Avery Leggings: View A vs. View B

I wasn’t initially taken with the Avery Leggings pattern from Helen’s Closet. I don’t really need or sew activewear, and if I did decide that I wanted to, I already have the Pacific Leggings and the Aires Leggings patterns. But, as often happens when you’re digging around on blogs and Instagram, I found myself swayed to try the pattern by other people. Megan’s versions really sold me on the pattern, and I went out and bought some space-dyed activewear knit from Joann’s just a few days later.

 

Thanks to a combination of overestimating how much fabric I would need and getting offered the rest of the bolt as a remnant, I ended up with enough fabric to make both views A and B. I thought it would be good for me to try both views—I figured I’d likely get two wearable pairs of leggings and a chance to assess my feelings about high waisted bottoms. For a while now, I’ve been feeling like the general shape of my body might be better suited to high-waisted pants. I have that high-hip shelf (a broad high hip and then a sharp slant towards my waist) that is good for carrying small children around but means that mid- and low-rise pants just ride straight down my body.

 

I’ve been getting very tired of yanking my pants up all the time but I also have some 90s-induced high-waisted pants trauma. Like, the very idea of a tight, rigid waist band that gives way to a poofy-fit through the hips makes my skin crawl.

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Anyway, after trying the mid-rise waist (which I probably would have gravitated towards if I were only making one pair) and the high waist, I am a total convert to Team High Waist. Why have I stubbornly waited so long!?

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A view of the gusset before sewing the inseams.

In general, this is a great pattern that is very easy to sew up. I love the fit and process of sewing the triangle gusset. The construction of the waistband is very straight-forward. The resulting leggings in both views are streamlined but look much more professional than the ultra-simple lounging leggings I’ve made from my favorite Ottobre pattern.

 

Ultimately, I prefer the shorter leg of view A and (obviously) the high waist of View B. Unlike every other leggings or elastic-waist lounge pants I have, the high waist stays in place with zero tugging and feels completely comfortable. I have done zero activities in these pants beyond lounging around at home, but I would definitely feel comfortable wearing these hiking or for yoga. The activewear knit from Joann’s is nice and dense, which makes these leggings perfect for moving out and about in the world (it turns out that I just don’t do that very much).

 

I so strongly prefer the high-waist to the mid-rise that I haven’t worn the mid-rise at all. Knowing I could wear a pair that doesn’t ride down means that I no longer have any tolerance for a slipping waistband. I’d like to have a pair of Avery leggings in black, so my plan is to eventually buy enough black activewear jersey to make a third pair *and* to replace the current waistband on my mid-rise leggings with a contrasting black waistband that will make them high-waisted. After I made these leggings, I also ended up buying two pairs of high-waisted skinny jeans and can report that my quality of life has significantly improved. Yay!

Helen's Closet Avery Leggings

Blackwood Cardigan

I ended my post about my failed Jalie Dolman and failed Ottobre tee by making it sound as if my sewing life got infinitely more successful after those projects. But really, the next thing I sewed—a Blackwood cardigan—is likely destined for the thrift store. The difference between this project and the ones that feel like failures is that I embarked on this cardigan knowing there was a very good chance I would dislike the final product but I still enjoyed the process of making it.

Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan

The thing is that while I wear my cardigans open the majority of the time, I really just don’t like the way that open-front cardigans look on me. My friend, Abby, and I have had many conversations about the problematic nature of the open-front cardigan. But while she has given them up entirely, I still keep stubbornly trying them out. The open-front cardigan is really just one of several things like ballet flats, pumpkin ales and crochet that I know are not for me, but that I still keep testing on the off chance that maybe I will finally like them.

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So when the Blackwood cardigan pattern was released, I immediately thought “open front cardigan—danger” and, at the same time, “that looks really lovely and I want to sew it up.” I happened to have 2 yards of this gray cotton/poly sweater knit that I had no plans for and decided to use it to try this pattern. I cut out View A, which is the long version with pockets. My bust measurement falls between the L and XL, but my waist and hip measurements are squarely in the XL range, so I just cut a straight XL.

Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan

This was a lovely and satisfying pattern to sew. Everything goes together really easily and results in a really cozy, clean-looking finish. I particularly like the look of the fitted, but long and slouchy sleeves, and I love the detail of the pockets on the long version. To sew the pockets, I used stay-tape on the pocket edges and then used a fabric glue stick fix the pockets in place before top-stitching them. These steps made it very easy to sew the pockets and get a nice finish.

Blackwood Cardigan in Sweater Knit

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I have seen many, many versions of this cardigan on blogs and Instagram that look really effortless and comfortable on the people wearing them. My finished cardigan looks nicely sewn and very wearable. And yet, I will probably never wear this. It is still hanging in my closet but it’s very likely to end up in the next round of donated goods. I don’t really mind the way that it looks in these photos, but I don’t particularly like the feeling of wearing a long, open-front cardigan. (Oh yeah—in addition to disliking open-front cardigans, I also hate wearing any top layer that extends longer than my low hip, so this poor cardigan was doubly doomed.) Also, I finished this cardigan 6 or 7 weeks before I took these photos. At the time, I was still firmly in the “baby or burrito?” stage of pregnancy, and I had a really negative reaction to seeing this cardigan on my body–it just seemed to frame and highlight a part of my body I was feeling fairly self-conscious of. That doesn’t seem to bode well for this cardigan getting any more wear in the fall when I’m dealing with postpartum body fluctuations.

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However, I’m not disappointed by this project because I genuinely enjoyed the process of making it. After two frustrating projects, it was just nice to sew something that came together easily and looked nice at the end, even if I didn’t think that it actually looked nice on me. It reminded me that I am not terrible at sewing. Also, this fabric is not great, so I’m not broken up about having used it up. It has already started pilling and is one of those poly-blend sweater knits that wants to constantly stick to itself—very annoying.

Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan

Lest you think this has finally put me off of the open-front cardigan, just know that I purchased the Jalie Helene pattern around the same time I bought the Blackwood pattern and am still planning to sew it up. I am a bit more optimistic about the Helene working out for me—it’s a little shorter in the body and has more fabric at the fronts, which I’m hoping will mean that I’ll feel more comfortable wearing it. I like at least having the option of pulling an open cardigan closed around me. We’ll see what happens…