Start with a large piece of paper. This will need to be the full length of your leggings from waist to ankle plus about 4 inches. For the width, use your thigh circumference plus about 4 inches. Tape together smaller pieces of paper if you need to.
Now find the center of your paper and draw a long straight line from the top to the bottom. This is your ‘center line’ and represents the line along the side of your leg where you measured earlier. There is no seam line here on leggings.
Follow along with these instructions as I draw my own pattern. I’m working in a smaller scale to make it easier to see and photgraph.
1. About 2 inches down from the top of your paper, make a mark on the center line. Then measure down this line towards the bottom measurement A. This is the approximate length of your leggings. Make a mark.
2. Now take the ankle circumference B, and draw a horizontal line where you have marked, centering it on the middle line. So if your line B is 9 inches, draw 4.5 inches on one side of the center and 4.5 inches on the other side.
3. From your ankle line, measure up C and make a mark. This is where your knee will hit.
4. Draw line D at the knee point, centering the knee circumference over the center line, same on either side.
5. Measure up from the knee line measurement E and mark. This is your thigh line. Draw on your thigh circumference F, centering it on the center line.
6. Connect the ends of the lines down to make the inseam of your pattern on either side. As our bodies are curved not pointed, smooth out the transition at the knee to make a gentle curve rather than a point.
7. Now it’s time to deal with the rise depth. On the right hand side of the pattern, this will be the front of your body. Write front there to remind you. From the right hand end of the thigh line, measure in and mark measurement G.
8. From this mark, draw a line straight up, at right angles to the thigh line, your front rise height measurement H.
9. Let’s repeat for the back. On the left hand side of the thigh line, measure in and mark the back depth J and mark. Draw a line up at right angles, measurement K.
10. Now draw in the waist line at the top between these two upright lines. Start out straight for a little while at the right hand side (front) and curve the line gently to meet the waist at the back. The back rise will usually be higher.
11. Now take your ruler and draw in a line from the top of the back waist to about halfway along that little line that is sticking out at thigh level on the left. This allows for some extra space in the back for your behind.
12. Finally draw in curves using a plate or other round object to fill in those lower corners. Your basic pattern is now drawn.
13. Decide on your seam allowances. For the waist, add the width of your elastic – usually 3/4 inch or 1 inch. For the ankle seam, you only need a small amount – say an inch. For the side seams, it depends on how you intend to sew. If you are using a regular zig-zag or stretch stitch, then you might want to include a standard 5/8th inch seam allowance and trim your seams later. I’ll be using an overcasting stitch which sews close to the edge of the fabric so I only need a small seam allowance – about 1/4 of an inch. Draw in your seam allowance all the way round your pattern.
14. Cut it out and mark it up so you can save it to use over again. Add any notes you think will be useful.
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