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! 





23 comments:

  1. Awesome pants! Well made and well modeled!

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  2. Wow! How lovely to be able to create something for a proper athlete. Your boyfriend looks amazing in the pants that you so patiently made for him. Well done and I look forward to seeing the next iteration

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    1. Thanks for the compliment! I'm so impressed with your silk painting! I would love to try in the future.

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  3. Oh my goodness, I'm honoured that a professional dancer is joining the ranks of the Sporty Summer Sewathon. I also admire your tenacity, grappling with the learning curve and totally agree that slow, careful sewing is the best sewing! Can't wait to see what else you create.

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    1. The honor is all mine! Wow, a blogger-superstar is leaving a comment on my blog 😄
      Next I plan to work my way through the Colette sewing book to learn new skills during the projects. Indie patterns and Sewalongs seem like a lot of fun too. My new hobby is definitely here to stay!

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  4. These are great! Can't believe you've not made a lot before. Also love the phrase 'bendy boy boyfriend' 😁 Well done and look forward to seeing more of your makes.

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    1. Thanks!
      I have learned so much by reading sewing blogs! I had never heard of flat measuring a pattern before and now it's ruling my world.

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  5. Wow, nicely done! I'm still sort of scared to tackle knits and a lot of pattern adjustment. I...break things when I do a lot of adjusting.

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    1. Thank you!
      Don't be scared! In the end it's only fabric! Reading tips on other sewing blogs really helped me. Just take your time and give it a go! It's so rewarding to make something fit the way you like it.

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  6. Congratulations! It's great you tried making such a crucial garment for your boyfriend! They look fantastic

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    1. Thanks! I'm really happy with the result, especially since he loves wearing them.

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  7. Nice pants! Maybe I missed it, if so , sorry... but what kind of knit fabric did you use?

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    1. I'm not sure about the correct name for this fabric, but I think it's called sweatshirt fleece. The right side looks like regular jersey, the other side like a soft and fluffy fleece. For the cuffs I used ribbing, as per pattern instruction. http://mellysews.com/2014/03/types-knit-fabric.html

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  8. congratulations - second make? wow - impressive!

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  9. Now you have a TNT (tried-and-true) pattern for Mr. Bendy! A good waistline finish for bendable elastic waists is to sew three channels (I'm assuming 1/4" + a wee bit extra for each channel) and only thread elastic through the top and the bottom channels. Leave the middle channel empty; or thread a drawstring through it. You can use buttonholes instead of grommets, and put them on the INSIDE of the waistband. That way, Mr. Bendy can still use a drawstring to adjust the fit, without any fear of entangling a dance partner.

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    1. Those are all great suggestion, thank you!! I think Mr. bendy will approve!

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  10. Brilliant job! I found you through a link on Marianne's blog.

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    1. Thanks Valerie! It's still worn on a daily basis. Hands down my best make of 2014!

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  11. Wow!! I loved this ballet pants. They are amazing. I had purchased Carbon 38 workout clothes for my brother’s gym training. Got them on affordable price on an online store and he is happy to find them comfortable and best in quality.

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