Active Wear – Yoga Pants : Part 2
I will admit to being a little excited last night when I went to bed, because I knew that on the morrow I would get to make yoga pants! Yeah! I certainly thought I would accomplish many other things as well, but what I am learning is that doing tutorials while sewing…really….really…really drags the process out.
But let’s begin..shall we?
I find that a prayer is always a good way to start any project. I pray for patience, and due care. That having been said you want to lay your fabric out with right sides together, Supplex is sticky and stretchy, so from the get go you need that patience, just take your time and lay the fabric out so that there is no twisting going on at the fold line and both selvage edges…which like to curl…are curling up together.
If this is not an option for you, you will want to use sharp scissors. Micro fibers will dull your scissors quickly like any polyester will. Some people keep a pair of relatively inexpensive sharp scissors for these fabrics and then just replace them when they get dull. This keeps their good dressmakers shears for the finer fabrics.
To pin use very fine silk pins, like the pin on top, or even better a long quilting pin as shown on the bottom. The thicker the pin the more difficulty you will have getting it into your fabric.
After cutting my pants out I take a scrap and sew up some sample seams to check my tension, stitch length, thread color etc. Never skip this step, as it can save you a lot of headaches down the road.
Begin by using a #12 ball point, 10 sharp, or microfiber needle. Ball points are often recommended for knits, but with the new sharps and microfibers(which is just a fine sharp) these work just as well and often better then the ball points.
Here I have my sample seam. I chose a three thread overlock which finishes the edges nicely and still allows for a lot of stretch. My seam allowance is 3/8″ and my overlock takes up a scant 1/4″. After sewing a few samples and stretching them I determined I would need to use the stretch stitch on my Bernina. If your machine does not have a stretch stitch just set it to do a very narrow tight zig-zag and then pray again for patience, because this stitch moves slowly and you cannot rush it. Settle in, get a nice cup of tea, put a movie in, whatever it takes, but you have been duly warned.
I only use this stretch stitch for extreme active wear situations. You will not want to use this stitch on a rayon jersey for instance, as it’s overkill for soft delicate knits, but it’s quite necessary for something you want to do lots of stretching and bending in and you want the fabric to stay with you.
Additionally if you do not have an overlock you can just trim back your seams and use a normal zig zag to finish them together.
This I believe is the only time you will hear me suggest that you sew the crotch seams before the inseam, but there are always exceptions to the rules. Sewing the inseam after the crotch allows for maximum mobility. Pin your inseam at the crotch so the seam allowance on the crotch seams butt against each other and lay in opposite directions. This makes a flatter seam juncture.
Start with basting you inseam and then baste your side seams, so you can check the fit before preceding, unless you are using a tried and true pattern. After the fitting you can sew your seams again using your stretch stitch and overlock.
With the inseam and side seams sewn its time to sew the waistband on.
I chose to use a 3″ wide elastic for my waistband because I like the look and secure comfortable feeling of the wider band. I started by measuring around my low rise, meaning my pants are not sitting at my natural waist, but about an 2″ below my belly button. I cut my elastic to this measurement, and then mark a 1″ inch line with chalk along one cut edge.
Now that my elastic is ready to go I sew my waistband together along the center back seam and sew it along one long edge to the waist of my pants. This requires me marking the waistband in 4ths and pinning it with right side together to the pants, matching the quarter marks to the center back, center front and side seams. This does require that I stretch the waistband a touch as it is slightly smaller in circumference then my pant waist. Once the waistband is attached I repeat that same process to my elastic of dividing into 4ths.
With a zig zag I lay the elastic on top of the seam allowance using the stitching line to guide me and attach the waistband. You can see in the picture how I have lined the inside left edge of the foot with my elastic. This insures me catching the seam allowance underneath. The waistband is not being caught,except for its seam allowance but is laying to the left, with the elastic to the right.
My elastic is now attached to the pants along the waistline seam allowance. I then wrap my waistband around my elastic bringing it to the inside of the pants and pin it carefully about every 3-4 inches. The 1st seam allowance is now laying to the right, or up into the waistband. The seam allowance of the waistband on the inside is laying flat extending beyond the seam.
From the right side and using a zipper foot, stitch in the ditch of your waistband, catching the inside seam allowance as you go. This will create a nice flat attachment.
My pants are sewn…that didn’t seem so bad. They just need their hem.
On ready to wear clothing they use a cover stitch to hem and sometimes seam. Most of us do not have this stitch on our overlocks. I actually do, but rarely use it, unless I will be sewing with it for a few days, as the the set up is a bit tedious. So my answer to the cover stitch, which I like the looks of , is to simply overlock my hem edge. Press and pin it up the desired amount..I used 2″ Then I straight stitch from the inside stitching down the middle of my overlock and being careful not to stretch as I go.. Next I turn my pant legs inside out and sew another line of stitching a scant 1/4″ from the first line. This gives me the double needle look you are accustomed to seeing along hemlines of knits.
Here is the final result! A bit boring actually this first pair, but still mighty useful. I now know the pattern is good and have worked out the basic construction details, so I think for my next pair I will add some contrast piping down the side seam, or eliminate the side seam and add a racing stripe. I will work out in them tomorrow and let you know how they do, and what my husbands reaction to them is…giggle.