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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Genius ideas: Jalie Clara's leggings and my lovely niece

Before we get started on the wonderful Clara leggings I have a back story here.

Just before I got this pattern printed off (and for the reader who wanted to know how to get the patterns quickly in Oz, I suggest you order the .pdf and have the A0 copy shop version printed. Near instant access and no taping of single sheets) I had just finished making three pairs of a very well-reviewed other company legging pattern.

As it was this first other company pattern was not a bad but it was pretty standard, two tubes with inseams and outer seams, joined at the crotch with a little diamond shaped gusset and a fold over yoga band. As a simple garment they worked fine but when I opened up the Clara pattern I was sorry I had already cut into so much of my legging fabric. The Claras were just so much more sophisticated and so much better designed for a good fit.

We will start with the line drawing and then talk about what makes this pattern different:

Notice anything?

No center crotch seams, right?

I have to tell you this is one nifty bit of drafting. The legging front is cut on the fold with a tiny little seam cut away just under the crotch where a triangular gusset is attached that is later captured in the inseam. Pretty artful and definitely more body friendly, and flattering, and as result both looks and feels smoother, that the pattern I had used previously.

Extremely interesting to make a pattern that just wraps around the body like this with such minimal seaming.

The other thing to notice is the nice, waist-high shaped yoke/waistband on the full legging and capri length. I was surprised how deep this piece is but it does provide some interesting fitting possibilities for those of us with a bit of a belly or wider waist. You could definitely fade in a larger yoke size to give you room where you need it above a slimmer hip/leg measurement, or vice versa I guess if you are more a pear shape. 

I am thinking too that I need to hack these into a maternity pair too by widening the waistband and adding length at the front - stayed tuned for that little experiment - because the placement of the yoke seam would be a perfect starting place for this adjustment.

In the meantime I made this pair for my niece. 

They were a hit.

I pretty much showed to finished leggings to her and they went immediately out the door for a run. When she came back in my niece told me that they were the nicest and most comfortable leggings she had ever worn- so off they went, pre photo shoot, for the weekend.

However I was able to text her and ask for some pictures sent back to me for this blog post.  Her boyfriend and a smart phone obliged from Cape Breton, so here the leggings are in full weekend mode:

No side seams, no crotch seams. Jalie has other pieced leggings, like the Cora, but for everyday wear and fast sewing, these simple leggings are so wearable, in this case like pants, which is how girls like my niece would wear them on casual days.

I can't believe how much my niece looks like her mother, my next youngest sister, particularly from the back like this, and below.

Once again another demonstration that if you are related to me it is only a matter of time before your privates in underwear, or your backside, are made public on the internet. Note too how the absence of side seams make these just so sleek.

I know these are navy but try and have a good look at how smooth the front on these leggings are and how full the waistband/yoke is. Such a clever draft.

Now the next ones will be for me.


Margo said...

This is the best pattern ever isn't it!
p.s. I'm an aussie retailer and have lots more copies of Clara arriving mid next week for anyone wanting paper versions.

Sydney Brown said...

Wow! Very intriguing! Very tempting.

Jean Shaw said...

This is the pattern that jumped out at me when I saw the new grouping--so glad you tested it!

beckster said...

I have seen a few other reviews, but I so appreciate yours! I have hesitated to make leggings even though I work out at the gym 4 days a week. I wanted a high-waist pair that would be truly comfortable without a lot of bling. My RTW leggings are just not comfortable and tug-free, even though they are ridiculously expensive. Nothing is worse than being in the middle of your sweat and realizing you need to stop and tug up your leggings. Thanks!

Mimi said...

Hi, I enjoy all your posts. Can you say what the fiber content was of the fabric you used? It looks perfect for sewing leggings. Thanks very much for all the information!

Barbara said...

Mimi I used a nylon/spandex athetic knit like supplex but going to be making more cotton lycra soon too. Stay tuned.

Mimi said...

Thanks for the info! I've used an old Jalie leggings pattern 2920 many times and find the fit varies widely depending on the fabric, so nowadays I cut with 1" seams and try them on.

lark said...

Hi Barbara, I've a question for you. I'm an accomplished sewist but the crotch on this seemed awfully tight to me. That is where the leggings are weakest and I found that it often tore there despite how loose I made them. Always used fabric with the proper stretch.
Have you made them for yourself yet and if so, does that tight front crotch seam work for you?

Barbara said...

Lark interesting question and I hope I understand your question right. Yes I have made them for myself (posted a picture on my Instagram @bemodi which I should do here too and this is one of the patterns I am going to be using for the leggings sew-along. I can't say I have had that problem myself so far but I can see how that could happen. These are the first of Jalie's three leggings patterns with a deep yoga style waistband and subsequently a shorter, and flatter front crotch. And of course with the front set on the fold the actual front crotch curve is very short- if you need more shape there to fit your own curves that would be an issue I can see that. The other pattern I will be using is Patterns 4 Pirates Peg legs, a free pattern, with a front crotch seam and a yoga band. There is a more definite shape to the front crotch curve there and I would be interested to know if a pattern like that, or one of Jalie's other patterns with a crotch seam would work better for you. Let me know. Definitely a subject for discussion in the sew-along! Really appreciate the comment.

Barbara said...

Lark this question has been nagging at me and I think I have had a middle of the night brain wave. It’s the gusset. The Clara has a relatively small gusset piece, like a wedge, rather than a larger diamond shaped gusset. My sense is you don’t have enough spread room. I am going to think about how a different gusset might be added, but suspect this might be the problem.