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Gingham Scuba Leggings

Hi. I'm Cheryl and I blog over at Time To Craft. I love to sew and fortunately all my family are more than willing to wear the clothes I make. I'll admit, it was easier when the children were younger. A swirly dress or a fun shirt, magicked up overnight as a surprise, always went down well. Now that I have two teens, there is a little bit more negotiating about the style they are willing to wear. I don't mind. After all, if I'm going to put the time in sewing, I don't want to see the item languishing in the back of the wardrobe.

Leggings are always in demand. My two daughters are tall and slender. Off-the-shelf leggings are usually either creeping up the ankles or baggy in general. The fabric snags so easily leaving holes. Both girls soon figured out homemade leggings were going to last longer, as I tended to use fabric that could withstand the rigour of daily life.

I've read about scuba fabric and had a pretty good idea that it would make great fabric for leggings. It stretches, is thick and doesn't fray. Maybe a bit more hard wearing than the usual legging fabric.

Never one for going for a boring choice, I suggested to my middle teen that gingham leggings were the way to go. I had images of Doris Day or Grace Kelly.  She went for it. Although my preference for blue gingham was over-ruled by the safe teenage option of black. We used the black Gingham Scuba Fabric. I prewashed it, and managed to lose the pre-wash measurements, but it didn't seem to shrink significantly.

The fabric stretches both ways. The stretch from selvedge to selvedge is greatest. I opted to arrange the leggings legs to go down the fabric and the stretch to go horizontally. I felt the leggings would hold their shape (less knee bagging) and she would appreciate more give when she moved. I could be wrong, but so far so good as she has worn them and hasn't complained.

The fabric is thicker and less liable to fray, making it really easy to work with. It kept its shape as I cut it out and sewed it together, unlike some finer stretch fabrics I've used. It is slightly shiny and the gingham pattern is only printed on one side of the fabric. 

I used my usual sewing machine with its stretch stitch settings, as I don't have an overlocker. I used a ball point needle as recommended for knit. I like to test both straight stretch stitch and the zigzag version in both directions on new fabric, to ensure that my stitches are going to cope with the extra pull. They passed the test and made a very neat finish. Nice edges that don't pucker, nor are they bulky. I feel confident that the legging seams won't split the first time my teen reaches down to touch her toes or turns a cartwheel. Nor the hundredth time she does it, for that matter.

I used my favourite legging pattern Simplicity 2156, making size 14 years old. We've finally reached the biggest size for this pattern. Leggings are very simple to make. I whipped these up in a matter of about an hour, with the inevitable interruptions. Just two pieces of fabric, sewn together and a length of elastic added. Simple.

I've left the hem for the moment, to see how they wear and to extend the life of the leggings as my teen continues to grow.

She's pleased with them. They are comfy and easy to wear. Even if I wanted them back now, I'm not sure I could make her part with them. Time will tell if she wears them out and about.

As so often is the case with children, one of the others has taken a fancy to the fabric too. She'd like a pair of shorts for the summer. There should be just enough to make her a pair. I'm confident that it will give a good stretch to make the shorts comfortable, but hold their shape, so they don't reveal more than she intends.

I'll be opting for scuba fabric for leggings from now on. Minerva Crafts have a big range of Scuba Fabric in different prints as well as solid colours to choose from. If you've not made leggings before, or worry about sewing stretchy fabric without access to an overlocker or serger, then I can recommend giving it a go. Scuba fabric makes it just that little bit easier.

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stitching_joanne said:

These are so cool. I want some! · 14th Jul 2018 04:32pm