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