Hot! La Boca-NOLA-Maxi-Pants

The Facts

Fabric: Rayon Blend Jersey ‘Knit Squiggle in Pink’ and Black Hemp Rayon Jersey Blend (
Pattern: Top, McCalls 5207 & Pant Skirt, Vogue 7384
Year: Top, 1976 & Pant Skirt, 1968
Notions: Elastic for the top
Time to complete: 3 hours
First worn: Last night for a mini yoga session and today for pictures
Wear again?  Probably not, in their current forms
Total price: A bit less than twenty smackers

Well hello there, everyone. Long time no talk!  Despite having grand plans to sew a bunch of items ahead of schedule over my spring break, life had other ideas.  I still won in the end, as I have a house that is now fully painted and all the ‘stuff’ that took up space has been eaten up by the alley trolls.  It was a spring break that epitomized the idea of spring cleaning, and I love it!

So, to the challenge! When it comes to city inspiration, there is a lot in my mind to kick around.  In my short life I’ve been lucky to have lived in a few different places; Milwaukee, Chicago, Kingston Upon Hull, and (very briefly) New Orleans.  Usually when living in those places I made sure to make the most of my time, exploring other areas close by.  Since I am still somewhat new to Chicago, I figured that I would tap into the amazing neighborhood vibe of the city for this challenge. When it came down to crunch time, though, I just couldn’t find the inspiration that I was craving.  Then I went to my photos and found the picture to the right of La Boca, in Buenos Aires Argentina.  I went there for while studying for my graduate degree in July of 2009. I loved this area of Buenos Aires, it was so vibrant and full of character. I found fabric very easily, although had to switch colors last minute when the original blue version of the pattern was oversold.  No biggie, it was still bright and full of squiggles that I thought perfectly characterized La Boca.

I wanted to make a maxi dress for this challenge with summer fast approaching, but then I realized that I didn’t have a pattern for a maxi dress.  So I went to my amazing insane quite large pattern stash and found two patterns, a late 60s pant skirt and a mid-70s top that paired well. I counted my lucky charms that I found these two and they were so basic in regards to the construction. With the easter weekend and piles of papers to grade, I didn’t have a lot of time to spare.  I was able to trace and cut on Saturday morning, go off to my martial arts class in the afternoon, and then sew up the pants after class before friends arrived for dinner. Since I stayed out a bit too late, I wasn’t able sew up the top prior to driving north for family stuff which made me very nervous.  Thankfully we made it home with few hours of sunlight left. I got straight to work and the top was done in, seriously, 15 minutes or so. Because of time and because I never legthened the shirt (which I knew I should have, ugh!) I skipped a few steps that would have sinched the waist with elastic, but that would have really only taken another 5 to 10 minutes.  I will absolutely sew this top again. It has nicely placed darts, elastic synching on the back facing, and I used some sassy black lace for the straps. The pants, on the other hand, will need some work.  They were a size 10, and I would probably have needed a size 14 in this vintage pattern. Even the tweaks I made (no zipper, adding about an inch to either side) didn’t quite make the cut.  I probably needed to add just a smidge more for a comfortable fit.

As you can see from the photo, I don’t have a maxi dress at all. Instead, I have a good set of yoga pants, which is something I had originally thought about when contemplating this challenge.  Since they are yoga pants, I felt I had to rethink my city inspiration as La Boca didn’t have all that much to do with yoga.  Somehow, I had the perfect place. I almost wish I would have thought of this place originally, because it is so near and dear to my heart.  New Orleans.  We spent half our summer vacation there in 2009 (before I left for Argentina) and we seriously contemplated relocating permanently.  Each morning I would go out for a run and a lot of the times after I would finish in Washington Square and watch the people practice their Tai Chi.  I always wanted to be part of it, but I was shy and didn’t want to interrupt them to figure out how to get involved. Instead, I would walk home and do some light yoga on our wrap around porch. Since a lot of the houses in our neighborhood were brightly colored like they are in La Boca, it just made sense that this formerly titled maxi dress transformed itself to yoga pants inspired by the same bright buildings and the city’s very unique and equally amazing character.



Cheryl is a teacher, martial artist, crafter and sewer just trying to find balance in a busy world. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin she's now trying to fit into and explore the vast expanse that is Chicago, Illinois.


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  1. What a great story! I love the color :)

  2. I love the story in this post, and your fabulous picture of Buenos Aires, and those pants just steal my heart! I love all the colors!

  3. Hey Cheryl, great outfit and love all the colors and how they punch.

  4. I enjoy how the top tries to tone it all down but the pants colour just refuses to play staid.

  5. I love these pants and I like that you call them Maxi pants. Something similar is totally on my to-sew list this summer. Wonderful use of stripes.

  6. Fab read Cheryl, great maxi pants. I hope you wear them again they would certainly cheer up my yoga class.

  7. Love those pants, I’ve got it on my to-do sewing list to make some wide-leg comfy yoga pants that I can wear out (and not be ashamed of being out in my jim-jams/pyjamas). The colours are fantastic, and that pic of La Boca is absolutely gorgeous, so vibrant. You should get yourself a tai chi dvd, learn some and then get out there with those other people. Tai Chi is magical and doing it in the open air makes you feel so fantastic afterwards. Dooooo ittttt…..

  8. These are so fun! I love the inspiration photo, and that you brough NoLa in to the mix. I’ve bounced around, too, and also had trouble focusing on this one at first!