Adventures in making leggings

In an effort to knock the ‘Merry Christmas’ blog off the top spot, I think that it’s about time to write another post!

Over the Christmas break, I made several pairs of leggings, and although I am far from an expert in this, I have a few thoughts.

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings

Thought 1: Making leggings is fun, quick and relatively simple. For those of you who enjoy making a quick jersey top, leggings are as simple as this, but without as much hemming! you’ve just got the 2 relatively narrow legs to hem. I made my first pair (the Helen’s Closet Avery leggings) in an afternoon, including cutting and making

Thought 2: If you’re particularly long or short legged, making your own leggings would be an ideal solution. Because they are made with stretchy fabric, they are also quite easy to fit.

Thought 3: Use an overlocker if you have one. Still being a little nervous of my overlocker (yes, after 4 years), on my first pair, I used my sewing machine on all the seams first, and then overlocked afterwards. However, I found that the machined stitches pop, even though the overlocked ones next to the machine stitches don’t pop. If you don’t have an overlocker, then definitely use something a litte stronger than a standard zigzag stitch. On my later pairs, I went straight to the overlocker for the side seams, which was quicker and saved the machine stitches from popping.

Thought 4: Walking foot. This is a brilliant attachment for feeding stretchy fabric through evenly on your machine.

Thought 5: Pattern choice. I’m definitely not an expert on this, having used 2 leggings patterns in total. But when selecting your pattern, think about what you want from your leggings. Do you want something for everyday wear, or for exercise? What type of exercise? What do you like about your existing leggings?

Personally, I particularly like leggings without an outside leg seam, so the Helen’s Closet Avery leggings and the Fehr Trade Steeplechase leggings both ticked this box. I like both of these patterns, and tend to use the Avery leggings for everyday wear and the Steeplechase leggings for running. Fehr Trade has a brilliant blog about gussets, among other things, – it feels like something a bit fancier in a legging pattern, but functionally, it is only really useful if you are doing leg spreading exercises (sorry, couldn’t think of an alternative term!) in your leggings, so for running a gusset isn’t really needed, but for yoga it is useful.

Thought 6: Fabric. This is something I have still not perfected. Funki fabrics have some brilliant patterned and plain fabrics in all colours, and many different bases. I have tried the muscular compression which is good, not too shiny, and some of the cheaper, shinier ones as well. Some of the cheaper stretch fabrics actually feel a little cold to put on which isn’t delightful. They have a good range of recycled fabric too. It’s not cheap, and postage is annoyingly high, but for my size, I only need a metre for a pair of leggings.

I have also tried some fabric from Minerva crafts, and was recommended some from Dalston Mill Fabrics, which I’ve not yet used, but it does feel warmer. And it’s much cheaper per metre.

So if you are looking for a quick, fun and useful project, then give legging making a go, you won’t regret it!


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