Jul 4, 2014

Sporty Summer Sewathon: Ballet pants for my Boyfriend

This bendy boy is my boyfriend and he is wearing pants made by me. I couldn't be more proud, especially since this is only my second ever completed and wearable garment.

My boyfriend (who works as a professional ballet dancer) had been giving me descriptions of pants he would love to own, but couldn't find in stores. After finishing the Lady Skater Dress I somehow felt very confident that I could make these mystery pants. So with the boyfriend out of town and his birthday around the corner I started cracking on this project.

Clearly I was not the only one with sporty sewing on my mind, because right around this time Did you make that? announced the Sporty summer Sewathon. Sewing minds think alike!

I used a pattern from the menswear edition of Dutch pattern magazine Knipmode, also available online.

To determine the right size I compared the sizing of a few of his favorite jeans (I found the sizing charts from most brands online) to the sizing chart of Knipmode. I traced a size 48 and added a few extra cm, because he was a bit taller than designed for. The tracing was a bit confusing at times. There were lots of overlapping pattern pieces in the same color. The facings and cutting lines were not so clearly indicated. After tracing I flat measured the pattern and compared it to my boyfriend's jeans and other workout pants. For dancers 'clean leg lines' are very important, so I omitted the pockets and removed a bit of bagginess from the hip area. 

The fit turned out even better than I imagined: 

The sewing took me forever could have been pretty straight forward, if only I was a more experienced sewer. It took me one full evening to trace and adjust the pattern, another one to get a grasp of all the stretch- and overlock stitches on my machine and related tension issues, and then a few days of actual sewing. I made every rookie mistake in the book and managed to sew the wrong pattern parts together on several occasions. Unpicking overlock stitches is quite a nightmare, but was completely worth it in the end. 

One thing I learned from this process: I am definitely a slow sewer. I like to take my time and finish my makes as neatly and professional as possible. I don't mind to slow down to research new techniques or finishes. This time I was sewing under a bit of pressure to meet my self-imposed deadline. Most mistakes could have been prevented if I didn't feel so rushed. No more who am I kidding self imposed deadlines for me!

The goal was to make a pair of pants that stay up when a leg is lifted, so mission accomplished!

The only changes I would make next time is to omit the grommets, and per request of the boyfriend, change the top stitching on the waistband. I carefully picked rope and notions to finish the pants, but the boyfriend ripped them out the minute he put the pants on, out of concern for a dance partner getting caught in it. 

The pants have been worn almost daily since I made them, and even got complimented on by the ballet's costume department, so I'm one happy sewer!