For the Love of Leggings

I’ve only recently jumped on the leggings bandwagon (crazy, I know, as they’ve been the hot item for quite a while now). I have tried (RTW) leggings in the past, with only limited success.  If you can call it success.  It seems like all the leggings I’ve tried either roll down from my waist and bunch up at my hips, or they end up digging into my waist and cutting me in half, with a complimentary cameltoe bonus–not exactly the comfy wunderpants I’d been promised!  Plus, finding anything but boring black in plus sizes is a bit of a challenge.  I even tried sewing my own from an activewear/running tights pattern, but the size was all over the place (fit OK in the waist, but saggy in the butt and knees and too tight through the calves–awful on my body).  So I gave up and determined that leggings were not for moi.

But then I stumbled across the Patterns for Pirates Peg Leg leggings in a facebook group.  The hook was tons of photos of people, of all shapes & sizes, wearing their newly minted leggings, and every one of them looked fabulous!  So I decided to give the pattern a shot.  And that pattern rocked my legging-less world.  They have a wide, yoga-style waistband that keeps them in place and is comfy to wear (I admit I added some height to the waistband because I prefer a higher rise, but it was only about 3/4″ overall).  The inseam hits me perfectly, and the shape fits me well all down the legs!

My first pair was in a cheap JoAnn’s 4-way stretch knit with giant roses on a black background.  I think I got it in the bargain bin for a couple bucks a yard, and had no idea what I’d make with it when I got it home–the fabric felt very un-me.  So I wouldn’t be too torn up if they turned out to be wadders.

You’ll pardon the crazy striped shirt/floral legging combo, no? I was too excited to change into a solid top!

Happily, they turned out awesome.  I love them far more than I ever though possible–who knew I’d actually enjoy wearing a massive floral print!?

My second pair was out of some “knit denim” that I got from GirlCharlee. I had completely missed the fact that it was knit when I ordered it (I know, I know, I have no excuses–it’s a knit fabric website, but whatever!).  I love that it’s indigo on one side and bright green on the other, but since it wasn’t stretch denim (of the woven variety), it didn’t work for what I originally had in mind for it.  Ever since it’s been languishing in my stash without a purpose.  Sad!

I kind of love the faint greenish glow this fabric has!

The knit denim didn’t have as much stretch as my cheapie JoAnn fabric (it claimed to be 4-way stretch, but was only 4% lycra), so I think I should have gone up a size in the leggings–these are pretty tight.  I may slit them up the outer sides and add a contrast band of green up the legs to fix the fit.  I have enough fabric leftover to make another solid pair, too.  It’s a great weight for fall leggings (a nice mid-weight knit).

In the process of discovering wearable leggings, I also fell a little bit down the rabbit hole of custom printed knit fabrics.  My main source for knits has been either my local fabric shop (which has a small, but high quality selection), or JoAnns (which has a small, low quality selection, but the price is right).  I found a few purveyors of custom knits (in the same FB group that led me to the pattern) and realized that I can actually get my hands on activewear quality fabric!  But for a price!  But 88% polyester, 12% lycra fabric!!!!  Which naturally leads to the realization that I can make my own damn yoga pants!

I picked up a couple yards of 88/12 knit from Zenith & Quasar (who had the best price, but limited to solid colors), and I also ordered a yard of Spoonflower’s new “Sport Lycra” (which has yet to arrive thanks to the usual Spoonflower processing times…but someday…).

For the yoga leggings, I knew I wanted to add a small diamond-shaped gusset to the leggings.  All my beloved Nike pants have this, and I think it’s why they’re so long-lasting (I find the rear crotch seam and the 4-way meet of all the seams are the first things to bust on cheaper knockoff pants…)  Unfortunately, Nike doesn’t make the style I like anymore (of course!), so I’m stuck flying by the seat of my pants (ha!) to come up with a replacement!

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