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How To

How to Sew Leggings

We are back this week to sew up our Kawaii Dessert Print Leggings and we’re SEW excited to get these stitched up! So let’s get started!

Supplies

  • Serger and/or Sewing machine
    • Coverstitch Machine for hemming (Optional)
  • Ball Needles Size 90
  • 2yds of Custom Printed Nylon Lycra
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • 3″ wide elastic, 1 1/4yd
  • Matching Sewing Thread,
    • 1 spool for sewing machine
    • 4 spools for serger
  • Simplicity 8424 pattern

Cutting the Fabric

The first thing we need to do is take a look at the cutting layout for our pattern and fold our Nylon Lycra fabric according to the instructions in the pattern. You can see here, in the diagram to the right, that the fabric needs to be folded a little off-center. So a good way to figure out how much to fold in the first side is to measure your front legging piece at the widest part of the leg as shown below and add 2-3″ to that measurement. This will be the amount you will fold in on one side of your fabric, then bring your other side over to match the raw edges together.

 

Now that we have the fabric folded correctly, we can start to lay out our pattern pieces to mark and cut. Make sure to transfer ALL notches and reference marks from your pattern to your fabric.

 

Choosing a Sewing Method

In this tutorial, we will be showing you the process of putting these leggings together using both a serger and sewing machine. If you don’t have a serger you can use your sewing machine with the instructions supplied with the pattern.

We are using a serger to trim and sew our fabric to create a very clean looking seam and helps retain the most stretch in the fabric. Also, if you already know how to use a serger, you know how quick it is to put any project together! To set up your machine for this project, have your machine set to stitch a 4 Thread Overlock stitch as this type of stitch will seam & overcast your fabric.

NOTE:

  • Since we are sewing with a knit fabric, you may also want to make sure you are using a new needle. Old or used needles can cause thread breakage and/or skipped stitches in your seams. 
  • Use your fabric scraps to test the presser foot pressure of your machine before stitching on your actual garment.

Assembling the Leggings

(Optional) If you are doing the ankle ties, take each piece and fold them in half lengthwise, right-sides together and pin.

 

Use the diagram below to see which sides of your folded straps to serge closed. You can now turn your straps right-side out. Repeat for all four ties.

 

Now, take your finished straps and pin to side seams at the ankle, there will be markings from our pattern to indicate where the ties should be placed. Once pinned in place, roll the straps and pin towards the center of the ankle fabric so they are out of the way for when we start sewing the side seams in our next step. Baste the straps into place with your sewing machine and remove pins.

 

Next, grab a front and back leg piece, then face them right-sides together, and pin at the sides and inseam. Do the same for the other leg to have it ready to sew. Take your leg pieces over to your serger and stitch down both sides, repeat for your second leg pieces.

 

Take one of your assembled legs, turn it right-side out, and then insert it into your other assembled leg. Line up the crotch seams, pin together and sew.

Place waistband pieces right-sides together, and seam the shorts sides to create your full waistband. Then sew the ends of your elastic together by overlapping the elastic by about an inch and sewing a box with an “X” in the center, this creates a strong and stable seam.

 

Using the sideseams of your waistband as a reference, place four pins evenly spaced out to divide your waistband into quarters. Do the same with your elastic.

 

Fold your waistband fabric over your elastic while matching your marking on both pieces and pin together. We decided to use a basting stitch to temporarily stitch all layers together so that we would not have to worry about our layers slipping during the next steps.

Now take the waistband, placing raw edges together with the waist of the leggings, match the notches on both pieces and pin. To sew, you will need to slightly stretch the fabric as you sew so the waistband length matches up with the waist of your legging.

Last step! Fold up about 1″ on the hem of your leggings to the wrong-side of your fabric and pin in place. Now there are two ways to hem your leggings, you can either sew them with a wider zig-zag on your sewing machine (making sure to test your stitches on your scrap fabric) or coverstitch. We have chosen to coverstitch ours, as it makes a beautiful and very professional looking finish.

When it comes to stitching a coverstitch hem, you will have to stitch your garment from the right-side and sew in a straight line all the way around your hem. You will need to consult with your Coverstitch machine manual on how to set up your machine for this stitch.

And that’s it! Come back next week for a tutorial on sewing the matching Chiffon top!

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