That’s not how you do Espresso!

Hello again! Long time no see, fret not Dear Reader I have NOT fallen off my “no-buy clothes” wagon. I merely dropped my camera, which broke miserably. I focused my efforts on researching and buying a new one, and a tripod, and a remote shutter control. Also I continued to be fixated on sewing indie patterns. I zoomed my attention on Espresso leggings, by Cake. Cake is a brand that has tons of fans, but I could not bring myself to purchasing any of their patterns for dresses, skirts, or blouses, even though they are flirty and fun. I don’t know what’s wrong with me… After reading many enthusiastic reviews from various bloggers about the genius that the Espresso is, I downloaded my pattern, and all sort of craziness started… You see, this is not really a pattern, you draft your own pattern on this special grid, using instructions and your own measurements, so you’re supposed to end up with a pair of leggings designed to fit your unique body.

EFFORT #1 (let’s call it a muslin…)

IMG_0090The fabric was destined to be a maxi dress back in the day when I was learning to sew. I was planning to make the dress during a 6 week “Working with Knits” course at a  local sewing studio. Sadly, that course was the worst way to spend about $300, the course was so bad that it almost killed my will to sew.  Anyhoo, 2 years later I pulled out whatever remained out of that sad pile of ruined fabric, and made the first draft of the Espresso leggings. Please restrain your laughter…

PicMonkey Collage1Ridiculously, this is my favourite pair of Espressos I’ve made so far! I love how the print enhances my, ehem, curves, and how it sort of mimics the look of muscle fibres. I feel very strong in those pants (and a little like a Cirque du Soleil performer), although I know that they are faaaaaaaaaaaar from being flattering. Meh, move on to next versions!

EFFORT #2 and 3

The boring basics, one slim ankle, the other one with a bit of a flare. I just wanted a bit of a variation in the look, something I could wear over a short boot in the winter. Soooooooooooooo boooooooriiiiiiing!

PicMonkey Collage2EFFORT #4

By now, I should know that one should not do a knit pattern in woven fabric without accounting for the lack of stretch. Not even if the knit has some stretch in it. Or go ahead and do it, but just don’t expect to be able to sit down or move in it or something… Because one might have to do something crazy like cut open the sides and insert strips of a heavy knit, so one can actually move.

PicMonkey Collage3Yes, it is the same fabric that I made Laurel dress out of. I think that I might have still left over for ANOTHER pair of pants!!!


Last but not least, but definitely the worst:


Blue-green stretch velour. Why? I don’t know why, I had it in my stash, I did not know if I ever make anything out of it, and it seemed appropriate. Somehow, these are the worst fit, loose behind knees, loose around the ankles, I don’t know why:

PicMonkey Collage4

So there, now you know how not to make Espressos! But I have to admit, I wear them all a lot! I even wear the Version 4 and 3 (with the flared ankle) as pants (GASP), even though I generally don’t regard leggings as pants. And even though it might seem like I made 5 versions  all of which were failures for various reasons, I felt like it was a fun exercise in sewing. Perfect for those times that you can’t commit to sewing a more involved project, and need a quick make just for a  pick-me up.

So did you like my pictures taken with the new camera? Do you like my “art staircase”, courtesy of my monkey? Till next time!


18 thoughts on “That’s not how you do Espresso!

  1. I really like the first pair! And the black ones are great! And I can see you wearing the ones with the stripe – good save! The velvet is a bit crazy… but then, some days, crazy is just right! They’d be fun with a black knit dress, perhaps?

  2. Gillian linked me and I’m really glad she did! You’re a hoot! I’m really glad the bad class experience didn’t kill you will to sew, that makes me sad when something like that happens…

    And your espressos!!! What fun fun fun! I think the purple muscles are my fave too. For the velour, it might be that the recovery just isn’t that great, I’d suggest just bringing in the seams a bit at the knee through ankle and you’ll see a big difference. 🙂 love your work!

    • Steph, first of all, I’m so honoured that YOU commented on my humble blog! The reason why I kept on sewing (esp. with knits) is YOU! Your series on sewing with a serger and using different stabilizers for the seams and hems was absolutely inspired and life changing. So thank you for all your blogging, your knowledge that you so selflessly disseminate for the sewing benefit of others. And your patterns I just adore, but like I said, I don’t know what’s wrong with me that I still have not purchased one… Silly me! Thank you for everything!

  3. I prefer the “Cirque du Soleil” version myself. I think you could pull it off with a nice tunic or a huge sweater and some booties during the holidays’ party season. Though I don’t plan on making leggings in the near future, I will look them up if I need a pair. All of your makes are so successful!

  4. Fun! I love seeing your experiments with different fabrics and prints. I’m kind of in love with the velour pair. I work on a college campus were it seems like most girls wear black leggings every single day. Now that’s boring!

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