I had a fantastic long Thanksgiving weekend with my family. My parents and my brother and his wife all came out from Ohio, and we had dinner at my husband’s sister’s house, with her husband, and my husband’s parents (got all that?). Thanksgiving dinner, as well as the rest of the weekend has always been for us about eating too much, drinking too much, and enjoying each other’s company.
So my new sweatpants got quite the workout!
A tiny bit of backstory. I have a beloved pair of blue sweatpants that I have owned for ten-plus years and wear all the time. I don’t wear them out of the house (except down to the laundry room), but I wear them way too often at home. And they are literally at the point where they are falling off of me. The waistband was worn through so that the elastic was coming out. I had it safety pinned for a while. When I started sewing, my husband made some not too subtle comments about how many I could sew a new pair of sweatpants. Instead, I tried to sew up the waist band on the old ones so that at least a drawstring would work. It did, but it wasn’t very convenient without elastic. To top it off, in several place you can just see through the legs of the pants because the fabric is so worn through.
So during one of my shopping excursions on fabric.com, I saw micropoly fleece on sale for under $2/yard, and I snapped it up. It sat here unused until I finally got the serger and decided it was time to make my sweatpants.
Being me, and cheap, I didn’t bother with a pattern. I just traced my beloved old sweatpants onto the new fabric. It’s a lot more difficult than it sounds like, because I could figure out how to trace the front and back differently, even though they were clearly different in the pants. Anyway, I eventually traced, cut, and pinned the fabric. I cut out some in-seam pockets using the trusty Beignet pocket patterns. And then I serged up the sides, which was frankly awesome. I LOVE the serger! And then I serged up the insides of the legs to a point where I guess the crotch should be. Then I serged front to back and had myself some pants. Sort of.
I had originally planned to just fold over the top of the waistband to make a casing for the elastic, but I didn’t leave enough room. So, I cut a new waistband. Here’s where I made my mistake. I should have cut the waistband to be the same width as the waist of the pants. But instead I cut it to be the width I wanted to gather to. Unfortunately, while I got the waistband attached to the waist, the gathering looked awful and there were unfortunate gathers at the crotch. I figured it was fine; the pants were still comfortable and functional, but after a few days, it really started to bother me.
So, I used my trusty seam ripper and took off the waistband. Luckily, I had enough extra fabric to cut a new one, this time the right length. I attached it, threaded in the elastic, and let the elastic do the work of gathering. It looks so much better now! I am really pleased with these pants. They are incredibly comfortable, and the pockets make them more functional than the old pants (except that the crazy orange color really can’t be worn in public.
It was a great project for the serger. I even overlocked the hems, so I made the whole thing with the serger (except for sewing together the ends of the elastic). And it was a super cheap project, since the fabric was under $2/yard, and I re-used the elastic from the old sweatpants!
I can easily see more pairs of these in my sewing future, probably for more people. The only change I might make it to use a less bulky fabric for the pockets, since these cause the pants to bow out a little.