If you follow along with my blog, Seams Sew Lo, you may have noticed, I do not usually sew with stripes. Okay, it is more, I almost never sew with stripes. Part of the reason I never sew stripes is that I do not typically like the way stripes look on me. The other reason I rarely sew with stripes is that it takes a little more work to match up the patterns.
My Sister in Law loves elephants, so I purchased this gorgeous elephant fabric from So Sew English and made her some maternity leggings when she was pregnant with her first child. As the elephant has multiple striped designs, I took extra time to match them up. This is how you can tell I really like my sister in law. I not only sewed something up for her, but I sewed her something with stripes!!
I hit the gym several times a week and my current rotation of leggings are getting a little worn. The striped elephant fabric has been staring at me, telling me to sew it up… So, I listened and wrote this brief tutorial on how to easily match up striped fabric for leggings using my favorite leggings pattern the Ellie and Mac Women’s Urban Leggings sewing pattern.
Normally, I cut my leggings out the quick way. I typically fold the fabric in half and cut both legs at the same time. This does waste a little more fabric. However, with striped fabric, I cut one leg at a time. Once you have your sewing pattern to the correct size, lay the pattern on top of the fabric. Be sure to make sure the fabric is in a straight line throughout the pattern before cutting. Then, cut out the fabric. I prefer using a rotary cutter.
Then, place the sewing pattern to the side. Place the first leg piece right sides together onto the fabric. Match up stripes on the bottom of the leggings.
Continue matching the stripes up the entire leggings cut out, until you have reached the top of the leggings. Make sure to smooth out any wrinkles in either of the fabric pieces.
With your rotary cutter, carefully cut out the opposite leg. Try not to let the fabric move.
With knit fabrics, I prefer to use Wonder Clips instead of pins. Fold one leg in half and use one clip at the crotch and second clip at the bottom of the leggings.
Continue clipping the leg from the bottom up to the crotch. It is not important for the stripes to match in this step, as this is the inseam of the leggings.
The next step, I do a little backward than most. Since I do some pretty intense workout classes, I want to make sure my leggings are not going to come apart while exercising. So, I double stitch my leggings. Most people would take their leggings to the sewing machine for stretch stitch, then to the serger. I prefer to serge my leggings first. I shorten the seam allowance just a little when I use my serger to leave room in the seam allowance for a stretch stitch.
After I serge, I use the lighting bolt stretch stitch on my sewing machine. I choose to serge first, as I feel it helps keep the fabric in place more effectively. Knit fabric has a tendency to slide around more on a sewing machine, even if you are using a walking foot. Serging first alleviates this issue.
The next step is pertinent in matching the striped fabric. Fold one leg right side, then place it inside the other leg. Place one clip on each side of the center crotch area. Once, the crotch is perfectly matched, tie the serged thread tails together in a double knot. This will help keep the fabric from moving around while serging.
Continue placing Wonder Clips along the entire crotch. This is where you want to make sure the stripes match up to one another.
Serge and sew the crotch line. Again, I serged, then I sewed. Serging leggings only, without the double stitch, usually works just fine. I prefer the extra feeling of security of the double stitch.
Turn the leggings right side out and your stripes should be well matched.
Add the waistband, then hem the bottom of the leggings. Voila! You know have a new pair of striped leggings!!
About the author: Lo creates fun and unique fashion for her family over on the Seams Sew Lo Blog. She also hosts a Sewing Deals Calendar to find all of your favorite Sewing Deals. Follow Seams Sew Lo on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. Have you downloaded the new Seams Sew Lo Sewing App yet??? It is available on Apple and Android! Find and Rate all of your favorite indie sewing pattern designers and fabric companies. Plus, find all of their latest sewing deals! Download the App NOW: