Sunday, December 29, 2013

Touchdown leggings

All ready to watch the big game
All over the Internet people have been making leggings and offering up their discoveries to furthering the science of sewing.  Here’s my contribution about Kwik-Sew K3455 and McCall’s M6173.
Just imagine I'm wearing leggings
I experimented with OOP Kwik-Sew K3455 first which includes both leggings and a cute top with a wraparound contrast.  I made the top out of navy and teal “active wicking jersey mesh” and the leggings out of a black, high performance knit.  The leggings pattern included a crotch gusset – basically a tiny square that gets sewn between the legs.  In theory this sounds like a great idea and for some it must work out well.
I am not one of those people.
Let’s just say the only thing worse than camel toe is faux toe.  I’m fairly petite and it’s not unusual to have some extra fabric down there making perfectly nice pants/swimsuits/newly sewn leggings look horrible.  This is disappointing since otherwise they seemed to fit pretty well.  I couldn’t even bother to add elastic to the waist.  They might be salvageable if I rip out all the seams and try sewing them back up without the gusset.  However black on black serged seams?  I’ve found better ways of spending my time.
Wraparound contrast
Understandably there is no photographic evidence of the leggings, hence the photos of the top.  I really like how the contrast wraps around to the back.  I imagine when the weather warms up some it’ll be nice for running in.
The rear view is very important!
Next up was McCall’s M6173 and I have made a total of three pairs now.  I prefer my leggings to sit below my waist so I petited the pattern at the line above the crotch.  I kept the length as is so I could try them on before deciding how much length I needed.
Not too low rise
Pair #1 was made out of the same navy jersey mesh as the above top.  I used 1 ¼” sportswear elastic and attached it by serging it as a band to the leggings before flipping it to the inside and finishing it with my twin needle.  I finished the leg hems by twin needle as well.  By comparison to my previous failure this pair fitted great.  Maybe a teeny bit extra fabric but nothing noticeable unless you’re staring at my crotch.  And those who sew are far too polite to do that for anything beyond purely construction and fit curiosity!  These will probably end up used as house pants the most.
No faux toe this time!
This lead to me immediately cutting out Pairs #2 and #3.  #2 is made out of purple jegging material from Jo-Ann’s and is a nice firm and warm knit.  This time around I shaved off just under ½” from the inner thigh and that seemed to do the trick.  I attached the elastic the same way but probably should’ve used more narrow elastic instead.  These tend to ride a bit low – not to the point of looking scandalous, just enough to feel so. 
How low will I go?
If there’s one thing I learned during the extreme low rise jeans heyday is that I could never pass as a plumber.  Good news is no matter how low I dared to go (and living in Miami “too low” really didn’t exist) I could always bend over like a lady.  Still, I don’t see much reason to tempt fate in that regard.  I will probably go back and fix the waist on this pair.
Neutrals galore!
My most recent pair is made out of camel colored ponte.  Keeping in mind that third time’s the charm I remembered to both shave off that extra bit of fabric and used ¾” elastic on the waistband.  I don’t wear camel often (I prefer more color) but always thought it a nice basic to have in my closet.
From the "Two Broke Girls" wardrobe dept
Of course when worn with my latest Renfrew I’m a string of pearls and heels from being Caroline from “Two Broke Girls.”  When it comes to TV characters I think she has the most restrictive wardrobe when it comes to color – just white, cream and camel.  But there’s nothing more comfy than wearing head to toe ponte.  It’s like wearing PJ’s out in the world minus the strange looks.  Never mind my Dad’s comment that it looked like I wasn’t wearing pants.  I’m much paler than camel, especially during the winter.
I have plans for at least one more pair in navy ponte.  This time I will adjust the pattern piece to allow for a bit of extra fabric in back.  I do prefer the 1 ¼” sportswear elastic but will need that extra bit to accommodate.
Sewing Touchdown!
This fall/winter I've probably worn this outfit the most - jeans or navy leggings, navy Renfrew and Twelfth Man jersey.  I'm a huge football fan and love that I can wear some Me-Mades while cheering them on to the NFC West Championship and #1 seeding.
Overall I deem my experiment a success.  I’m glad I found a nice, basic leggings pattern that fits.  Beforehand I seemed to only see so-so reviews for the McCall’s but just because something doesn’t work for other people doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.  Now I just need more tunic length tops to wear with them.
Go Hawks!


  1. Thanks for all the trial and error on the leggings, another pattern in my stash to tackle soon. I love the camel and cream outfit for weekend lounging but looks nice enough to go out and run an errand if needed. Great job perfecting the fit.

  2. Thanks! My goal was to try and find that perfect balance of inside & outside. I just have to remember to switch from slippers to boots before going out - although once I made it to locking my door before looking down and finally remembering!