Seamstress Erin is an obsessed sewist, inked knitter, cat herder, and mad scientist. She looks at Every Day as another chance to play Dress Up. She writes sewing patterns for Every Day Dress Up. Mission is to inspire you to create things. To spread the love of sewing, knitting, quilting, crafting, and needlework.
Adding a pocket onto the side of a pair of leggings is a great way to make them more functional. Stick your house key, a cell phone, and some cash in and you’re good to go whether it’s for a jog or for a night out on the town. The Citrus Leggings are a great pattern for adding in an extra pocket because they have a side panel. You can extend your pocket sides into the side panel seams making them extra sturdy.
Rather than making a pattern piece, you can cut a rectangle the height you want your finished pocket to be + 1/2″ for seam allowances and wider than the width of View C side where you will be placing the pockets (since you can trim it down after basting it in place). If you’re making Views A or B, you’ll want to sew your Side Front to Side Back and then add the pocket before sewing that side to the Front and Back. You can still measure on Side C because Side Front and Side Back A (or B) get sewn together to create the same pattern piece as Side C.
If you want to use an invisible zipper, sew one side to the top of your pocket. You’ll actually want to stretch your fabric a bit as you sew it to your zipper since the fabric stretches when you wear it (hint: use lots of pins. I didn’t quite stretch mine enough and you can see that it pulls the side seams in a bit where the zipper is on the finished garment). If you don’t want a zipper, fold the raw edge under and stitch it in place, making sure to use a stretch stitch.
If using a zipper, sew the other side of the zipper to the leg. Again, lots of pins so you don’t stretch out the fabric as you sew.
Flip the pocket down and secure it in place by folding the bottom up 1/4″ and stitching across the bottom (make sure you’re using a stretch stitch!). Baste the pocket to the leggings at the sides and trim off excess pocket fabric. Make sure that your zipper tab is pulled inside of the seam line for when you construct the rest of the leggings!
I had previously relegated Infinity Dresses to the category of “bridesmaid dress” in my mental catalog, but I’ve definitely changed my own mind about that with this dress! The pattern is the Knit Infinity Dress that I just launched with Lisa Kievits on Maternity Sewing. We developed it because we wanted a dress that could be worn pregnant or not pregnant (I am most decidedly NOT pregnant, guys) and in the process of developing the pattern I’ve totally become a convert. Go check out our blog post about the release for all of the details on what makes our pattern unique and worth buying, even though there are other infinity dress patterns and tutorials out there (we put a lot of thought into how to make it as awesome as possible).
I’m really digging that I can style this dress anywhere from sexy to vintage elegant depending upon how I wrap it. (Though I am thinking about chopping off even more from the hem which would bring it further into the sexy category. I do want to be able to chase my toddler without worries of flashing my underwear, however, so it may stay the length it is.)
Part of what makes my dress so awesome is the fabric, let’s be honest. It’s a double brushed poly from Califabrics and I totally 100% get why people love DBP. It’s relatively easy to sew, especially for such a stretchy knit, it’s got great drape, phenomenal recovery, and OMG so many good prints! Have you sewn with DBP? I had a bit of yardage left over from cutting this dress and it’s already cut and waiting to be sewn into a t-shirt dress so I don’t ever have to stop wearing the DBP. And leopard print. Apparently I’m newly obsessed with leopard print at the moment (channeling 13-year-old me who got some leopard print faux fur and cut it up and sewed it onto EVERYTHING including my backpack and hey that’s actually a pretty good idea. I should make a faux fur backpack!)
I mean, how awesome is this, the exact same dress, no modifications, looking beautiful on a beautiful woman at 36 weeks pregnant (that’s Lisa, my business partner in Maternity Sewing)! Pop over to our blog post on Maternity Sewing to see the dress on a variety of other size and shape bodies!
In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through how to sew wide waistband elastic (or plush waistband elastic) in the inside of a garment waist instead of a casing. We’ve put this tutorial together as a fun hack for the Citrus Leggings, but you can apply it to just about any skirt or pants that uses an elastic waistband. No need to use an elastic the same width as your pattern since we don’t use a casing.
Start by cutting a piece of wide waistband elastic to length. Abut the ends and use a wide zig-zag to sew them together. (I used a contrasting thread so you could see what I was doing, but you’ll probably want to use a matching thread as this stitching is visible in the finished garment). This elastic is 2″ wide. You can use anything in the 1-2″ range for this treatment. “Plush back” elastics are especially nice because one side has been brushed to be extra soft against your skin.
Before sewing the elastic, you’ll want to consider the finished height of your garment rise. With the Citrus Leggings, the top 1″ is folded inside to create a self-fabric casing. That means that if we sew our wide elastic to the top of the raw edge then we are raising the height of our leggings rise by 1″ (minus our seam allowance) so we’ll want to trim off 3/4″ from the top before sewing the wide elastic. If your pattern calls for a separately attached waistband then your rise will end up lower because you don’t have the height from the waistband being added unless you add extra fabric to the top of your pattern pieces when cutting them. (If you don’t care about exactly where the waist of your garment hits, then you don’t have to worry about this!).
With the right side of your elastic against the right side of your fabric (your elastic may not have a right and wrong side if it isn’t plush back), sew the elastic to the top of your garment using a 1/4″ seam allowance, stretching the elastic or garment as necessary to fit.
Flip the elastic to the inside. The 1/4″ seam allowance you sewed is now the bit of fabric that flips to the inside of your garment waist. Tack the elastic down by sewing along any seamlines you have (making sure to use a stretch stitch). That’s it!
I originally planned on making this pattern as a pair of jeans but after I made a muslin and went to go cut these pants out of my denim I discovered that I just barely didn’t have enough of the right weight of denim, despite having 3 different suitable denims in my stash. So I decided to make them out of a stashed wool instead. And then when I started cutting the wool I discovered that I had inadvertently traced one stovepipe leg and one extra wide leg for my final modified pattern and that’s why they weren’t fitting on my denim. Oops. But I’m really glad that my silly mistake led to these wool trousers!
The pattern is vintage McCalls 5559 from 1977. I was drawn to the unique pockets – an opening between waistband and leg is the top of the interior patch pocket. I was thinking that it would be great for some visible topstitching on denim, but in the wool I used a standard thread that blends right in so you can barely see they’re there.
I started working on them at the end of winter this year and they kind of dragged in to spring thanks to my sloooooow fitting process. These are the first fitted woven pants I’ve sewn since having a baby and my crotch curve is definitely a different shape thanks to a little belly and less bum. Like many women, my weight fluctuates a few pounds over the course of any month and what made fitting these pants challenging for me is that my weight now fluctuates in my belly. (Before having a baby I gained and lost from my hips.)
Despite the fact that there’s a bit of pulling across my curvy belly sometimes (I took these photos months apart and you can see they pull in some photos but not others), I’m quite happy with the fit. Gillian recently had a great discussion on her blog about how much harder it is to get a smooth fit with no wrinkles or pulling anywhere the more curves there are on your body. While her conversation was in terms of plus size and curvy fit, which are not categories I fit into, it is interesting for me to see the discussion play out in microcosm in my own body.
I decided that if I’m going to sew wool trousers I’m going to do it “right” so I added a partial underlining to the legs (to just below the knee so they won’t bag anywhere from wear) and a full lining. One nice tip for adding partial length underlinings – you can see that I used the selvedge edge at the bottom of the underlining so no extra bulk is added from a seam finish mid leg. Despite my usual preference for natural fibers I opted for this pretty polyester that I had in my stash because I wanted these trousers to be for winter wear so the extra warmth from non-breathing poly will actually be appreciated.
I did use a different fabric for my waistband lining. I had a really thick black satin in my scrap bin and thought it would be nice for the waistband since, even with understitching, a lining can peek out sometimes and the black blended in instead of popping out like the pink lining.
As I said, the unusual pockets are one of the things that first drew me to the pants but I’m now actually quite glad that I didn’t first attempt them in a thicker denim as it would have been really hard (maybe impossible?) to make them without adding a lot of bulk to the center front of my belly and I think that would have left me disappointed. But, despite the fact that I probably won’t use the front pockets, they’re a fun feature to have tried.
Apparently, even through the underlining, lining, and wool fabric there’s some VPL (that’s visible panty line in case you were wondering) going on, but I guess that’s a reason to take blog photos so you can see your own clothes from all angles, right? ;) I did think about adding pockets to the back of the trousers to break up the vast swath of rear end, but decided the wide waistband was enough and that if I ever wanted to wear the darn things I needed to stop futzing with them and finish sewing them!
Any time someone special in your life gets married, it’s an excuse to sew an outfit, right? Well, this summer my brother got married so I had grand plans for a rehearsal dinner outfit and a wedding outfit for myself. “Plans” are the operative word this time around.The first thing that got in the way of my “grand plans” is that Trevor asked my daughter Evelyn to be his flower girl. So I got to sew her a dress (more on that in a future blog post). My mom has some health complications and this summer she needed her legs to be covered. She didn’t have anything nice in her closet that fit this bill so I offered to make her a dress for the rehearsal dinner and some silk trousers she could wear with a nice tunic she already had for the wedding. I was happy to sew for her (my mom is one of the few people I’m happy to sew for since she’s my mom and she understands what time and energy goes into sewing clothes).
That being said, I did find time to get one dress sewn for myself. I recently found this Thai silk and this Vogue V8813 Marcy Tilton dress pattern at the thrift store and it seemed to be kismet. I don’t normally think of Marcy Tilton as being my style, but I decided to give it a go with this pattern. I’m not sure why this caught my eye when her patterns don’t usually, though I do know I’ve been exploring much looser silhouettes recently, but I’m glad I gave it a shot.
I paired it with a light sandwashed silk (also scored from the thrift store and sitting in my stash) to add a bit of contrast to the dress. I was looking too see other people’s versions of this dress in a woven to make sure that my vision was rooted in reality and I was definitely inspired by Eli’s versions.
Straight out of the envelope I felt a bit like I was drowning in fabric and it just wasn’t that flattering. I decided to shorten the sleeves and pinched the underarm up a bit higher while I was at it. Lisa (my long distance sewing buddy and business partner in Maternity Sewing) suggested I lower the neckline so I cut down the admittedly-kinda-weird standing/fold-over collar and lowered the neckline a bit. These small changes went a long way towards making the dress fitted in my upper torso which is what I like when the rest of the dress is oversized.
I also shortened the dress just a bit which is not something I usually do, given my height, but showing just a bit more leg helped to balance the size of the dress. I couldn’t bring it any shorter because the back would have gotten indecently short – the front hangs lower thanks to the funny shape.
The final change I made was to convert front gathers to a box pleat. I don’t know why, but the gathers that the pattern called for just weren’t flattering – they did something weird to the apparent shape of my bust but as soon as I turned the gathers into a pleat it all hung nicely and didn’t give me weird-puffy-square boobs.
Since the two silks are pretty lightweight and the Thai silk was pretty loosely woven I sewed french seams and then topstitched the french seams down so that any strain on the seams wouldn’t pull the fabric apart. There’s a tiny bit of pulling visible in the lower center back seam but this dress should hold up well enough for more special occasion wear.
My brother lives in Alaska and apparently whenever I visit they have horrible unexpected cold and rain snaps. So the wedding that was supposed to be in the low 60’s was instead 45F and raining which meant that I was pretty dang cold in my lightweight silk dress. I actually went out and bought a cardigan to wear with it and put it over some leggings I had brought and then spent the whole reception hanging out under the heat lamp in the tent.
I don’t think I’ll make this dress again, but I’m pretty happy with the result. It’s funny, because I thought this was a pretty dramatic departure from my usual style, but nobody else seems to agree with me. What do you think? Do you see it as characteristically Erin or something new and different?
Pull up some tracing paper and a pen because we’re going to do a little bit of pattern drafting! In this tutorial I’ll show you how to turn any leggings pattern into one with a wide waistband. I’ll be using our Citrus Leggings pattern as an example, but this will work for just about any leggings pattern you have. I’ll also explain THREE different ways to sew the waistband – with hidden elastic, with an elastic channel, and without elastic.
1. Sew and trace Front & Back. Start by sewing the Front and Back separately. We’re sewing and then measuring off of the garment instead of doing all our shaping on the pattern because it means a lot less cutting and pasting and worrying about seam allowances if you have multiples seams in your leggings. (You can use the same principles to work directly from your pattern pieces if you’d rather, just don’t forget to remove seam allowances). In this instance, I’ve changed the construction order of the Citrus Leggings so that the Side Front – Front – Front – Side Front and Side Back – Back – Back- Side Back are sewn together in units before the side seams are sewn. Trace along the top and several inches down the sides of your complete Front and complete Back.
2. Create top cut line. For this tutorial, we’re going to assume that you want the waistband to finish at the same height. First we need to mark where the finished top of the leggings are. In the Citrus Leggings pattern, the top 1″ is folded down to make an elastic casing so the finished top of the leggings is 1″ down from the top of the raw edge of the sewn leggings. After you’ve drawn the finished top line, add a seam allowance back to the top. Here we’re using a 3/8″ seam allowance like in the rest of the pattern.
3. Create bottom cut line. From the “finished top line”, measure down the finished height of the waistband you would like to have. In this example I’ve made a 4″ waistband. Then add a seam allowance to the bottom. That will be your bottom cut line. (We don’t worry about seam allowance on the sides because they are already there in our half-constructed leggings we traced). You’ve now made your waistband piece. (Don’t forget to do this for both Front and Back, and do them separately because the shaping is likely different).
4. Create a cut template for the leggings. We’re now going to create a template for what we will cut off of the top of our leggings. Layer a second piece of tracing paper on top of your waistband pattern. Trace the top and sides along the original trace lines. The “finished bottom of wide waistband” is where the seam will be in the finished leggings – we need to add a seam allowance to the top of this to be left on the leggings so trace up 3/8″ (or whatever seam allowance you’re using) above the finished bottom line .
5. Cut the leggings. Lay the template you just made on top of your leggings and cut off the top portion of the leggings (which will be replaced with your wide waistband).
6. Cut waistband. Cut two Front Waistband and two Back Waistband. Remember to pay attention to the direction of your stretch and your nap.
7. Sew waistband side seams. Sew the Front Waistband to Back Waistband together at the sides and repeat to create a lining. (Note: If you want to make the variation without elastic, jump ahead and read about modifications you may want to make to your pattern piece before sewing).
8. Sew waistband top seam. Sew the Waistband and Waistband Lining together at the top.
OPTION 1: Elastic Casing. Create a casing out of the top of your wide waistband by stitching a line down from the top just wider than the width of your elastic. Leave a 3″ gap in the stitch line when you sew it. Thread your elastic through and join the ends of the elastic. Sew the gap closed.
OPTION 2: Hidden Elastic – If you want elastic but you want it to be hidden, press the top seam allowance between Waistband and Waistband lining toward the lining. Cut a piece of elastic, joining the ends, and align the edge of the elastic to the top seam (using lots of pins to hold it in place). Sew through the elastic, seam allowance, and lining using a stretch stitch.
OPTION 3: No Elastic – Your ability to successfully wear leggings without elastic depends upon your fabric (how stretchy it is and how good its recovery is), your pattern (and amount of negative ease), and your body shape (pear shapes have it easier because their hips keep the pants from falling). There are no hard and fast rules, so you’ll have to experiment. In this example (the Citrus Leggings with this stretchy velvet on my pear body), I shave off about 1/2″ from each side of the bottom of each pattern piece and about 1″ from the top of each side of each pattern piece. Do this before sewing the pieces together. You don’t want to shave off too much from the bottom as you don’t want your leggings to noticeably gather into your waistband.
9. Baste Waistband bottom. Turn the waistband right side out and baste the bottom edges together so that the waistband lies smoothly. It is important to do this because any discrepancies between length of waistband and waistband lining will show as bulges in the finished waistband.
10. Sew Waistband to leggings. Finally, with the right side of your waistband against the right side of your leggings, sew them together using the 3/8″ seam allowance (or whatever seam allowance you set when you drafted your pattern pieces). This is what that looks like for the hidden elastic version where the stitch line is visible on the inside. If you’re doing the no elastic version, you will need to stretch your waistband a bit to get it to fit.
A note – if you’re using a leggings pattern that doesn’t have a side seam, like View C of the Citrus Leggings, you can follow these same principles in two ways. 1 – attach both the side panels to the Front and then follow all the instructions here as written. Your front waistband will be much larger than your back waistband but that’s fine. 2 – Measure the width of the side panel, subtract the seam allowance from each side, and add that amount to the side of each of your front and back pieces. This is a bit harder to do and keep the shaping on the waistband correct.
The idea for a sleeve expansion started with a sweatshirt hack I made for myself. (The tutorial for drafting the sleeve yourself is still available here.) I wear this sweatshirt all the time. It inspired me to think of different kinds of sleeves that could be added to the Ultraviolet Tee that complemented the simplicity and oversized shape of the tee.
If you’re wanting to keep the same lightweight vibe as the original tee but just want a bit more interest, you can add on a short sleeve (which brings it to about elbow length), a cuffed sleeve, or a cuffed sleeve with a tab. You can add some sun coverage with lightweight fabrics by making a straight, tapered, or batwing sleeve. And of course you can make colder weather wear with heavier fabrics using any of the long sleeves. All the full length sleeves come already drafted in short, average, and long lengths so no length adjustments are necessary! (Remember that our Ultraviolet Tee pattern comes in sizes 0-24, cup sizes A-F so most bodies won’t need adjustments there either!)
One really fun thing about the sleeve pack is that it greatly increases the number of fabrics that work for the Ultraviolet Tee. Sweatshirting, ponte, sweater knits, even woven woolens like our model Barbara is wearing work beautifully. This really turns the tee into a year-round pattern making it even more perfect for Every Day Dress Up!
I’m kinda obsessed with the button tabbed version of the cuffed sleeve (which I recently made similarly for myself on my aladdin sane shirt) and I can’t wait for warm weather to arrive again to make myself a few Ultraviolet Tees like this. Of course I couldn’t wait for cold weather to get here so I could wear new sweatshirt versions, so pretty much I’m always waiting for the next chance to wear new handmade clothes!
I got asked by a lot of people about this shirt when we released our Citrus Leggings pattern and I’m happy to tell you now it’s the batwing sleeve option included in the sleeve expansion pack!
Of course no pattern release is possible without help from awesome volunteer testers, so thanks to all who helped me, including some of the fine folks below!
“The tee and sleeve expansion pack are perfect for a comfy outfit for out and about and lounging around! The pack makes this already versatile tee even more useful!” Find Abigail on her blog or Instagram.
“I love it, it feels like me, in fact when I asked my daughter what she thought as I was playing with the sleeves she said it was so me she hadn’t realised it was new. It feels totally like everyday dress up as it has features like the scooped hem and large sleeves which feel so very now, whilst being comfortable and a flattering fit.” Find Anna on Instagram.
“Loved this easy to put together pattern and definitely feel it gives me enough wearing ease that even nursing is not a problem.” Find Joy on Instagram.
“It’s a nice quick sew and a good casual piece for my wardrobe.” Find Kelly on Instagram.
“It’s a super quick make, it only took me three hours from cutting to wearing it (incl. french seams). I think it offers sooo many options for every occasion and is a great starting point for beginners and leaves enough room for more experienced sewists.” Find Linda on Instagram.
“The ultra violet tee with tapered sleeves were just the right pattern for one of my fabrics that have been hiding in my fabric pile way to long. I think it will work just as well over a pencil skirt for a party as over a bikini and shorts in the summer. I like that the sleeve extension gives you a more versatile pattern that fits for making clothes for all year around.” Find Linnea on Instagram.
“I really enjoyed sewing this pattern, the high low hem is lovely and I loved that it’s a pattern for wovens and knits. I chose to do the sleeve with cuff and tabs. They fit just above my elbows and is very comfortable and the pattern fitted wonderfully.” Find Michelle on Instagram.
“It’s so quick to make and an easy fit. I think it’s a perfect staple pattern for people- and in particular love that it has woven and knit options which a lot of patterns of this shape lack (being one or the other). It’s also a great stash buster!” Find Rumana on her blog or Instagram.
“The sleeve expansion pack makes this pattern the perfect tool for all your tee needs. The versatility is endless. The pattern and the instructions are well written and the versatility of the pattern makes it a one stop shop for all my top needs.” Find Simone on Instagram.
Su says “I like the design, it’s a very comfortable easy shape. I’m pleased I made it in cosy brushed cotton so I can wear it as an extra layer as we are heading into winter. When I tried it on with nothing underneath, it felt like lovely pyjamas. It also reminds me of traditional artist or fisherman smocks, loose practical garments with a similar drop shoulder.”
Sewing the side seams of View A and View B can seem a bit tricky because of the weird pattern piece shapes, but no need to fear! It’s not actually hard to sew them. Here are some photos and extra information to help you through the process.
View A: When you sew the Side Front and Side Back together, the pieces will be curved around (even if you sew them to the Front/Back as pictured above (this is a different construction order than suggested in the instructions because I was doing a pattern hack that I’ll show off next week. If you’re following the instructions you’ll just have Side Front & Side Back at this point. It doesn’t make it any different)). If you were to finish the leggings and wear them without adding any elastic to the side they would actually wear just fine. We add in the elastic to help keep the gathering distributed evenly and to give them a little more hanger appeal.
To sew the elastic in the side seam, I like to set the 1/8″ elastic on the seam allowance and tack it down at the top with a few zig-zags, needle staying down throughout the sewing process. This keeps it from pulling out of the way as we start to put tension on it in the next step. I set a fairly narrow zig-zag because you don’t want it to go wider than your seam allowance and you want to make sure it is stitching into your 1/8″ elastic (instead of zig-zagging on either side of it and thus creating a channel).
Then, grab your elastic in your right hand and pull it tightly while using your left hand to apply some counter-pressure and help the fabric continue to feed (it needs a little help because you’re pulling against it feeding by pulling on the elastic). If you’re feeling unsure about this, you can always practice on a piece of scrap fabric. You shouldn’t really be pulling the fabric with your left hand (because that can pull too much and risk breaking your needle as you force the fabric) but instead think of it as just balancing out the pull from your right hand. You don’t need to worry about the exact length of the elastic you end up using, as with the negative ease on the leggings it will all stretch into place when worn.
After being sewn in, this is what it will look like. Our funky curved piece is now straight. (Again, I have my Front and Back already sewn on, but that doesn’t make a difference in how the Side Front and Side Back look). You can see that my elastic is actually pulling the side seam a little short as the hem pulls up. Again, you won’t see this at all when you wear the leggings so don’t worry about exact length.
For View B: You run a gathering stitch on the long outside edge. When you gather it, it will make the pieces look straight. I like to do a gather that makes it roughly straight without measuring just to make it easier to sew the un-gathered edges together. Then, when you pin the Side Front/ Side Back to the Front and Back you can make sure your gathering is the exact perfect length.
After sewing the gathered portion to the Front and Back you see that the side seam is straight and un-gathered while the gathers all ruche into the seam between Front/Side Front and Back/Side Back.
While the cardigan and pants in the Electron Layette pattern are intended for knits, it’s pretty simple to sew them with wovens instead which opens up a whole other world of fabric options, like these beautiful fabrics from Shannon Fabrics. I’ll detail how to sew Electron Layette pants and cardigan with wovens so you can do the same!
To sew the Electron Layette pants in a woven fabric you’ll want to add a bit of extra width to the waist and the ankle but keep the length the same – the woven won’t stretch like the knit so you need the extra width to make it easy to pull on and off. I recommend tracing your pattern up a size but keeping the original length. While you’re tracing, you’ll want to remove a little bit of the taper at the ankle. The red lines in the diagram show what it would look like to perform these adjustments.
Since the Electron Layette cardigan is designed for sweatshirt fabrics with a low stretch percentage, you can actually just swap in a woven in place of a knit without making any changes. If your woven fabric is bulkier than a sweatshirting (like the bonded cuddle micro suede/fleece in this example), you’ll probably want to go up a size. If you’re sewing for a babe who is shorter or rounder than average, you may want to go up a size while maintaining the original length, like you would for the pants. Make sure that you keep the shaping at the bottom of the sleeves because this makes it possible to use the cut-on portion as a facing for the hem. The red lines in the diagram show what it would look like to do that.
The bib is already designed for a knit or woven so no need to do anything extra for it to sew it out of a woven like this cute Embrace Double Gauze from Shannon Fabrics. You may recognize the fabric from our Ultraviolet Tee – it’s the leftover scraps and it’s great for a drool bib since it’s a bit spongy but oh so soft for a babe. The hat pattern in the Electron Layette will NOT work for wovens as it relies on stretch to fit the head.
You can see even in a woven there’s enough room in these pants for a toddler to monkey around! The pants are Shannon Fabrics’ Waffle which is a bit spongy, quite thick, and a great weight for a multi-season baby or toddler pant. Of course these photos are on my little monkey of a 2 year old, who is at the very top end of the sizing on this pattern, but these fabrics and adjustments will work equally well for all sizes (newborn to 2 years old) of the Electron Layette Pattern.
The Citrus Leggings are designed for a stretch knit with 40% horizontal stretch and some vertical stretch. That means that a piece of fabric that is 5″ wide will easily stretch from side to side until it is 7″ wide and when you pull it from top to bottom it will have a little stretch as well. Vertical stretch isn’t strictly necessary, but it does make it more comfortable to have the leggings snug through the crotch since it gives them a bit of movement. Here are a few suggestions of different fabrics that fit this category and what to consider when sewing with them.
Stretch velvets are an on-trend fabric right now that work really well. You do need to pay attention to nap when cutting, though the cutting diagrams are laid out assuming your fabric has directionality so you can just follow the cutting diagram. You’ll find that the nap is reversed by the bottom of the side front and side back of Views A & B because of the unique pattern shape which can add an extra dimension of color and texture from the rotation of the velvet nap.
Scuba and ponte are thicker knits that also work well (though be sure to check your stretch percentage with these as both can vary greatly in how stretchy they are). If you’re wanting to wear the leggings as pants, you’re likely to like the way that a scuba or ponte skims over lumps and bumps because of its thickness/sponginess. You can also find a lot of eye-catching digital prints on scuba these days. We especially love them on the uninterrupted side of View C because of how it shows off the print.
Sport lycra is often a blend though it can be up to 100% lycra and can be in a variety of thicknesses. The high lycra content makes it very stretchy so you may be able to go down a size (more on that in our post on size selection). The moisture wicking makes it great for use as an exercise legging.
Jersey is also an easy and obvious choice. Available in a ton of fabric blends, you probably want to make sure that there is a noticeable synthetic content (so no 100% cotton) and steer away from rayon since you don’t want the leggings to bag out or droop with wear. Janina, our pattern tester pictured above, used a 95% cotton/5% spandex for the grey printed jersey on the side of her leggings and a 92.5% cotton/7.5% spandex for the black jersey and she said both worked well.
Fabrics labeled as jegging fabric come in a variety of fiber contents and weights. You may also see it described as a “denim look knit.” One thing the fabrics have in common is usually a twill look to the fabric that mimics a denim (jegging is an amalgamation of jeans and leggings if you haven’t figure that out already). Make sure you check on the fabric stretch (I sewed an early sample on some jegging fabric that didn’t have enough horizontal stretch and had no vertical stretch and it was NOT comfortable so it had to go into the recycle bin, unfortunately. I’ve since made a couple of pairs with the fabric Barbara is wearing and I, Barbara, and my stepmother Linda all find it very comfortable!).
Fabric with stripes or a clear horizontal or vertical pattern look really cool in Views A & B as the unusual pattern piece twists around the leg. My pattern tester Julee shows that off here.