Sewing Projects

THE CRAZIEST THING I’VE EVER MADE: TIE DYE SETACULAR

If you feel like getting a little more attention than usual, make yourself a head to toe outfit from tie dyed knit and laugh inwardly every time you get confused side eye from confused pedestrians. I mean, that’s one way to do it.

I was feeling a little self-pitying and left out during the setacular explosion this summer and fall. I was knee deep in denim, hands and nails stained indigo from non-stop sample making, and in absolutely no position to make anything fun or frivolous, so I watched from the sidelines as Sophie trotted out yet another gorgeous matching ensemble while biting my fist in a cry of silent longing. And then more and more spectacular setaculars emerged from the blogosphere, as if the universe was openly mocking me: “ONLY DENIM FOR YOU. NEVER A PRINT SHALL YOU TOUCH AGAIN”.

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*Cue ubiquitous autumn photo of blogger holding a leaf*

Obviously I managed to  get my hands on a print again. To be specific, this magical mystery knit I scored at the studio sale of a local designer. Over ten yards for $15, to be more specific. I felt like I was successfully robbing a bank when I walked out with it. The contents are a bit of a whodunit – I can’t tell if it’s a bamboo or cotton lycra, but it drapes beautiful and has a lovely weight.

After washing it (my neighbors must have thought I was starting a weird cult when they saw it draped and drying all over my balcony) I lay it on my cutting table and let it talk to me. After a bunch of jibberish about the clouds telling the future and how Jerry Garcia is the one true messiah, it quieted down and told me: what it really wanted to be was a crazy draped tee and matching leggings. So I listened.

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For the last week or so, I’ve been taking care of myself. Not working like crazy, and just feeling good about making whatever my little heart desires. I have months of backlogged projects to tackle, and one of them was leggings. As I’ve discussed, I’m trying to figure out what my sewing practice will look like now that I don’t have a traditional nine to five. And what it looks like, for now, is comfort. And nothing says comfort to me more than leggings. After doing a little pattern research, the unanimous opinion seemed to be that the Cake Espresso Leggings were the absolute BOSS, and I have to concur.

This is an ingenious pattern. Rather than cut out a size based on your waist and hip, you are provided with what is essentially a grid of dots to connect. You measure your waist, upper thigh and knee, and then connect the points to get a pair of leggings that will fit your body perfectly. I especially loved that you can personalize the rise. I have a bit of a belly and nothing drives me more crazy than seeing a little muffin-top bump when I’m wearing a clingy tee or sweater over my leggings. These hit at my natural waist, so it creates a nice smooth line. I highly suggest you make a muslin first – my first pair was too high and the legs needed to be taken in a little, but after tweaking it I have the most perfectly fitted pair of leggings I’ve ever owned, and once you have the pattern set you can knock out a pair in an hour, easy. I’m already anticipating future makes; I have a ton of crazy printed swimsuit lycras just begging to be crazy pants.

My only problem with this particular pair is that the fabric, while insane and amazing, does not have the best recovery. I’m not sure what the lycra percentage is but I suspect it’s not enough. These really only get a couple of hours of wear before bagging out at the knee. But when worn in conjunction with this bananas top, I don’t think many people would notice.

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Like Ginger, I was mighty inspired by Ebony’s gorgeous Scout tee hack from a few months back. I love a high/low hem and I think there is something so lazily elegant about the silhouette. Rather than hack an existing pattern, I drafted this one from scratch over a few hours. I’ve been wanting to build a library of t-shirt blocks, so I started with a crew-neck raglan sleeve draft and then added volume to the body, tapering down to about 5″ in the back.

I stinkin’ LOVE this garment. I’ve been wearing it a few times a week (I work alone, no one has to know) and am already plotting about a million more. I used the Nettie method for the neckline and did a simple folded and double needle finish at the hem. And among my friend group, it is probably the most coveted thing I have ever made – my lady friends have been begging me to make more, but I am a selfish seamstress and have plans for the other 6 yards of this tie dye magic.

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Sadly, I think this may be the last outdoors shoot for a while. It’s already quite cold in Montreal and I was shivering in my booties while taking these pictures yesterday. White wall it is, then. The curse of the Northern maker.

So, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever made? And do you think I’m acid-high for walking around in this much tie dye?

  • There’s no way you’re acid high, this set is amazing!

  • truebias

    haha! ok, maybe i think you are a little crazy because i would never have the guts, but i still think it’s amazing and love you even more for being able to pull it off. plus, those leggings with a tunic – the best. such great pieces. love it!

  • You are a 70s dream! I love the shape of that top. XOXO

  • mokosha

    if i’m closer to you, i would steal your top in a heartbeat! already have a pretty similar pair of leggings, so no need to steal them too 🙂

    • Can we steal form each other? I want everything you’ve ever made.

  • The craziest thing I’ve made doesn’t even come close to this! I hope you wear this everywhere, and I mean everywhere!

  • It’s never enough tie dye!!! Although, if the fabric had been rainbow colored, I might have to take that statement back. What a fantastic, comfy looking outfit. I kinda want to hack my Summer Concert T to be longer now.

    • Yes, we must draw a line at deadhead tie dye.

  • I love this fabric! Such a great score! I am a huge fan of the Espresso leggings and your top is amazing!

  • Hélène

    The least I can say is that you won’t go unnoticed with both pieces worn together, but I would definitely wear them seperately. Awsome!

    • I wear them separately most of the time – although I did have a meeting at the bank in this outfit, which is kind of hilarious.

  • SO AWESOME. I love this make so much. I’d never thought of matching leggings. I need to do this now!

  • make some pink mermaid leggings so we can be leg twins

    • And everyone in Brooklyn can have their eyeballz explode when we walk down the street.

      • they can gag on our eleganza

  • Ezmae Watson

    Oh I love it! It’s insane & gorgeous. That top is my fave style – release a pattern of it please. You know, cause you’re not busy enough.

  • Kaydee

    Please release this shirt pattern!!! I would make about 20 of these and never wear anything else ever again!

  • Amazing! You are rocking this set. I fell your pain on the setacular sophie ran. I was pregnant at the time and about to burst. But I bought fabric the other day to make myself a summer setacular as soon as I lose the baby weight. I can’t wait!

  • CK

    damn………….you did good girl. I like, I really like.

  • Sara Berkes

    Love this! I want this tee real bad. I also definitely own the espresso leggings and didn’t even realize it until I went to buy them and had a memory moment. Lo and behold they have already been purchased! Sitting quietly in my endless PDF pattern stash. But I sadly do not have such amazing fabric, though I have something slightly slightly similar that I’m now inspired to make leggings out of… work from home outfits for the win!

  • This makes me happy! I’m glad you are taking things (a little bit) easy for a while – no point working til the fun goes out of your dream job, ammiright? This set is totally bonkers and also fabulous. You should have a tie-dye party with your friends who covet it and they can make their own!

  • Awesome. Just awesome.

  • I. want. this. Please?

    • NO! IT’S MINE! hahaha

      • patsijean

        I am much older than you, but am inspired. I have been looking for a good pattern to make leggings, so just purchased the Cake Espresso Leggings. Cool !

  • Sophie

    Um, well, this is amazing and setacular in every possible way. I love where you’ve taken the two-piece…some place wild and dangerous! Such an inspired make!

    • Thanks Soph! “You’re my inspiration…..” sings Chicago.

  • sallieforrer

    YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH TIE DYE!!!! Wheeee!!!! This is crazy in all the best ways! It also looks super comfy, and you can’t go wrong there. No sense taking this sewing thing too seriously. I mean, what’s the point if we can’t make something every now and then that is purely to make us smile?!

  • So now you and I need to go fabric shopping again. 😉 I’m sucking on knit picks, meaning give me a silk and I can hone in like a crack fiend diva. Give me a knit and my brain farts.

  • Amy

    Shivering but so pretty ;). Well, I’m a sucker for tie dye too. I just bought a jumpsuit in tie dye knit and there’s something about romping around in a psychedelic body…. And it’s so nice to have those basics down!

  • SmileDog Stitches

    I love this!!! I want this!!! This is definitely going on my “must make” list. Maybe after I conquer the Ginger jeans I’ll be able to make leggings. 🙂 Now that I have my own business on my property it’s nice to be able to dress the way I want to but I do have customers stopping by so I can’t stay in my PJ’s all day! This would be perfect!

  • Rachel

    This is crazy, but in a cool way. Love it!

  • coco

    Love love love – what a great make!!

  • I kind of wanna steal this top from you, just saying. 😉

  • Gah! I love this outfit and would totally wear it, like, way more frequently than anyone should. Awesome awesome awesome! I’m so jealous of your fabric score… the print is fabulous!

  • You are the coolest. That is all.

  • This top turned out so amazingly! Of course you wear it multiple times a week because: Gorgeous! I’ll take your cross pollination + inspiration and raise you one, cause now I need some fabulous tie tied fabric.

  • UH.MAY.ZING. I have the Espresso pattern but have never made them, and I think I could replicate the top by altering my beloved Plantain pattern. No idea I needed an outfit like this until now.

  • nathaliek

    I’m loving this! Thanks for sharing!