The Sublimation of Red Leggings

Yesterday, I went on a theoretical tangent about the Freudian concept of Sublimation: the act of redirecting socially unacceptable impulses into activities that those that are acceptable. I also discussed research on the creative process, by which adrenaline constantly raises the bar for the artist, causing him to seek out newer, more dangerous novel experiences in order to find inspiration.

When we left off, I was explaining how I had felt a sense of power and danger in cutting apart something that was already completely wearable and cute. That somehow this fed the creative need for a novel experience, and that I was on the lookout for a new fix.

Enter the perfectly cute red leggings

You look like a perfectly delectable, perfectly dangerous thing to sink my teeth into

These leggings also came from my friend Izabela. I am not really a leggings kinda girl but I did appreciate these for two reasons: 1. the fabric is as soft as a baby’s bottom, and 2. the color!

In the first iteration of my search for a greater, more dangerous adrenaline high, I got to wondering what I could do with these. So I took my scissors and cut open the crotch seam (did you just get a little squeamish when you read that? I felt a little squeamish when I typed it.)

I turned the leggings upside down and put my head through the hole I just made and ended up with this:

Not bad, hey? Wow. I was feeling powerful. Maybe it was the color red. Maybe it was that I just had made magic. But what I didn’t like was that the waistband still sat at the waist and looked just enough like upside down leggings that I had to do something about it.

So I cut off the bottom part of the legs:

With the fabric from the legs, I opened the seam and had two rectangles. I cut those in half lengthwise and ended up with four rectangles. I sewed them into one nice long line and finished one edge (the hemmed edge was intact from the bottom of the leg, so I left it in place, hemming just the two raw-edged pieces.)

Since I have been slightly obsessed with peplums and pleats of late, I decided to give this a go again. This time, attempting to regularly space out the pleats, instead of make a “bustle” like I tried to do on the striped tee refashion.

I sewed this, right sides together, raw edge just above the elastic of the waistband. My idea was that I would keep the waistband in place, first, to create as little waste as possible, and secondly, to prevent the top from flying up in wind (as I discovered my cute little summery stripey thing does.)

As you can see, I am not difficult about trimming threads. Also, I had a little fluffy black assistant in the process, who can be seen here observing discreetly to the right.

I zigzag finished the little sleeves, which naturally did that floaty thing I like (yay!). I found, however, that the “V” was too deep to be wearable, so I sewed up the center line, raising the “V” enough to be slightly more modest. I’m not a prude, but I am also not va-va-va-voom.


Sublimation (also called displacement) is a fantastic psycho-philosophical concept, which every single menopausal woman needs to learn to apply to her own life. Find what it is that helps you channel that rage into something socially acceptable. Preferably something useful and creative.

The more I think about this, the more I understand women who rent stands at craft shows and why the quilting industry is a multi-million dollar affair.

We also need to be careful not to allow our need for the next creative adrenaline rush turn us into addicts who spend their every last penny on supplies and machines and storerooms full of unused notions.

There is a fine line to walk here, one I am going to need to learn to walk myself.

In the meantime, I am in love with this fantastic little sign. Just in case the link is malfunctioning, the sign says says, “I craft because punching people in the face is frowned upon.”

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

One thought on “The Sublimation of Red Leggings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: