Before you get too far into this post, let me say that this pattern modification, or “hack” as the kids call them these days, is meant to be used in conjunction with our Made to Measure Leggings Class. Once you buy it, you have access to it immediately and forever after. Zede walks you through the steps to measure yourself (or whoever needs leggings), draft your sloper, and make a pair of leggings that fit you perfectly.
When you’ve completed the Made to Measure Leggings Class, you have a sloper, or master pattern for your leggings that we recommend preserving, just for things like this pattern modification. In the class, we provide a gridded 36″x48″ A0 “Drafting Sheet” that you can print, or you can draft onto any large paper, then we recommend tracing off of that sloper. Before trying this modification, make sure you’ve made your “muslin” or test pair of leggings, and that you’re happy with the fit. If you’ve made any modifications to your muslin, transfer them to your sloper and traced pattern, so that you have the blueprint for perfect leggings whenever you need to make a pair.
A Power Net waistband can serve as a smoothing element on our Made to Measure Leggings. Instead of inserting elastic at the top of the leggings, we’ll make a “yoke” that’s lined in stable power net with seams at the sides, instead of the original center and back front seams of your Made to Measure Leggings. This modification works best for leggings that are drafted to sit at your “natural waist” (where your body creases when you do the “I’m a little teapot” pose). You can do this for lower rise leggings, too, but your band width might need to be smaller.
- Sloper from Made to Measure Leggings Class
- Sewing Machine/Serger in good working order
- Made to Measure Leggings Kit (check here for availability)
- 1/4″ Cotton Swimwear Elastic (1.5 yards)
- Power Shaper Net (get it in Black or Beige– a 1/2 yard will suffice for this project)
- Maxi-Lock Stretch Thread (to be used in the bobbin on the sewing machine or everywhere on your serger)
- Fabric for your leggings (50-70% all way stretch knit with some amount of stretch)
Step One: Re-Draw the Leggings Pattern
Retrace your M2M Leggings pattern- you can use your sloper or your traced pattern, but place your waistline 3″ lower than your original waistline. Use a ruler to make tick marks 3″ below your original waistline and connect them. You’ll end up with a line that looks like your original waistline- it’s just 3″ lower.
Add 1/2″ seam allowance to your new waistline- note the seam allowance on your pattern. Trace the rest of the pattern (legs), and keep it the same.
Step Two: Draft Your Band
Draft a rectangle that is 4″x 1/2 of your waist measurement. Mark your pattern piece with the greatest amount of stretch parallel to the longer side of the rectangle, note that this piece uses a 1/2″ seam allowance, and write “Cut 2 of fabric and 2 of Power Net”
Step 3: Cut and Construct Leggings
Cut out your two leggings pattern pieces and stitch them together with your preferred method from the Made to Measure Leggings Class
Step 4: Construct the Power Net Band
Use your new band piece to cut two pieces of Power Net and two pieces of your fabric. Sew the two pieces of power net together at the two short ends to make a tube. Do the same with your leggings fabric, right sides together with a 1/2″ seam allowance, the power net really doesn’t have a right or wrong side. You should now have two identical tubes!
Place the one tube in side the other, right sides together, and stitch in the round to connect the two pieces on one side only. If you’re using a serger, we recommend using the 3-thread overlock narrow to construct the waistband and leggings.
Step 5: Stabilize Power Net Band with Elastic
With the waistband wrong sides out (your seam is exposed), place 1/4″ elastic along the edge of your seam line, and zig zag it in place, stretching the elastic slightly. We used a 1.0mm width and 4.0mm length zig zag to apply our elastic. You should only be stitching through the elastic the seam allowance of the power net and fabric, not through the waistband area. When you come around to where you started, simply trim the elastic, so that it overlaps itself a bit, and backstitch to secure.
Understitch the elastic you’ve applied to your waistband. From the right side of your power net, stitch with a zig zag or coverstitch to secure the elastic to the power mesh. You’ll stitch through the power net, seam allowance, and elastic. You should not stitch through your leggings fabric. For tips on how to coverstitch in the round, watch this video.
Step 6: Apply the Waistband to Your Leggings
Mark the center back and center from of your power mesh waistband with notches or however you prefer to mark your pieces- the side seams and the notches denote the “quarters” of your waistband”. Mark the sides of your leggings with notches as well at a point that is equidistant from the front and back seams. Now, you can line up your waistband to your leggings right sides together. Your waistband will be slightly smaller that your leggings, due to the 1/2″ seam allowance that we used on the band. Stretch the waistband slightly to ease it into the waist opening of your leggings.
Serge or zig zag in the round to attach the waistband. You can place a piece of ribbon at the center back of the waistband, so that it’s easier to tell how to put them on. If you forget the ribbon (easy to do), or prefer not to have a piece of ribbon in your leggings, you can draw a dot at the center back with a sharpie- we like to use metallic ones!
Step 7: Hem Leggings
Every pair of leggings is a bit different, depending on the fabric you use or the modifications you incorporate. Try on your leggings for fit, mark your hem, and then use one of the techniques we teach in the Made to Measure Leggings Class to hem your leggings.
A Note on the Height of the Power Net Band
This blog post has instructions for a 3″ finished power net band. If you want a wider band, go for it! But take these things into consideration.
- When trimming off the top of your leggings pattern, stay within the flat vertical part of your crotch curve.
- To determine the width of your waistband, take the amount you trimmed off of the top of your pattern and add 1″, this allows for a 1/2″ seam allowance on your band.
- Making a wider band can provide more smoothing, but if you have a very small waist and larger hips, you might not want to make the band taller than 3″. As always, it’s nice to try out these techniques with a muslin or “test garment” before cutting into precious or expensive fabric. Our Leggings Kit can help there!
For help and feedback, join The Self Sewn Wardrobe Facebook Group. I can’t wait to see your Power Net Waistband Leggings!