So here they are, a pair of workout shorts using custom print Spoonflower sports lycra. This was a total DIY project, I designed both the pattern and the print and then constructed the shorts – and what a thrill it is to fully realize one’s vision this way! Sometimes we as sewists need to remind us ourselves that we have a superpower that many are in awe of – that we can envision a garment and then make it happen. Instead of spending many fruitless, soul-sucking hours prowling garment stores in search for something that will resemble our idea.
Workout shorts used to make a bit self-conscious and uncomfortable as the ones I bought in stores always had some fitting issues. They were either too tight in the waist or the hem kept riding up when I was moving about. Or they just had an unflattering length, either being too short och too long for my relatively short lower body. I’m 160 cm (5’3) which in Sweden is a very small consumer demographic, most women garments are drafted for someone who is around 168 cm tall so finding clothes that fit me well is really hard.
This is the detail I’m proudest of, the curved mesh panels. I had seen something similar in a pair of Nike leggings and was curious if I could mimic it using regular household machines. I first serged the mesh panel to the shorts, then I stitched down the seam using my coverstitch machine equipped with a presser that has a center guide that you align with the edge to make coverstitching easier. The second row of stitches was to close the pocket, so the bottom of the pocket is curved.
Also, the pockets are covered by fold over elastic. It’s the first time I did this and I love how it turned out. I used a thinner mesh fold over elastic, so the finishing is very smooth.
As for the hem riding up, I mitigate that problem by using wide thigh bands. They still ride up a little bit (using silicon-backed elastic is another option) but they stay put way better than a regular hem.
As you can see the waistband is very slanted, high in the back and low in the front. Getting the back crotch right and prevent the waist from riding down has been a constant struggle for me, I have the same problem with RTW tights. This time I made the back crotch curve both deeper and longer, and I finally have something that stays put on my body! It only took a dozen pair of leggings to figure this out!
All in all, I’m super happy with the result and I writing this I realized that I should perhaps do a separate post summing up my experiences ordering and using the Spoonflower custom print lycra if that is something you are interested in? I’ve sewn four garments now using their fabrics, so I feel qualified to give a more thorough review now!