I hope you’re not sick of seeing all my versions of my latest Steeplechase Leggings pattern yet, because these are the pair I’ve been most itching to show you!
Ever since I started designing something special for equestrians, I knew I wanted my niece, Megan, to be my athlete-model. I’ve sewn for her on and off as she’s grown up, but living so far away, it’s difficult to get accurate measurements before she goes and grows again! But my impromptu trip to the States in January meant I could measure her in person, and post them over in time for the pattern launch.
To refresh your memory, here’s the description:
These leggings have no inseams! Instead, a curved, outer seam runs from the back of the ankle up to the centre front, where it joins a separate yoke piece. There’s an optional, hidden back pocket, elasticated waistband, and your choice of three lengths: biker short, capri, or full length leggings.
Once I was back in London, I sent her the Funkifabrics url, let her pick whatever she wanted, and she chose the black and white Solar System print, which I think is a pretty mature choice for a tween!
I made her the full length leggings, and used the same fabric for the yoke and the body, though you can only barely see the yoke in these photos as she’s wearing a teeshirt over top. I thought that we’d be able to arrange photos much earlier so I could show you how these work in the saddle before the pattern release, but alas, there was another death in the family and the horrible East Coast weather also severely disrupted her Saddle Time.
But the upside is that you get to see photos of Megan riding her horse at the local stables in gorgeous sunshine, and in only a teeshirt on top, too! Since I made and posted these before I had any feedback from my pattern testers, though, you can see that the knees are a little baggy on her – this was a common issue with my testers and was adjusted for the final release version.
One of my pattern testers, Kelli, is a keen rider and gave me so much amazing feedback on the 5 (? or was it 6?) pairs she made during the 2 week testing period, that I really wish I could’ve applied those lessons to Megan’s pair, which was made before I knew!
But for other riders, Kelli’s top tips are to choose less-slippery fabrics for these leggings (so go for “cotton-feel” rather than “smooth & shiny”) to have a bit less sliding around in the saddle, and also, optionally add some grippy paint to the inner knee area (which is marked on the pattern pieces) so you can more easily grip when in the standing position. I’ve used Sock Stop successfully for cycling shorts hems, but it doesn’t seem to be easy to by in the US. Kelli recommends just using regular ol’ household silicone sealant, applied through stencils so you can get a nice repeating pattern of dots (or hearts, or stars…) instead of one big lump of silicone which doesn’t stretch nicely. I’ve seen her samples, and they look great, as well as getting thumbs up all around from her three test riders!
I have to really thank my Dad here as well as Megan – he took all of these photos (including the ones for the biker short variety, which you’ll see next week) and stood out in the pasture for hours while Megan was riding. It’s not easy coordinating custom clothing across continents, and arranging photoshoots isn’t any better! So big, big thanks for my Athlete Model, but also to my Official American Photographer.
You don’t have to be an equestrian to make your own pair of Steeplechase Leggings, though – I’m making an additional pair for myself this weekend to possibly wear to run London marathon in a few weeks, and they’re great for CrossFit or yoga, too!