Monday, March 16, 2015

Three Pairs of Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings

Three pairs, not counting the muslin I made.  And I'm about to make a fourth in the shorts.  So Melissa of Fehr Trade just released her newest pattern... the Steeplechase Leggings.  I'm going to have to say I'm in love with 'em.  Yep, I was a pattern tester for these. And yep, I'd buy these in a heartbeat if I had to (I did buy her women's Surf to Summit, that gray top I'm wearing in the pics... I wasn't a tester for that one... worth double the price for me).  So the thing with these leggings/capris/shorts pattern is there is magically no inseam.  Calling all ladies with thighs that aren't sticks!!  The lack of seaming on the inner thigh creates less chance for chaffing/discomfort!!  There are only two pattern pieces for these (excluding the pocket hiding on the inner back waistband).  The pieces are wack-a-doodle looking but fit together so easily with the clear illustrations in the directions and notches on the pattern.  Each pair took under 3 hours to sew from cutting the fabric to hemming.

I used some of the hoarded stash of my New Balance fabric I bought a couple months back (no longer in stock from the website I got it from-- other projects with this fabric are here and here).  I'd say it's comparable to knit Supplex.  It's a ridiculously soft 4-way stretch wicking fabric.  These are hands down my favorite tights I've ever worn AND made between the fit and fabric choice.  Check out the pic way up of the tippty top of this post and see the wild nylon/spandex animal print I used for the yoke-- I've used that stuff before here and here.

Having fuller thighs and rear end I needed to make some alterations.  I made a medium waist and graded to a large hip and below.  So how in the world did I make my full thigh/rear adjustment?  I did exactly what the pics say above here.  Now that I've done that, I realize I could have, rather then pivot, just push my slashed piece over slightly (keeping all things squared off), then filled in the space. Just a thought.

Also note, I overestimated my sizing and actually went back in on all of my tights after making them and reduced the width of the thighs some.  This was a quickie fix with my serger.  I've dropped about a tad under 10lbs over the past couple months so possibly this is why I needed to reduce the width a tad.

Since I got a nice fit on my Fehr Trade Duatholon capris last year, I went ahead and used my altered pattern from that to copy my crotch curve.  I compare those in the pictures right above here.  Hope they make sense!

My capris are also made from the New Balance fabric.  On top on the yoke I used another nylon/spandex 4 way stretch scrap from my stash, it was labeled as swimwear when I got it a couple years ago.  I made this running top and sports bra along with embellishing these capris with it that navy blue and white striped material.  Never do I toss my nylon/spandex, activewear scraps because I use them all the time for this sort of thing.

After I made a muslin and was sure I loved this pattern, I ran as fast as I could to FINALLY place an order at Spandex World for this crazy smokey-rainbow-sorta print nylon/spandex.  I ordered only one yard but was able to get a full length pair of tights from it because of the generous cut I got of the fabric.  Also, I had to do some creative cutting.  This is a non-directional print and a generous 4-way stretch in all directions.  I had to cut one pattern piece vertically as recommended by the sewing pattern--- then I had to place the 2nd leg perpendicularly to it, following the grain in the other direction.  I forgot to take a photo... if it's confusing you can just ask what the heck I mean and I might make a quickie sketch of my method for you.  But I was *very* careful to follow the grain.  I would imagine going off-grain for this sewing pattern would make the final product twist and turn in weird ways when you move.

The grass green yoke is actually a hand dyed nylon/spandex scrap I had leftover from a bra I made recently.  So much of my activewear sewing/fabrics overlap with my my lingerie fabrics/sewing.  I use 1"/2.5cm wide elastic instead of the 3/4"/2cm wide recommended.  I simply added on 1/4"/.64cm to the top edge of the pattern's waist edge AND the top edge of the pocket edge.  Don't mind the sweat marks on my back in some of these photos... I just ran some mega hills.

The colors on the smokey fabric are so bold and brilliant!  Being such a busy print, it helps masks lumps and bumps my less-then-model-perfect body might have.  The pics where I'm wearing the (RTW) black half zip, I was fresh off my longest run EVER!  I trusted these leggings so much I wore them fresh of the serger for that run.  (It was 8.13 miles/13.09km... I'm a superstar!)  

Hello, secret pocket in the back waist!  I shove my car keys or an energy bar in there, but it's sized for a fancy schmancy phone (which I opt not to own) or an MP3 player thingy.  I carry none such business on a run, my personal rule of thumb is keep my ears open and never have valuables on me.  I'm very cautious and go in safe and lovely parks but still people, I live in Baltimore, I'm not stupid.  (I do not get the folks-- particularly women-- who drown out their surroundings with headphones in a busy, urban environment!)   Anyhow... a funny thing... the striped pocket... I mistakenly put that on the FRONT of my leggings... it sits on my belly and not in back. Oh, well.  That's late night sewing for me.

So there you have it, three new pairs of tights.  And look close on my smokey ones here, you can clearly see I did not baste my pieces together before serging as the pattern recommends.  Now my pieces don't line up ever so perfectly.  They are hand sewn and they feel like a million bucks on and do the job of being excellent running garments. So I don't care all too much about the slight mismatch.  But I'll won't skip that basting step next go round.  I NEED the shorts version like crazy for hotter days coming... I always wear biker style/length shorts for running then for the whole my-thighs-rub-all-the-time-when-running issue. (Find a set of four year old boy toes in the above photo and win a prize.) (Not really.  They are just tiny and cute.)  

And how perfect is the illustration for the Steeplechase Leggings?!  They kinda look like they have my full lady figure!?  Sizing goes from a 35 1/2"/90cm hip to a 48"/122cm hip.  Plus I see Melissa has a coupon code now-- use code SADDLE10 for 10% off all purchases from until 25 March, 2015.  


  1. these are awesome! I just bought this pattern and can't wait to sew it up!

  2. You go girl! You ARE a superstar! These are fabulous and congrats on your long run.

  3. These are just BRILLIANT! Can't believe how awesome they ALL are, and now I want to make them too! I just bought (cringe) a couple of sportswear leggings at a French shop here in Shanghai, and was curious about these curvy seams... they look so tricky to make (or maybe my serger is horrid with curved pieces...) but maybe not?

  4. They all look awesome and I really love the smoky pair!

  5. These are so cool. Not only are you a superstar, you're an inspiration! Great job :)

  6. Those are breathtaking! So is the shipping fee for Spandex World! I am just going to admire that smoky print on your splendid leggings!

  7. Very nice! I love the fabric in that last pair... very pretty! Congrats on your run too! Always so fun to reach a new personal best or new distance!!! :O)

  8. These are fantastic! I am going to add this pattern to my list of patterns I'd like to sew! I'm hoping to sew my first active wear patterns this spring. If all goes well, it could be a slippery slope. :-D

  9. Oh wow. These are fabulous Kathy. Your exercise kits are great.

  10. Looks great! I love the swirly pattern, and your contrast panels really work. Can I ask, when you make a muslin for activewear, what do you use? Like a regular lycra or something? I'm just starting out with sewing activewear so I'm on a bit of a learning curve!!

    1. Thanks!! I used some really inexpensive 4-way nylon/spandex I bought at a random warehouse sale a few years ago, like 50 cents a yard cheap. I doubt I'll ever come across that sort of thing again!

  11. Congrats on your long run :)
    Love your leggings/tights.

  12. These are great! Nice work :)
    Just stumbled across your blog while looking for resources on drafting active wear. I'll be following along now! Keep up the great work!