Duathlon Shorts – a tale of triumph

When the Hero stands alone, ready to face the challenge, there is adrenaline and excitement coursing through the body and mind. The audience, if there is one, is tense with anticipation, and wait for the climax and eventually, the outcome. They want the win, as much as the hero. The Hero should not consider the audience participants, but often the hero will, and let that reflection be a weight on their shoulders, a factor in decisions. Truly what the Hero needs is not an audience but a community, a support system. The adventure should be not judged on what is accomplished, but should be a discussion and improvement for group knowledge. Even if only the Hero acts, the group should learn from those actions. So that is where the story became useful, even if the moral got lost among the details.

I am on a journey of fitness. I am 38 (though I just typed 37 and had to correct that) and roughly 5’5 and around 190lbs. I make jokes that I am only plus sized for around 4″ of my lower half, and like many my body has changed somewhat drastically from child bearing and moving from an independent lifestyle to one of family. So my journey I started this summer, and I am trying to set goals with metrics, but I am still somewhat floundering around a bit. I have started to count my caloric intake, and am trying to work out at the gym 150 min a week. I was doing very well for #sweatnsew all summer, but the school schedule somehow changed everything. What I thought would be easy, is even harder than before.

Motivation is key, I think. What inspires you to do things that are “good for you” that you don’t particularly enjoy doing? I am amazing at getting things done for anyone but myself. I am technically very bad at making myself do things that are uncomfortable. Inspiration hit me one day while in yoga and I was embarrassed because every time we went from the mat to standing, my leggings needed adjusting. The Espresso Leggings by Cake Patterns is amazing, but it is not for yoga. I love it, but I was constantly adjusting it during yoga class. I needed workout clothes! Comfort is key! Here is something I could do to keep me excited and motivated to move.

Fehr Trade are active wear patterns, with fairly large size ranges. I have sewn up some Jalie and Green Pepper patterns but I wanted something a little more fun, and Fehr Trade seemed just the ticket. Little did I know how odd my body shape is in relation to “normal” or how much work it would take for me to get a nice fitting pair of work out shorts. I have never found a pair of RTW yoga pants or bike shorts that fit me well, so the standard on the Fehr trade patterns probably isn’t to blame either.

duathlon shorts from fehr trade by bird and bicycle

This terrible fitting picture isn’t even the earliest rendition. This is the 3rd pair I had made, and where I was finally making some progress. My assumption that the pattern would work with just grading from the waist size to hip size helped me ruin and waste some costly dri-fit moisture wicking fabric, a lot of it. My husband helped me late at night, me in near tears, as I would pin and try on and he would photograph and then he would pin and back and forth for a few nights.

If you follow me on instragram, you may have seen a photo where I was ready to throw in the towel and go to REI and give them all my money for clothes and I would just forget Fehr trade and move on. Then I got some super encouraging help and advice from friends (thank you friends!) and after a 6 hour break I went back into my studio, took one look, and knew exactly what to do.

At what point do you want to kick yourself for being your own downfall? I had stressed myself into a giant fit of uselessness. Ah well, hopefully next time I won’t make that mistake again.

I also read the entire “pants for everyone” by palmer & pletsch and learned a great deal. I read and reread Colette’s pants fitting blog post from the Clover Pattern sewalong as well. Leggings are not the same as pants that hang, but I worked with what I had.

duathlon shorts from fehr trade by bird and bicycle

Most of the changes I did: shortened for petite length but widened for full thighs, shortened crotch length and depth, flattened the front crotch curve for my tilted pelvis, a massive sway back adjustment, raised the front waist to cover my protruding stomach, widened for a full tummy somewhat (the photo above you can see I could still do more for that, but I don’t mind the snugness) and widened the pattern at my plus sized low hip area. I deepened the back crotch curve, and took a few inches off the leg width from mid thigh to mid calf. My waist is 35″ and my low low low hips are 49″ – what can I say, my body is a wonderland!

duathlon shorts from fehr trade by bird and bicycle

All that and I eventually made some nearly perfect shorts! Keeping that side stripe straight was actually a fun challenge, and it helped me recognize where to add and where to take away based on how it pulled.

duathlon shorts from fehr trade by bird and bicycle

I am pretty darn happy despite my award backyard photos! I wore these pink pair out all day Saturday and no problems arose. They never sagged (the fabric is an awesome spandex blend that is described as “yoga pants”) and while they were a little baggy at the back of the knee I have since fixed that by taking in and adjusting the angle of the leg for all my others.

duathlon shorts from fehr trade by bird and bicycle

Dang, my hot pants! These are made from an art gallery knit, and are so amazingly cozy I may never wear anything else. You can barely see the color change in the stripe! And now I am going to show you by butt. I feel like I need to warn you, or make some trumpeted announcement.  Dut da-duh dah!

duathlon shorts from fehr trade by bird and bicycle

Apparently I can’t seem to stand straight, but when I do all the wrinkles are gone! There are a few here because I kicked my right knee forward a bit. You can’t see the stripe from the front or the back, only at angles. There are few fabric folds. I am so happy and so proud!

duathlon shorts from fehr trade by bird and bicycle

I learned so very much despite all my mistakes, or because of my mistakes. Knock-kneed isn’t joke to be messed with. Tilted pelvis gives you some funky fabric folds in very unpleasant places. And as Shakira says, “Hips don’t lie!” I started with an XL Duathlon Shorts and ended up with my own version, practically perfect in every way.

I feel probably too confident now about my pants’ making skills now, but I still want to make myself a decent pair of jeans. It’s my long term goal. I got so hung up on these as an immediate need I haven’t made good progress on the Jalie Hoodie I want to make. I feel like I need to start from curvy based patterns, to make fewer adjustments, to make fewer mistakes. Sewing for yourself is not cost effective, but it certainly is a rewarding challenge!


10 thoughts on “Duathlon Shorts – a tale of triumph

    • Thank you! The pattern pieces do not reflect the amount of versions that went into it. It was hard for me (maybe easy for others? i am no expert!) but I may live in capri pants for the rest of my life now.

  1. WAY TO GO!!!!! Your finished leggings look fabulous, and you must feel good in them to be giving your photographer sexy poses! 😉 I’m so happy you nailed the fit!
    I’ve watched a lot of really facinating documentaries by the BBC about fitness, exercise, sugar, fat, diet and so on, which made some really interesting points with cutting edge science about how what we think we know is not always true. Maybe you’d find something in there to help with your motivation? If you go to Youtube and search “bbc truth about” you should find some interesting options! https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=bbc+truth+about

  2. You are a total rock star! You showed determination and perseverance to get this pattern right. I know you can succeed with your healthy journey plan. I’m 48 and 7 months ago weighed 194 at 5’4″. I’ve lost 30 pounds by tracking food and exercise on spark people website. Lots of walking (running is not my thing) and yoga almost everyday with Yoga with Adriene. There are weeks when I stay the same, gain , but many more when I lose. It’s not easy, but I’m so much happier now. My goal is to be 50 and fabulous.

  3. I just saw the previous post. I did the Spark People thing after I had my kids. Tracking food and exercise made a difference. Then when I got sloppy with it I changed to a different program, My Fitness Pal. It works too. There are many out there, even free ones, the important thing is to pay attention to what you eat and how much you exercise. I like your prints – very cute! Fitting is such a big job, but so rewarding!

  4. They look amazing! 🙂 It’s great that you sew your own fitness clothes. Whatever helps you enjoy the adventure even more, right? Good luck on the duathlon journey!

  5. Great fit trumps anything! You look amazing in your custom leggings, they really show off your feminine body shape. No need for more weight loss, just focus on getting fit and completing that duathlon! Now you’ve got those confidence boosting leggings to do so!

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