New Fleece Pants: The Re-Frocking Project

My New Fleece Pants: The Re-Frocking Project

(Listen to New Shoes by Paolo Nutini while you read)

The Re-Frocking Project started a few weeks ago after I did some thinking about what I’m wearing that resulted in a big purge of my current wardrobe. (See The Re-Frocking Project).  The result of this is that I have been wearing the same 3 pairs of my fleece leggings since the purge. While I like them a lot and they keep me warm and look good, for a fashion designer to be wearing only 3 pairs of pants is a bit pathetic.

I asked myself what kind of fleece pants

So I asked myself what other styles of pants do I want/need? How will they fit into the Re-Frocking Project? It’s the middle of winter and it has been bitterly cold in Vermont this year, (well to be honest it’s either been bitterly cold or unseasonably warm, but I’m sticking with the cold for now).  I’m still thinking the ever amazing polatec®  powerstretch® fleece that the leggings are made with but don’t want to just grab a couple of more pairs of  because although they are truly wonderful, I think it’s time for a new style of pants for me and in my line.  I’m liking the type of wider waistband that most yoga pants have these days so I go to my massive pattern cache and with a few alterations, create a pant the in reminiscent of that style.

Pants Patternwork

 I hit it spot on the first time

My new fleece pantsUsually when I start a new design it takes me a couple or more prototypes to get the look and fit to where I like it.  I’ve made so many of the leggings, I wear them everyday for at least 6 months of the year and have worked with this fabric so much that for once I hit it spot on the first time. When I tried them on I liked the look and feel of them so much I kept them on without taking pictures and went up to Burlington to visit my daughter at college. (Well really I was just there as money bags to buy her stuff and take her out to lunch but that’s another topic). I asked what she thought of my new fleece pants. She’s pretty free with her opinions like saying “Mom that’s lame” about one of my posts but my new fleece pants were daughter approved.

It just goes to show it’s always somethin’

Of course while in Burlington getting in and out of the car involved contact with the car, which is totally covered with salty dirt that transferred itself to my new fleece pants, so they needed a washing before I could take pictures. Next I couldn’t get a good shot of them because it was so gloomy, they are black and I needed better light. A few days later we were experiencing a beautiful sunny day so I took the pants outside and did a quick in-the-cold photo shoot. When I went back into the store I absent-mindedly hung them on the nearest rack and went about my day. That afternoon one of my customers came into the store and immediately saw them hanging there, tried them on and bought both pairs. So much for my new fleece pants.

For some reason I thought of Roseanne Roseannadanna “It just goes to show you, it’s always somethin’, if it’s not one thing it’s another” (and of course then I had to go to YouTube and get my fix: Roseanne on pants and yes it’s a little raunchy but it made me laugh)

Fleece pants with pockets Did I mention that  I am so excited about this style that I made them two ways: with pockets and without pockets and I sold the first two pairs before I even had a chance to write this post. I’m think these might be a winner.
In the mean time I have made myself a couple of pairs, which brings my total of fleece pants up to 5, which is a big improvement.

Stay Tuned

Peace, Beth

I also got on the phone to my fleece supplier and ordered two new colors, both grays, that came yesterday and will be available in the next few days.

Navy Knit Skirt: Organic Cotton and Soy Fiber

First, I am in love with this fabric this skirt is made with: It is a blend of organic cotton & soy fiber with a little spandex, a T-shirt weight Jersey knit. It has a beautiful drape and I’ve found it in some great colors, a heathered navy being today’s color. Basically this is a 1/2 circle skirt with a flat elastic waistband and a gross grain drawstring, is fitted from waist to hip and falls very elegantly from hip to hem. (Available at  

Sometimes my best designs I come out of ideas I get doing special orders for customers. I have a customer who has a lot of sensitivities to fabric and who has found she has no problems with this soy/cotton fabric. She has multiples of everything I’ve designed in this fabric and she asked me to duplicate a skirt that she loved using the soy fabric. I made her up a skirt and she went away happy with the parting words, “I’d love one in Navy too”.

Later, when I ordered Navy for another special order, I started thinking about that skirt again: what I didn’t like about the original and what I could do to make it better…basically b frocked it…so I made a few changes, simplified a bit and made up another one that was close to the one you see here.

I couldn’t decide whether to add it to the line or not but the other day Skirt Lady came into the store to shop. I got the skirt out of the pile of not ready for prime time samples and show it to her. She didn’t even want to talk about it, she didn’t even try it on, she just wanted to buy it, which I of course let her do. I did get a bunch of input from her that about why she loves this skirt so much, and tweaked it a little more, for  the now Skirt #3, ready for prime time.

Here’s what she told me: the combo elastic and drawstring, (in this case it’s actually gross-grain ribbon), give it a versatility that she finds invaluable. She can have fat & skinny days, pull it up to her waist or down to her hips and tie it so it stays at either place. This not only allows for different levels of comfort it also can be used to alter the length of the skirt, depending on mood, shoes, shirt length, occasion, etc. This woman travels a lot and another things she loves about this skirt, and the soy fabric in general, is that if folds up very compactly for packing, the wrinkles fall out without ironing AND, if they need to be hand washed, they are dry in the morning.

OK, so I’m not making this up, she really said all that.

Like I said, I really love this fabric.

While Ira Sleeps in his Moses Basket

While my friend Ira was sleeping in his Moses Basket, (Hat by boysenberry), the other morning we started talking about  some of the issues that arise with a new baby in the house. OK so here’s the one we are wondering about: Dad is in the same room as the baby, (doing some adult activity), while mom is in another room, (doing another activity while Dad has agreed to minding the baby while she does said activity). The baby starts to cry, Dad continues with his activity. Mom, hearing the baby cry for a few minutes, goes and gets the baby which she must then immediately breast feed. Dad continues with his activity, Mom is aggravated and says so, after all Dad was supposed to be taking care of the baby so Mom could get something done),  but Dad doesn’t seem to understand why Mom is aggravated…I’m guessing that any of you with kids will get this but…the question we asked each other, IRA’s Mom & I, was why do father have a tendency to let the child care revert to Mothers when ever it is not so convenient for them, and why they don’t understand that this is not OK?
Please know that I am not trying to trash Ira’s Dad in anyway, we were just wondering where the disconnect is and beside blaming his mother, which didn’t seem fair, we couldn’t really solve the dilemma before Ira was ready for his next snack!
Your thoughts and comment on this subject are greatly needed!

We love our IRA here at boysenberry, he has lots of out fleece and makes a great model for it, so please check out the site!

Ira’s Fleecy elf suit

Ira’s, his Mum Siobhan, (she’s British and calls herself Mum, so I’m going with it), and I walk together mornings. Vermont mornings are getting a little nippy and she’s been wrapping him up in a blanket. He was a bit aggravated today with being wrapped and at eight weeks Siobhan thought it was time for a fleece bunting.

When they came to the store to pick one out, we had to take pictures.

We put a lot of suits on him because he’s so cute and such a good sport about being dressed. He giggled and cooed, kicked his feet and happily rubbed his face against the softy fleece.

The Penguin Elf Suit was his favorite. He looked right into the camera and smiled as if to say: this is the one ladies!

This style  Elf Bunting is on sale right now and there are only a few of them left as sadly the Polartec print is no longer available so if you want your Ira to look snazzy, be cozy,  smile and coo, you might want to order one.

Peace, Beth

Fleece Snowflake Hat on my new friend Ira

As I’m gearing up for the winter season, saying goodbye to summer and looking forward to the first snow, I was inspired to make a new group baby hats. This one is made from  beautiful navy fleece print from Polartec®. I love to play around with color but I decided to resist my usual style of contrasting 2 or 3 colors and keep this one simple, allowing the navy & white print speak for itself.

When we popped this new style on Ira he was so irresistibly adorable his mother had to stop us and kiss him about 700 times. We couldn’t choose one best shot so here are 4 of my new friend Ira modeling this fun and funky navy snowflake hat.  I wonder what he would be saying if he were able to speak for himself…

Peace, Beth

Recycled fleece and Ira

Summer is over, the kids are back in school and it’s time for me to get cracking on new fleece for fall. I’m off to a good start with my new friend Ira. He was born on Bastille day a few weeks ago and his lovely Mum Siobhan has agreed to let us borrow him to model: and a what wonderful model he is! At Ira’s first photo shoot we took over 500 pictures and he was a smiling trooper though it all. He squiggled and cooed, looked right into the camera and snuggled into a few fleece outfits.

He especially loved our new recycled fleece elf bunting, his favorite being the Apple Green & Purple.
I am so excited to have found some  Polartec® fabrics made with fibers using recycling plastic bottles, mostly milk bottles I’m told. This fantastic fabric is the same quality that Polartec® is so well known for. I’m going crazy making up Buntings, Jackets & Pants, and more with these beautiful new colors. Ira & I will be keeping you posted on all the new frocks I’ll be making and his Mum tells me he has opinions about everything: he may just be our new fashion Guru.
Peace, Beth

My Start with Polartec®

I started sewing with fleece when I moved to the Northeast and started my company, boysenberry. It was simply a demand from my customers to make polar fleece clothing for them. At the time company consisted of a small line of infant clothing and my first fleece was what I now think of as the “bring baby home from the hospital” bunting which has consistently been a best seller for me. It’s a simple to make baby bag  that I have developed and changed over the years to accommodate car seats and safety issues that cropped up. I found a wholesale/retail source at Mill Direct Textiles if you are looking to purchase Polartec® fabrics in small to medium quantities they have a decent selection and excellent customer service.

Over the years I have been discovering, and Polartec® has been developing, lots new fabrics. The 200 weight basic fabric and prints are a joy to work with and of a quality that I has not yet been reproduced by others. Being a small Vermont manufacturer struggling to compete with cheap imports, I always like to emphasize the fact that these fabrics arw made in the USA.