What I wear

The Toeses & Roses tap pants

Last week’s Sew Weekly challenge was to use two different prints in one outfit.  Mixing prints is a bit of a struggle for me.  I’m a sewing minimalist – famous for my white on white!  I do like a good print, I just usually like it to stand on its own.

But I want to push myself, so I consulted my list of things that I actually need to make for myself (because I don’t believe in making something I don’t need and won’t wear just for the sake of fulfilling a Sew Weekly  challenge — that’s just wasteful), and top of the list was tap pants.

As you may know, I love tap pants. I have quite a few pairs, but with the amount of swing dancing I do, and how often I wear skirts in windy Wellington, I can never have too many pairs.

And top of my list was a pair to wear under my ‘Not Actually a Circle Skirt’ dress (which I didn’t blog about here, because, well, it’s kinda boring, and I didn’t really make it), and I thought “Ha! The dress is already a pattern — I’ll just make patterned tap pants to go under it.”

So I pulled out all the pattern possibilities in my stash, and sat on the floor with the circle of the skirt spread around me, and the fabric sitting on it.

Skirt fabric (bottom), and (from left), weird paisley, rose trellis, muted paisley, bright paisley

I like the bright paisley on the far right best, but the rose trellis second from the left was a much nicer, finer, smoother cotton, so it won the fabric battle.

I’d got everything but the hemming done on the tap pants when I decided that patterned tap pants under a patterned dress was a bit of a cop-out ( I mean, it’s not often that you get to see both of them together!), so I did a pyjama hem on the tap pants in this sweet green and white checked voile.

Little checked bias pyjama hem

Voilá! Two patterns in one item.

Problem: How to actually photograph the darn things?

Other than on the wall, of course!

With the Waialua to Wellington tap pants I chickened/stuck by my morals/got lazy (it’s all about perspective!) and just photographed them on Isabella. But these tap pants are much less lingerie-y, so I decided to bet brave and creative about finding a way to show them off.

Also, Mr D teased me into taking this picture, and I saw it and had a “River Song discovers that she has Alex Kingston’s derriere” moment:

Ho-lee Guaca-squacka-waka-mole!

Are those my legs?!? If my legs look like every day that I’m going to wear short shorts all.the.time! (they don’t, but all the dancing I do is sure paying off!). So this time I’m photographing the tap pants on me under my dress.

Ooh la la!

Roses and tap makes me think of the ‘Moses Supposes’ number from Singing in the Rain (love that film, love that song!). So these are ‘Toeses & Roses’ tap pants, because calling them ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ is something only Steven Moffat could get away with.

Toeses and roses

In my nod to the film I wore a cardigan over my dress — love Donald and Gene’s cardigans in that scene!

Making a Donald O'Connor funny face

Just the facts, Ma’am:

Fabric: 3/4 metre of rose-trellis patterned cotton, and a scrap of green and white checked voile for trim.

Pattern: My own, based on a vintage pair of tap pants that I own.

Year: 1950s

Notions: 28″ of elastic for the waist.

Hours: 1.5, including dithering over fabric. Not bad for me!

Wear again?: Yes! Even after I give away the ‘Not Actually a Circle Skirt’ dress. These are super comfortable and practical. They would make great summer pyjama bottoms too.

Total cost: I think I paid $2 for 2 metres of the rose patterned cotton at an op shop, and $5 a metre for the green and white voile, so for the amount of each I used, $1.50.

And the inside?  French seams all the way.  Nothing to scratch and irritate as I dance the night away!

French seams & pyjama hems

And for a final bit of happiness:

Fuzzy kitty toeses and roses!


  1. They’re so pretty! I don’t usually wear prints much at all, let alone together, but I love how yours combined 🙂 And goodness! I am with you – if my legs looked like that, my wardrobe would be a whole lot less modest than it currently is 😉

  2. Zach says

    You do have nice legs!

    I really like the dress–floral fabrics are some of my favorites, which is also why I like your tap pants 🙂 . Your not the only one who has problems with mixing prints–it’s like there’s a forcefield between me and that ability. I can’t get past it! Simplicity is my friend. Maybe it’s because I’m a guy.

  3. I love these! The whole print on print action terrifies me but the use of florals here is making it work. The expression on kitteh’s face in the last photo is priceless. Sewing. Win!

  4. Great gams! The whole ensemble is totally charming. And I adore the funny face, and the last photo with Felicity.

  5. That is quite an excellent collection of coordinating fabrics you have there! I was hoping you would pick the one that you did.

    I thought about this Sew Weekly Challenge, but as much as I try, I can’t bring myself to do two different prints together. I like your choices, though, even if Felicity doesn’t seem to! Seriously, that is the best face ever. And Walnut does that toe-stretch thing all the time when he doesn’t want to be held!

    • C’mon! You make Superman dresses! Surely a simple pattern match wouldn’t be too much! You could take some blue sky fabrics and add some red and white stripes to it for a dress 😉

      Felicity does the toe stretch thing as a matter of course when she is held – but her alarmed face is because I chased her around the house and picked her up and forced her to be in the picture!

  6. you are rocking those awesome tap pants! and I love the River Song connection.

  7. Really need to get round to making some tap pants…My first attempt will probably end up as PJ’s.

    Love the fabric choice. And I agree about the scene in singing in the rain. I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration form the old hollywood musicals lately. Are you a Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire fan…or both?

    There’s a definitely an art to contrasting patterns (I do it all the time- instinctively-mainly by grabbing random items in the morning in the dim light when I’m half asleep).

    • I am definitely a Gene Kelly fan over Fred Astaire. Fred’s dancing is pretty, but other than that he doesn’t do anything for me.

      • I like both (Kelly has the looks…but I prefer Fred’s dancing style. If only there was a combo of both…) but if I had the choice to dance *with* one of them I’d choose Fred because he’s got a nicer ‘lead’ when he dances….and I think he’d make me as a dance partner look good. Whereas kelly I think is more of a solo dancer than partnered.

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