Steeplechase Leggings!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well! It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve blogged! Most of my sewing energy this month went towards the final projects for my tailoring class, but that’s over now so I am free to sew more fun stuff, yay!

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

Apologies for the pasty-white limbs… it’s been a long winter!

This is a little bit embarrassing, but, you guys, I can’t touch my toes! Even worse, I’ve NEVER been able to, not even when I was very small! So I’ve started doing yoga recently in a sad attempt to gain some flexibility and strength, and decided to sew up some clothes I can wear to class (I wore my lycra crazy dog lady leggings to my first class and oh wow, they do NOT breathe at all!).

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

I used the Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings pattern. Melissa Fehr and her husband visited several weeks ago and I got to play Garment District tour guide, yay! Melissa was kind enough to bring me a copy of this pattern, so I was stoked to sew them up! I’ve admired the Fehr Trade patterns for some time, but, to be honest, I’m not very comfortable in snug workout clothing. But loose clothing just doesn’t make much sense for yoga, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to try this pattern. PLUS, this style is modeled on equestrian garb, and you guys KNOW how I feel about horses! ๐Ÿ˜€

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

I bought supplex at Spandex House on Melissa’s recommendation. I don’t know anything at all about athletic wear or technical fabrics, so I relied on her expertise and this fabric seems like a much better choice than lycra for a situation where you’re working out. Plus, it’s softer and not as slippery as spandex… definitely better for yoga! I bought a yard each of navy and fuchsia for $12/yard, and I was able to fit the full-length pattern pieces onto a yard (perfect for days when you don’t want to shave your legs before working out… I KNOW YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT), so the material cost was only $12 for each pair! And I even have some small pieces left over, enough to sew into sports bras when I need to replace my current ones. I don’t often feel like I’m saving money when I sew, but athletic apparel is so expensive that making your own can save a bundle!

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

These leggings are pretty interesting to sew up- there’s no inseam, which is probably comfortable for people who run more than the few miles at a time that I can muster up! The pattern piece is pretty crazy-looking… it was fun to see how it went together! My waist is a size larger than my hips, so I opted to sew up the size that fit my hips since there’s an elasticized waist. The pattern has an optional inner pocket where you can stash money or a house key- I added it to one pair, but not to the other, so I could decide if I liked it or not. I shortened them by 2″ so they hit right at my ankle, and my rise is slightly lower than Melissa drafted because I used the 1″ elastic I had in my stash instead of the recommended 3/4″. But my personal preference is a pretty low rise… I might even shorten it a bit if I make another pair. Oh man, one more thing: I keep noticing on RTW and in sewing patterns that leg openings are really tight around my ankles… do I have cankles? Is there a cankle fit alteration???? Ugh!

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

Alright… let’s talk about what’s driving me CRAZY. The curved seams look AWFUL. They’re lumpy and ugly, and look sooooo homemade. I wish that I hadn’t serged the seams- I think that added a little bulk. In hindsight, I probably should have experimented with my serger to see if I could get a flatlock effect… I think that’s possible with the basic Brother that I have? Anyway, it’s kind of a bummer that these look so crummy, but they’re definitely wearable and will keep me comfortable during yoga, so really, that’s all that matters. But if anyone has any suggestions for how I can fix this, I’m all ears!

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

Alright, guys, do you make your own activewear? Is it possible to blind classmates with electric pink leggings? Am I the only one who really wants to give up mid-class and just lay face-down on the yoga mat?

Man Friend: “You’re not going to like this one”.

81 responses

  1. hahahahaha whenever I workout and my legs are unshaven… I just rock that hair with pride, anyway. I mean, if someone is staring at my legs long enough to notice the hair and gives enough of a shit to actually care about it – that’s their problem, not mine ๐Ÿ˜›

    I am wondering if your lumpy seam is because the leggings aren’t super tight? Usually when I sew knits, a lot of the serged seams will look lumpy when they’re flat, and once they get that negative ease to fit on a body, the lumps smooth out. It looks like the thigh is a little loose (i don’t mean too big loose, but there’s definitely not a lot of negative ease there), so that could be your problem. I can see why it would bother you, but I didn’t even notice it until you pointed it out and I DEFINITELY dont’ think any of your fellow yogis will notice it one bit ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, I’m sure your serger does a flatlock – it’s just a 2 or 3 thread stitch. I actually just experimented with my flatlocking abilities this weekend and it was amazing and now I want to flatlock EVERYTHING.

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    • That makes perfect sense! These actually do feel loose through the thighs, well, not loose, but not snug. It’s weird because I haven’t noticed this issue with other knits, but then again, this is way stretchier and thinner than the knit fabric I usually use.

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  2. You are definitely not the only one who wants to give up and lie down on the mat! I just started yoga, also, and beginner yoga kicks my butt some classes (it depends on the teacher). One class, I did have to sit on my mat for a few minutes in the middle, I was getting so dizzy and tired. I’m hoping it gets easier with time…

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  3. I got some really great advice from my first REAL yoga teacher. “Leave your ego at the door.” I tend to be an overachiever when it comes to sports, can’t do that with yoga…. You’ll get hurt. I have the tightest hamstrings known to woman kind, but after 5 years, I can touch my toes and cannot imagine a world without yoga…. It’s all about the breath…. And some hamstrings…. (I went to Fiddle Camp in the Catskills and found yoga…. Go figure) I’m gonna try your fabric suggestion… Nicely done!

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    • That’s good advice! I’m definitely careful not to push too hard- I can feel when my body isn’t ready for some of the poses! I’m glad to hear it’s possible for even super inflexible folk to limber up… I’m encouraged!

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  4. Ahh yoga. I was a total potato couch before I started yoga several months ago, and so far it is the only exercise that stick! I love that I can do exercise while being sleepy at the same time ๐Ÿ˜€
    I should start making my own yoga clothes too! For some reason, I’ve been wearing the same outfit to my yoga class and they’re not very interesting to look at. I think I worry about choosing the wrong fabric…

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    • Well you know that I make my own exercise gear – I love it! I’ve only had access to black supplex so far (the local factory doesn’t make any other colours), Spandex House has so many colours! I’ve only tried yoga a couple of times but, well, it’s a weird mix of being bored and also sore legs. Maybe I should try pilates but it’s so expensive!

      Re: touching your toes – are you bending your knees a touch? If not, you probably won’t be able to (having your knees locked in extension (straight) sort of stabilises the hip joint) so see how you go if you very slightly bend your knees.

      Aaaand, regarding the wobbly seams – I agree with Lauren that it’s probably because they’re not TIGHT on you, but also because the overlocked seam isn’t laying flat against your body (it’s probably flip flopping from one side of the seam to the other), because you can’t press it. Top-stitching would help but doesn’t stretch well; and because your overlocker may be stretching it out slightly – next time maybe try adding a bit of negative ease? But otherwise they look awesome – and $12 is SO MUCH CHEAPER than RTW!

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      • That’s too bad that pilates is expensive! What a bummer! I’m lucky in that this yoga class is only $5. The class is always so full and is a 30 min walk from my house, but the yoga place near me is $20 a class! No way!

        Let me know if you’d ever like me to send you some pretty supplex! I’d be so happy to!

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  5. I think Lladybird could be right, because if it’s not that I wouldn’t have a clue. And I so want to get flat lock experimenting too!…. The possibilities ……

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  6. Oh no! I didn’t say hOw great it is that you’ve made your own active wear! And I wouldn’t have noticed any seam ripple until you mentioned it either. And love navy and hot pink. Looking fab !!

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  7. Sewing activewear must be really satisfying, it’s definitely the kind of project that seems scary but your leggings look good. Also, you definitely do not have cankles! ๐Ÿ˜€

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    • I bet you would enjoy making your own activewear! They’re very quick sews, so that’s super satisfying. I bet there are groovy 70s activewear patterns that would be so cute on you!!!

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  8. Hullo you athletic wear making renegade! I think the lumpy seam issue may be due to a lack of negative ease and these being a bit too big for you ๐Ÿ˜€ I made a bunch of leggings for derby and sergerd the bejeepers out of all the seams and they would be all wrinkly and weird when flat but sat great when they were stretched out on the body. And side note- bright leggings are the best! My fave exercise pair were a fuchsia foil crocodile print- they were known as the disco lizard pants. Was devastated when they finally wore through ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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    • These are definitely loosey-goosey, except through the calves and ankes, and the seams look pretty good there, so I think you’re right! ALSO I NEED DISCO LIZARD PANTS!!!

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  9. These are great! If you check my Instagram 3 week ago, I’ve use the same pattern to make a pair of yoga pants with similar colour combination! Great minds, eh!? I could not agree with you more about crazy prices on active wear. $60 for a tee????? WTF! So I am making my own too.

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  10. I had a wavy seam incident with my overlocker recently, and after some reading I found some references to playing around with the diff (Steph at cake patterns has a good article on her blog). Essentially if you turn the diff up to 1.5 or more you can reduce this happening. One piece of fabric is being stretched at a different rate than the other which then gets stitched in place…. I’ve made leggings before but only on my regular machine and no crazy curved seams…. Top stitching might help with these tho! Good luck with the toe touching!

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  11. Ok.. yoga first. I have been doing it for over 25 years and 10 years every day to help me keep flexible after a car accident. I couldn’t get anywhere near my toes when I started and after 2 years of physiotherapy and one on one real pilates (with a pressure pouch under my back curve – boy that was hard) it was doing a hamstring stretch every day on the kitchen cupboard that loosened them up. Easy going, breathe through it and you’ll touch your toes in about 6 weeks… but you have to do it daily and breathe normally when you hold and count to 10 or 15. No holding breath!

    I don’t make active gear yet.. supplex here is about A$28 per meter (I was looking today) so will check out where you got it. I did flat lock on my 25 year old, non differential feed Singer overlocker a little while ago and I remember you loosen on of the loopers to super loose and have wooly thread in it. It was pretty easy and I loved the look. Some of it did unravel after a while but that could be because it was a boys rashie or my not finishing the ends properly. (Sorry this was so long ๐Ÿ™‚ .. I’m a big convert to hamstring stretching after the benefits I got).

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    • I’m so glad to hear that you’ve gained some flexibility! That’s awesome! But yeesh, $28/meter for supplex?! Terrible! I hope you’re able to find some cheaper (or maybe the shipping will be reasonable from Spandex House?)!

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  12. Oh man, leg shaving vs working out. That happened to me the other day and my physiotherapist actually touched, nay grabbed, my leg to show me how my posture should be. I kept a straight face and acted like my legs were all smooth and svelte, which they decidedly were not. To her credit, so did she, but I felt so bad! Clearly I need some ankle length leggings in my life! Loving your colour combo!!

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  13. yeeey for making workout clothes! i made pretty much all of my own workout gear.. and, since i work out in my livingroom, and don’t have to care about hairy legs, i usually sew (and wear) shorts instead of leggings.. but, looking at yours, i think i might need hot pink leggings ๐Ÿ™‚

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  14. Haha brilliant. Love these – although I’m possibly too lazy to require much active wear… I wear tights all the time for the same reason – no leg shaving needed!

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  15. I had planned to make my own workout gear but finally acknowledged the fact that I’m not interested enough to search out fabric swatches and such… I broke down and bought some of the lesser expensive stuff from target/old navy/gap. My workouts are not extreme enough to justify the high dollar stuff! Anyways… these look so fun! I think if you crank up the differential feed on your serger and maybe make the leggings a bit tighter you’re good to go on the wavy seams. I’ve never been consistently successful with flatlocking on the serger, so I’d love to hear if you figure out the secrets to a good flatlocked seam. Oh, and I’m super inflexible also, and always have been! I began to work a small amount of yoga into my post-run routine and it definitely helpsโ€”I can actually touch my toes now! So, there’s hope ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I’m glad to hear there’s hope even for the stiffest of us! And man, your running routine is so impressive! I couldn’t believe some of the cold mornings you made it outside!

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  16. I’ve never been very good at touching my toes, either. Nor do I plan to even try for awhile–putting on my sandals while sitting and shaving my legs is hard enough right now! ๐Ÿ˜€ I have played around with yoga on the Wii, and may try to get back to that once I’m not all front-heavy. But I’ve never really bothered to make workout gear. I usually just wear t-shirts and whatever stretchy pants I find at the thrift store, since my exercise times were mostly just in the basement of our house/I don’t care about workout clothes enough to use my valuable sewing time on that.

    Good luck figuring out the wavy seams–I would guess that the people who commented on the negative ease are probably right, especially considering that it’s spandex and that stuff stretches like whoa. The straighter seams you have look good, though!

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  17. Love the hot pink! And no, you don’t have cankles! I’d love to make my own workout gear, especially cycling clothes b/c they are sooooo stinkin’ expensive! I can’t touch my toes either. After my hip surgery my physical therapist told me I was the most un-flexible person he’d ever met. Why thank you very much! ๐Ÿ™‚ I do need to work on it (especially as I get older & it’s good for injury prevention) & since yoga can hurt my hip some I got a Pilates reformer from a studio that was closing. But you have to use it regularly to become more flexible! So much to do, so little time!

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    • I hope you make some cycling clothes! That sounds like a fun project! And I hear you! It’s so hard to make the time to work out- I’m struggling to make it a regular habit!

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  18. Lauren’s thought that the thigh section may be too loose and causing the bubbling makes sense (though I’ve never worked with spandex). Oh, and I can’t touch the floor either! So not flexible. I tried yoga in LA, but didn’t do it long enough to see any progress.

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  19. A negative ease setting and a little longer stitch length will probably work wonders at smoothing out the curved seams. Sewing over some strips of water soluble stabilizer can also help if the negative ease thing isn’t enough to correct the problem or if you find yourself pulling on the seams and stretching them out as you try to match the two divergent curved seams as you feed them into the machine.

    I have an ancient, and very basic, 3/4 thread overlocker, and if you want to try the faux flatlock seam thing, run samples first as this stitch variation may not be sturdy enough for the seams on your leggings, but your mileage may vary. It was a very 80’s thing that was used as a decorative element on sweatshirts and other loose fitting garments. Basically, it is an unbalanced overlock stitch in which the loopers are loosened to create a “ladder” of stitches on the face of the fabric because the stitch partially pulls apart. My machine was never designed to make a dedicated flatlock stitch, although I know there are more complex machines available now that can do both standard overlock stitch and flatlock stitch. Not sure what kind of machine you have, but assume it is one of the more basic models.

    I have had better luck with my regular machine and a small, balanced zigzag – maybe 2mm long and 2mm wide when sewing lycra for swimwear and exercise wear. But, like I said, my overlocker is old enough to be your mother, so that may have something to do with it.

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    • Thank you, Anna! This is all super helpful! I do have a basic machine, a Brother 1034D, and it looks like I can do a flatlock on it, but I think you’re right- it doesn’t seem sturdy enough for stretchy garments like tights. I think I will try to rip out the serging and re-sew with a zigzag like you suggested!

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  20. I just started sewing the Duathlon shorts today! My Bernina manual lists a 3 thread flat lock stitch but as near as I can tell it only involves changing some of the tension knobs. My needles were at 1-2, the upper looper was between 3-5 and the lower looper was between 7-9. After I sewed right sides together I pulled open the seam to be flat. Maybe try that? Activewear is interesting! Thankfully you live close to Spandex House. I bought 4 yards of material and the freight charge was $19 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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  21. Whenever I do yoga, I’m always praying for child’s pose to come next but I feel like it’s always downward dog, what’s up with that? My favourite part is the nap at the end LOL.
    I think your leggings are super cute! I think Lladybird is right, but sometimes after knits have been washed a time or two, I find the waviness goes away. I wouldn’t worry too much about it though. Good for you for staying fit!

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  22. I think your leggings look great. I’m sure the suggestions about negative ease and the diff feed will solve the minor puckering issues. I make my yoga gear and find that every knit behaves differently and has to be tested and my overlocker adjusted accordingly. I keep a record of fabrics I use and their settings as I often buy repeats if I like a fabric.

    I envy you starting yoga now when you are young. I wish I had done so but I’m glad I have it now. You will get stronger before you know it but in the meantime just take a break when necessary; no yoga teacher is going to have a problem with that. It’s hard to ignore your ego when you are in a class full of students but as shesewswell says, that’s part of the practice :).

    Look forwards to seeing a picture of you touching your toes!

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  23. Wearing handmade workout gear is fun! I make mine for yoga (four way stretch fabric only) or dog walking (I’m all right with fabric that isn’t four way stretch, but I definitely like four way stretch best!). I don’t have any tips on how to fix you sewing issue, I’m sorry ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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    • Also, I used to be flexible as a kid (I was a gymnast), but fast forward to 2013 I couldn’t touch my toes. It wasn’t too long before I could get my palms flat on the floor! ๐Ÿ™‚ My husband has never been able to touch his toes and after a few yoga classes he could do it!

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      • I’m so glad to hear that! Maybe there’s hope for me yet! And it’s so cool that you were a gymnast! I really wanted to be, but I got kicked out of gymnastics when I was in kindergarten because the teacher said I didn’t have the attention span for it! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

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  24. I’m totally laughing at your cankle fit alteration concept! I tried to do a pair of leggings on my serger a while ago and the seams turned out so horribly, but the fabric was super thin junk from the clearance table at Joann. I am hoping better fabric will have better results but now I know from these comments to check the differential feed, too. You are probably too young to have been subjected to the Presidential fitness tests in grade school. It was a horribly mortifying experience for this non-athlete– until we got to the sit and reach. Inexplicably, I have always been very flexible. I could reach way past my toes which may be the only reason I didn’t fail gym class. Haha!

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    • Thin, stretchy knits are so much harder to work with! I remember doing something with a rope climb? That was a disaster… there’s never been a time in my life where I could do it!

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  25. Yoga is wonderful- I am sure that it will get easier the more that you do it. Loving your pants, too bad about the bumpy seams. I do agree if you could make the pants tighter the seams might stretch out. But regardless they look fab!

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  26. Interesting thread and I hope to see if you solve the ripply seam issue as I have had similar problems and it drives me nuts.

    On the touching your toes issue: This may sound bad but I think part of whether or not you can touch your toes easily has to do with how long your arms are relative to your leg length. I have a long torso and longish arms, so I have more of my length in the top half of my body. That means I don’t have as far to go to reach the floor when I bend at the hips. Your arms look a little on the shorter side relative to your legs. I’ve always been able to touch my toes (okay I did have a few years of ballet, but trust me, I NEVER practiced) and still can, at 56 years old and still in not very good shape. I don’t do yoga or flexibility training or any of that stuff, and haven’t since I was maybe 19. Anyway, that’s my theory on that FWIW. Good on you for taking yoga. I yearn to but classes are 25 miles away and early in the a.m. Yawn!

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    • Oh, that’s interesting about arm length vs. leg length! Heeheehee, that’s totally what’s happening! And oh man, 25 miles is WAY too far away for an early morning class!

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  27. Every week-end my saturday yoga class brings me thumping back down to earth! I think sewing is a lot like yoga actually… you learn a little more each time! These are great and well done for taking on such a tricky project.

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  28. I can’t touch my toes either! It makes me feel embarrassed in yoga class (stopped going), haha, I think my legs are just too long, right, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Go you for making active wear! Yes, the retail prices are another reason not to start yoga again ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  29. I used to do yoga and I loved it. I’ve been trying to get back into it but it’s so expensive around where we live. I’m still learning how to sew knits and I only have a normal machine not a serger so I have no advice to offer unfortunately. Regardless of the seams they still look awesome!

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    • Honestly, I kinda prefer sewing knits on my regular sewing machine and do it all the time! I don’t like to assemble things on my serger and just like it for finishing. ๐Ÿ™‚ It sucks that yoga is so expensive. The place I go to has $5 classes, which is absurdly cheap, but it’s a 40-minute walk from my house so I’ve really got to motivate to get to it! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  30. Love these! Especially the colour combo of navy and hot pink! I’ve been really intrigued by this pattern for a while now and as I’ve got quite into running recently maybe I need to give it a whirl…there’s something about the seam lines and lack of inner leg seam that really appeals! O and also if you do figure out flat locking on your serger please let me know, I’d love to give that a try!

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  31. Great new leggings. I like the colours a lot. I just made myself some hot pink leggings but they were too snug and made my thighs look like overstuffed sausages…not so hot.
    I wouldn’t have noticed the seam ripple right away but I sometimes get that when I’m sewing and the negative ease seems to stretch that away as Lladybird suggested. I also wonder if you were stretching the fabric while sewing it, that can make it ripple as well. Regardless, looks like they’ll be great for yoga. Keep at it.

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  32. I love the dark blue ones with the fucsia accent! Those seams might get in their place after you first wash it. What about topstitching? Is that a silly idea?
    I’ve been thinking about making activewear for a while, but I have an irrational fear towards it. And accidents while wearing the self-made active-wear.

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  33. Oooh! Electric boogaloo! I’m impressed by these and although I spotted the ripple I wouldn’t have thought anything of it. Looks like it’s come from all your lunges! Fingers crossed some buff men turn up and you can recreate the “let’s get physical” video.

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  34. Pingback: Top 5 of 2015! « Ginger Makes…

  35. I’m super late to the athletic wear game but I’m trying to work out getting some spandex fabric to make some leggings now! I was curious about the supplex from spandex house and was wondering how your leggings were holding up? Is it pretty thick? I’m also curious if it’s see-through at all.. thanks!

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