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Sew Along: Leggings Day 4

Sew Along: Leggings Day 4

So now that you have made your first pair of leggings I thought I would show you how to make a few simple adjustments to get the most out of your pattern!


The flip technique may not be your cup of tea, even after you have practiced it a little bit, and that is totally ok (it still rocks)!  You can use these techniques in the Swimmers rashie patterns, Baby Swimmers or with the Sleeved Skater Dress pattern too.

Here are a few other options.  They are a bit more fiddly and time consuming, but work equally as well.

Hem Last

So rather than hemming right at the start, skip that step.  Sew the rise and inside leg like normal.

Fold hem up and glue/pin/clip into place.

Insert foot (sewing machine or coverstitch) into the opening to stitch the hem.

It is easiest to stretch the fabric out in front of you, sew a small amount then stop to reposition and pull the next lot of fabric towards you.  I do this maybe 4 times while sewing the hem.

Finished look for the hem last option (you can trim back that hem a tiny bit at the end if you want to as well).

Cuffed Hem

This technique is covered in the pattern.  This is a slight variation to that where you complete the cuffed hem last…. like this… 

So again, omit the hemming at the start of the pattern, sew the rise and the inside leg.  Fold the hem into place and glue/pin/clip.

Now fold your whole folded hem inside the leg.

Position foot (overlocker or sewing machine) inside the leg.
For sewing machine, you can use a zig zag stitch or over edge type stitch.
For overlocker, it is a good idea to disengage your knife here, but you don’t have to.
Stitch the complete circle.

Turn your cuff out, and this is what you have!

Cuffed Hem with Contrast

You can use this same technique to add a contrast fabric to the cuff for a bit of fun too!

Cut leggings piece about 1.5″ (4cm) shorter than the pattern piece.
Cut contrast fabric 2″ (5cm) in length and the same width as the bottom of the leggings pattern piece (or about 3/8″ (1cm) shorter works well).

Omit the hemming at the beginning of the pattern and sew the rise and inside leg seam.  Fold the contrast piece in half and stitch together.

Fold the contrast in half with wrong sides together to create a tube.

Insert the contrast inside the leg aligning the raw edges and side seams and then stitch.

When finished it will look a little like this!  You can play around with doing a wider cuff too which works particularly well when using Cotton Lycra.


This is a cute way to get more use out of your panels.  They don’t need to be my panels, there are lots of cute cotton lycra panels on the market too or you can even just use a different fabric.

Place your leggings pattern piece next to the panel you wish to work with.  Mark on the pattern piece the height you want your panel to be.  Consider that you will need to hem as well and take that into account.

Use baking paper (or similar semi-transparent paper) over your pattern piece to trace the ‘panel pattern piece’ and add an extra 1/4″ (0.6cm) to the top for seam allowance.

Cut the new panel pattern piece out and note ‘top’ and ‘front’ on the pattern piece.

Consider which direction you want your panel to face and position the new pattern piece over the top of the panel to determine the best placement.

Cut out the panel.

Now to cut the top part of the legging.  Start by adding seam allowance below the original marked line (my bottom pink line).

Fold the pattern along the new ‘seam allowance’ cut line.  This is a cool way to do it, so you don’t have to trace off another pattern piece and can just keep your original piece in tact.  Cut the top half of your panelled leg.

With right sides facing sew top of leg and panel together.  The finished leg should match your pattern piece if you have done everything right!

Use the complete pattern piece to cut the other leg remembering that your pieces need to be mirror image.  Line your panel leg up to the complete one to make sure your lengths are the same!

Now you can go ahead and complete your leggings as normal!

You can use this ‘pieced’ technique in other ways too, you don’t need to use panels, for example you may wish to add a stripe down the outside leg or other style lines.  You can cut up your pattern piece however you like, you just need to remember that when you are putting the pieces back together, you need to add seam allowances.   


This elastic installation method is used in the Skater Skirt pattern. 

Reduce the rise of your pattern piece by between 2-4cm (I use about 3cm for my daughter so it is good to start with that and see if you want to adjust for the next pair).

I mark up my pattern piece with the new waist cut line.

Make a small cut down the centre dashed line to the new waistline and fold your pattern piece over.  This is a good way to avoid tracing off another pattern piece.

When using decorative elastic, you need to match your thread to the elastic as closely as possible.  Go slightly lighter rather than darker if you can’t find an exact match.  Cut the elastic according to the normal elastic measurements for the leggings.
I recommend using a black waistband for your first attempt at an exposed elastic waist.  When black thread is used on it, it gets hidden VERY well, so if your stitching on your first one is a little wonky, nobody will ever know!

Sew the edges of the elastic together.

Fold out the seam.

Stitch a rectangle over the join to secure the seam allowance.  This is how it looks front and back.

Now, this is where you need to use your brain a bit because it doesn’t feel right, but go with it.
Mark elastic and waist opening into quarters (refer to Day 3).
Position leggings right side out.
Insert elastic into the waist opening.  The wrong side of the elastic needs to face the wrong side of the leggings.
Match quarter points and pin or clip into place.
The elastic should sit about 1/4″ (0.3cm) above the raw edge of the leggings.

Sew elastic to the leggings.  Use a straight stitch but shorten the stitch length slightly. Align right side of foot with the edge of elastic.  (I accidentally positioned my needles to the far left in this one, but I normally just leave the needle position as the default in the centre and like it better that way).  As you sew, go very slowly and stretch the fabric and elastic by using your right hand to pull in front of you and left hand to pull slightly to the back behind the foot.  It is a bit tricky but gets easier!  If you have trouble with the fabric moving away, you can add a some glue/clips/pins between the quarter points.

Fold your elastic up towards the top.  This will neatly conceal the raw edge of your leggings.

If you have little business side flags, it is cute to attach them either on the front of the back of the leggings by tucking them under the edge of the elastic like this!

Move needle to the far left and stitch as closely as you can to the edge of the elastic.  While sewing, carefully pull the leggings fabric to the left nice and evenly (but don’t over stretch) to ensure a nice smooth finish on the inside of your waistband.

This is how the waistband will look when finished (although with a bit of a shorter distance between the stitched rows!

And you are done!!

Well that concludes the Leggings Sew Along and I am so pleased that so many of you were able to join in!  I hope in some small way it has helped you to realise that sewing stretch is not hard and after making a few more things you get even more comfortable and a little bit more willing to step outside your comfort zone.  The most difficult part is really just getting those settings perfect then writing them down!


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