And do you know what? It was easy with the help of my new cover stitch machine I just bought. Once I figured out how to use it, that is. FYI, it’s the Janome CPX 1000. I bought it because it is SO easy to thread. But the jury is still out on it. I had some skipped stitches but it may be user error. I hope.
But first, I need to thank my dad for taking these photographs of me. Dad, you’re the best!
I used some existing workout pants and a tank top I already had and that fit me well. I traced over them, made a new pattern, then redesigned that basic pattern I created by adding new style lines.
I’d like to share a few things about buying suitable fabrics for exercise clothing , especially online when you can’t feel the fabric. When you buy workout pants at cheaper stores, they are often made from thinner, almost see through fabric and when you buy from higher end companies the fabric is thicker and gives better coverage. At least, it should be….Remember what happened with those Lululemon pants last year ? You see, the fabric was sort of see through, causing some embarrassing incidents on workout floors across America. The guilty pants were recalled. That fiasco, AKA “Pantsgate,” was caused by the unsuitable weight of the fabric. Cotton lycra and other performance exercise lycra combos and compression fabrics come in different weights. The flimsy stuff starts at about 7 ounces a linear foot and the highest weight is 16 ounces per linear foot. The 16 ounce weight fabric is classified as “luxury” workout fabric. So higher weight is better when it comes to workout cotton lycras you buy. I wouldn’t buy anything under 12 ounces for workout pants. So remember, higher is better to avoid your own personal Pantsgate. The lighter weight fabrics are fine for tops , but not pants! The problem is some online companies don’t mention the weight, but I’m sure if you email them, they can help you. It’s important.
Fabric : Black and pink cotton lycra 4 way stretch 12oz. weight, 2 yards
Pattern: Traced from my existing tank top and workout pants from the Gap. Instructions below.
Today I wore my new handmade outfit to the gym. My Total Body Training Instructor gave me a compliment on my outfit in front of class. “Thanks, I made it!”, I said. That always feels awesome, doesn’t it?
I am really hard on my workout clothes and wear them out to run errands after the gym sometimes. I’ve been working out more lately, about four times a week, and needed some new stuff!
Well, the outfit held up throughout the class. I sewed everything with my serger, and the outside seams with my coverstitcher, then reinforced everything with the stretch stitch of my other new machine I bought that day, my Janome Magnolia. I bought it mainly for the automatic buttonholes. I have been sewing on a 1982 Bernina Nova I bought at the thrift shop, and the buttonholes aren’t very nice on it. Plus, the thread comes out of the needle every time I start a seam. Frustrating.
You can see where I used the coverstitch machine here on top of the inset seams I sewed. But the coverstitcher wasn’t behaving that well and skipped stitches. I hope I can get it all figured out. I wanted that store bought workout wear look, where the seams have that neat stitching on the outside.
I usually just throw on a sweater when I run my errands. I know , I know, it’s not exactly stylish to run around like this . But it happens. Stuff like that is fine in California where people wear their pajamas out in public.
To make the top pattern, I traced my existing tank top then added seam allowances. I made sure I used fabric with a similar stretchiness. That is really important when tracing a pattern for stretch clothing.
I then traced the pattern I made onto another piece of paper. I wanted to save that first unaltered pattern to use on future projects. BTW, always write down any relevant information you can think of on your pattern when you are tracing it. The style , the size, even a little sketch. And grainlines. I can’t tell you how many random pieces I have hanging in my closet that I didn’t write on, and now I have no idea what they are! I have a pattern hole puncher I bought downtown and I hang up all my patterns in the closet on little hooks.
My new design ended up having two side pieces with no side seam. I laid the side pieces on the fold instead. And it had two center panels. When changing style lines on a pattern, don’t forget to add seam allowances on your new lines you cut.
I had a pair of workout pants that had a hole in the behind so I cut them apart to make a pattern from them. They were old style and a little flared so I made the bottom of the pants narrower. I saved the traced pattern piece to use as a pattern block for other workout pants I plan on making. Something I notice about workout pants in general is they always have a side seam. So they are different from leggings which don’t have side seams. They have more structure.
I traced the master legging pattern off onto another paper. I then drew in the style lines for the pink insets I wanted. I added seam allowances to those style lines once I cut them apart by taping some paper to the edges, measuring 1/2 inch and then cutting them out.
I didn’t photograph the sewing but here are a few details about sewing up the patterns
- I overlocked everything, then used the coverstitcher to go over the tops of the seam style lines. I sewed the twin needles on the wrong sides of the fabric so the bottom of the cover stitch seam showed on the right side of the fabric. I used the stretch stitch to reinforce the side seams and crotch seams .
- When I made the waistband for the pants, I stitched some elastic inside of them to help keep them up while exercising.
- I cut two inch wide pieces of ribbing and stretched them slightly when I sewed them to the tank top neckline and armholes. To create a ribbed binding, sew on the outside right side to right side with a 1/2 seam allowance. It’s very similar to sewing on bias binding.