I have a confession. I love wearing yoga pants. Even though I currently do activities that actually warrant my purchasing and wearing them often, I admit that that wasn’t always the case. I wore them in the past just because they are so comfortable! And I also confess that I wear them probably more often than I should—on days that I am not doing any yoga, Pilates, or dancing. Again—they are so comfortable! And they don’t require any thought because they go with pretty much all of my shirts. On busy errand-running days when I don’t have any meetings that require more professional attire, they are my go to.
Yoga pants also served an important purpose during my weight loss journey. They were practical because they stretch. It made much more sense to get a few high quality yoga pants that I knew would fit me for a few pants sizes than it did to try and find new jeans or other pants. They also eliminated the horrific feelings of self loathing that accompanied the process of trying on dozens of pairs of jeans and pants that came in sizes I didn’t want to admit I wore—in very unflattering lighting, I might add. So in essence, yoga pants are practical and helped me avoid negative body image issues during a rough time. Who knew a pair of yoga pants could have such meaning?
Which brings me to the point of this whole post…
Yoga pants may be practical and casual but they still need to be made of a quality fabric. And they should be cute! One of the perks of having yoga, Pilates, and dance in your life is that you get to wear cute clothes to do your practices, but this can get expensive. Now I know it is perfectly possible to have a great practice in shorts and a t-shirt—if you are at home. At the studio, doing some of those poses and movements…not so much. Unless you plan on treating everyone else in the studio to a game of peek-a-boo. No, for these types of exercises you need tight-fitting clothing that has a lot of stretch in multiple directions and that can breathe.
Of course activewear companies have responded by making studio clothing in beautiful colors and prints in fabrics that move, but still hold you in, and are very breathable. But all this comes at a price! Sure you can get basic black or gray yoga pants at reasonable prices at regular stores—but I do mean basic. Heaven forbid you want a colored waistband or little pocket for your mp3 player because that jacks up the price significantly.
Sometimes you might get lucky and find some cute colors or prints on sale on sites like Athleta, Lululemon, or PrAna…every now and then even Amazon has some interesting finds for good prices. But overall if you want yoga pants with a cool graphic or print or color that is not black or gray (or navy or army green—you get the picture), you have to pay premium prices. I even checked with handmade clothing sellers on etsy.com and found amazingly gorgeous batik-dyed yoga pants from Batikwalla, but they were still out of my price range. I will say though that if I was going to spend big bucks on yoga pants I would prefer to buy ones handmade from beautiful and unique hand-dyed fabrics than from a large clothing manufacturer.
That still doesn’t solve my dilemma.
Well after an exhaustive search in stores and online for reasonably priced interesting yoga pants (at this point even a solid, bright color would have done the trick) I decided it was time to be resourceful. I am a woman of many talents, and one of those talents is making clothes.
Here’s a fun little fact about me: I used to be a fashion design major. I was lucky enough to have fashion design and clothing construction classes available as electives in high school, which I took for three years. I spent my freshman year of college as a fashion design major where I learned more about construction. Even though I decided that a career in fashion was not for me, I still enjoy making things to wear as a hobby from time to time. I figured that now would be a great time to put those skills to use.
So off to the fabric store I went, in hopes of finding a yoga pants pattern and some cool knit fabric. I just went to JoAnn Fabrics because I didn’t want to spend a lot on fabric until I have the pattern down. I didn’t really find any patterns specifically for yoga pants, although I found a cool one for loose fitting knit pants. I bought that one thinking that I could just adjust the pattern to fit closer to the body, and I found some pretty bright purple solid knit fabric (on sale!) to experiment with. I also bought some elastic and heavy duty matching thread (upholstery strength). I was pretty pleased with my purchase which ended up costing around $12.00.
I was all set to cut the pattern out, but I saw that it really is too loose for yoga pants—but it will still make a really pretty pair of pants in another fabric. So I decided not to cut it down. Instead, I came up with an even more resourceful solution. It turns out I had an old pair of black yoga pants with holes in them.
I was about to throw them out but I realized I could probably cut them up along the seams and use the pieces as a pattern for new pants. Ding ding ding! We have a winner. It’s perfect, really. I already know these pants fit me well (I will just leave some extra room for the hem and for seam allowance), I know how to piece them together, and I can add my own invisible mp3 pocket into the waistband.
So I cut them up and am ready to go. Here are the pieces from one leg (front and back) as well as the opened up waistband.
Tonight I am going to pin them to my purple fabric, cut out the pieces, and pin them together—maybe I’ll even have time to start sewing them but I’m not sure yet.
Anyway I thought I’d share my little DIY yoga pants project with you. I will continue to update you on my progress and when I am done I will write actual proper instructions so you can try this yourself at home. I am really looking forward to experimenting with prints and fabrics with really cool dye processes once I know this method works for sure. Stay tuned!