Sew Your Own IXIA Leggings!
Updated: Jul 3
A little over a year ago, I had ordered my Flowing Totem fabric in Teal and in Dusty Blue with the idea of sewing a pair of workout leggings with the two contrasting hues. But, as often happens, this project got put on the back burner for a variety of reasons, although I think that one of them was simply dreading the daunting task of working with a slinky knit fabric and successfully making a form-fitting item like leggings! Well, with lots of time at home now, thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown, I decided I had no more excuses not to tackle the project—the time had come! I was working out a whole lot more at home, and I wanted to treat myself to the cute leggings that I had in mind.
I had been eyeing one of Mood Fabrics’ free patterns for a while, and chose their Ixia Leggings pattern. It is easy to download the pattern pdf, and even fairly easy to print and assemble the pattern pieces. Once you select your size, I strongly recommend tracing the three pieces onto pattern tracing paper. Using this, you can easily see where to place each pattern piece on the fabric to match up the designs. The Ixia Leggings pattern has a ½” seam allowance already included, so you can cut the fabric pieces to the actual pattern size.
What I love about this pattern is that there is no elastic used for the waistband, and it makes these leggings so incredibly comfortable around the waist!
As always with a new pattern, especially for a form-fitting one like leggings, you should make a prototype first. Not from a woven fabric like muslin, but with a knit fabric similar to what you are using for your actual leggings. In my quest to buy a cheap knit fabric for my mockup leggings, I ended up purchasing a cute basic quality knit that actually came out suitable enough for me to wear as comfy loungewear--see!
A Serger machine is the way to go here, since the seams are serged seams. BUT—if you are "sergerless", like me, then using your sewing machine’s closed overlock stitch for stretch fabrics with a stretch needle and the right presser foot will do the trick as well.
What excited me about using my Flowing Totem fabric for a pair of two-tone leggings is that I was able to order two yards with both colors side by side using Spoonflower’s Fill-A-Project Infinity Scarf Template. To do this, click on the link to open the Choose a Template page on the Spoonflower website. On this page, scroll down and select the Fill-A-Project Infinity Scarf template. Then go back up to the top and select your fabric type. I suggest the Modern Jersey. Next, click on the Design Your Project button.
On the right, click on the first design/color you wish, then on the left, click on the two left rectangular strips of the template. Select your second design/color, and repeat for the two strips on the right. VOILÀ! Your two yards of fabric with the two contrasting designs/colors is ready to be added to your cart for check out. This will give you a 56” wide by 72” long piece of fabric with half of each color, perfect for a pair of two-tone leggings.
If you prefer not to bother with all this, and still want to make two-tone leggings, it is easy to order two yards each of any fabric design in whatever stretch fabric you choose in my Spoonflower shop. And, if you prefer to use only one design/color for your Ixia leggings, just order two yards of the one stretch fabric.
Leggings Sewing Instructions
Remember: you should follow these instructions to cut and sew a knit prototype/mockup first!
I had several adjustments to make to my prototype, and to the pattern itself before I used the latter to cut out the actual pieces on my Flowing Totem fabric.
1. Place the front and back pattern pieces on the fabric grainline, and cut out two pairs of matching front and back sections (Figures 1 and 2). I wanted the legging length a few inches above my ankle, so this is how I cut my legging sections. With the Ixia Leggings pattern, you can make these leggings as long or as short as you wish.
2. Place the waistband pattern on the grainline, on the fold where indicated, and cut one piece. Now, I wanted a two-toned waistband, so I cut two separate pieces for this, each on a different color fabric, allowing for the extra ½” seam where the fold would have been.
3. Again, if you are using a sewing machine and not a serger, make sure you have inserted a stretch needle, put on the correct presser foot, and selected a closed overlock stitch for stretch fabrics. I practiced a LOT on the cut scraps, until I became very comfortable with all of the above before sewing any seams on the real deal pieces.
4. Pin the two front inner seams right sides together and stitch in place. Repeat for the two back inner seams (Figure 3).
5) Line up each of the outer legging seams, right sides together, and stitch in place (Figure 4).
6. Line up the inner legging seams right sides together and stitch in place (Figure 5). Start at the crotch and sew down one leg. Then repeat for the other leg.
7) You now have leggings--sans the waistband! (Figure 6) This is where you try these on—especially when making your prototype—and make your adjustments for a perfect fit! Whatever adjustments you make to your prototype, make to your paper pattern, unless you are using the mockup as your actual pattern.
8. Adjust the waistband mockup and pattern to match any adjustments made to the leggings' waist in Step 7.
9. Place waistband width edges right sides together and stitch (Figure 7). If you cut two separate waist sections, stitch each side together.
10. Turn leggings inside out. Line up one waistband edge with the top of the pants edge right sides together and pin, easing both fabric edges for a smooth fit. (If the waistband is larger than the leggings waist, or vice versa, sew and make the adjustments to that piece.) Stitch the waistband to the leggings waist (Figure 8).
11. Fold the waistband over to the inside of the leggings, wrong sides together. Overlap the waist seam, pin in place, and top stitch through all the layers above the outer waist seam (Figure 9). Be sure to use a stretch knit topstitch, or the waistband will not stretch sufficiently to go over your hips when you put your leggings on.
12. Me being me, I had some leftover Flowing Totem fabric so I cut out two pieces, each from a different color, and appliquéd each to the bottom part of my leggings to mimic the leggings’ designs I have seen online (Figure 10).
13. Hem each leg by folding the raw edge to the inside and topstitching as in Step 11.
14. And there is the finished product! (Figures 11 and 12)
I have to admit that these are some of the most comfortable leggings I have ever worn, especially around the waist since there is no elastic or pulling or tightness of any kind.
SO—if I can sew slinky knit leggings and learn how to seam and overcast in one step on my sewing machine—you can too! And, as you can see, they are so perfect for working out!
I actually have a daily workout routine that I do! It keeps me mentally and physically healthy, spurs my creative juices, and empowers me like nothing else can! For your exercise inspiration and motivation, read the above blog written by guest blogger, Jamie A, from mindbodylaughter.com, on why exercise and working out is about so much more than simply weight loss! Until then…