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How to Sew Leggings: 8 Sewing Patterns and Tutorials

Create your new favorite pair of leggings with our easy step-by-step sewing tutorial!

By: Ashley Jones, Editor, AllFreeSewing.com
How to Sew Leggings
How to Sew Leggings
This image courtesy of AllFreeSewing.com

No fashion trend has been more popular in the last few years than leggings. Worn by women, kids, and even men, the legging has become a mainstay in clothing, from yoga leggings to jeggings. Because there are so many ways to wear leggings, like under dresses or with a denim jacket and a tee, we've created an excellent tutorial for how to sew leggings. This basic sewing tutorial is perfect if you've always wanted to sew your own leggings pattern but are new to sewing or working with stretch fabrics.

This easy sewing tutorial is fantastic for both kids and adults and gives a basic breakdown of how to make leggings. We've also included a list of tips and tricks for creating your leggings, like how to use your measurements with negative ease and knit fabric. If you're looking for the perfect pattern for you, then you'll love our list of legging sewing patterns that are wonderful for the whole family. Show off your shape and be on trend with this simple tutorial for how to sew leggings.

Materials List

  • Leggings pattern
  • Fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Elastic for waistband
  • Ball point needles
  • Ruler/Measuring tape
  • Thread
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Any other basic sewing supplies (fabric markers, seam gauges, etc)
  • Buttons, trim, or any other details you may wish to add to your leggings

How to Sew Leggings

If you've always wanted to try your hand at sewing your own leggings, then here's your perfect chance! This free sewing tutorial is great for beginners and is a wonderful introduction to working with stretch fabrics. This back-to-basics sewing tutorial for how to sew leggings is the best way to create custom leggings that fabulously fit your body!

Instructions

While this free sewing tutorial for how to sew leggings covers all of your basic steps, it should be noted that this is an outline for making your own leggings, and that instructions and steps may vary slightly with each pattern and fabric choice. Whether you create leggings for kids or for yourself, you can't go wrong with these easy step-by-step instructions!

  1. Choose your legging pattern. Because leggings are so popular, there are a ton of options to choose from, both with traditional sewing patterns as well as free online patterns. Be sure to check out the patterns and projects listed below for legging tutorials and patterns found on our site.

  2. Choose your fabric. Fabric choice is key when making leggings. Leggings should be made from some type of stretch knit. However, that knit should not be 100% cotton, as you will need a fabric with a stronger recovery, so that the fabric snaps back into place when pulled. Knits made with Spandex or Lycra, which hug the body tightly and keep their shape well, are your best choices. You can find more fun knit sewing patterns at AllFreeSewing.com.

    Leggings are also typically made with elastic waistbands, so be sure to buy enough elastic to fit your waist. Additionally, consider which patterns and colors you would like to choose for your leggings. Unique printed leggings are extremely popular and work for both a casual or athletic look. You can also choose a solid color or use color blocking (adding large blocks of color to clothing) to give your leggings a classic look.

  3. Pre-wash your fabric. You should always pre-wash knits before sewing. Because knits shrink, waiting to wash your fabric after sewing can result in your garment being too small, so always wash and dry them before cutting your fabric.

  4. Cut your fabric and sew according to pattern directions. You may want to sew your seams with a serger to give your leggings more stretch and give. If you don't have a serger, you can always use the stretch stitch setting on your sewing machine. 

  5. Wear your new leggings with pride! Now that you've finished sewing your leggings, all that's left is for you to wear your new garment with confidence. By following this outline for sewing leggings, you can now go out and make leggings for your kids, for DIY gift ideas, and for yourself.

Tips and Tricks for Sewing Your Leggings

If you're new to working with stretch fabrics or are just looking for some fantastic free sewing tips, then you've come to the right place! These tips for how to sew leggings are a great way to speed up the sewing process and to make sure sewing your own leggings is a total breeze.

  1. Consider negative ease. Remember that leggings will be smaller than your body's measurements when they're finished, so your leggings should have negative ease so that they fit your body tightly.

  2. Have ball point pins and needles handy. Ball point pins are designed to be used with knits and won't leave a hole in your fabric. Universal pins can leave holes in your knits.

  3. Try using pattern weights and a rotary cutter and cutting mat. Knits are a lot easier to cut when you spread them out on a flat surface, so try using a rotary cutter and cutting mat to protect your fabric and work area. Additionally, you may want to use pattern weights to help hold down the pattern when cutting your fabric.

  4. Match patterns. If you'll be using a printed or patterned fabric like stripes, make sure that the front, back, and sides of your leggings line up correctly.

  5. Add embellishments. Don't be afraid to make your leggings stand out! Add trim like ric rac or details like buttons to the sides of your leggings to customize them just for you.

  6. Test out different stitches. When you're sewing with knits, you need a stitch that will stretch as much as your fabric or else it will break, so try out a few types of stitches on fabric scraps before sewing.

More Great Legging Tutorials and Patterns

If you're looking for more detailed legging tutorials or just want to try sewing different types of leggings, then be sure to check out these easy legging tutorials. From free kids' patterns to patterns for adults, we've got you completely covered! 

  1. Baby Got Back Leggings - We love these!

  2. How to Draft a Leggings Pattern - An excellent tutorial!

  3. Perfect Fit Custom Leggings - Great for athletic leggings!

What basic sewing tutorials would you like to see? Let us know below in the comments! 

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Fancy drawstring wristlet

I love this tutorial on making leggings. I wear leggings all the time while at home. As well as for pj's that I call my comfy clothes. Thank you for this free information.

Leggings are not just for wearing around the house anymore. They have become so fashionable, and you can even wear them under a skirt to make it more modest. There are great ideas here!

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