You might not know it, but I haven’t taken blog pictures in two months. Over the course of the fall I started having sciatic pain in my legs, and by November it was full-blown back pain! Thankfully, it’s all been sorted out now (my nerve was being pinched by sitting on plastic school chairs and driving), and I’m now back to normal.
Being immobilised by pain really threw me for a loop though. Who am I if I can’t do my job (which involves a LOT of sitting) and I can’t sew? I’ve already lived with tendonitis in my arms for a decade, and I felt stupid for having developed another repetitive stress injury. I spent a lot of time in physiotherapy, massage and with my chiropractor, which all required a workout wardrobe that I just don’t own.
(BTW, we did a post on the Sewcialists recently about being a sewist with chronic health issues, and it is worth a read!)
Faced with the idea of going shopping and trying things on in a dressing room while in pain, I decided that it was faster and smarter just to sew my own. So through November and December, I speed-sewed myself a mini-wardrobe of super-high-rise leggings and big loose tops. I’d already agreed to test Cashmerette’s new athletic patterns, so the timing was perfect!
There are the Belmont leggings, sewn in size 18 with a 1″ petite adjustment at the shorten line, and 1″ slashed and spread to the back rise. There is an optional gusset, which I included in this version, but probably don’t need in the future. I’m just not that flexible that a gusset ever comes into play! There is a seam on the inner and outer leg, and the elastic is encased in fabric. On me, they come up above my belly button.
One thing you’ll notice when looking at my pictures is that there are some wrinkles at the upper thigh, knee and crotch. I’ll tweak the fit slightly next time, but I’m also going to heed the advice of Heather Lou and accept good enough without going down a rabbit hole of fitting! These fit better than any RTW, and almost as well as my darling Espressos. I wore them all day yesterday, for errands, pictures, yoga, and lounging, and I never once had to yank them up in place!
The fabric is some kind of wicking polyester from my local Len’s Mills store, which has good 4-way stretch and great bounce-back. I got comments on my athletic gear every time I wore it – I guess everyone else was wearing a lot of black, but that’s just not me!
The fabric from the top is from Len’s Mills, too, and it’s the most beautiful thick rayon/poly blend, with just a hint of melange. I loved it so much that I bought it in 4 colours! If you are from Ontario and happen to live near a Len’s Mills, it’s worth going to search for this knit! The pattern is the Tessuti Isla, which against all odds has become my current favourite TNT top. It’s perfect for yoga/physio/etc because it’s loose enough to hide the waistband of your high, tight leggings, but has no gaping at waist or neckline, even when you are upside down or twisted in a pretzel!
I meant to sew the Cashmerette Cedar dolman top too, but as my back got worse, I just couldn’t handle it. I do have the pattern all printed together though, and I can attest that there is some great side shaping in the larger cup versions! I predict it’s going to be a favourite of mine for summer, with and without the cute ties. I’m also wondering about putting little dropped-shoulder sleeves on it for winter, so watch this space!
Now that I’m back in good health, I’m getting back to what makes me feel good. Blogging is one of those things, even if it means timer selfies on my iPhone, like these! (My wet hair was literally freezing into icy chunks while I took these, but it was easier to shoot outside than to clean my house!) I’m also easing myself into building my core strength to avoid future back problems by doing some “Yoga With Adriene” a few times a week. I loved Cashmerette’s post yesterday about being body-positive in the new year, and I’m trying to invest in what makes me feel happy and healthy in the long term!