Saturday, June 14, 2014

Yoga Shorts for the Sporty Summer Sewathon!

I've completed my project for the Did You Make That? Sporty Summer Sewathon.

When I saw this sporty sewathon project, I knew it would be the perfect first sew-along for me because I have been wanting to try sewing yoga shorts for myself since last November.  I'm a little shy to post the finished result, so I decided to add a black and white filter.  These shorts are very skimpy, but they fit a specific sporty purpose.


I go to hot yoga classes several times a week and there is a certain uniform of short shorts and bra tops that almost everyone wears.  When it's 105 degrees and 35% humidity in a room and you are bending and stretching and breathing for 90 minutes, you just want to cover your unmentionables and let the rest of your skin be.

Once upon a time, hot yoga studios recommended bathing suits, bike shorts & sports bras... but in the last decade or so, a whole style of hot yoga-specific activewear has emerged.  Shakti, Onzie, Hot Drop, LaLaLand, Mika and many more - all heavily featuring the side tie short.

Side tie shorts are really functional.  Normal shorts often start to ride up or roll at the hem throughout different asana and it's distracting to be fussing around with your shorts during class - side-ties sort of allow you to control that by ruching up the sides and front, while still having enough total fabric in the short to cover your bum.  They are very short, but a well-fitting side tie short should cover everything crucial and allow you to forget all about your clothes while you practice.

Except they don't come in a huge range of sizes.

Up until the last couple of years, most companies making them actually only made them in "one size". Onzie is still primarily a "one size" company, though they started making a large size in a very limited number of fabrics last fall.

I'm quite pear-shaped and so these little shorts are a challenge for me.  I have to have enough fabric in them to cover my hips and backside, but I also want shaping in the waist to keep from having that dreaded back-waist gap that is prevalent for us pears.

I have tried all the brands and several custom orders from etsy shops.  Over time, I've amassed quite a collection & while I like many of these shorts - not a single pair is what I would call a perfect fit for my body.  These are my favorites that I wear the most - but others never see the light of day.

I have learned a lot about their construction in ordering various pairs from different makers, especially from the individuals on etsy.  I am excited about this prototype to make my own shorts that are fitted just to me.



Close-up of the side ties on two different etsy-made pairs of shorts... I can do this!

I searched a lot of different patterns and knew that I would have to do a hack - either tracing off a RTW pair of shorts as a starting point or adapting an existing pattern.  I almost bought this Jalie pattern - I think the bra top is adorable, but the shorts aren't side tie, so it would still be a hack.

In the end, I used a boy shorts pattern that I found for free from Cloth Habit called Rosy Lady Shorts.
I used the boy short shape and the handy grid on which this pattern was laid out to extend the waist and legs into a yoga shorts shape.

The navy shorts are the second attempt - they are in a cotton/lycra fabric.  The first ones I made as a muslin for fit are a synthetic spandex fabric. I sewed them all in zig-zag instead of double needle.  I like the way this spandex hugs the body, but it was too sheer for a real short, so that is why it became a test muslin.  It showed me I was on the right track fit-wise, but needed a few adjustments.

Along the way - I taught myself to use a loop turner to make the side ties on these purple ones - that was tricky for a moment and ultimately super-gratifying.  When I turned the ties for the navy pair, it was a breeze.  I am one with my loop turner now & I want to put spaghetti straps on everything!


Second time around, I practiced the double needle finishing.  I love the look of it. So sleek and polished.  It makes comfy seams inside too.  I seamed inside with a double stitch and then top-stitched with the double needle too.  That way all the seams were very reinforced and I didn't have to change between needles.

I wore these navy shorts to class last night and they performed pretty well, but -as I suspected- the high percentage of cotton made them a slightly misshapen by the end of a sweaty 90 minutes.  They remained modest and didn't cause any wardrobe malfunctions - they were just a bit saggy.

I think this could be fixed by using fabric with more synthetic fast-drying fibers and more stretch.

I also think that I will add a separate waistband, cut along the grain differently than the rest of the shorts to hug the waist a bit more on future pairs.  I wasn't sure how necessary the separate waist was, but I think it would be a flattering feature.

So - to continue the experiment, I have to wait for some new fabric in the mail.  I have my eyes on some ponte and some 4-way stretch cotton/poly/lycra that is designed for yoga activewear, as well as a novelty print that Onzie has used in the past - I look forward to experimenting with other fabrics and eventually perfecting my dream shorts.

All, in all, I am thrilled to be on my way in this ongoing project and very happy that the Sporty Summer Sewathon gave me the motivation necessary to get started!

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