Sewing Cafe

Patterns, Tutorials and Works in Progress from the Sewing Studio of Lynne Williams

Monday, January 3, 2011

Active Wear: Yoga pant pattern

I am so excited to start making my yoga pants!   One of my goals for this year is to make more of my own patterns rather then relying on the pattern companies.  With this goal in mind I began making my sloper patterns last year.  Now I can benefit from that , by using my pant sloper.  I begin by tracing the front and back pieces onto some pattern ease I had laying about.

After tracing I create the leg shape, a slight boot flare.  To do this I measure my knee circumference, divide by 4 and measure this amount out from my center/grain line along the knee line.  My knee measures 15".  Divided by 4 gets me 3-3/4".  I measure that 3-3/4" out from my center grain line towards the inseam, and then towards the side seam.  Repeat for both pant legs. 

I use this same technique at the hem line but this time I measure out 4-1/2" on either side of the center grain line at my hem. 

Join the knee to the hem connecting your new cross marks along the side seam and inseam. 

Next I blend the line using my fashion ruler from the knee to the hip, and then from the knee to the crotch.

In this picture you can see that I lowered my waistline considerably.  My sloper sits at my natural waist, but I want the yoga pants to have a lower rise.  I am using 3" elastic for the waistband, so using a tape measure I measured from my waist to where I want the top of my pants to sit, I then deduct the 3" waistband which tells me I need to measure down from my pant waist 5-1/2".  This is the dashed red line you see.

Now I have my correct yoga pant shape.  I still need to adjust for the stretch of the fabric.  Form fitting knits require whats called "negative ease". Generally we add ease to a pattern so its comfortable to wear or for the design, but because we want the knit to hug the body and it has a stretch capacity we can actually remove ease from the pattern.  After using my stretch chart on my fabric I determined that it has a moderate 25%  - 30%stretch to it. My pattern making book tells me to reduce each vertical seam by 3/8" to compensate for this stretch amount, that's the inseam, side seam, and crotch seams.  By using a 3/8 seam allowance I can use my blue line as my cutting line then and just create a stitch line 3/8" inside of that.

 Additionally I need to raise the crotch/inseam point up by 1/2".  The red line is my stitch line, the blue line is my cut line and the pencil line is my original pattern tracing.

I also need to make a waistband which needs to have a finished width of 3".  Next I measure the patterns waistline stitch line on the front and back patterns, multiply by 2 which gives me a finished length of 31".  I am now ready to make a pattern piece...a long rectangle which measures 31" x 6" and lets not forget to add the 3/8" seam allowance. 

Voila' my yoga pattern is ready to try.

If your pant pattern is already for stretch fabrics you will choose your pant size based on your hip measurement.  Don't forget to adjust the leg length by measuring your inseam and then comparing it to the inseam on the pattern.  Most patterns have a lengthen or shorten line marked about mid leg..adjust yours to suit at this point. 

You can also check the crotch length, by taking a tape measure and measuring between your legs from your back waist through to your front waistline.  Stop and start the measuring where you want the rise of your pants to be.  Compare this to your pattern by first marking the stitching line along your crotch seam.  Then using your tape measure, follow the stitch line on the front and back and compare to your desired crotch length.  Adjust accordingly.

Well that is all for today.  Please post any questions you may have.  Don't forget to pre-wash your fabrics, very important with knits.  And look for the sewing turorial of these pants later this week.

start here at desired back pant rise and bring through the legs
to the  front  up to desired pant rise.


  1. That's really useful information. Thanks very much! :)

  2. I'd love it if you could post a scaled drawing of your pant pattern!!! Great information! TY!

  3. Hi
    great info
    my question is Where did you get the manequin in the picts? Did you make it? if so how?

    1. I combined 2 Uniquely you forms together and made a custom cover. Stay tuned as I will be doing a post about dressforms in the near future:)

  4. I've never made my own pattern before, and am still new to sewing. How far out do you know to go when drawing from the knee to the crotch line? I understand how to get the rise of the pants and how to get the flare effect, but not how to figure out how far out the crotch line "point" should be.

    1. Hey Amanda, If you are drafting a pant pattern from scratch your crotch point is determined like this:

      Back: 1) Measure x your back hip, from side seam to
      seam to side seam. (20")
      2) Divide in half (10")
      3) Add 1/4" (10.25")
      4) Add half of your step 2 total (15.25")
      That becomes your back width from side to crotch point.

      Front: 1) Repeat steps 1-3 for your front hip.
      4)Add 1/4 to your step 2 total.
      That becomes your front width from side to crotch point.

      All of the measurements above are just examples of course, yours will be different but the formula remains the same.

      Hope this helps:)

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  6. Hey!! These workout clothes looks really nice but have recently joined yoga class and very happy wearing alo yoga pants for it. Their flexibility and comfort level is best. Would love to have few more colorful ones.

  7. You have done a great job on this article. It’s very readable and highly intelligent. You have even managed to make it understandable and easy to read. You have some real writing talent. Thank you. yoga shorts


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