Leggings

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On the day after Christmas, I made a random trip to JoAnn’s to check out any sales they might have going on.  It just so happened that their clearance racks were all an additional half off.  I picked up a few fun fabrics.  With this particular one, I made two pairs of leggings.

IMG_5687Now, I’ve never made leggings before, so this was a new adventure for me.  There are a lot of patterns out there with good reviews, but I didn’t want to spend any money on this project, so I used this pattern that I found online by googling “free legging pattern.” Ironically, I found it by following a Burda thread for a woman who couldn’t find a legging pattern by googling for free legging patterns.

The pattern is for sport leggings and include a crotch gusset that extends down to mid thigh for optimal movement. I don’t think this is very noticeable, but it is a little different from my store-bought leggings (the one pair that I own).  I was probably the only twenty-something-year-old female in North America with only one pair of leggings.

This pattern was a good deal of work to put together. IMG_5680First, I had difficulty taping the pattern pieces together. I just couldn’t seem to figure out how the pages were supposed to line up.  I don’t think I did it completely correctly, even after retaping three times. The pattern also doesn’t come with seam allowances, so I had to add 1/4″ seam allowances myself.  As written, the pattern is designed to have an exposed elastic waistband.  I didn’t like that, either, so I had to add extra fabric to the top to cover the waistband.

I sewed up the first pair on my sewing machine using a narrow zig-zag stitch.  For the waistband, I did the only the I knew: I created a casing and fed the elastic through with a safety pin.  This worked.  But looks pretty terrible, as you can see. I probably cut the elastic too long, as well, and should have included some negative ease.

So, then I searched around for a tutorial for a prettier way to IMG_5688make an elastic waistband. I found this tutorial from Fehr Trade. Basically, I sewed the top edge of the elastic to the inside top edge of my leggings and then folded it in and topstitched around the waistline with a double needle.   This creates a much cleaner finish.  This method is pretty close to Lauren of Lladybird’s, which she just explained in a new tutorial. Her leggings are prettier, of course, but when they’re on they I bet they look the same.

I’ve worn both of these pairs of leggings a few times now.  I’m not one of those people who wear leggings as pants (I’m not sure whether to insert judgment here or not), so I was not overly concerned with opacity when picking out this fabric.  It turns out that they are fairly opaque, but since there will always be a dress/skirt over top of them, it doesn’t matter!  Overall, they are comfortable and serve their warming purpose quite well.

Wow, who knew I could have so much to say about leggings!  I hope this is helpful if you choose to make some of your own.

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Pattern: Shelby Kaava #302 Vuokatti Tights in size extra small
Fabric: 1.5 yards of mystery clearance knit from Joann’s
Cost: $5.74 for fabric, or $2.87 per pair
Time: 1.5 hours each
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