I’ve had my eye on the Clara High-Waisted Leggings from Jalie patterns ever since they were released, as I thought the construction looked really clever: there is no centre front seam! Initially I thought I’d make them for workout leggings, but what with the cooler weather coming and me suddenly finding myself with only one pair of leggings that fit (my maternity leggings are now falling off me, but I can’t yet get back in the pre-baby ones comfortably!)

And since Jalie’s patterns come in such a wide span of sizes (this particular pattern goes from toddler to 53” hips) I decided to make a matching pair for my eldest daughter too. Daisy is always doing high kicks and splits which is wreaking havoc with the seams of her regular leggings. I thought a pair made in something super-stretchy would hopefully stand up the strain a little longer. I can but hope!

Because the patterns says you need fabric with at least 60% stretch in all directions, I figured I’d better make sure I was choosing something super-stretchy, and so went for Minerva’s All Way Stretch Lycra Fabric. Boy, is this fabric stretchy! About 100% stretch in all directions, I reckon. It feels a bit like the slinky stretch polyesters I’ve used in the past, but as it’s nylon lycra it feels much nicer to the touch, with more body. It behaves itself well when cutting out and sewing, which is always a relief.

I went for plain black but Daisy chose the hottest magenta, and it’s a real stunner of a colour! The fabric has a shinier side and a matter side, but the matt side is still quite smooth and silky looking. Daisy was adamant she wanted the shiny side on show, and in the end I decided to join her as I thought it might give my winter wardrobe a bit of glam! The black is totally opaque but the pink does show a ghost of any dark underwear underneath. Worth knowing, methinks :-)

Amazingly enough Daisy and I currently have the same waist measurement, but as the pattern says to size with the hips, I made hers in a R (36” hips) and mine in a W (41” hips). I also made Daisy’s in the M length as she’d have been swamped in R. I made us both view A which features a separate waistband section, as it looked like it was the highest waist of the two options. With hindsight, I wish I’d chosen view B for Daisy as it would be much easier to make adjustments, but more on that later…

One thing about this pattern that’s pretty amazing is that it’s basically one piece. The centre front is cut on the fold and then the legs are both once piece that wraps around and is seamed up the inside of the legs. Okay, so there’s a tiny little gusset triangle and with view A you also have to cut out two waistbands, but view B is basically just one piece, which I would have been able to cut out of 1m of fabric even for my larger size. However, as I went for view A that wasn’t quite so easy, but with a bit of creative pattern placement I was able to cut both the main piece and the outer waistband out of the black, and the inner waistband in pink. Daisy’s leggings were easy to cut out of 1m of the magenta, and I think I have enough left over to cut her a pair of capris with the view B waist.

Although I did most of the seaming on my overlocker, this pattern—for view A, at any rate—requires a fair bit of topstitching for the elastic and the gusset seams. Minerva’s website write up recommends using Mettler Seraflock Stretch Thread, and since I’d never tried the stuff I thought what the heck, let’s give it a try! Let me tell you, this stuff is amazing! It looks a bit like woolly nylon as it isn’t tightly plied like a regular thread—more like a fuzzy collection of filaments. I had a bit of trouble threading my machine needle and it didn’t really like topstitching the elastic, but other than that it was great to use. The seams really are more stretchy, and I’m definitely going to use it when sewing stretch wovens in the future. Basically, if it’s stretchy and can’t be overlocked, this will be my thread of choice. No more popped stitches!

The only other supplies needed was some elastic for the waistband. I tried out the premium Prym Super Supple Highly Elastic Tape, and it seems to live up to its name! The waistband is comfy but feels secure, so I’m happy.

This is an incredibly quick pattern to sew up, as you’d expect with really only one main pattern piece. The gusset is the fiddliest part but it’s not too tricky, and you get it out of the way first so the rest is easy peasy. I reckon you could probably cut and sew up view B in half an hour, if you were pushed for time and really NEEDED a new pair of leggings. No, seriously, I can see me doing this before a party. Don’t tell me none of you have ever sewn that close to the deadline!

Jalie’s instructions are excellent, and I like the way you can download a PDF of them from their website so you can view it on your tablet—it’s not always easy to fold that big piece of pattern paper into a reasonable handy size to read off. One thing I particularly liked about these instructions was the guidance as to which side should be uppermost in your machine when sewing each seam.

I did have to make a couple of alterations to Daisy’s leggings once she’d tried them on. She said the waistband elastic was too uncomfortable—which I suppose is to be expected as I’d cut for her hip size. I suppose I should have graded out to her waist. So, I removed the elastic, hoping the waistband would stay up by itself. It does under regular use, but not when she’s doing gymnastics, so I think next time I’ll definitely need to grade out that waist and keep the elastic.

The other alteration I made was to take in Daisy’s leggings by 2” at the ankles, grading up to nothing by the knee. She has very thin ankles!

After wearing our leggings a full day I’ve realised I probably should have cut a smaller size for both of us. They are perfectly comfortable and stay up well, but we each have a bit of bagginess behind the knee. I think it’s because this fabric is so darn stretchy. If I make them in a 60% stretch fabric next time I’ll stick with this size for me, but clearly fabric like this demands a smaller size. I might go back and take a bit out of the side seams on mine, but I’m not too fussed at the moment. We’ll see.

Daisy and I have both been enjoying our new leggings to the full: they truly high-waisted, along with being super comfortable and warm enough for the average Somerset winter day, without feeling clammy and sweaty like some super stretchy fabrics can. I can definitely see many more pairs of these in our future. I’m thinking of using some navy and burgundy cotton lycra jerseys I’ve had in the stash now for a while and churning out a couple more pairs of leggings for me, and Daisy is definitely getting a whole load of them too. I just need to find all the fun prints for her. Cupcakes, kittens and unicorns FTW!

Happy sewing, everyone!

Anna-Jo x

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All materials for this make were kindly supplied by Minerva in return for an honest blog post. Thank you, Minerva!