Tribal Print leggings : Drafting legging patterns

So this week I decided I needed some printed leggings after taking a trip to downtown LA  to buy some trendy fabrics to inspire me. When I spotted some tribal looking stretch lycra at Micheal Levine fabrics for five dollars a yard I snatched up a yard and a half. I have been loving some of the tribal style printed leggings I have been seeing lately and wanted a pair too !

pattern making leggings

This fabric wasn’t the exact one I had in mind but it was close enough. I used a Burdastyle pattern from the website and after shaving it down I would say it is about three sizes smaller then the recommended size for my size which is 38. I wouldn’t recommend this pattern to you because of the major sizing discrepancies.

lagging sewing pattern

Can I just say how frustrated I have become with sewing patterns that are way bigger then they are supposed to be?
I also have no excuse except sheer laziness to be buying patterns at all. I know how to make them and I also have three dress forms !
I have been wanting to start a pattern line for awhile now and have been busy working on some new designs for it. Stay tuned!

Gigi also needed some leggings and I wasn’t about to go to the hassle of printing out another pattern and taping it together, only to have the fit way off again, so I drafted her a pair of leggings from my Metric Kids Pattern Cutting book. It was really easy to draft these leggings folks,and if you sew for kids you will love drafting their patterns too!

The book comes with default measurements for each child’s age in case you don’t happen to have a squirming toddler handy to take measurements on. I wasn’t in the mood to take Lily’s measurements so I just used the default ones in the book. They were a little big but with some minor adjustments I fixed the slight bagginess.

sewing leggings patternmaking

This was my pattern before adjusting. I added a roll over waist band to make them look like yoga pants.

making leggings pattern

This is the same pattern slimmed down a little. Not perfect but close!
The thing about drafting anything that is going to be made of stretch lycra is you have to take into account something called NEGATIVE EASE. The pattern actually has to be a little smaller than your measurements to fit right. Gigi’s pattern I drafted doesn’t have any negative ease so they fit more like normal pants. Next time I will make them a little smaller over to give the legging look.
After making Gigi’s legging pattern I decided Lily needed a basic t shirt pattern that I could use to draft her a few spring dresses. Here is how her basic t shirt block pattern looks:

Voila Lily’s basic t shirt block!

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    • Justine of SewCountryChick says

      Hi Ledys. I would recommend Metric Patern Cutting For Children. THe Art of Fashion Draping by Helen Joseph Armstrong and Patternmaking for fashion design by Helen Joseph Armstrong.

    • Justine of SewCountryChick says

      I have made several patterns for the girls from Metric Pattern Cutting.It’s a great book!

  1. amy mayen says

    1. Cute leggings:)
    2. Excited about your pattern line!
    3. Love the bangs!!

  2. Marie says

    What a shame you had sizing issues with the Burda pattern, but your leggings look seriously awesome! You rock them big style!!!

  3. Deby Coles says

    GREAT leggings – love the fabric. I am also frustrated by pattern sizing. If a skirt is said to fit a size 28 waist, why then when I make it up according to the correct pattern size and instructions for a size 28, does the waist measure a full 4 inches bigger. I know we need a little ease – but for goodness sake! I am still unable to work out what size pattern I need to cut based on the envelope and measurements and so I almost always end up with something MASSIVE and then its not a case of simply taking in the sides a little, it needs a complete remake. …Rant over… 🙂

    Can’t wait to see more about your pattern line – please make them true to size and not massive!

    • Justine of SewCountryChick says

      Hi Deby,
      I am planning on it! In RTW most fitted things have maybe inch of ease. Ease should be in the design , not in the actual waistline and bust!

  4. Sew Blessed Maw says

    Cute leggins.. [both of yours].. So excited about your pattern line.That will
    be fun..Can’t wait to see what you do?

  5. says

    I just made leggings using a McCalls pattern and foolishly went off the size I usually am and had to size it down like 2 sizes as well… I feel your pain!

  6. says

    Thank you for your great post! Collection’s Wholesale Leggings with a sweet lolita coord, showing off the versatility of this style! This legging comes with a side part with ‘skin’ and is pre-styled with lush waves and short bangs for a natural, beautiful overall look.

  7. HeathersSphere says

    Hi Justine, cool looking leggings there! That print is really just too cool. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Mie@Sewing Like Mad says

    Love this leggings! I want some too 😉 And yay for patterns. I saw you commented over at Melly Sews….I am dying to learn too! It is so annoying to me that the only reason I can’t sell patterns is technical reasons, argh!

  9. says

    I’d really love some awesome leggings like that. I just need to find a pattern for them, although I could probably just wing it I guess. Maybe that can be one of the patterns you design!