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to start off me-made-may 2013 nicely, i’m preparing a series of three posts on how to sew comfy and versatile leggings perfectly your size at home. it’s really easy, so don’t get scared off by the many pictures here! this first post is about how to create your own personalized pattern from a pair of leggings you already have, but you can also do this with regular pants or shorts, too. here i’m showing you how i did with a pair of my daughter’s leggings, because she wanted a pair just like the ones i made for myself (above). [edit: you can find the instructions to sew them here!]
first of all, choose leggings (pants, etc) that fit you well. if they’re too short or long, don’t worry about it, they’ll do anyway.
turn them inside out with one leg inside the other. instead of folding them from one side to the other, they’ll be folded from front towards the back.
get a big piece of paper, a bit more than twice the width and at least 15-20 cm more than the height. (i like using my architect husband’s big semi-transparent sheets of paper, but don’t tell him!!)
place the leggings on the paper so that the crotch is a few centimeters from the edge of the paper.
start tracing around the edges of the fabric. in the top part you’ll have the top and bottom that are differently shaped. i find it easier to trace the top part so as not to have to move the fabric around too much. you can see above that, in doing so, part of where i have to trace is blocked by the bottom part. don’t worry as long as you have traced on each side of that part. *it IS important* to gently stretch the fabric if you have an elastic waistband. in this case i didn’t have to because these leggings don’t have elastic and are therefore a bit wide around my daughter’s waist. but if you do have it, all you have to do is keep the part of the waistband at the central fold pushed down with a finger, gently stretch the elastic waistband to see where the fabric arrives, and trace it when stretched out.
now you’ve prepared one half of the pattern. let’s move on to the other part.
just turn the leggings over onto the other side so that the central fold is still laying on the line that you’ve already traced. check to make sure that the waistband and hem meet up with your previous lines.
and just continue tracing out the shape, again being careful to trace the top fabric in the top part of the leggings.
in doing this, you’ll get more gaps…
…so if possible, just lift up the obstructing fabric and draw beneath.
once you’re done with that, you can take the leggings off of the paper. before you forget, label which side is the front and which is the back. you can see the difference pretty easily on paper, but it’s not always so simple to see it right away when the fabric is cut.
ok, so we still have those empty gaps.
just connect your lines that you already have.
retrace over the outer lines, making them more regular and less scribbly.
now we need to add seam allowances. if you like 1/2 cm seam allowances, then draw another line all around 1/2 cm away from the original drawing. if you prefer different seam allowances, draw your line accordingly.
you’ll need more space around the waist and hem. it depends on the elastic width you intend ot use. so if you want to use 2 cm wide elastic, you’ll want to draw your line about 3 cm above your waist line (2 cm of elastic plus 1 cm to fold under).
and the same goes for the hem. if you want a visible seam 1 cm from the edge, add about 2 cm below. if you want longer or shorter legs than the leggings that you used as a model, adjust the length of your drawing. just remember to leave that wider seam allowance to fold under the hem.
cut out on that outer line, and you’re ready to start sewing bunches of leggings (or pants or whatever you made)!
don’t forget to label what your pattern is, as well as the size! next time i’ll show you how to cut out and sew the fabric to make fun leggings!