Thursday, January 14, 2016

From Slumber to Sloan >>> Upcycled Leggings

I basically live in skirts and leggings over the winter.  I've discovered since switching from jeans to leggings, that leggings actually do a better job at keeping my legs warm.  That's not why I originally made the switch, but it's definitely a reason to be excited about them.

As the weather began to turn cold, I realized that I only have two pair of leggings that I really like to wear.  One of them is more of a cropped fall/spring pair and the other (which I'm wearing right now) is a down to your ankles pair that gets worn pretty much every day.  I realized that I REALLY needed another pair (for everyone's sake).

I looked in stores, but wasn't too happy - so much black, no creativity whatsoever.  And, no brown in sight!  I came to the realization that to get any sort of variety, I'd have to make them myself!  So, I went to Pinterest and found the Sloan legging pattern by Hey June (affiliate).  It sounded like a great pattern to me especially when I saw that there was actually a tall size included with the pattern.  To top it all off I got it on sale - what more can I say?

Ok, so now you are thinking - why the stripes?  Since this was the first time I had sewn leggings, I wanted to find some fabric I could practice with.  I was shopping at my local thrift store and came across the perfect knit dress...a very large knit dress.  Time to come off the rack, wake up, and become something new!

It happened to be a Liz Claiborne dress that I got for just $1.  I was pretty happy with the find because it was just one long piece of knit fabric with no seams down the middle.  The fabric is made of 95% cotton and 5% spandex.  The pattern calls for a fabric with a bit more stretch, but I really like the feel of cotton.  My favorite pair of leggings (the ones I have on right this minute:) has the exact same blend and they are just so much more comfortable than the other ones I have, made of more stretchy material.                   

The pattern was really easy to cut.  I just turned the dress inside out and and laid the pattern down on top of both layers, pinned, and cut them out at the same time.  This actually helped with lining up the stripes for sewing because I left the original seams intact (they somehow sewed them perfectly aligned - amazing).

There was really only enough fabric to do the legs.  But, I found an outgrown kid's navy blue knit skirt to cut up for the waistband.  I think it matches great and added some contrast to the never ending stripes.

While I was at it, I also added the two grey patches right above the knees.  The material came from a sweater that was too small.  I've been itching to cut up a sweater - just to see what would happen.  Would it all suddenly unravel?  It was surprisingly easy to cut and sew and didn't run away on me (and quite an exhilarating experience at that).

Instead of piecing the leggings, I just did an overlay.  I'm glad I did it that way because I discovered that it did not work to just lay the piece straight across the stripes.  It had to be angled in order to reach the other side.

I finally figured it had to do with the lines on either side of the leg being different angles and that I should have probably cut the pieces at an angle to begin with.  The only way that thought even entered my mind is because my daughter is doing Geometry for math - found out it really is pretty useful stuff.

So, I guess you could call this pair a sort of muslin (who says a muslin has to be boring and useless!).  In making the muslin I cut the leggings a size larger than what I actually measured because I'm always paranoid that my cutting won't be straight enough.  In that case, it always helps to leave some wiggle room.

I probably left a little bit too much wiggle room because they are pretty roomy.  And, although I used the elastic around the top of the waistband, I did not have any of the knit interfacing.  I think that would definitely help to make it more snug.  For my next pair (yes, there will be many more to come), I will be more brave and cut the right size and try to get ahold of some of that knit interfacing.

I didn't sew in the pocket because I didn't think I'd need one in this pair.  In reality these will probably become a pair of pajamas or a wear around the house kind of pair of leggings.  But, if I get brave enough or am in the right kind of mood, I might wear them like this!

I don't know, I think I actually kind of like them...