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Sewing Jurassic Park(tm)

undergarmentsGuys – you can go out to the kitchen and pour yourselves a beer or something. This is strictly distaff, ok?

Are they gone? OK, your Aunt Toby is going to jump right into this. It’s been cold the past week. Really cold. And if you like to wear a skirt for school or work, it can get pretty air-conditioned down there. Mighty chilly.

When your dear Aunty was just a young sprout, we did wear skirts and dresses to school (shoot, girls in New York State did not get the right to wear slacks to school until my senior year in high school, which was 19..well, it was before Watergate, ok?). And a lot of us walked to school or work and at that time, the style was sheer hose. As in Kate Middleton sheer hose.

And that is mighty chilly, especially if you were wearing miniskirts. I can tell you that. But for those of us who weren’t too worried about being thought not cool (heh), we did have a secret weapon, a garment made out of thin acrylic knit that was referred to as a ‘snuggie’. I don’t know if anyone else wore them (this was not the sort of thing that you shared in the girls’ room, I can tell you that; we didn’t go whipping our skirts over our heads to show off our underwear at that time. That came later), but this was something that my sister and I were introduced to by our Mom and I can tell you they were very useful and warm. If once you got to work or school, it was too warm to wear them, you just went to the bathroom, took them off and threw them into your purse and then when you had to walk home in the 0-degrees F, you just put them back on again. They usually came in white or skin tone as I recall and my mom kept hers for years, carefully sewing up the holes and so on.

Because…(cue the ominous music), they stopped making them. I’ll bet the miniskirt killed them off.

But something of that sort is a very useful thing to have in the lingerie drawer, even today, especially if you like to wear skirts or dresses in the winter or must dress more formally, or find yourself standing out on the metro platform or at the bus stop and it’s cold and windy and your coat is…not…quite…long…enough. Even if you are an aficionado of opaque or sweater tights, if you are walking or standing out where it’s really cold and windy, another warm layer would be a blessing, believe me.

And all of this is an introduction to the recreation of something that is frankly extinct (and that’s the connection to Jurassic Park movie where they recreated dinosaurs from odd bits of DNA that they extracted). Now, if you don’t want to have to sew and you have some odd and old heavy tights or leggings around that have holes in the feet or the knees and you are willing to sacrifice them, then you can use those. Just cut them as long as you want and hem the bottoms and off you go. You can stop reading here.

For anyone else:
Find a pattern for bike shorts. Both KwikSew and Jalie make them. I used Jalie 2796 and just lengthened the compression shorts pattern.

Choose a thin stretchy fabric. I made mine out of some wool jersey that I had in the stash. I would not recommend using something like ITY or nylon knit – those are cold, frankly. If you could find some very thin stretchy fleece such as Powerstretch(tm), that would be good also. You can find a lot of offerings of that sort at sites such as fabricline.

Pre-treat the fabric in the way you want – I washed my jersey in warm water to shrink it a little bit (though doing that did not seem to harm the stretch in any way). When you cut it out, make sure the greatest stretch is horizontally across the body of the shorts. If you want to put elastic around the waist and the bottoms of the legs, you can do that also, though I did not do that with mine. I used self-fabric for a waistband and I zigzagged the bottoms of the shorts. This was a very very quick project – literally 30 minutes from cutting it out to final snip of the threads.

Now, I have my own set of snuggies again.
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  1. Cheryl says:

    Can’t say that I ever knew of such things, and honey, my school system didn’t allow pants for girls until after I was graduated and gone! And we are talking Indiana and Pennsylvania, where yes, it was damn cold.
    I remember wearing leggings (different from today’s) as a small girl…buttons or zippers on the sides. Took ’em off when we got to school. But as teenagers, well, heck, we toughed it out…so uncool to wear a hat or wrap your scarf around your head…
    Probably colder in upstate NY, though. Interesting. (wool jersey? Boy, is that not seen in fabric stores around here. Oh, wait, you had to order yours, too?)
    30 min. huh?

  2. htwollin says:

    Yes, Cheryl – we don’t have wool jersey at the one fabric store we have locally which is one of those huge national chains that basically is a craft store that happens to carry some fabrics. I buy everyone over the internet and when I see something good at a good price, I add it to the stash. 🙂

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