April 20, 2017

Sewing for climbing

People wear lots of different kinds of clothing for indoor climbing. Those who just come for a day out often wear their regular clothes while people who practice climbing as a sport usually choose some form of sportswear. There are brands dedicated to climbing wear too.

At the moment, I am usually wearing my old RTW sports trousers (sort of capri length). The trousers I made back in 2015 served me well for over a year but the fabric has suffered too much by now. I do usually wear some kind of me-made top though.
Because I know it can be hard to find the right fabric for sportswear (or outdoor stuff, for that matter), I thought I wouldn't mind buying new trousers for climbing.
And then I found out all you can buy are leggings... (and sweatpants, which are way to warm). Often bright, printed or shiny ones. And don't get me started about so-called yoga pants. Those are just leggings with a slight below the knee. I'm not sure I have pointed this out before but I really don't feel comfortable wearing leggings in a sport in which I am often suspended above any spectators...

Anyway, to make a long story short, I decided I would be better off trying to invent my own perfect version.
I sewed them up in a single evening and wore them the next. They're still on the washing line now, but here is a quick technical drawing:

I used a wide stretchy waistband which turned out to be way too loose (if I had not been wearing my harness, I'm not sure the trousers would have stayed on). I plan on cutting it off, making it smaller and inserting elastic for some added firm stretch.
The fabric I used for the rest is my favorite cotton/linen blend which is really comfortable but might not be durable enough for sportswear. 
I am very happy with the special climbing details I added: The long crotch gusset allows for an excellent range of movement and the pleats at the knees seem to work too. I may just pleat them the other way in the next version (they seem too tight the first time I bend my knees but are absolutely fine once they have been pushed open by that movement).
I will take pictures once the trousers are ready to be put on again...

April 12, 2017


A new pair of retro-style jeans, that's what I promised you, isn't it? 
Well, I finished sewing them before last weekend and I was quite happy with the result. All I needed to do was pose for pictures... 
Which I did, in a bit of a hurry, on Sunday. But sometimes pictures just don't turn out that great. The lighting is rather bad on these (they're just a bit too bright) , my apologies.

I used the pattern I drafted for my favorite calf length jeans. I just made them full length this time. And I adjusted the fit. I ended up taking in the side seams by a whopping 1.5 cm per seam at the hips and waist (so where-ever it is anywhere near close-fitting). 1.5 cm may not sound like much, but a it means loosing that amount on both the front and back pattern piece on both sides. So that's total circumference of loss of 6 cm. If you know that the usual difference in circumference between dress sizes is between 4 and 6 cm, that's a lot. Especially for a custom drafted pattern. Of course, the pattern is a year-and-a-half old and I have been very sporty in that time. Clearly, that made a difference.

I am quite happy with the finished product. I like the fit and the feel of the fabric. I like the retro feel of the design but I'm glad I didn't try to go completely   "period". Jeans with wide legs were worn in the 1940's but those would have a much lower crotch. Despite having the waistband at the natural waist, I went for a much more modern kind of fit. I've tried the vintage style and I kind of like it but I think I still prefer a fit like this. 

As usual, I used flat-felled seams on the back yoke, center back seam and inner leg seams and stitched those with thick, golden yellow jeans thread. 

It's a nice new shape which I am sure will be very welcome in my collection of trousers... 

April 8, 2017

Confession time...

Fellow sewing blogger Tanit-Isis has an interesting statement on her blog (it is written under her profile picture): "Sewing is what I do when I'm cheating on all my other hobbies..."
Nice, isn't it? I don't know how demanding her other hobbies are but for me, sewing was the undisputed first hobby for many years. I didn't bring any sewing with when on holiday and I could sometimes get distracted by machine knitting but overall I was pretty faithful. That is, until some point between now and about two years ago when a sport started to get in the way. I have never been the sporty type but I did really fall hard for sport-climbing (no pun intended).

Now, I also have a more demanding job than before, and my transformation into a climber is still going on. Lately, I have had even less time to sew because I have found something which combines my love for making things with my love for climbing: I'm learning to be a route setter at my local climbing hall!
For the uninitiated, route setters are the people who screw the plastic holds to the wall in artificial climbing areas. Each route is set in one colour and there are different levels of difficulty. And the routes are changed regularly (in this place, a route stays on the wall for about 6 months, unless there is something wrong with it and it taken down sooner). I've set six routes so far and apart from the first one, they are all still on the walls. And I feel like learning with each new one...

This is the card I made for the latest addition:

This blog's namesake! (and for those of you in the know: Here in the Netherlands, climbing halls use the French grading system. So this route would be something like a 6 in IUAA and a 5.10a in the USA) At this climbing hall, route setters do not only get to name the climbing routes they created, they also get to design a card for it. The card should include the route's name and grade but the design is completely up to one's own choices. Right from the start, I thought it would be nice to try and stick with vintage fashion as a theme for mine...

Oh, and please don't be too worried. I might cheating on my sewing hobby but I will never leave it. In fact, I have a new pair of 1940's style jeans to show you tomorrow.