Wednesday, September 22, 2010

20 minute leggings tutorial with an optional flair!

Super stylin' leggings in less time than it will take to read this post??

Yes, please!

As far as I'm concerned leggings are a staple fall item for girls. They're comfortable, easy to mix n' match with and, let's just be honest, what toddler tush doesn't look irresistibly pinchable in little leggings?

I'll show you how to make your own pattern, sew the leggings...and... if you have an extra 10 minutes of sewing time I'll show you how to add a little trendy scrunch to bottom of the legs.

Here's what you need:
  • Stretchy fabric, interlock would be the best, but any light to medium weight knit should work.
  • Waistband elastic to fit your child's waist
  • Normally sewing goods, thread, pins, machine etc....
  • An old pair of leggings to use as your pattern
  • 20 minutes!
  • About 12-15 inches of very thin elastic for the optional scrunched legs

Here's what you do:

Step 1: Make your pattern
Fold the old pants in half and lay the outside of the old pjs along the fold of the fabric.
Using a piece of chalk trace along the edges of the pants leaving about 1/2 in gap for seam allowance on all sides except the waist. About 2 inches before you get to the waist of the pants, start angling outward so that you end about 1 1/2 inches away from the side of the old pant's instead of the 1/2 that you were doing before for seam allowance. This will give you a little extra room to gather for your waist band. Next, you'll want to trace 2 1/2 inches up from the top of the old waistband to leave enough room to make a casing for a new one.

Repeat for the other side of the pants. I like to cut out the first pant leg first and then use that as a template to trace the other half of the pants.

Step 2: Hem the bottom of the legs
Save yourself some time later and just hem the bottom of the pants now while they're open.

Step 3: Sew the sides of the leggings together
Lay the pant legs flat with same sides together, so it looks kind of like a diamond. Sew each of the top sides of the "diamond" from the waist end of the pants down to the crotch.
When you're finished lay the pants out flat with the seams down the center and the folded parts outward for the sides of the leggings.

This is the same technique I used to sew my pajama pants, you can see more pictures of what I mean here.

Step 4: Sew the crotch and legs together
I like to do this by starting at the foot of the leg and sewing up toward the crotch and straight across to the foot of the other leg, so you don't have to start and stop.

Step 5: Sew the elastic onto the pants
Fold down the top of the pants to make a casing for an elastic waistband.

together leaving an opening to pull the elastic through before sewing the entire casing closed.


Step back and admire your quick and easy leggings :)

That was just too quick, I know you want more...

Just go ahead and fancy it up with a scrunchy bottom twist!

You have 10 more minutes before you haaave to grab that screaming child :)

This is easy too, here's all you do:

Step 1: Cut your elastic
Fold the leggings inside out and cut 4 strips of thin elastic about 4 inches each for a scrunch 6 inches into the legging. This will let the leggings rest mid-calf for most pants.
Since I needed these for our upcoming trip to a very cold place, I decided to pre-cut my standard leggings extra long, so they would come down to the ankle after I scrunched them. I just added another 3 inches to the length of the old leggings.

Step 2: Pin the elastic to each side of the ankles
Mark the pants about 6 inches from the bottom up and pin one end of the elastic there at each side of the leg. Continue pinning down along the elastic until you hit the bottom of the leg.

You'll want to do this by pinning in sections since the piece of elastic is smaller than the area you'll be scrunching. To pin in sections, start by pinning both ends and section off in half again and again until you can't pin anymore!

Step 3: Sew the elastic in place
Sew the elastic on each side of the leg by carefully removing the pins just before they reach the foot. *Note* in this picture I removed them all to demonstrate that you should stretch the elastic by gently pulling on each side as you sew.

Make sure to hold both ends of the elastic as you stretch, so that you don't yank the needle out by pulling too hard.

It should look like this on the inside when you're finished. You'll probably notice that I used a straight stitch here instead of a zigzag like you typically do for elastic. I found that it was easier for me to control stretching the elastic this way, and I figured, since it's not really needing to stretch over anything it actually doesn't need the flexibility of the zigzag like it would on a waistband or something. I think.... :)

And there you have it...
Basic leggings made a little extra fancy!

And when you're feelin' fancy who isn't up for a game of hop scotch?

That is, I suppose, until your partner takes up laying in the grass instead...

Ah oh well, what can you do when your partner is only a baby?

I guess she was happier just drawing with the chalk to begin with...


  1. Beautiful.Love it. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  2. I don't get it. How do you sew the elastic on without sewing the otherwise of the leg? I guess after you sew the ankle hems you could sew the elastic on before closing up the legs. Would that work too?

  3. You could do the elastic before you sew the sides, but then it'd be harder to get it all lined up with the scrunch.

    They way I did it you do end up pinching a tiny bit of the other side of the leg when you sew the elastic, but since your elastic is so small you can really put it on the out most edge so it doesn't really alter the fit. You can kind of see how much room I took up by "pinching" the other side in the picture of the finished elastic inside out.

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  5. Great tutorial! You could also use elastic thread instead of pieces of elastic for the bottoms of the legs. Super easy!

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  7. Glad to know about this leggings tutorial. Will share your post with my sister as she is very much interested in this kind of stuff. She will try it for sure. Was going to buy alo yoga pants as these are trendy and flexible for yoga.


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