Tuesday, January 26, 2010

DIY Leggings

I am finding it very hard to find thick enough and long enough leggings, so I took matters into my own hands and drafted up a pattern.
Here are instructions on how to draft a legging pattern customized to fit your body and super easy instructions on how to sew your own leggings.  I will be quite detailed in my instructions, so it's alot easier than it looks if you have sewn anything before!
In order to make these you must have basic sewing skills. 
Custom Legging Pattern
Materials and Supplies you will need:
-Some form of drafting paper, you can use tissue paper pieced together into a large piece, newspaper roll ends (found wherever your local newspaper is printed), or banquet paper.  You could also use a plastic table cloth (you would have to use permanent markers to write on this) or the white side on wrapping paper
-Pencils (permanent markers if using plastic)
-Ruler (Preferably a clear drafting one)
-Measuring Tape
-Sewing Machine (Serger Optional)
-Knit Fabric, preshrink by washing and drying fabric the same as you would wash the finished garment (The amount you need depends on the lenth you want to make your leggings, so measure the length you want to make them then add 20cm (8 ")...Make sure there is a good amount of stretch to the fabric)
-Spool of thread to match fabric
-2.5cm (1") wide elastic (You will need approximatly the length of your waist circumference)

Required Measurements
Fill out these measurements before getting started drafting

a-b=Waist to Crotch depth measuring from the part of your waist you want the waist band to sit to your crotch
b-c=Leggings inseam measuring from your crotch to whatever part of your leg you want the leggings to end
d-e=Waist Circumference divided in half then subtract 1.5cm (5/8") measuring around the part of your waist you want the waist band to sit
f-g=Upper Thigh circumference minus 2.5cm (1")
h-i=Leg opening circumference minus 2cm (3/4") measuring around the part of your leg you want your leggings to end

Drafting the Pattern
(All these measurements are shown in diagram #1)
1. On your paper (or plastic) using a ruler draw a line down the center to equal your measurement for a-b and b-c added together.  The top of this line will be point "a" and the bottom of this line is point "c", mark point "b" on this line which will be the measurement for a-b by measuring that amount down from point "a"
2.  Draw in line d-e by putting equal parts of the measurement on each side of point "a", the left point will be "d" and the right will be "e"
3.  Draw in line f-g by putting equal parts of the measurement on each side of point "b", the left point will be "f" and the right will be "g".
4.  Draw in line h-i by putting equal parts of the measurement on each side of point "c", the left will be "h" and the right will be "i"
(All these instructions are shown on diagram #2)
5.  Draw a parrallel line below line f-g approximatly 10cm (4") down and mark 2 points on this line in 7.5cm (3") from each side.  Draw a slightly curved line from point "f" and "g" to the points you just made below them.  This is to create the contour from the crotch to thighs.
6. From these new points draw a straight line to points "h" and "i".  This creates your leg inseam.
7.  To join point "d" to "f" and "e" to "g" draw a line straight down from the top points approximatly 3/4 of the way to the bottom point then curve the line out to the bottom points.  This creates center seam from your waist to crotch.
(All these instructions are shown on diagram #3)
8.  The final step is to add the seam allowance.  Do this by drawing a line parrallel to all the outer lines 1cm (3/8") out except the top and bottom which you will draw the line 4cm (1 5/8") out for the hem and waist band.
So now your pattern is complete and you can cut it out along the outside edges
Sewing Your Leggings
1. First you need to cut out the fabric.  Lay out your fabric with it folded in half and place the pattern piece onto the fabric as shown below.  Don't leave as much space around the edges as the picture shows...my computer was not letting me draw too accuratly.  The most important thing is to make sure that the greatest amount of stretch will be going around your body.  Once as the pattern is laid out correctly you can pin it down and cut around the edges.

2. Now you should have 2 pieces of fabric which will be forming the legs.  Fold each piece of fabric in half lenthwise with the right sides together so the edges line up.  Pin together from the crotch to bottom as shown below and sew the seams together using a 1cm (3/8") seam allowance.  Then finish the edges of what you've sewn by using a zig-zag stitch.  If you have a serger you can skip sewing the seams together, and just serge them together instead.

3.  Now you should have 2 legs that need to be sewn together in the middle.  With the right sides together pin both pieces together at the center seams (originally point "d-f" and "e-g".  This is harder to explain than it actually is.  If I'm confusing you just look at a pair of pants and see how the center front and back seams are sewn together.  You want to make sure you line up the crotch seams as seen below. 

Now all you have left is to sew in the waist band elastic and hem the legs.  There are 2 ways of sewing in the elastic, one way is to make a casing for the elastic by turning under the waist 4cm (1 5/8") and sewing around leaving an opening to feed the elastic through, or you can directly sew the elastic to the waist seam and fold it under.  I will be using the second method.

4.  Cut your elastic so it is slightly smaller than the finished waist circumference of your leggings and sew it into a circle by over lapping the edges and zig-zagging together as shown below.  Make sure there are no twists in the elastic.

5. Pin the elastic to the top of the fabric against the wrong side (towards the inside of the pants) by marking halfway on the elastic and lining the elastic seam to a seam on the pants and the mark you made to the other seam and then stretching and pinning between both seams.

6.  Sew the top of the elastic to the fabric with a zig-zag stitch, or you can serge it together if you like.  Make sure you stretch the elastic to fit to the fabric as you do this.  Shown Below.

7.  Now Fold over the elastic (shown below) and sew it down pretty much on top of the stitches you made when attatching the elastic.  When I did this I used a slightly zig-zagged stitch so that my stitches wouldn't rip when the fabric was stretched.

8.  Now to the final step!!  All that is left is to hem the pants.  Before you do that quickly finish the edges by ziz-zagging along the raw edge or serging.  Then fold over the fabric on both leg openings 4cm (1 5/8") and sew approximatly 3 cm (1 1/4") in.

And Voila you have made yourself a custom fitted pair of leggings!!

If you have any questions about these instructions please fill free to email me 


Brianna said...

I like. Very cool.

Calvin & Mori Ford said...

just found your blog - you are so ambitious! :)