Friday, August 1, 2014

Making our own leggings!

Yesterday I discovered how easy it was to make our own leggings!  I have tried a couple patterns, but my girls weren't sold on the fit and neither was I.  I try to buy leggings when they go on sale and have stuck to solid colors so they could be worn with multiple outfits.  Another thing that we prefer with RTW leggings is that they only have an inner leg seam.  I finally decided to try tracing a pair of leggings to see if I could get a pattern out of it and I did!  It was very easy and I will show you how I did it.  First, here are a couple of pictures showing how they turned out.


I love the busy print.  I also made her camisole top she is wearing with them.


We always wear our leggings with dresses, skirts or shorts over them.  For the pictures, a couple are without so you can see the fit better.




Vertical stripes--FUN!  A perfect match with the t-shirt we bought this week.


To start, I placed pins in the cruved seam of the legging so I could see the seam better through my tracing paper as well as feel them.  I placed a dot at pin head to help me more accurately trace the curve.  Lay one leg out, flattening the fabric away from the sewn seam, dividing the front side from the back side with the fold.  I traced the front side of the legging, then being careful not to disturb the fold of the fabric, I flipped it and traced the other side, again placing pins in the curved seam.  Once I had TWO tracings, front and back, I taped them together at the straight edge, giving me one pattern piece.  Use a ruler to make sure that the sides where the straight leg seams begin match up perfectly.  If they don't, pattern designs in your fabric won't match up either.  After tracing, add 1/2" seam allowance to the waist (I used 1/2" elastic) and 3/8" (or more) for leg and crotch seam allowance, as well as 1/2" seam allowance for hem.



Next, cut out your fabric.  This legging is traced from a girls medium size, using only 1 yard of fabric.  If the fabric is wide enough, I am able to get 2 sets of leggings out of it.  


Sew each leg piece together at the inner seam.


Put one leg into the other leg piece, right sides together and sew the crotch seam.  


I measured around the waist of the RTW legging and cut my elastic the same size.  I cut 21 inches (an inch beyond what I needed), overlapping each end by 1/2 inch to sew into a circle.  I zig zag stitched the elastic together the direction of the circle.  The elastic seems to stay in place better because you aren't running off of an edge.  Mark your 4 points on your elastic.  I use a sharpie for this.  I use to use pins to do this and one would fall out before I got everything together.  You won't see the marks once it is all sewn.  Mark corresponding points on your legging waist.  Use the front and back seam as 2 points and then just stick a pin on each side edge.


Using my sewing machine (with ball point needle), sew elastic to inside top edge of legging with a zig zag stitch.  I set mine at 4.0 length and width and sewed straight down the middle.  Fold your elastic over and then stitch once again, enclosing the elastic.  I used my coverstitch machine but you can use your sewing machine on a zig zag stitch for that as well.  If you use a zig zag stitch, just make sure you are catching the bottom edge of the elastic in your stitch.  You should not be "stretching" your fabric or elastic at all, as both waist edge and elastic circle should be the same size around.


To finish, I turned up a hem of 1/2 inch (I just eyeballed it) and sewed with a zig zag stitch.  You can change the lengths for shorts, capri, or pant length.  The leggings I traced from were actually shorter than my girls wanted, so I added about 5 inches in length.



All fabrics are cotton spandex.  I think I purchased all yardage from Girl Charlee.  Some are lighter weight than others and they fit just the same.  I made sure all fabrics had a 4-way stretch.



I am so thrilled to be able to make leggings for my girls (and myself soon).  It is great to be able to choose our own fabrics.   I made all of these in just a couple of hours.  I would have spent at least twice as much buying these as it cost to make them.  That's why I sew!


Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

19 comments:

  1. Awesome! I love printed leggings. They look great!

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  2. You are on a roll, Shirley. Your leggings look fabulous!!! Well done on successfully making your own pattern and thanks for showing how.

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    1. I've featured your leggings today, Shirley..

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    2. Thank you so much Pam, and thank you for featuring our leggings! We are having so much fun getting prepared for school and are trying to be creative with it in the sewing room. Since I was making so many, I thought it would be fun to do a little tutorial on it.

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  3. Love your leggings! The loud prints are great :) I need to get some made up here soon because K has to wear them under all skirts/dresses to school. I love how you made your own pattern for them - I never would have thought to use the pins!! Great idea!

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    1. Thanks Kristin! I always have the girls wear them under their dresses for school because of playing on the playground or sitting "criss/cross applesauce!" LOL Then they forget and think they have to wear them on the weekends and I tell them not unless they are on a playground! Here in Germany, people wear shorts during the winter time with leggings. I don't remember seeing that in the states, but it looks really neat. Not a look I think I could pull off, but I love it on my girls.

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    2. Ha! my kids call it criss/cross applesauce" too! It amuses me to hear about all the different styles in the world. I get so used to seeing what is worn here in the Midwest that when something looks different it seems weird to me :) Shorts and leggings would fit into the weird category for me! LOL.

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    3. I thought shorts with leggings was weird too when I first saw it, but then I figured since summers here are so short, it is nice to get more wear out of your shorts by wearing them in winter! We have had a couple of hot weeks, but that is it. We have had so much rain that I'm beginning to think we are in for a bad winter. Go figure. Last winter was mild with no snow (very unusual), we extended a year so I could finish surgeries, and now we will probably get snowed in!

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    4. Aw that stinks. I do love the snow though - from the window... hahaha. We got some snow consistently last year, but it was the constant cold that I was sick of. It was -30 for weeks on end it seemed. (our heat bill can attest to that because it cost us $600 more in heat than any other year!). What part of the states do you come back to when you come home?

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    5. It's a waiting game. We won't find out till next year, probably around spring time or later. It is exciting and nerve wracking at the same time! You just hope for a place that has decent schools. I have learned through the years that any place where we are all together is where we call home. We were in Las Vegas before here and I didn't like it when we first got there and then I didn't want to leave! You adapt.

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  4. Hi it's Nicole from The Girl Charlee Team. These leggings are absolutely adorable! Thanks for mentioning us.

    www.girlcharlee.com

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    1. Thank you Nicole! These fabrics work so well for leggings!

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  5. What fun to be able to choose their own fabrics--as it is with everything we sew, I suppose. But it's fun even with the very basic items.

    Nice work making your own pattern. I half-heartedly tried tracing my husband's running shorts, but gave up once I realized I needed to account for the amount being taken in the elastic waist...

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    1. Joy, I so much want to sew for my husband, but other than some PJ bottoms, I'm so nervous too. It just seems like such a bigger deal to me! LOL Good on you to at least try it.

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  6. Thanks for sharing your leggings. I've just started sewing and am getting ready to take a crack at them. I'm glad I came across your post because it never dawned on me to make sure to line up the patterns and make sure the fabric stretches 4 ways! I'm still trying to make sure I'm using the correct needle and presser foot. These are too cute!

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    1. Hi Cheryl! I have been sewing for years, but have only begun sewing knits for the last couple of years. Having the right needle and thread can make a huge difference! When I sew knits, I use woolly nylon in my bobbin, or if using my serger, woolly nylon in the lower loopers. Woolly nylon thread stretches a little and looks kind of fuzzy. I have seen online where people demonstrate wrapping the woolly nylon around the bobbin by hand, but I have found that it works just as well winding it up on my sewing machine like I do other threads.

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