1. Fabric Choice: When making leggings, choose a fabric with good stretch and recovery. There are plenty of options available from extremely soft Double Brushed Poly to more sturdy workout spandex like supplex. The fabrics I am using here: Black and Ivory - Rayon/Spandex from Joann; Mint is Cotton/Lycra and Blush is rayon/spandex both from Fabric.com.
2. Cut it out: There are plenty of free leggings patterns online (Patterns4Pirates Peg Legs is free if you join their fb group) or use a favorite pair to trace (add a little for seam allowance, if you go this route). Just double check that you cut out a right leg and a left leg.
3. Get Ruffled: Decide what you want your ruffles to be made of lace, leggings fabric, contrasting color or print. Cut strips that are at least twice the leg circumference and the length you want. The legs of these pants are 9 inches, so I made my strips 20 inches long. The black pair has three inch layered ruffles made from the legging fabric and tulle. The spring collection has 4 inch ruffles made of lace. I gathered each strip by using a basting stitch on high tension, then adjusting the gathers to make the strip 9 inches long.
4. Puttin' on the frills: If you are making these for yourself, the quick and easy way to do this would be to start at the bottom ruffle, attaching just near the edge of the pants and moving up from there. The nice thing about working with knits is that finishing edges and hemming is not needed to prevent the fabric from fraying.
Because I make mine for others and like to make sure all edges are finished, I do the middle ruffle first, attaching with a zig-zag stretch stitch. Mess around with the distance between ruffles to find what you like best. I do the top ruffle next, then I use a serger to attach the bottom ruffle and finish the bottom edge at the same time. You can see the white gathering thread on some of these; I remove those after the ruffles are attached.
5. Sew it up: fold each leg in half, right sides together. Pin the seam, taking careful to get all the ruffle edges in the seam. Sew with a serger or stretch stitch.
6. Make pants: Turn one leg inside out and stick it inside the other, match up the crotch seam, pin and sew.
7. Waist band: So many options here....My favorite is a wide waistband with 2 inch elastic but you can make a yoga style foldover or elastic of other sizes. On these, I just attached a loop of elastic with the serger and then folded over and stitched down with a stretch stitch.
8. I like to a satin ribbon bow to the top ruffle. Heat seal the ends by melting the very edge of the ribbon with a flame. Use a needle and thread to hand stitch the bow to the pants.
9. Wear your snazzy pants under a summer dress or with a long tunic!
Not ready to sew your own? Basic colors with fabric/tulle ruffles are available for order in my Etsy shop; the limited edition spring leggings with lace ruffles are available exclusively at The Pink Daisy in KC West Bottoms beginning this First Friday.
Laura (Handmade by Lolo Z)