Anyone make their own gym pants?

I have an issue with store bought workout pants. Since I am heavier around the middle than around hips and thighs, bought pants don't fit properly. When they fit in the waist, they are too loose around hips and thighs. So, since I can sew I bought a pattern from Jalie and tried my hand at sewing my own pair. After a couple of tries I got a good fit. I've been using athletic wear fabrics from Joann's, but they have a really limited selection, and I like a good print. Do any of you sew your own pants, and where to do buy good fabrics? What composition of materials to look for? I know there's a bunch of online places, I just have trouble picking something that I can't touch first. So maybe someone can give a recommendation. Also, there might be a particular pattern someone else uses. The one from Jalie I like because it only has inseams, no seams on the leg outsides. Thanks!

Replies

  • debrakgoogins
    debrakgoogins Posts: 2,034 Member
    edited November 2018
    I use to sew all of my daughters figure skating dresses. I find that the fabric Joanns carries is too thin, gets pulls and pills easily, and is more like bathing suit material than quality workout fabric. I can't help with you with where to buy as it's been a while and I always took a trip to Boston to get what I needed. One hint...when you find a fit that works well for you, transfer the adjusted pattern piece to a heavy duty piece of poster board paper and use that to do your cutting for future projects. It lasts longer than tissue paper.

    This is a good guide to determining what fabric would work best for you:
    https://www.seamwork.com/issues/2015/01/a-guide-to-activewear-fabrics

    Jalie has fantastic patterns. I'm not sure if you found yours in the store but they are also online:
    https://jalie.com/sewing-patterns/activewear
  • MelanieCN77
    MelanieCN77 Posts: 4,053 Member
    I do, but I can't imagine hand sewing them. I have a serger. Local fabric shops that are NOT Joann's might have some nicer choices for performance wear, but you will pay more for it. Online you should generally order swatches. Also check out tutorials for drafting your own pattern for leggings, it's truly not that difficult and you get to super custom fit everything.
  • _nikkiwolf_
    _nikkiwolf_ Posts: 1,375 Member
    I did it once, when I was frustrated how hard it was to find running tights for women with pockets (other than that annoying tiny key pocket at the back that most of them have). I followed this pattern: https://shop.fehrtrade.com/collections/bottoms/products/duathlon-shorts

    My main problem was finding the fabrics. I visited both local shops, and found some lycra(?) at the second one, but only in plain blue, pink, and a horrible floral print. Since I wanted to get started right away, I bought the blue one plus the flower print for accents. The pants turned out alright, but shortly after I found some running pants in a shop that were a much nicer color, with pockets, and cheap enough to buy two of them for less than what I payed for the fabric for the self-made one. So I haven't repeated the exercise; I much prefer patchwork to sewing clothes anyway, and I never have enough time for both... But if you want to sew your own exercise clothes, I can recommend the website above for patterns.
  • smcurtis1981
    smcurtis1981 Posts: 53 Member
    I do and I can't recommend Peg Legs by Patterns for Pirates highly enough. It's a free download and has an add on pack (also free) with contour waistband and Pockets! I get it printed A0 size at a print shop but you can print at home and stick together the pages. So easy - start to finish takes me about 30 minutes.
    I just look for a fabric with 50% or more 4 way stretch. I buy from local sellers on EBay.
  • LovesDogsAndBooks
    LovesDogsAndBooks Posts: 190 Member
    Thank you all for your replies! I had heard of Fehr Trade before, but kind of forgotten about it, so this is a good reminder to check them out. I did get the Jalie pattern from an etsy seller, but I am aware of their website. Haven't tried any of their other patterns yet, but they seem to have a good reputation, haven't really heard anything bad about them. Patterns for Pirates I heard about just recently in a different context, they seem worth checking out, too. Spoonflower carries a sports lycra, but it is pretty pricey, $32 per yard. I actually got one just to see what the fabric is like. It feels great, the print is fantastic, but I haven't sewn it into leggings yet. Too scared to mess it up! I think the next couple of pairs I will make out of Joann's fabrics that I already have, especially if I try a new pattern where it might take me a try or two to get it right. Thanks again!
  • Verdenal
    Verdenal Posts: 625 Member
    I've been using athletic wear fabrics from Joann's, but they have a really limited selection, and I like a good print.

    I would look at Spandex House and Spandex World in New York for fabrics. Sewing Patterns Review is a good site because it has a database for pattern searches and a forum in which you can post questions.
  • FL_Hiker
    FL_Hiker Posts: 919 Member
    I did it once, when I was frustrated how hard it was to find running tights for women with pockets (other than that annoying tiny key pocket at the back that most of them have). I followed this pattern: https://shop.fehrtrade.com/collections/bottoms/products/duathlon-shorts

    My main problem was finding the fabrics. I visited both local shops, and found some lycra(?) at the second one, but only in plain blue, pink, and a horrible floral print. Since I wanted to get started right away, I bought the blue one plus the flower print for accents. The pants turned out alright, but shortly after I found some running pants in a shop that were a much nicer color, with pockets, and cheap enough to buy two of them for less than what I payed for the fabric for the self-made one. So I haven't repeated the exercise; I much prefer patchwork to sewing clothes anyway, and I never have enough time for both... But if you want to sew your own exercise clothes, I can recommend the website above for patterns.

    Seriously, THIS!!!! Do they think women don’t like pockets?!?! I don’t understand!
  • LovesDogsAndBooks
    LovesDogsAndBooks Posts: 190 Member
    Verdenal wrote: »
    I've been using athletic wear fabrics from Joann's, but they have a really limited selection, and I like a good print.

    I would look at Spandex House and Spandex World in New York for fabrics. Sewing Patterns Review is a good site because it has a database for pattern searches and a forum in which you can post questions.

    Great, thank you!
  • ashley52601
    ashley52601 Posts: 42 Member
    I know you don't prefer online but check out Surge Fabrics, they have several performance fabrics that I've heard good things about.
  • LovesDogsAndBooks
    LovesDogsAndBooks Posts: 190 Member
    I have a serger, but I made the ones so far on my regular sewing machine. In case I had to rip out something I didn't want to have to rip out a serged seam. The one successful pair I've worn at the gym multiple times, it's gone through the washer and dryer as often, and all the seams have been holding up. Once I am 100 % sure about pattern and fit and make a bunch of them, I will probably switch to the serger, just for speed. But you can totally make them without one. Make sure to use a stretch or zigzag stitch for the seams so they can be stretched. Overlocking the seam allowances isn't even necessary in my opinion, since these fabrics don't fray.

    Thanks for the mention of Surge Fabrics! They even carry Underarmour fabrics, I assume from older collections. It's not that I don't want to buy online, once I know exactly what to look for I will be happy to buy online. At the moment it's just a little bit of an adventure to order something you don't know is suitable for what you want to make. But there's probably no way around trial and error.
  • ata1anta
    ata1anta Posts: 115 Member
    If you're in the Philly area, Dragon's Guide to Philly Fabrics is a good resource (though a little dated, hasn't been reviewed in a while).
  • LovesDogsAndBooks
    LovesDogsAndBooks Posts: 190 Member
    Not in the Philly area, but thanks for taking the time to respond!