Hoppo Bumpo (n): A children's game. Played by folding one's arms and hopping on one leg. Aim is to bump opponents, so that they lose their balance. Last person standing wins.

November 07, 2010

Hoppo Bumpo and the Pants of Misfortune

A few months ago I decided I was rather fed up with making toiles. All those calico practice-runs were slowly sapping my sewing spirit. Darn it, I wanted to take a pattern out of the envelope and just make something. No re-drawing this, that and the other; no taking a bit in here and letting some out there; nothing. So I started looking for a short cut.

I started my quest with Kwik Sew 3716. The blurb on the envelope said it was a semi-fitted jacket. Perfect. As we all know, semi is the Latin for not really.

So after a few cursory measurements, I cut the pattern and fabric and got sewing with some nice grey Ponte di Roma. It was so much fun just to sew something without labouring over all the alterations. Liberating even.

But as I got closer and closer to the finish (and started trying on 3716) I could see things were going a little awry. The shoulders were droopy. The back looked awfully wide. The jacket was going to be swimming on me. The sewing started to become slower and slower as I tried to put off the inevitable - completing the ill-fitting Jacket of Doom.

To this day, Doom sits waiting for its sleeves to be set in and a hem to be stitched.

But not to be defeated (read: not having learned my lesson) I decided to look at smaller pattern companies for my magic-no-alteration-needed pattern. Then I found it: an independent pattern line promising that it had been drafted for people with big stomach bones. My eyes lit up. This was my ticket to alteration emancipation. I snapped up a pattern for yoga pants*.

I raced home with the pattern and cut and sewed the yoga pants.

Everything was great. Well, except for the fact that the pants were a bit short. And the top was all puffy and the legs too narrow at the bottom. In fact I looked a little bit like MC Hammer.

Never mind. I went back to the pattern and cut a smaller front and a longer, wider leg. Then I cut and sewed the yoga pants.

Everything was great. Well, except for the fact that the top of the pants was still too puffy. And the crotch was a bit short and I had to speak with quite a high voice.

Never mind. I went back to the pattern and redrafted the crotch curve and took a tuck out of the front of the pattern. Then I cut and sewed the yoga pants.

Everything was great. Well, except the back of the pants looked saggy and there was a funny protrusion at the centre front seam. And I looked a bit like Harry High Pants.

Never mind. I went back to the pattern and added two darts at the back and reshaped the centre front seam. I lowered the waist at the back to account for my sway back. Then I cut and sewed the yoga pants.

Now as you can see above, everything is great. Well almost. OK ... not quite.

Lesson learned.

* For British readers I mean "pants" in the sense of "trousers" and not "pants" as in "undies". Because frankly it would a little bit wrong to do an exercise class in your undies. Unless its that really weird Bikram Yoga where the room is heated like a furnace. I've never been to one of those, but I should imagine that everyone would need to be in their undies.


  1. Oh my gosh, this post made me laugh, and after an exhausting day I really needed a laugh! That said, you have my admiration for even knowing how to do all those things you mentioned :)

  2. Hilarious! What a great start to my Sunday ;) I reckon you should have stopped at the MC Hammer pant stage. You know their back in fashion right?

  3. That photo is freaking me out. Did you Photoshop out your torso, or are you wearing a shirt the same white as the wall?

  4. So Liesl, when will your line of patterns be coming out ?

  5. Oh.My.God.

    If I can breathe again and have dried my tears, I will need lots of Vodka to kill the pictures in my head from popping up with half-naked (or should I say semi-naked? *ggg*) peolpe making Yoga in a sauna.

    How did I get there from a Jacket Pattern you started with? Unbelievable!

    Thanks for making me laugh!

  6. It sounds like everything was...well..great. You're a hoot Liesl :)

  7. That is why I am making myself a skirt.

  8. Oh Liesl! I may just have to stick to sewing children's clothes. You have put the fear in me!

  9. I am with rachelmp. I was just about to delve into the world of making my own clothes and might be too scared now (because I sure as hell don't know how to do half of those adjustments!). Oh, thanks so much for the laugh though. You are so flippin' funny!

  10. Ha, you are hilarious! That is definitely something I would do too. Too lazy for my own good, always ignoring that 'time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted'.

  11. What Jodie said!

    Perseverance, you get bonus points for perseverance.

  12. Now I have visions of you dancing around singing "Stop! Hammer time!" You make me laugh, and for that I am ever so truly grateful.

  13. That's so funny! They do look very comfortable though, that's very important!

  14. You are one funny chick! Write a book - I know that there is a great tale just waiting to be told!

  15. First of all, this post made me laugh a few times! And secondly, good for you for trying again (and thirdly, link to this pattern company?).

    My first thought on seeing the pants was; GREAT fit! They do look fabulous on you.

    Also: I long to sew out-of-envelope as much as possible. I'm a relatively experienced seamstress but I hate fit and alteration (and lack a dressmaker's shape. Hence I sew for my kiddos mostly.

    Thanks for sharing and again, good job!

  16. This makes me smile for two reasons:
    1) I am not the only person who doesn't seem to be made to fit the patterns out there


    2) In my home, we have the "hat of DOOOOOOM". It involves a child, and a pair of trousers, situated around their head like a toque. If the child is an infant, they will attempt to pull it off by pulling it down...and hilarity ensues. ;-)

    Thanks for the chuckle!

  17. Hi Liesl,

    I landed in your blog via a search for gingerbread-house-making instructions (house pieces made, awaiting construction). I was delighted to see how many of your blog posts came with the tag of 'general silliness'. I'll be back to read more again soon.

  18. Ha! I had a dress like this. I abandoned it with one sleeve in. Found it the other day just when Tintin needed new trousers. Hey presto, guilty W-I-P removed from my life & small boy in trews. hurrah for recycling! Jacs x

  19. I sew a lot too. I have a pear shape body that calls for altering almost any garment I buy. Many times I get a pattern from some garment from Value Village, cut it apart and then make it in another fabric that I like better.

  20. oh dear "If at first you don't succeed, you're running about average"

  21. No posts for quite awhile. I hope all is well at the Hoppo Bumpo household.
    Michigan fan.

  22. Liesl, this is the story of my life! I hear you, girl!

  23. We'll have to get you started with a pattern block that fits well - then you can design your patterns from that.



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