Oh yes, I made leggings! And in stretch velvet! Read on to find out the complicated route my Velvet Citrus Leggings took from a maternity version pattern test to the final (non-maternity) version pictured below…
I’ve never been particularly drawn to pattern testing. Perhaps it’s my background in self-publishing, but I’d only ever expect friends or superfans to want to read and comment on my unfinished writing for nothing. I’ve always paid to get proper edits and proofreads. Seriously, this is valuable work and people deserve remuneration.
So when indie pattern designers ask for people to pattern test for free I always consider it a bit of a cheek, although I know others leap at the opportunity to have a sneak peek at a fave designers’ latest pattern.
However, my views changed slightly when I was pregnant with Lauren, and someone alerted me to the fact that Tuesday Stitches (back then, Seamstress Erin) wanted pregnant women to road test a few maternity patterns. Since there was so little available in the realm of maternity sewing patterns I thought I’d have a go, hoping I’d end up with few extra things to vary my boring maternity wardrobe.
I was particularly excited by the Citrus Leggings pattern, as I’d always wanted to make some leggings and I thought the seamlines looked really interesting.
So, what would be a good fabric to make a pair of leggings for a growing bump? Probably a super-stretchy cotton lycra, like all the store-bought ones I had were. So of course, I decided to make these in a stretch velvet with very little lengthways stretch *facepalm*
The leggings weren’t a complete disaster, but as you can probably tell from the pics above and below (taken at 4 months pregnant), there were some fit issues. Turns out stretch velvet show up every lump, bump and dragline. And I had a lot of draglines! The backs of the legs, crotch and sides of my bump were particularly offending areas.
So, surprise, surprise, I never ended up wearing these while pregnant. The fabric just didn’t have enough stretch to feel comfortable, and it sat at an odd place on my belly. Too low to be overbump and too high to be underbump. Not a comfy place for a waistband when you’re pregnant. I put the failed leggings aside and vowed never to pattern test again.
The post maternity Velvet Citrus Leggings
Fortunately, a year or so later with a small baby on my hands I had another think about these leggings, and how cool and sexy they could look if I nailed the fit. Trust me, with a small baby on your hands you need every bit of help you can get with feeling good about your body.
So I put them on inside out, pinched out all the excess fabric along various seams (particularly the back leg seams and belly seams) and whizzed them through the overlocker again. The final version isn’t perfect, but it’s a damn sight better than the maternity version was! They’ve come up shorter than intended which I guess is a result of the fabric lacking vertical stretch, but they’re an okay length. I’d prefer an extra couple of inches, though.
I suppose I should tell you something about the process of sewing these up but it was so long ago I can’t really remember. My notes say that I found the velvet difficult to pin when doing horizontal seams, but it was fine with vertical ones. Luckily these leggings had far more vertical than horizontal seams. I also made a note that with so many seam intersections, it’s worth thinking about which way you want to press the seam allowances down first.
So, would I make these again? Well, probably… I only have the maternity version of the pattern, which doesn’t now seem to be available for sale anywhere (fit problems, perhaps?). I’d rather sew the regular version, but I don’t think it would be too difficult to redraft the front pattern pieces to go all the way up to the waist rather than having that funny belly panel.
I’d also need to do some work on the crotch fit, but this might not be such an issue in a more standard leggings-type fabric. I suspect I’ll probably try a different leggings pattern next time (I have a Seamwork one in the stash), but I definitely would like to return to this as I love those seam lines. Front, back and side seams give lots of opportunity for fitting, and I love the way the vertical lines look.
My main problem with my Velvet Citrus Leggings is that they’re pretty much wardrobe orphans. I’ve worn them with my Rowan bodysuit for the photoshoot, but I’d never go out in them like this! I have one grey RTW tunic top that looks good over them, but the rest of my tops just don’t work.
If I had a wardrobe full of boxy tops I think I’d have no problems making outfits with these leggings, but as mine are nearly all close-fitting they just don’t work. Also, the leggings don’t work under my dresses as the velvet just looks too bling. Honestly, if I had some black band tees I reckon I’d be sorted, but that’s just not something I have in my wardrobe. I grew out of that look in my late teens!
I’m going to give this issue some more thought as I’d love to wear these more often and I’m sure I could make some kind of top or dress that would work with both these leggings and the rest of my wardrobe. I’m thinking perhaps a mini-length shirt dress or tunic in a luxe patterned fabric. Any suggestions greatly appreciated!
And to finish off, here’s a back view so you can see how much better the backs of the legs are. Not perfect, but definitely fine to wear out of the house!
The Velvet Citrus Leggings deets
Pattern: The Citrus Leggings from Tuesday Stitches, although not the final draft available for sale, which I can’t comment on. I sewed view C.
Fabric: Carthage Stretch Velvet from Minerva (no longer available)
Modifications: Extensive to alter from maternity fit to regular fit.
- Pattern: £2.70 for large format printing
- Fabric: £10.78 for 120cm
- Notions: £1.20 for buttonhole elastic
- Total: £14.68
Have you ever pattern tested for anyone? Do you think it’s a fabulous opportunity or do you reckon it’s basically unpaid work and potentially a waste of good fabric? Please share your thoughts!
Coming Next Week:
It’s about time I shared one of my makes for Daisy, so I’ll be back with a version of one of my TNT patterns I made for her. It’s the Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan in a lovely cloud print French Terry. See you on Tuesday!