I hurt my achilles training for a marathon just over two years ago. The shirt I’m wearing in these pics is actually from that marathon that I did not run. I injured myself too close to the deadline to give away my registration, and had already paid for entry, so I made sure to at least get my shirt. Since then, I’ve been slowly but surely working my way back to running. Just this month I’ve been able to run 3 pain-free miles.
Once I started running regularly again, the weather got cooler, and I realized that I don’t have any long running pants, just capri tights. To fill this gap, I began scouring the Internet for appropriate patterns. There are a ton of athletic legging patterns out there, but in the end it came down to Jalie’s 3462 Cora Running Tights and Sewaholic’s new Pacific Leggings. Both have fun seaming and a nice back pocket for essentials. I ended up picking the Jalie pattern for two reasons: 1) it has a great reputation in the blogosphere, and 2) it was less expensive than the Sewaholic pattern.
The hardest part of making athletic wear, in my very limited experience, is finding appropriate fabric. I had no idea how these tights were going to turn out, so I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on fancy fabric, but I also wanted them to be wearable if they did fit. I find it so hard to buy fabric online, especially any that requires a certain stretch percentage, so I went to Joann’s with my mom while she was here visiting. We had a hard time picking out fabric, and ended up with 3 different fabrics to make some fun contrasts.
The black is a swimsuit knit, which probably isn’t ideal for running and sweating, but I was concerned about the other fabrics in the store being see-through. Not something you want for running tights! The variegated grey and blue fabrics are the same fabric in different color ways. I found all three in the activewear section of the store. The pattern calls for 1 yard of the main fabric, 3/4 yard of the contrast fabric, and 5/8 yard of the calf fabric. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted the grey or black fabric to be the main fabric (I ended up going with black), so I bought 1 yard of each. Now I have plenty of fabric leftover to make an extra pair…or two! I would guess that I would have had enough fabric to make two pairs out of the original allowance.
Having never made activewear before, I took my time following the directions, which are written either for a serger or a regular sewing machine. My serger is perennially threaded with white thread (I should probably do something about that…) so I opted to use my sewing machine. This all worked swimmingly until I needed to attach the waistband. I could see immediately that the stitches were going to pop as soon as I stretched the seam out to get it around my hips, or even my knees. There was just no way that seam was going to last if it was sewn on my sewing machine, especially with the recommended straight stitch with zig zags around the raw edges. Begrudgingly, I attached the waistband with my serger, white thread and all. This worked perfectly. You can see the white threads, though. I’m thinking that I will redo this seam once I eventually buy black serger thread. Fortunately, it is the last seam on the pants, so it will be easy to redo. The only other place where the regular machine struggled was around the ankles. Again, there isn’t quite enough stretch for it to fit around my heel. On the next pair, I might try some elastic.
I took these tights out on a test run today, and it was a success! No split seams, no embarrassment! While running, the tights did twist, so that the seam that was at my inner thigh was now in the middle of my knee. This wasn’t horribly uncomfortable, but a bit odd. I’m not sure how to fix that; has anyone else had that problem?
Pattern: Jalie’s 3462 Cora Running Tights in size R
Fabric: 5/8 yard blue contrast knit, 1 yard black swimsuit knit, 1 yard black stripe contrast knit
Notions: 3/8″ elastic, black thread
Cost: $6.80 main fabric + $6.80 black contrast fabric + $6.37 blue contrast fabric = $19.97 ($28.69 if you count the cost of the pattern)
Time: 4 hours