Pant fitting is a bit scary to me because I've had so many unusual fitting challenges - full thighs measure same as full hip, curvy booty, sway back, shallow front crotch depth. The most I've felt successful at with pants are my happy pants, which are a variation of the Cake Espresso Leggings which are darn close to a drafting it yourself.
To minimize waste, I created a working muslin in bike short length. I copied the pattern so I could shorten it as I desired and keep the remaining leg bits for making a capri, then full legging length later. I measured the inseam length of an existing pair of comfortable bike shorts, then marked accordingly on both front and back pieces.
To compare, I placed my fine tuned Espresso Legging pattern, that I've used many times before, atop the bootstrap pattern. Whoa! Was I surprised. Do you see how much smaller the back (or half since the espresso's have no side seam) of the espresso is compared to the bootstrap pull on knit pant? My espressos could be a bit more snug along the legs anyway. Fabulous how the back crotch curve nearly matches the one I created through many trials on the espresso! That tells me I'm really close! Score!!!!!!!! The excess ease in the knit pant block also indicates to me that it was not designed to be a legging with negative ease, but rather a more casual dress style pull on pant, like something for Ponte. Not bad by any means. Interesting.
I used Fantastic Elastic, that I bought from Pamela's Patterns at Sew Expo a few years ago, for the waist (oh hello comfortable and amazing!). I instantly fell in love with it when I wore the bike shorts under a skirt for the first time.
So here is my first pair of knit pant block leggings with 2" negative ease.
I went after 2 more pair of leggings now that I'd had decent success with the bike shorts. Ok, whew. I won't be wasting fabric now. So I dug into my new Fabric Mart Nylon Lycra, and some Marcy Tilton knit chainlink print I bought at Sew Expo from Marcy & Katherine a few years ago.
If you look closely at the image below, you'll see that my pattern has marks along grain for 1-1/4" and 2". Those are how much I took out of my exact measurements to create the negative ease. Pretty cool, huh? To go from bike short to capri to legging, I just tape on and cut off as needed. The paper I use for patterns is Costco Butcher Paper. Brilliant stuff. Very durable!
The black fabric has less stretch and doesn't recover as well as the pink supplex. Because of the lack of recovery I expected to need to do more fitting.
In leggings I've made, I've noticed that I tend to have funny wrinkles and excess fabric which bunches up behind the knee. That showed me I could take in the area of the knee more. So, I estimated knee point by marking with a pin on the black chainlink pair, then marked the knee on both and took them in 1/2" on one side only. I didn't want to go too far. Look at the photo below. The far right straight line is my original stitching line. The 2 angled lines which look like a highly exaggerated "< " (less than sign) also known as a near 180 degree angle, (probably 175 degrees), are what I modified. That turned out to be a much cleaner, closer fit.
BIKE SHORTS - Petal Nylon Lycra
I did test these by dancing in them in a very hot place. They worked really well. They are:
- Easy to pull on and off for frequent bathroom trips.
- They didn't wick sweat a bunch, but they also didn't hold it to my body.
CAPRIS - Raspberry Supplex Nylon Lycra
The capris are:
- A beautiful color
- incredibly adaptive to movement
- have great recovery
- more revealing than I prefer (I can see my flubber and panties as though my body were painted this color instead of wearing fabric)
- soft next to the skin
LEGGING - Cotton Lycra Print
After I spent some time walking thigh deep in salt water this summer dreaming of surfing again, I decided I am part mermaid. So there! I love mermaids. I mean, heck! I already paint them, have had art shows using them, channel them, why couldn't I too be one?! Still a little tenuous, I put the query out to Instagram and had resounding yes's!
Since I mentioned the fitting issues above, below are the photos post adjustment. Be sure to take a look at the fit around the back of the knee. And keep in mind that I know I'm not winning any awards for pattern matching. The print on this fabric is a little bit resistive, but dang it conforms and recovers much better than I anticipated. I'm so happy! Mermaid happy!
Best compliment on these? My mom said, "You need to make 10 more pair of those." Yeah, we have a winner! Woo hoo!