I’ve been getting to work on my new sewing machine, and one item of clothing I absolutely love having in my wardrobe is a good pair of leggings. Since the new machine I purchased is a good machine to use for sewing knits, I’ve been getting to work on whipping up some new pairs. In this article, I’m going to show you how to make your own leggings, and please don’t be intimidated! Making a pair of leggings is an easy project, and knits are not difficult to work with, despite their reputation. Let’s get started!
Here are some of the stitches I have available to me on my sewing machine. For this project, I am going to use stitches 5 and 15. If your sewing machine doesn’t have these stitches, opt for your zigzag stitch.
Things you’ll need:
3. Sewing machine
4. Fabric chalk (or a piece of soap)
5. 1 1/2 yards of stretch fabric
6. Matching thread
7. 1 inch wide elastic
8. A pair of leggings you already own that fits you well, and that you will be okay with cutting up
9. Paper (optional)
Step One: Take a pair of leggings that you already own, and that you like the fit of. This pair is going to serve as your pattern. Cut each leg open at the seam, but only up to the crotch, and then lay it on the fabric as you see above.
Notice how the point of the crotch and seat match up, and the waistband is at an angle. Make sure that when you are laying down your pattern, that these two points are even with each other.
Make sure that you are tracing and cutting the wrong side of your fabric, as opposed to the pretty side that you will be showing to the world when wearing these leggings.
Using your fabric chalk or piece of soap, trace your leggings onto the fabric, but leave yourself 5/8 of an inch for seam allowance. I am leaving myself 1 inch because the leggings I am trying to recreate were a little tight on me. I’m also giving myself 6 inches at the waistband because I wanted a high-waist pair.
Once your leggings have been traced, remove them from the fabric and set them to the side. Keep them handy so you can create more pairs of leggings in the future. Cut the fabric following the lines you made with your fabric chalk.
Step Three: Pin the crotch and the seam together, where I have marked in red in the picture above. You’ll sew these first. Sew at 5/8 of an inch. Here is where I am using stitch 15, or the mock overlock stitch, to make this pair look as professional as possible. But a zigzag stitch will work just fine.
Here is a tip. Add a small piece of paper underneath your fabric so that when you start to sew, it doesn’t jam in your machine. Simply rip the paper off of your fabric once you are done sewing. Don’t forget to back stitch!
Step Four: This is optional, but I trimmed my excess seam allowance off to make it look closer to an overlocked seam.
Step Five: Open your fabric, and place them like this. Now they’re starting to look like leggings! What we want to do now is close up the legs, and the crotch/seat. So beginning at the crotch, begin pinning. Pin the crotch and seat seam together, and work toward each ankle from there to ensure that the legs will be even.
This is what you should have when you are done pinning. Take this to your machine, and sew from one ankle all the way to the other ankle. Remember to sew at 5/8 of an inch.
Step Six: Here are the leggings once I have closed up the legs and crotch/seat, and trimmed the excess seam allowance. We’re almost done! Now what we need to do is finish the waistband.
Here’s what I am using. Take some 1 inch thick elastic and pin it to the waist, leaving about 1/4 of an inch of fabric above it.
Now take this to the sewing machine. Here we are going to use stitch 5, but once again, if you don’t have this stitch on your machine, a zigzag stitch is the way to go. Begin sewing at either the crotch or the seat seam to make this look as neat as possible. Hold the elastic and stretch it a bit as you sew to ensure that it will stretch well when you’re wearing your leggings. Stitch all the way around, close to the top of the waist.
Once you have sewn on the elastic, flip it over once, toward the wrong side of the fabric, and switch to stitch 15 (or continue using your zigzag stitch) and close up the waistband. Here is what it should look like when you are finished:
Alternatively, you can create a casing, and then feed the elastic through with a safety pin, but I’m not a huge fan of that method. But play around with it and decide which method you like best.
Step Seven: Last step! And optional. If you plan on stuffing your leggings into boots, or just don’t want to worry about it, you don’t have to, but otherwise, we are going to hem the ankles.
Fold 1/2 of an inch of fabric up on the wrong side of the fabric and pin in place. Take this to your machine, and stitch this all the way around. I used stitch 15.
Now you have a nice and neat hem! And guess what? Your leggings are finished and ready to wear!
This is an easy and fun project that you can complete in an afternoon. If you’re a leggings lover like I am, I’m willing to bet you’ll be a proud of owner of tons of handmade leggings in no time!
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