Remember Bicycles? That exercise where you get up on your shoulders and circle your legs, like you are cycling upside down? We used to do that as kids, and for some reason I thought that would be a good way to show off my new handmade compression leggings!
I’m thrilled with how they turned out- they fit just so, and my little Pfaff Passport 3 did such a good job of all the stitching. Being compression style, you need to stretch them quite a lot to get them on, and no stitches have popped!
The pattern is self-drafted from my leggings block, and has a side seam panel that curves around to the CB seam – having a real slimming effect on the legs. The waistband ‘side seam’ is forward and matches the front of the side panel. The wide waistband reaches the true waist.
I purchased the fabrics last year from Sew Active Fabrics who specialise in technical fabrics for activewear. I used the Wicking Compression Spandex as the main fabric, and the Lightweight ‘Mesh’ Knit as the insertion panel and also for the waistband lining. It works great as a waistband lining as it reduces bulk in the seams and also provides ventilation. For the insertion panel it works great too, except the part where you can see my undies, the result of some bad planning on my part. I’ll just have to be careful what I wear under these – no bright pink!
The Wicking Compression Spandex is quite heavy and very supportive and works great as compression fabric. I’d like to try it in a sports bra too. I will mention that it has a hotter overall feel than the fabric in my Lululemon or Nike leggings.
I cut these on my outdoor
dining cutting table. I love cutting outside in nice weather – as long as it is not windy and my pattern pieces blow away.
For both fabrics I used the lengthwise grain as the direction of greatest stretch.
All seams were sewn using 2×2 zig zag, then overlocked. I topstitched all seams except the inleg seams using a mock flatlock stitch. When it came to the hem, I experimented with a feather stitch that was faster and I liked the idea of at the time, but now I wish I stayed on flatlock – but there was no hope of unpicking this stitch ever!
I’m happy how the waistband turned out. There is some elastic in there. It lays really flat on the body, yet still has lots of stretch. It is slightly wavy off the body. I’m really loving the mock flatlock stitch on my machine, and starting to wonder how I ever did without it.
The length is slightly long on me so I’ll shorten my next pair. I’d also like to exaggerate the rise. The back curve requires minor refinement, and of course a more opaque fabric for the insert at the back. In my next pair I’ll start introducing some pockets.
I have some more of these fabrics, so will play around with some different designs in the future. I feel like comfort is key at the moment, and I could live in leggings. I far prefer them to trackpants – they make me feel fit and sporty even though I haven’t ran in months!