Glow in the Dark Zen Trousers
Posted in Projects on Monday the 7th January 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
I couldn't resist the opportunity to make something from this incredible Glow in the Dark Fabric
! The most common suggestion for something to make it into was pyjamas, but I wanted to go for a slightly different idea. I wanted to make a pair of trousers I could wear outside in late Autumn or early winter, in the hope that the glowing effect would stand out as a quirky feature.
First things first though, let's see just how easy it is to get the fabric to glow – after all, if I want it to glow when I'm outside, it's going to need to glow after being 'charged' with sunlight, streetlights or lights in shops. It will be interesting to see after a shopping session and being in the bright store lights, just how much glow my cats can generate!
As a test, I shone a (not all that bright) LED torch on part of the fabric for a few seconds, then switched it off. The eyes glow perfectly from that short burst, though it was surprisingly challenging to get a clear photo of them glowing!
Knowing the fabric had a suitable glow, I picked out my trusty Zen trouser pattern from 5 out of 4, I decided this time to use the low rise cut. I'm only 5' 1" tall, and the medium rise does tend to hit more where the high rise should be, so although I hardly ever wear 'low rise' trousers, I thought this would be an improvement. I had a generous 1.1m to work with, which I'd calculated would be just right, given that I had shortened the pattern to accommodate my lack of height.
The fabric is really easy and a pleasure to work with. It's not the thickest of jersey fabrics, but I didn't have any problems with sewing it. Having previously had an argument with my sewing machine when attempting to stitch the back pockets on a different pair of Zen trousers made from similar fabric, I decided to make things a little easier and leave them out. I also skipped the cargo pocket, as I've never used the one on my original pair of Zen trousers, so there's not really any benefit in adding it into this pair. The back pockets are more of a design feature to me, but the main feature of this pair is going to be the glowing eyes, so the less additional pieces the better!
There are no fancy stitches here, I stuck with my regular sewing machine, a walking foot, stretch needle and 'lightning bolt' stitch (a narrow, short zigzag would be a suitable alternative), which worked brilliantly. The fabric didn't get pushed down into the bobbin area of my machine, and the stitches look neat and tidy. I haven't ever used topstitching thread, so continued my 'cheating method' by using the same thread throughout, both for the seams and the topstitching. I chose a slightly contrasting Sewing Thread
(shade M024), which blends in from a distance, but is visible close up; that made me feel a bit more confident about potentially needing to unpick any mistakes, as they'd be easier to see!
The only slight error in my top stitching is where the needle was too blunt to work properly – I ended up with almost straight stitches instead of a lightning bolt zigzag on one leg where one side of the zigzag didn't take properly. But because these stitches are just there to reinforce the seam, and don't really need to stretch much as they are vertical rather than horizontal, it shouldn't be a problem. I swapped over to a fresh needle before sewing the other leg's topstitching, and that worked fine.
I really love this fabric! You wouldn't want to use it for a very snug or clingy garment instead of scuba, but I think it would make great t-shirts as well as casual trousers or lounge wear, and of course I agree that this fabric would work well for children's pyjamas, but why should the youngsters have all the fun? My trousers are exceptionally comfortable, and I'm looking forward to walks in the dark to see just how well these eyes can glow!
Thanks for reading,