Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More stretchiness

OK, I’m clearly running out of catchy names for this spate of exercise-related sewing I’m doing recently.  Here’s evidence of two more jacket-and-iron-avoidance projects.  I have finished my Champion technical T-shirt knockoff and made a pair of snazzy new bikeshorts. 

There’s not much to say about the bike shorts.  I used an ancient (ca 1989) Stretch & Sew pattern  which, by some miracle, is still on their website here.  This is the 3rd pair I’ve made.  If (as I do) you choose not to make the contrast side stripe, you can construct them from a whopping 2 pattern pieces.  Not front and back, but front/back (no side seams if you so choose) and a crotch gusset, which runs from left shorts hem to right shorts hem.   

I add another piece – a casing for the waistband elastic.  S&S says just to fold the top edge over too-thin elastic.  I’m either very long through the crotch as compared with S&S’s ideal figure (which is possible) or these bike shorts are meant to be a lot lower-slung than I prefer.  This is also possible, though doubtful, given the date on this athletic wear classic.  

One of my few fabric-purchasing goals for PR Weekend Montreal, since I knew we’d be visiting the favourite stretch-fabric buying haunts of Jeanne Binet (Jalie), was to buy a good beefy black something-or-other with lycra for new bike shorts.  My other pairs are very old and tired.  I found this absolutely fantastic bottom-weight which I think is RPL.  It’s very firm in its negative ease – easily the most comfy girdle-like garment I’ve ever worn!

The S&S pattern also has pieces to make your very own “seat padding” which I have done in the past.  However for this pair I installed a commercial pad (all curvy in 2 directions, laminated foamy stuff etc.).  I swear my bike goes faster when I’m wearing these shorts, so mission accomplished.  I’m going to make another pair while I am in the mood and will have to make the padding myself, so stay tuned for a post on that.

The shirt is one of 2 I’ve completed (a third is cut out) which combines a very stretchy mesh for the dark grey side panels and under sleeve, with a polyester athletic knit purchased some time ago from Wazoodle.  

To the right is the completed PMB pattern which turned out just as I wanted.  That is, it fits exactly like the original plain T-shirt before I started slicing and dicing it, and its style lines are more or less mimicking the commercial shirt I was trying to clone.  For once I got smart and drafted .65cm (1/4") seam allowances like Jalie does - this uses less fabric and I can sew with my serger by letting the blades just skim the cut edges.  The tiny seam allowances make it easy to sew the curved edges without puckering.  

I used the Jalie neckline technique  and it works marvellously even with the rather non-stretchy poly knit.  The stretchy panels stretch when I’m hunched over on my bike, so that the whole shirt doesn’t ride up.  To jazz it up and get rid of the puckering at the seams, I used a quasi-utility quasi-decorative stitch on my sewing machine.   


  1. Nice job with the drafting of the top! Your outfit looks great. Very RTW!

  2. How awesome is that? (very!) Will you make multiples to take advantage of your great new pattern? I hope to get around to athletic wear someday for yoga & Pilates.

  3. That's a very snazzy top. I especially love the back. Great work.

  4. Really great Kay, I love the top! Where did you get the padding for the bike shorts? I didn't know you could purchase it. Sue A from Toronto

  5. Nice!! I like the contrast sides.

    :)Deb M.

  6. Love the curvy top and the bike shorts sound so comfy.

  7. Excellent bike wear. Thanks for the finishing information link.

  8. Great bike top! Bet that mesh works wonders in this month's heat!