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Maine, United States

Making Issue No. 7 / Notched Leggings
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Making Issue No. 7 / Notched Leggings

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Do you know the feeling of putting on a garment and immediately falling so in love that you don't want to take it off? That's how it went the first time I wore the Notched Leggings by Cal Patch in Joshua Tree last fall, and I've been dreaming of making my own ever since.

I'm not sure about you, but I have sort of an imaginary list in my head of things I don't think I'll ever be able to make—things like jeans, swimsuits, and leggings. I've always been intimidated by the idea of sewing leggings. Knits, in general, have always been more of a challenging fabric for me, but leggings, that seemed like an impossible task, and I've admired those that make them. However, when I was with the Making team last fall shooting projects for the Desert issue and got to try on an incredibly soft pair of aquamarine-colored leggings, I became very interested in the idea of making a pair of my own. I mean, how difficult could it be? There are only a few seams, and they don't require much fabric, which is just the sort of intimidating project that's worth the try in my book!

I've been wearing leggings for years and years, and there have been seasons when leggings have been pretty much all I've worn. Can you blame me? They're one of the most comfortable garments and can be worn with many different things and for many different occasions. But there came the point in my life where I decided that I needed to start dressing more maturely, so I set my leggings aside and reserved them as an activewear only garment. Thankfully, those days of restrictive thinking toward leggings are long gone. As I'm learning to make peace with and care for the body I was given, I'm now focused on clothing that allows me to feel comfortable in it and grateful that it carries me through each day. I try to choose clothing that I not only love, that fits my style and how I want to be seen in the world, but also clothing I think my body will love, and my body loves leggings.

Leggings remind me of adventure and self-care. I wear them while outdoors hiking and exercising, trecking up mountains with bunched up woolen socks at their base and barefoot during yoga class. They give me the freedom to move as needed; this is why we love them so much, me and my body, but probably also you and yours.

A much as I enjoy wearing leggings during times of activity, I also like wearing them for leisure time spent at home and during everyday life. Leggings are a comforting garment, so it's natural for me to want to wear them during times of comfort like crisp days spent curled up on the sofa with a cozy sweater and cup of tea, or with a tunic worn over them at a picnic outdoors. For me, leggings have become a wardrobe staple, and with a pattern as simple as this one, I hope they will be for you as well.

Fitting Notes

These are my first pair of handmade leggings, so choosing a size for this type of garment was new to me. My waist is 26", so I decided to go with the size small because I figured that if they were too large, I could take them in a little more at the inseam. After sewing up each leg, and before sewing them together at the crotch seam, I tried on one of the legs to see how it fit, and it was perfect, not too tight and not too loose. They seemed a little long, but I decided to save adjusting the length for the end.

For my leggings, I decided not to add the cuff. I like my leggings to be as minimalist as possible, lacking side seams or fancy detailing because these are the most comfortable for me to wear. They were a little long (I'm 5'1"), so I removed 1" from the hem and then folded it inside 1/2" and finished with a large zigzag.

Why I thought leggings were such a challenging project, I'm not sure, because they really are one of the simplest garments I've ever made, and I'm happy to report that none of my fears were justified. These might be my first pair, but they won't be the last! The Notched Leggings by Cal Patch can be found on pages 86-89 of Making No. 7 / Desert, and the fabric used is a Telio Rayon Jersey Knit in Black Tie Dye.

In the next post, I'm sharing some tips I've found helpful for working with what can sometimes be a challenging fabric-knits. - Emily