Hi all! You’ll have, in all likelihood, seen that Helen of Helen’s Closet has just released the brand new Avery leggings pattern? (And yes, these are the leggings I hinted at in my #2018MakeNine plans post!) They have a smoothing doubled waistband, a gusset for mobility and no side seam meaning this pattern would make a great base layer, yoga pants or your everyday leggings. I love pattern testing for Helen (see my Suki Kimono here); her ethos and work methodology rocks – she really does want to produce Patterns for everyday essentials drafted so they’re accessible for all both in terms of sizing and sewing skill set. Plus the other sewists in her pattern testing team are fabulous…I’m guaranteed to learn something from their collective wisdom and feedback in the testing process. So, yes! Spoiler alert : the Avery leggings are awesome! PLUS there is 20% off during launch week!
View A is your classic look legging whilst View B has a high waist and extra long leg so they can be pulled over the heel. I wanted mine to be yoga pants (so I could re-join the ‘Yoga with Adriene’ brigade!)
I opted for View A. These were a timely make; when I cut my first (navy) pair I sized up. I was testing these straight after my Christmas binge eating marathon (that started in November, haha) and then recently cut my usual size in the neon coral. You ain’t going to miss me wearing those bad boys out and about! There are only four pattern pieces and one of those is the gusset, making the PDF really quick to print out and assemble. Depending on your size and the width of your fabric, they potentially only require 1m of fabric too!
I had nothing in my, admittedly minimal, fabric stash that was suitable. This pattern requires a jersey with 70% stretch in both directions. I found myself scouring online stores for four way stretch jersey using keywords like ‘performance jersey’, ‘athletic’ or ‘activewear’ knits like Dryflex and Supplex to narrow down the results. I considered buying from the range at FunkiFabrics but in the end, as the service was speedier, I bought both my ‘sports jersey’ from Fabric Godmother (it was my first time ordering from them and I was super impressed with the service). It has a whopping 100% crosswise stretch and 80% lengthwise, is absolutely perfect for yoga/exercise pants and is described as a “breathable super stretchy poly/spandex fabric with a soft matt finish” (read: slight sheen). If you can’t find jersey in your stash with the 70% stretch requirement, you could possibly consider sizing up and lengthening your pattern pieces to achieve the right fit?
Because you’re working with a highly stretchy fabric, the pattern is designed with a fair amount of negative ease which makes them really easy to fit. I cut mine based on my waist measurement; even though I’m a size smaller in the hip, I figured the negative ease would prevent any potential baggy bum scenarios! I took nothing from the length, figuring I could determine this later.
They sew up in no time. I used a straight stretch stitch on mine as I find a zig zag just doesn’t cut it for me – I always sew a test seam on a piece of scrap fabric first and then try to pull it apart. I don’t want to see either thread or teeny holes appear in the stressed seam. A stretch stitch is a complete pain to unpick though so, if necessary to check for fit, I baste the seam first and then sew up. I did use the recommended tricot zig zag stitch though for the first time to decorate / finish the waistband and ankle seams. As well as being an incredibly functional stitch, I really like the way it looks.
The waistband is finished with half-inch elastic sewn in between the waistband and the waistband facing. Some of the other testers omitted the elastic and instead lined the facing piece with powermesh. Either way, these form fitting leggings have your assets covered and are staying up! Do check out Anya’s blog Anna.Zoe.net as I think she intends to show this method soon plus how to add a pocket to the waistband too.
I love the overall fit, there’s no dodgy areas of cling (you know what I’m talking about!) plus the gusset not only massively improves your potential range of movement (these leggings are more flexible than I am, haha), they also avoid that nasty inseam intersection thus reducing bulk and any potential for chafing.
I need/want some more everyday wear pairs in a day-to-day jersey. In earthy colours. (If you know of just the fabric with the required stretch that remains opaque when stressed, could you point me in the right direction please and save me hours of cyber searching guesswork!?!) Plus I can’t wait to start sewing up my Halifax Hoodies to pair with these. Comfort City here I come!
Until next time, when I’ll be back with either my newly finished Deer & Doe ‘Melilot’ shirt or that Hey June ‘Halifax Hoodie’.
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