Sewing Indie Month is back again so you can look forward to a whole month of fun interviews, tutorials, pattern sales, and sewing contests (with a ton of prizes!) throughout the month of September. Just like last year, when I interviewed Hannah from Sinbad & Sailor and you got a great tutorial from Heath Lou hacking my XYT Workout Top into a maxi dress, you’ll get to read some great, different content from my usual sort, starting off with this fabulous tutorial by Amity of Lolita Patterns. You may recall that I pattern tested her Sugar Plum dress a few years ago (and I still wear it!), plus we got to meet up when she visited London a while back, too. So read on and see how she adapted my PB Jam Leggings pattern to have wider legs and a yoga-style waistband, too! – melissa
I was so lucky to get paired with Melissa for the tutorial post for SIM. While my life before baby was filled with court visits (I was an attorney) and professional wear, my new mom life incorporates a LOT of yoga pants. Casual wear is my life now! So it was unbelievably perfect to get paired with Fehr Trade patterns.
For my tutorial I turned her very stylish PB Jam Leggings into yoga pants! This required a different and thicker waistband, and a widening of the legs. Can I just tell you that my pants turned out amazing?!? I was going to just go black pants with the gray houndstooth contrast but at the last second remembered I had some orange stretch piping I had bought for a project but had since bought a different shade of orange. This piping made the pants. Literally. The piping looks so amazing I have worn these pants 4 times already and I’ve only had them made for a week!
I’m here to share pictures and a tutorial on how I transformed the PB Jam leggings into yoga pants. To do this, I used a pair of yoga pants I loved to see how wide I wanted each part of the leg.
Wide leg alteration
Excuse the dog hair—such is the life with three dogs 🙂
The bottom of the leg was 10 inches.
In between the knee and the hem was 8 7/8, and the knee was 8 5/8. I took these measurements and wrote them on the diagram so I could compare and make sure I didn’t forget them. I also measured the inseam and how far down the knee began from the waist. These are all helpful measurements when altering the pattern to match the yoga pants we are copying from.
Now keep in mind, these are all just one side of the leg (so the entire circumference would be twice the measurement) and also do not include seam allowances. But this measurement is perfect because the pattern pieces work this way.
Next, make sure to mark all the seam allowances on the pattern.
Next you want to use paper tape (because its easily removable!) to tape the pattern pieces together so you have the entire front and entire back to work with.
I also compared the pattern to the pants I had by putting it on top to see where the width in the leg was added. Turns out, thanks to my bodacious booty, most of the width was added to the back of the leg so that is where I added to the pattern most. This is an optional step. I only did this because I know for my personal body, I have a lot larger backside then I do in front and I knew the additional width would need to be added there.
You could also do a traditional cut and spread alteration through the leg to make the legs wider. I chose to copy the yoga pants I had because I knew they were comfortable and liked the way they fit.
First pattern change I made was to shorten the legs. I checked my inseam measurement that I had found above, and then checked the inseam measurement of the leg. I discovered I had to remove 3.5 inches for me to have the length I needed. (FYI, I’m really short! – 5’1)
I drew a line below the knee making sure it would not interfere with any contrast pieces on the back. This means that I made my line 4 inches below the knee line that is marked on the pattern. Then I folded under half of that measurement (1.75) and overlapped it so that it removed 3.5 inches from the length.
Now that that is taken care of, we can move onto the width of the legs. I first measured 8 5/8″ across 1 inch above the knee line following the measurements I had taken earlier. As I stated above, I was adding most of the width to the back, while still keeping grainlines intact.
Next I moved to halfway between the knee and the hem and measured 8 7/8″ across. This time I added to both sides of the pattern based on how my original yoga pants compared to this pattern when I laid them on top of each other.
Lastly, we needed 10 inches wide at the hem, which makes for a slight flare and a 20″ wide leg opening.
I then trued up the entire pattern by connecting all the seamlines we had just added to the original pattern where we did not make any alterations -i.e. the hip and crotch.
This is a good time to remind you that all these measurements are without seam allowances. We need to go back and add them in.
Both to the sides, and to the hem.
Perfect! Now that I have trued up the lines and added seam allowances, I want to go back and double check that the three places on the leg where I wanted to widen the pattern now have the correct measurements.
I made all these alterations while laying the original pattern pieces on top of a large piece of paper. Then after adding the seam allowances, I cut around the entire new pattern so the original pattern is now taped to a piece of paper that has the additional pieces/width added in. Them hem measures 10″ wide from seamline to seamline. That is what we wanted. Check!
The other two measurements are accurate as well. Make sure to also make the back leg measurements match the alterations we just made to the front pieces. Let’s move on to the waistband.
Yoga waistband alteration
I saw where the original pattern had the waist hitting and I decided I wanted mine a 1/2″ above that. The waistband I was adding was 2 inches. So I folded down 1.5 inches off the original pattern since I was adding my own waistband. The original pattern has the waistband included on the pattern. Make sure you fold the waistband down on both the front and the back pieces.
I have 2 inch elastic that I wanted to use. Which would mean I would have a two inch waistband. Here is going to be a little bit of math but it’s easy and I will walk you through it. To cut your waistband, you need to know the finished waist measurement. I made a waistband with a 1:1 ratio because I did not want negative ease on my belly. The finished waist measurement was 30. The rectangle I cut was 31″ x 4 3/4″.Let’s do this math.
The waistband will be folded in half. My elastic is 2″ wide and the waistband will be folded so I need to double that. 2 + 2 = 4. The seam allowance is 3/8″. 3/8″ x 2 = 3/4″. Add those together and you get 4 3/4″ as the width of the rectangle you need to cut.
Now for the length. The finished waist measurement was 30″ and to make things simple, I cut it at 31″ and sewed it into a loop with a 1/2″ seam allowance so it would finish at exactly 30.
Cut the elastic the same length. Again, I like a 1:1 on my elastic when I am doing a separate waistband. I make my elastic shorter when doing a waistband that is included like on pajama pants or the way the original PB Jam leggings are.
Here is what my new completed pattern looks like.
Now that we have altered the waistband and the legs, it is time to separate our pattern pieces. For the front leg, the only alterations were to the lower piece so they should separate easily. For the back leg, the alterations span several pieces. Since I did the alterations all together on one piece of paper, I had to cut them apart and then add back seam allowances where I cut them.
add seam allowances back in with additional paper
altered pattern pieces ready to cut out of fabric
Now we can cut our pattern pieces out of fabric! I followed the instructions for the PB Jam Leggings that were in the pattern. I just stopped before I got to the waistband. A quick note, I sewed nearly the entire pattern on my serger. I only used my sewing machine to baste the joins so they would match perfectly. I used a cording foot on my serger and sewed the piping in at the same time I sewed the seams. Here is where I messed up a tiny bit! The pipings seam allowance was only 1/4″ and I had made the pattern for 3/8″ SA just as the pattern had intended. The resulting pants are slightly big on me but will probably be perfect for my next pregnancy right? 🙂 Next time I will make sure to use 3/8″ seam allowances and I can tell they will fit perfectly.
Back to the waistband. Now that the entire pants are sewn except for the waistband, we can start to sew the rectangle and elastic that we cut. First sew the rectangle into a loop with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Overlap the elastic by 1/2″ and make sure the stitching is sturdy to hold the elastic together.
Follow step 13 for quartering your waistband and elastic.
Open the seam allowances and fold the fabric in half.
Next tuck the elastic inside the waistband loop.
I like to pin the seam allowances now to make sure the elastic gets in there nice and snug.
Put the waistband right sides together with the top of the pants and sew around using the 3/8″ seam allowance. This will make the waistband be exactly 2″ and hold that 2″ elastic in there perfectly with no wiggling around.
Then hem your pants and you are done! Woohoo!
I am so excited about how cool these yoga pants turned out. Way more fun than anything I would find in the store. Guess what? I already made another pair! No more looking like every other mom walking around the block.
I am so glad to be participating in Sewing Indie Month again this year. I think it is such a fantastic collaboration between independent designers and I love that I got the chance to tweak a pattern I might not have ever made otherwise!
Another great thing to come out of SIM this year is the huge bundle sale! It is only going on til this Sunday and even includes a pattern by Fehr Trade and two exclusive new patterns you can’t get anywhere else! Plus the best part? Twenty percent of proceeds go to the Women for Women charity. Head over and pick up your bundle before its over!
One last thing: For SIM this year, I put all the PDF patterns in my store on a 40% off sale! Just use the code SIM40OFF to save 40% on all PDF patterns [Note: this code is for Lolita Patterns, NOT Fehr Trade Patterns!]. Make sure to sew some independent patterns this month and enter into the contests! All information on the contest can be found at www.sewindependent.com.