Making a pair of leggings - an easy project to get you started.
Fabrics to use: Fabrics that contain Lycra or Jersey.
By using an overlocker in place of a sewing machine, if any stress is placed on the seam, the stitches will not crack and the threads will not break. Also, the excess seam allowance is trimmed away.
If you are making leggings for the first time, I recommend that you buy a pattern that has EASY written on the pack and check that the pattern has allowed for the seam allowance. If it hasnâ€™t, you will need to remember to take this into account.
I have chosen a pattern by BURDA called: Burda Young 7382 and I am going to make leggings for my 11 year old daughter.
I have measured her hips, waist and length from waist to where she would like the leg to end. From these same measurements I have purchased 1 metre of the Jersey fabric of her choice that is 45 inches wide. This is more than enough and there will be some left over for testing off. I can also cut the correct pattern piece size.
- Normally when you are putting your pattern pieces onto the fabric, the fabric would be right sides together, wrong sides out. This would make it easier to transfer any important markings or lines from the pieces to the fabric ( I normally use pins or chalk pens to do this)
- Make sure the straight grain line on the pattern is lined up with the straight grain of the fabric. As stretchy fabrics are formed by looping ( knitted) rather than being woven, (like cotton fabrics) you will need to measure from the top of the straight grain line on the paper pattern to the selvedge edge of your fabric and again at the bottom of the line, making sure you have same measurement from the edge. This will help the leggings to lie/ fit better once finished. Pin and Cut the fabric pieces along the edges of the paper pieces.
Getting your overlocker ready
I will be using all four threads (both needles and loopers)
You will need to do a fabric test to decide on the settings for your machine. After doing a small fabric test I decided on the following settings:
- Stitch length 3
- Differential N
- Cutting width 1.5
- Thread tensions all on 4 (normal for my over locker)
The needles that I am using are standard, size 80. Jersey/stretch needles are available.
Threads are polyester size 50 Overlocker thread
Making the Leggings
- Fold each leg so that right sides are together, it may be a good idea to tack together first so it can be tried for size. Stitch both inner leg seams making sure that the LEFT needle is lined with the seam allowance on the fabric. The width of the sewn seam is normally Â¼ inch wide on the overlocker, the blade will trim away any access fabric. (1/8" inch)
- Turn one finished leg right side out, and place it inside the finished leg with wrong side out.
- Stitch centre seams together starting from the back seam heading towards the front, check that the inner leg seams line up.
- Pull the inner leg back out so that the right side of both legs are out. Your leggings are nearly finished, all that needs to be done is the hem and waist band.
Finish the leggings with twin needles.
All that needs to be done now is the hem and waist band.
The final stages are stitched on your regular sewing machine.
To hem the leggings I have chosen a 2mm wide twin needle, which once I have folded the desired width of hem I will sew on the right side, I will do the waist band in the same way making sure the width is wide enough to insert the chosen elastic.
The final procedure could have been stitched on an overlocker if it had a cover stitch function. This would give you the same result which can be seen on the hemline of a shop bought T-Shirt. However these overlockers do require changing the settings and rethreading each time as you change from normal overlocking to cover hem stitch and then back again. This is something to concisder before you making your purchase.