Create Custom Leggings in 30 Minutes

SEP 15, 2015

Who doesn't love a good pair of leggings? They're the perfect garment for layering, relaxing and getting active! We all have a favorite pair that fits better than all the rest. Today, Emma Jeffery, creative sewist + maker behind Hello Beautiful, visits the blog to share how she replicated her daughter's favorite pair of leggings using a funky design printed on Sport Lycra!

Leggings are a wardrobe staple for my daughter–pulling on and off with no buttons, zippers or other annoying closures. They are every girls’ must-have and with Spoonflower’s new Sport Lycra fabric, I can sew up some extra fun pairs for her dance/play/sports activities. These leggings will take about 30 mins to make and you don’t need a pattern. All you need is a pair of existing leggings that you like the fit of, and you can make these using the same method, for adults and children alike.

I used a ball-point needle and a zig-zag stitch to sew up these leggings. I finished the seams with a serger but the fabric won’t fray if you don’t have a serger. You’ll also need some elastic for the waistband. For children’s clothes, I prefer ¾” wide elastic. I ordered a yard of Ivie Cloth Company's Teal Watercolor Triangles on Sport Lycra for this pair. For adult leggings, you may need to order two yards. 

Start by laying your leggings out flat on a large piece of paper (tape two or more pieces together if necessary) and align the side of the leggings with the edge of the paper, but about ½” away from the edge itself. You’ll be tracing around the leggings but adding an extra ½” all the way around to account for a seam allowance. If you have a curved ruler, this will help you trace around the shape of the legs, but you can also freehand it. Start tracing around the bottom of the leg opening and up the inseam, stopping at the crotch. Don’t forget to add a ½” as you trace.

As you reach the crotch, fold over the other leg of the leggings to reveal the front/back crotch seam, and continue to trace.

Cut out your pattern piece and place your folded Sport Lycra on top. The straight edge of the pattern piece needs to be placed along the folded edge of the fabric. Spoonflower has a lot of information in this post about orientating your pattern on the grain or across the grain of the fabric. Cut out your pattern piece. 

Flip the paper pattern over again, align the straight edge along the folded edge of the fabric. Cut your second leg from the folded fabric.

Fold each leg in half with the right sides facing. Pin from the crotch and down the entire leg (do not pin the curve of the crotch seam) and sew.

There are two ways to finish the bottoms of the legs. To make cuffs, trim 3” away from the bottom edge of the legs. Fold the rings of fabric in half with wrong sides together, pin to around the perimeter of the right sides of each leg and sew. Alternatively, you could just turn up the hem ½” to the wrong side and sew, without a cuff.

Now turn one leg inside out and one leg right sides out. Insert the right side out leg into the inside out leg and match the seams at the crotch. The right side of both leg pieces should be facing each other. Pin the entire front and back crotch seam and sew. Pull the legs to the right side and you’ll have an almost-complete pair of leggings. 

To finish the waistband of your leggings, turn the waistband ½” to the wrong side. Turn a further (generous) ¾” and pin. Sew the waistband leaving a 2” hole unsewn so that you can insert the elastic into the casing.

Use a bodkin or extra large needle to thread the ¾” wide elastic through the waistband. Have the child try on the leggings and adjust the elastic length to fit comfortably. Sew the two ends of the elastic together and sew the hole in the waistband seam closed. 

 *Tunic dress made using Ivie Cloth Company's Navy Aztec Stripe printed on Spoonflower’s Sport Lycra and the Ice Cream Dress pattern by Oliver and S. Because Sport Lycra has a four way stretch, it’s a great fabric to show off different cut orientations on directional prints.

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