30:54 PM »
The "real" One-Seam pants are by Louise Cutting Design (I read somewhere that she's even copyrighted the phrase) but others make similar designs. Here's a link to Louise's:

http://webstore.quiltropolis.net/stores_app/Browse_Item_Details.asp?Shopper_id=98131151952159813&Store_id=516&page_id=23&Item_ID=1193

Offline miranda

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2012, 12:07:07 AM »
Hi

I think David Page Coffin's moveable waist looks useful for that:  http://makingtrouserswithdpc.blogspot.com/  You need to page down a bit.  Doing this, you'd start with the "maximum" waist size at your current size, and make the adjustable bits to go down smaller. 

(If that makes sense...  I haven't had much coffee, and we've had a hot, sticky week moving house and my brain melted.  Or I packed it somewhere...)

Miranda

Offline SewRusty

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2012, 02:09:19 AM »
Are there any pants patterns that have an elastic waistband that don't look like they have an elastic waistband? It seems like I remember reading a review of just such a pattern long ago, but haven't the foggiest notion what it would be....of course, even if I found it, it's probably out of print.  ::)

Offline marciae

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2012, 02:11:33 AM »
Are there any pants patterns that have an elastic waistband that don't look like they have an elastic waistband? It seems like I remember reading a review of just such a pattern long ago, but haven't the foggiest notion what it would be....of course, even if I found it, it's probably out of print.  ::)

The one seams don't look like an elastic waist pant.
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Offline shams

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2012, 02:32:52 AM »
The Linda (and other Style Arc pants) don't look like they have an elastic waistband.

Offline JillyBe

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2012, 02:51:05 AM »
The LaFred Thalia pants  have elastic only in the back.   The front has pleats and buttons; you could move the buttons & I'm guessing that they would be good for a 20-ish pound range...15 for sure.
The daily dilemma:  Build up the stash or sew it down?


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Offline SewRusty

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2012, 03:41:07 AM »
Thanks ladies! I'm eying the style arc ones pretty hard, but don't know which to choose!

Offline Madrona

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2012, 04:07:20 AM »
Are there any pants patterns that have an elastic waistband that don't look like they have an elastic waistband? It seems like I remember reading a review of just such a pattern long ago, but haven't the foggiest notion what it would be....of course, even if I found it, it's probably out of print.  ::)
I'm down 18 lbs. since August and have another 20 to go for goal #1.  My answer:  Maternity pants.  I live in Maternity pants... and my daughter is 4 years old.  I will probably wear maternity pants when she is 20.   ;D  I have an 'apple' shape and am shaped essentially like I am 5 months pregnant -- all my weight is in my stomach/upper body, with narrow hips and a flat butt.  In fact just today I was upstairs fixing up some RTW maternity pants so they won't fall down (which I'll explain how I do it if anyone was interested).  But stuff like this is awesome for losing weight, just as it is gaining a baby belly:  JCP Maternity Jeans.

Burda used to have a pattern for pants like this, but I can't find it online at the moment.

Offline sdBev

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2012, 03:40:42 PM »
... I have started pattern drafting and really enjoy that and it doesn't worry me that I will have to change my blocks (slopers) to keep up with my changing shape.  ...
You may not have to change your block as much as you think.  I have narrow shoulders and will always need to do an NSA no matter how much I do and do not weigh.

Since most of you are thinking of alterations, can I suggest a minor sewing change?  Move the stitch length from 2 to 3 or 3.5.  It's much easier for you to rip out but strudy enough for the several weeks/months you may have to wear the garment.  I use the 3.5 anytime I know I'm making a wearable muslin because I know I'm going to be ripping out seams someplace.

Now that I'm think of this topic, RuthieK went through this process 2 maybe 3 years ago.  She did a really nice write up about what she chose to sew, when she altered, and the alterations to make.

Offline marie-louise

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2012, 04:08:11 PM »
Now that I'm think of this topic, RuthieK went through this process 2 maybe 3 years ago.  She did a really nice write up about what she chose to sew, when she altered, and the alterations to make.

I'd love to see that if anyone can find it. I did a few searches before I started this thread and I didn't find it.

And thanks, that is a great reminder to lengthen the stitch length. So many of the things I sewed last year have tons of topstitching, all sewn with small stitches.

Offline SewRusty

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2012, 04:42:34 PM »
The Linda (and other Style Arc pants) don't look like they have an elastic waistband.

Any suggestions on choosing a size? I think I need a 12 (based on my hip measurement), but my lack of waist indicates I would need a size 18 or 20! They're kind of expensive, so I don't want to get the wrong one!
I'm liking the Linda--somewhat business casual but with an elastic waistband to keep them in place. And they seem to flatter everyone. It's either that or the palazzo pants.

Offline SylviaS

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2012, 04:50:08 PM »
I have to confess that I usually adjust the stitch length to 3 anyway unless it is an area I want to have particularly strong.  The old eyes don't like tiny stitches these days so I make them bigger 'just in case'.  I think any adjustments to the sloper will be made happily as long as it is because I am slimmer but I would far rather make clothes from scratch than have to alter. I never like things as much when I have messed around with them.

I am going to take a look at those trousers and there are some nice swing jackets out there that would look good and last a while so they are another possibility. I will look for the RuthieK thread too.

SewRusty, I think we may have a similar problem, my waist is not in proportion to my hips by a long way. Making my own sloper solved this problem but if I were buying a pattern I would go by the hip measurement and alter the waist as I think that would be the easiest way.

Cheers, Sylvia

Offline marciae

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2012, 06:53:16 PM »
Email Chole - StyleArc and ask her about sizing.  I'm sure Shams orders by her hip?  It would be pretty easy to adjust for the waist - much easier then adjusting for the hips.  StyleArc is in a different time zone, obviously, but she answers very quickly.
I refuse to tip toe cautiously thru life only to arrive safely at deaths door.
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Offline shams

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2012, 07:27:47 PM »
It's true, Marcia.  My hips are a size 10.  My bust is a size 18 (PLUS FBA).  My waist is off the chart.  But I find it easy to increase the waist, if needed.  (It's not always needed.)  Talk to the StyleArc folks and they will guide you.

Offline Jewels

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2012, 10:59:52 PM »
That's good to know about ordering by hip size not waist.  I didn't think about that.  Thanks for the tip.
Julie

Offline tcsewhat

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2012, 11:32:36 PM »
I used to have an alterations business and still do it for myself and friends.  I have lost 30 pounds on Weight Watchers and am working on 20 more.  Rule of thumb- 10-15 pounds is 1 size.  You can alter clothes smaller- and still have them look good for about 15-20 pounds.  Any more than that and you need to buy a smaller size in patterns or RTW.  If you cut too much out of stuff- especially pants, it skews the fit and they look funny. 

Simple styles in knits, like straight tops or tunics, can just be taken in by the side seams.  If you take in pants legs be sure to take in both the inner and outer leg seam.  Otherwise, the legs will twist on your body.  As you lose weight, the crotch on your pants will hang down farther.  You can take this in by sewing a deeper upside down U from inner leg to inner leg.  When the waistband gets too big, look at how it is put on.  Some now have seams at each side seam.  This gives you a spot to take it in.  If it has a CB belt loop, take that off.  Take it in right up the CB seam and thru the waistband.  Then sew the loop back on to cover up your alteration.  If you are willing to pick thru all the top stitching you can even do this with jeans.  When your thighs get smaller, your pants will all get longer.  Don't make them shorter until you have adjusted the waist to fit. Get the waist where you want it and then pin the hem.   

When taking in stuff for weight loss- remember that no one but you sees the inside of your clothes.  You don't have to finish it as beautifully as when you first made it.  You want to get it to fit you - not for entering in a sewing contest.  Just do quick and dirty.  You are probably going to get too small for even your altered clothes.  So just do what works so they will fit.

Simple styles are easier to take in.  But princess seams give you more spots to alter.  Linings means you have to alter twice- so think about it.  Silhouette Patterns has a yoga pant that is easy to fit.  Peggy has a video on them online.  She has even made them in stretch denim, so they look like jeans.  They are only 4 pattern pieces, so those might be a good one to try. 

Keep wearing your best colors.  Don't slouch on style while you are losing.  Show off your new figure and it will inspire compliments- which will inspire you to keep going.  Keep up the good work!

Offline bela saudade

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2012, 02:09:48 AM »
Tcsewhat that is great great information. I imagine so much of that would be helpful for the post baby weightloss crowd. Thanks for sharing.

Offline SylviaS

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2012, 09:15:38 AM »
Tcsewhat, what a brilliant first post!  Welcome!  I am going to print it out and keep it for reference.  I especially like the  advice to ' do quick and dirty' !  I think the reason I hate altering is that I am something of a perfectionist and spend hours trying to make it look as good as it did originally.  I am going to try it your way this time.

Great advice, do keep it coming!
Sylvia


Offline Bunny

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2012, 02:30:57 PM »
You may want to check out Debbie Cook's blog, Stitches and Seams.  She has been in a similar situation over the past few months and journaling about how to deal with sewing and the weight loss. Definitely go back and read her earlier posts. They are very inspirational. She looks wonderful and it truly comes from within. I think you would enjoy her blog.
http://stitchesandseams.blogspot.com/2012/01/m5523-good-things-come-to-those-who.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+StitchesAndSeams+%28Stitches+and+Seams%29

Offline marciae

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2012, 02:38:37 PM »
Tcsewhat - great info.  Thanks for sharing - and welcome to SG I notice that is your first post.  This is a great sewing community.  Glad to have you with us.
I refuse to tip toe cautiously thru life only to arrive safely at deaths door.
Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders & says...  'Oh darn ........ she's awake!!'
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Offline Sergerqueen

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2012, 03:08:44 PM »
Tcsewhat, thank so much for your informative post.  I hadn't thought about the upside-down U for taking in the long crotch length.  It's the reverse of the right side U for a short crotch length.

Offline CassandraW

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2012, 04:27:26 PM »
I'm glad I found this topic, as I am beginning a "get fit" program tomorrow. I have about forty (40) pounds to lose as well.  I am taking this as opportunity to use up fabric from my stash that no longer "sing" to me.  I have purchased fabric because it was a great buy and now I think. . .what was I thinking?!  I'm going to sew these fabrics in simply, quick garments. 

Someone mentioned the webcasts that Peggy Sager's has on her Silhouettes website and I discovered these around Christmastime.  I have learned to much from them. Since December, I've purchased several of her patterns and I've made four skirts, three jackets and one blouse.  Her patterns go together very quickly and I feel like I'm learning so much about good fit. 

I'm looking at this get fit journey as taking sewing lessons on draping and achieving good fit as I slim down and get healthy.  I'm going to replace endless snacking in front of the television with being in my sewing room making simple, well-fitting garments. 

For those on their weight loss journey, my weight loss coach said something that really made me think.  I've been struggling with my weight for years and she said, "If weight loss were easy, everyone would be thin."  Amen!!

Offline tcsewhat

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2012, 08:26:42 PM »
Glad I could help everyone.  I have been around for a while, but haven't posted.  I was too busy reading all the good stuff here.  And if I sit on the computer for too long, I don't get any sewing done!

I find that in RTW pants and jeans gaps at the CB waist.  I figured out how to take that in myself.  I found that as I lost weight, this was a good place to remove extra fabric.  So I didn't finish it off as fancy as it was done when I bought it.  I knew I would have to go back in and alter more.  I just cut thru the waistband facing and overlapped it a bit.  In jeans, you can split open that double-stitched CB seam.  Pick out all the topstitching and overlap the 2 pieces even more- like a wedge.  Then use matching jeans thread to topstitch the seam back in place.  It doesn't have to be the thick seam like it was originally.  Cut off the extra fabric underneath and sew your altered waistband back on. 

I do cut away extra fabric.  I am promising myself that I will never get fat again.  So I do not need the "in case" allowance in the clothes.  This inspires me to stay on my diet and keep losing.  I have gotten rid of a bunch of clothes that are too big- and that feels fantastic!

I have a jacket to finish.  Off to sew.

Offline marie-louise

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2012, 07:25:06 PM »

...Rule of thumb- 10-15 pounds is 1 size.  You can alter clothes smaller- and still have them look good for about 15-20 pounds.  Any more than that and you need to buy a smaller size in patterns or RTW...

tcsewwhat-

Thanks from me as well. You should post more often!!! All of your information was helpful, and the part I quoted was very timely. As of today, I've lost 10.6 pounds, and things are starting to get pretty baggy. Another 5 pounds & I'm gonna start getting nervous about my elastic waist pants slipping down at inopportune moments. I'm going to have to pull out some of my patterns and see what the difference is between sizes. In a perfect world there would be minimal use of a seam ripper and instead, I can just cut off the seam/ seam allowances and start over.

I did have one rather inspired idea about making jeans. I bought Peggy's Sager's basic pattern & some stretch denim that's muslin-colored. I plan to trace off a few sizes w/ different colored tracing papers/ sharpies and then keep re-fitting it as I lose weight. I don't know if that will work or not, but I envision that I will have a multi-sized "muslin"to keep altering. I'm looking forward to her webcast tonight.

Offline marie-louise

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2012, 07:29:15 PM »
You may want to check out Debbie Cook's blog, Stitches and Seams.  She has been in a similar situation over the past few months and journaling about how to deal with sewing and the weight loss. Definitely go back and read her earlier posts. They are very inspirational. She looks wonderful and it truly comes from within. I think you would enjoy her blog.
http://stitchesandseams.blogspot.com/2012/01/m5523-good-things-come-to-those-who.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+StitchesAndSeams+%28Stitches+and+Seams%29

I have read her blog, and I agree, it is very inspirational. Her idea to go to Target and buy inexpensive clothes for the short term was a good one for her, because she needed to have well-fitting clothes for work. I'm delighted to say, after too many years spending far too many hours working, I don't because... I don't work.  ;D I just need well-fitting clothes for the idyllic life of a young retiree.

Offline marciae

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2012, 07:55:16 PM »
I would not go thru the trouble of making jeans and try and downsize them - - JMHO.  Peggys yoga pants are quick and easy - if you make the elastic waist smaller than the recommended one on one and you can wear them longer.  You can sew those pants up in half an hour if you use the serger.
I refuse to tip toe cautiously thru life only to arrive safely at deaths door.
Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders & says...  'Oh darn ........ she's awake!!'
Age may wrinkle the face, but lack of enthusiasm wrinkles the soul

Offline marie-louise

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2012, 10:00:01 PM »
I would not go thru the trouble of making jeans and try and downsize them - - JMHO.  Peggys yoga pants are quick and easy - if you make the elastic waist smaller than the recommended one on one and you can wear them longer.  You can sew those pants up in half an hour if you use the serger.

I was planning to buy jeans in progressively smaller sizes as I lose weight. I've never sewn them so I figure if I start now, by the time I'm done dieting I might actually be able to make a pair that's presentable. I'm way too lazy to make repeated muslins-although I'm certain Peggy is right and it is the best the way to go. So...I was thinking, what about a muslin that I could keep taking in, then transfer back to a pattern and make a new pair as I keep shrinking.

I wear RTW yoga pants all the time, and I'm going to use Peggy's pattern to make some when I need a smaller size. It seems silly to pay $50 a pair for them at LL Bean when I could make them for a lot less-and I'm guessing they'll fit better.

Offline Sergerqueen

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #32 on: January 24, 2012, 12:01:15 PM »
Marie-Louise,
Your strategy is exactly what I've been doing.  I bought a few pair of inexpensive jeans (Lee on sale at Kohl's) then made Peggy Sagers yoga pants.  I have lost 20 pounds and would like to lose another 20.  The yoga pants are super flattering!

Offline tcsewhat

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #33 on: January 26, 2012, 12:53:45 AM »
I agree- making jeans and then altering them is not worth the time.  But if you have RTW jeans, you can make them smaller to get you thru till you are a smaller size.  I did not want to spend the money to buy every size as I lost weight.  So I altered them 1 size down and bought new when I was 2 sizes smaller.  You want to save some $$ since you will need an entirely new wardrobe when you are done. 

I have noticed that in some RTW jeans the topstitched seams are "fake".  They are not really flatfelled seams.  They are just serged together , pressed to one side and stitched down.  This makes it easier to alter them.

Yoga pants- I get mine at Target.  They have a bunch from Champion that are nice.  And they come in proportioned sizes.  Short, average and tall.  I can buy the short and not have to hem them.  They have a couple different styles- cropped, leggings and a slight boot cut.  They also have reversible ones.  The fabric is a nice weight.  I know people who have even worn them to work.  With a long top on, you can't tell they are yoga pants. 

Stetchy pants like yogas are key when you are losing weight.  Because the fabric will snap back from the lycra, they won't bag out on you.  When you are almost a size smaller, they will still fit nicely. 

Offline tcsewhat

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Re: What to Sew While Losing Weight?
« Reply #34 on: January 26, 2012, 01:01:53 AM »
One more thing on altering pants.  If you have RTW pants that are labeled "relaxed " or loose, turn them inside out and lay themm flat on your cutting table.  You will see that they just curve out the seams on the thighs to make them relaxed.  So when you lose weight, you can just straighten out that curved seam to take in the legs. If you see this, you do not have to take in both inseam and outseam.  Sewing off the curve will not affect the way the legs hang, so you can just take off the extra on the outer thighs where it is too big. 

I was always amazed when I did alterations to look inside RTW.  All these things that home sewers are taught they "have" to do to make their clothes fit and look right- RTW doesn't do some of them.  So why do we?   

 

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