Friday, October 19, 2018

Homemade Leggings for Nearly All of Us

Because Matt said that he didn't want leggings, the silly boy. Leggings are way more comfortable than basketball shorts and tracksuit bottoms, Dude!

I just want to say right off that you don't sew your own leggings to save money. Sweatshop leggings bought from big-box clothing stores that earn an F on their Fair Trade practices are waaaaay cheaper. Like, WAY cheaper. And when I can find thrift store leggings that don't have holes or grass stains, I snatch those babies up!

So why DO you sew your own leggings?

So that you can make dreams like this come true for your kid:

I mean, it helps if your kid's dream is to own leggings made from holographic blue mermaid scale fabric...

This particular fabric (actually, as is all of the fabric that I'm going to show you) is from Spandex World. Yes, I shopped at an online store named Spandex World. I really liked them for this project, in particular, because they offer the stretch percentages for many of their fabrics. If you're just starting to sew leggings, so you can't yet tell what will work just by feel, that's even more helpful than shopping in person in a place where that info isn't offered, in my opinion.

Also, I feel like half the craft bloggers out there have a free leggings "tutorial," but they generally all consist of "Step #1: Trace around a pair of leggings that you already own. Step #2: Sew those leggings," and I call hijinks. That nonsense works for little kids, when their bodies are just straight little noodles, but it's not happening for tweens, teens, and adults.

My own personal Step #1 was to search for a digital pattern that I liked, and buy it. For Syd's leggings, I bought the Felicity Sewing Patterns Children's Leggings pattern, and I'm perfectly happy with it. I had to fiddle with it a bit--which is another thing that's MUCH better than "trace your clothes," because with a real pattern, it's so much easier to make the waist a size 10 and the length a size 12, with a low-rise waist, like so:

Here are my new favorite things about sewing leggings:
  1. You don't have to hem the bottom of full-length leggings. I do hem the bottom of the biker shorts that I've made Syd, but when they're ankle length, I think they look nice unhemmed.
  2. There's only one pattern piece. It's super quick to cut out.
  3. They sew up so quickly! Yesterday, I was able to whip up a new pair of leggings for myself in the hour between when we got home from the apple orchard and when I had to leave for the Girl Scout volunteers meeting, and that included the time  that it took for Syd to dress her doll in a complete outfit to complement the doll leggings that I also sewed in that time and to do a photo shoot of me and the doll wearing our leggings.
Another favorite thing?

This kid was absolutely THRILLED about her new mermaid leggings, and *I* made that happen!

I wanted to do a photo shoot of Syd's new leggings, because if I'm going to buy the fabric and make them and they're going to turn out awesome then heck, yeah, I'm going to show them off! Excuse how much eye makeup Syd is wearing in these photos, because apparently mermaids just wear a lot of eye makeup.

Do you see how she laid out her play silks to look like a mermaid's fin? This kid.

I don't have an immediate use for four-way stretch fabric scraps, so I've been trying to use up every square inch in this leggings project. There was enough leftover from Syd's full-length leggings to make her a pair of bike shorts--

And you might also have noticed that her American Girl doll has her own pair of mermaid leggings. The American Girl doll leggings pattern is from Artsy-Fartsy Mama, and I've sewn it a billion times now. I don't always put elastic in the waistband, and in consequence, I've cut several inches from the waist of the pattern.

Of course, if I'm going to make special leggings for Syd, then I've got to make leggings for Will, too. Will is probably the worst person to sew leggings for, because she's crazy rough on clothes, and unlike her sister or I, will not take pains to keep something nice. Sigh. Nevertheless, here are her brand-new leggings (along with bike shorts for Syd and leggings for the American Girl doll from the scrap fabric):

Will's pattern is the Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs pattern, which is so good that I absolutely cannot believe that it's free! I would pay good money for such a terrific pattern! There are even free add-ons so that you can do even more cool things to the leggings! The sizes run pretty small, but they go up really high, so it works out. I used an XL for Will, and she claims that it fits well and didn't even want me to put elastic in the waistband.

And here are the leggings that I made for ME!

I need to do some troubleshooting on my pattern, grr. I didn't cut the waistband that it wants you to cut, fold in half, and then attach to the leggings for Will, because I thought I'd end up adding elastic but then she didn't want it, so I forgot all about the waistband for me, and now that my leggings keep wanting to slip down, I'm wondering if duh, that fold-over waistband might have helped! So that will be another little project to try before I'm confident that I'm confident with my own leggings pattern.

Syd, however, loves her doll's new galaxy leggings, which came out just perfect:

Like I said, these are NOT money-saving leggings, but they're not too terribly expensive, either, especially considering that I can make two kid leggings plus one doll pair from one cut of fabric, so there will more than likely be at least one more order from Spandex World in our near future.

After all, they do make that holographic mermaid scale print in several colorways...

AND Syd says that she'd also really like a skater dress, also in mermaid scale fabric, so there's another fun sewing project to get to!

P.S. Want to follow along on more of my crafting adventures? Check out my Craft Knife Facebook page for lots of pics and WIPs!

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