I am getting there! In my quest to produce the perfect pair of running shorts I have introduced new materials, experimented with several types of elastic and a range of different finishes. I am slowly perfecting my pattern and techniques, but the key is Elastication!
Pattern cutting and design
I reverted to a narrower, sporty look, although having the more flared shorts have promise as a cycling skirt. I adapted Venus’s Grannie Pannie pattern rather a lot (sorry Venus!) to ensure the knickers worked effectively as a lining to the running shorts. This meant adding a further four inches to the waist measurement – three at the side seam, and one at the centre back. I also added a little to the rise so that the shorts would come up to the true waist.
Fabrics and materials
For this prototype I used some of my printed cloth, prepared for my inspired-by-Preen evening class project. The fabric is a light weight polyester jersey without Lycra. I decided to use a different fabric for the lining as the outer layer felt a bit too synthetic, even slightly ‘greasy’. I searched for a stretch fabric with little aerating holes, and found both nylon and cotton at MacCulloch and Wallis. But you don’t really want nylon knickers do you?
I bought a range of elastic finishes for underwear too, and have spent a few hours trying to find the best finish for the legs of the knicker linings.
Elasticating the legs and waist
The key to our running shorts being both comfortable and effective is the meeting of fabric and elastication.
To cut a long story short the best finish for my lining was a small zig zag on the raw edge with shiring elastic in the lower bobbin. This was a quick, simple, economic solution as some of the nicer, lighter elastics were nearly £4 a metre. Not necessary! The minimalist finish is also, in my view, the best. Anything else was adding bulk and not even gathering the leg hole seams effectively. Don’t you love it when the simplest, cheapest solution is also the best?
In addition I have now used three different waist band treatments, two of them fiddly and not that great. By lining the shorts first, this time, I have been able to also incorporate a chanel for the waist elastic. This allows the construction process to be simplified and speeded up. The shorts also hang better.
For the waist band I used a fairly expensive elastic which I got on a card from John Lewis. This is elastic which has a firm nylon thread in to prevent it from rolling around in the waist band. It is also very lightweight and allows overstitching of the waistband to make it appear more ‘professional’ and stable. I don’t think it adds a lot to the function or the design, so let’s say this is optional.
I am now satisfied with both the design and construction methods I have used. These shorts are very comfortable – more so than the off-the-peg pairs I have. Mainly because the fit is better, the cotton lining is nice, and of course I love the colours. I have one more version to do, and will write about these in due course. I am intending to enter a pair and a top for the Sporty Summer Sewathon so I have some decisions to make.