Ask yourself what gets more use in your wardrobe: a fancy party dress or a pair of yoga pants or leggings. Yup, that's what I thought: yoga pants and leggings for the win!
They might not be the first items on your list of things to sew, but a few super comfortable, great-fitting pairs will definitely make your everyday life nicer. Here's how to sew up a pair (or five).
1. Find a Pattern
There are more available than ever before — the sewing scene has really embraced the sportswear trend.
Colette Patterns has a pattern called the Manila Leggings. It's a classic design, capped off with a cute overlapped curved cuff at the hem of each leg.
Another great option: the Ooh La Leggings by Papercut Patterns. Made up in something like faux leather spandex, they might even pass for streetwear.
2. Buy Stretch Fabric with Spandex
Leggings require stretch knit fabrics with a strong recovery, meaning the fabric bounces back quickly and with a snap when pulled. The best fabrics have some spandex so leggings fit like a second skin.
3. Gather the Other Materials
You'll need a few extra tools and supplies.
Sewing Machine Needles
Depending on the weight and amount of synthetics in your fabric, you'll want to pick up a Stretch or Jersey Ball Point needle in either a 70, 80 or 90 size.
Knits can be sewn on either serger/overlock machines or conventional machines, though typically you'll still need a conventional machine to do any hemming and to insert elastic into the waist. For your serger you'll need three-to-five spools of cone thread to matching your fabric, and for your conventional machine, you'll need one spool.
Most leggings and yoga-pants patterns require elastic in the waistband to keep them where they belong. Check the pattern's list of notions to see the width that your chosen pattern needs.
Rotary Cutter, Cutting Mat and Weights
With knits, a rotary cutter works a lot better than a pair of scissors. A mat will protect the blade of the cutter as well as the surface under the fabric. Pattern weights will help hold the pattern down while you cut so you don't have to use pins.
Ball Point Pins
When it's time to pin your fabric pieces together, ball point pins will glide through the fabric much easier than pins with sharp points. The ball point helps the pin go between the knitted fibers and keeps the threads from breaking.
4. Sew the Pants
It's time! First, take your measurements and remember that leggings and yoga pants should have negative ease, which means the finished garment measurements will be smaller than your body's measurements. You want the pants to fit snugly; just how snug is up to you.
Next, pre-wash your knit fabrics before you cut them out, since they shrink about 25 percent.
After you've cut everything out, take a scrap of your fabric and give all the stitches you intend to use a test through the machines you plan to sew with. Remember to use the same number of layers, so the stitch is an accurate representation.
Now all that's left to do is sew! Enjoy the process and feel great that you never have to hit the mall for basics again.