Drafting and Sewing Leggings // Stretch Yourself

This series is sponsored by Baby Lock.  For over 40 years, Baby Lock has been dedicated to the love of sewing by creating machines for sewing, embroidery, quilting and serging – all with ease-of-use, high quality and a touch of elegance.

stretch yourself header

I’ve always loved sewing with knits, but recently I’ve developed an even greater obsession with it because of leggings. I’ve never had a problem finding leggings that fit (they’re all so stretchy most everyone can find the right size). What I have really enjoyed is making leggings in different colors, prints, and materials than are available in stores! The process of drafting your own to measurements is really quite easy, and once you have the pattern piece made, watch out, because you might become addicted to making your own leggings!

Make sure you also hit up Mad Mim to learn to make my second-favorite bottom apparel right now, the Maxi Skirt!

Draft and Sew Leggings - One Little Minute Blog - Great Simple Tutorial-09

Let’s just all admire my leopard print pattern for a second. I’m a total amateur designer, and have to say I’m pretty proud of this one! Plus, my favorite homemade leggings so far are made from a leopard print lightweight sweater knit. They are on a very tight rotation.

Notice that to make a pair of leggings you will only need two pieces of fabric, cut to your pattern, and one length of elastic. It doesn’t get much more simple than that!

Making Leggings- One Little Minute Blog - Measurements-10To get started, you’ll want to take the following measurements and write them down somewhere. It will be helpful to wear tight fitting clothing and mark where you take your measurements with chalk, like Mim taught you in her drafting a tee post. I’ll explain each measurement in a little more detail in case you don’t recognize some:

Waist: Technically, this would be your natural waist, or the most narrow part of your abdomen. For this pattern, though, you’ll want to measure the circumference of wherever you’d like the waistband of your leggings to hit.

Hip: The circumference around the fullest part of your bum.

Thigh: The circumference around the widest part of your thigh. Mark where you take this measurement with chalk, or a washable marker

Knee: The circumference around the top of your knee, above the knee cap, with your leg straight.

Ankle: The circumference around your ankle, at the length you’d like the hem of your leggings.

Waist to Ankle: Distance from where you took your waist measurement to where you took your ankle measurement (or the desired hem length).

Ankle to Knee: Distance from where you measured your ankle to where you measured your knee.

Knee to Thigh: Distance from where you measured your knee to where you measured your thigh.

Front Rise: Squeeze a ruler between the top of your thighs, so it sticks out parallel to the floor. Measure from your waist to the ruler.

Back Rise: Squeeze a ruler between your thighs with the ruler parallel to the floor sticking out behind you. Measure from your waist to the ruler. (You may need some help with this one!)

**Rise Depth: This measurement will help form the curves on the front and back of the pattern piece, to allow the upper part of the leggings wrap down between your legs before separating off into two separate leg tubes. I’ve always been a bit mystified by those curvy parts on patterns for pants, but turns out it’s not very difficult to figure out!  To find your Rise Depth, divide your waist measurement in half  (because each pattern piece only covers half of your waist) then subtract that number from your full thigh circumference (because each pattern piece covers one full leg). This gives the full depth. Rise Depth= Thigh-(Waist/2)

Here’s an example using my measurements: Waist: 30″, Thigh: 21″

21-(30/2)= 6, so my Rise Depth is 6″

Now we divide the Rise Depth between the Front and Back to know where to add those inches on the pattern piece. The Front Rise Depth is 1/3 and the Back Rise Depth is 2/3 (to accommodate that fine booty!)

Front Rise Depth = Rise Depth*.33  So, 6*.33 (or 1/3) = 2″ for my Front Rise Depth

Back Rise Depth = Rise Depth*.66  For my Back Rise Depth, 6*.66=4″.

Please don’t get freaked out by the math. It’s really simple, I just explained it as detailed as I could (with lots of examples of calculations) so you can understand the theory rather than just finding the number you need. I hope it helped!

If the fabric you want to use is very stretchy (in this post about knit fabric and selection, I talk all about stretch) you may want to subtract some a bit of negative ease from your circumference measurements (Waist, Hip, Thigh, Knee, and Ankle) before creating your pattern so that your leggings end up tight, not baggy. For a minimally stretchy fabric (10-25%) I’d suggest subtracting 1/2″. For a very stretchy fabric (25-50%) I’d suggest subtracting 1″.

Draft and Sew Leggings _ One Little Minute Blog - simple!

Grab a piece of drafting paper that is a few inches longer than your waist to ankle measurement. You also need a pencil and a ruler. Fold your paper in half lengthwise (hot dog style) and crease the fold. When you unfold it you can begin drafting.

Draft and Sew Leggings - One Little Minute Blog - drafting the pattern-06

The center fold of your paper will serve as the center of your pattern. Lay the paper out flat on a hard surface.

1. Make a mark about 2″ from the top of the page, on the fold, then measure your Waist to Ankle measurement along the fold and make a mark at the ankle.

2. At the ankle mark, draw a line perpendicular to the fold the length of the Ankle Circumference, with the fold  in the middle of the measurement.

3. Measure the Ankle to Knee distance up from the ankle line and make a mark.

4. At the knee mark, draw a line perpendicular to the fold the length of the Knee Circumference, with the fold in the middle of the measurement.

5. Measure the Knee to Thigh distance up from the knee line and make a mark.

6. At the thigh mark, draw a line perpendicular to the fold the length of the Thigh Circumference, with the fold in the middle of the measurement.

7. Connect the ends of the thigh, knee, and ankle lines.

8. Gently round out any corners in your lines.

9. Starting at the end of the right side of the thigh line, measure your Front Rise Depth towards the center and mark.

10. Starting at the Front Rise Depth mark, measure and draw the Front Rise Height up perpendicular to the thigh line.

11. Starting at the end of the left side of the thigh line, measure your Back Rise Depth towards the center and mark.

12. Starting at the Back Rise Depth mark, measure and draw the Back Rise Height up perpendicular to the thigh line.

13. Connect the tops of the Front and Back Rise Height lines with a gentle curve (the back rise height should be slightly higher, if you have a bum!)

14. Use your ruler to draw a line from the top of the Front Rise Height line to about 1″ from the right end of the thigh line.

15. Starting about half-way down the line you just drew, gently curve out the corner to meet the end of the thigh line.

16. Use your ruler to draw a line from the Back Rise Height to about 1″ from the left end of the thigh line.

17. Starting about half-way down the line you just drew, gently curve out the corner to meet the left end of the thigh line.

Draft and Sew Leggings _ One Little Minute Blog - rise height

Yay! You’ve drafted the whole pattern! Give yourself a pat on the back.

Draft and Sew Leggings - One Little Minute-12

To finish up the pattern, use the corner of your ruler to make sure your four corners of the pattern are all squared off. This is where the pieces will meet, and need to do so at a right angle. Finally, decide what width of elastic you will use for the waist. Add 2 times + 1/4″ your elastic width (example: for 1″ elastic I’ll add 2 1/4″ ) to the waistband of the pattern. Just measure that distance straight up from the front and back rise heights, and re-connect them with a gently curved line. For the hem, just lengthen the pattern by the width of hem that you’d like. I used 1/2″.  We won’t add any seam allowance, because we expect the fabric will stretch.

Draft and Sew Leggings _ One Little Minute Blog - easy to follow steps

Yay! Now the fun part, cutting and sewing! Use Mim’s tips to find the grain of your knit, ensuring that the stretch is going widthwise across where you lay your pattern. Using a large cutting mat and rotary cutter is the most precise and fast way to cut, but you can use whatever you’ve got! Fold your fabric in half and lay the pattern on top. Weigh down or pin, and carefully cut around the edge.

Draft and Sew Leggings _ One Little Minute Blog - inseams

In addition to your two pattern pieces, you’ll need a length of elastic about 1″ shorter than your waist measurement. (or just stretch it around your waist until it’s comfortable, overlap the ends 1″ and cut. Sew the elastic together end to end, overlapping the ends by about 1″. You may want to use a zig zag stitch and go over the elastic several times to ensure it stays together!

Fold each of the two pattern pieces down the center line, with right sides together. Match up the point of the inseam and the ankle.

Draft and Sew Leggings _ One Little Minute Blog - simple construction

Sew or serge along the inseam line on each piece. Turn one piece right side out and place it inside the other.

Draft and Sew Leggings _ One Little Minute Blog

Line up the edges of the pieces, matching the seams you just made. Sew or serge this center line.

Draft and Sew Leggings _ One Little Minute Blog -elastic waist band

Turn the leggings inside out. Look! Pants! One side of the waistline will be slightly higher than the other. This is the back of the pants. Line the overlapped part of the elastic up with the back center seam on the waistband.

Draft and Sew Leggings _ One Little Minute Blog -elastic waist band insertion

Find the front and sides of the elastic circle, and match them up with the front seam and sides of the leggings. Pin the elastic just inside the legging fabric at the waistband, overlapping the fabric on top of the elastic by only a scant 1/4″.

Draft and Sew Leggings _ One Little Minute Blog -elastic waist band fold

Sew the pants and elastic together along the narrow overlap (with a zig zag or stretch stitch). Fold the elastic down into the pants once, and pull down on the pant fabric, pulling the fold of fabric tight against the elastic.

Draft and Sew Leggings _ One Little Minute Blog -elastic waist band, finished

Fold the elastic down once more, again pulling the fabric tight along the elastic.  Sew along the bottom edge of the elastic on the inside, securing the band. Using this method, the elastic becomes fully encased in the fabric, and is sewn in place (rather than just threaded through as in a casing) so it stays aligned.

Draft and Sew Leggings _ One Little Minute Blog -Finishing

Finish the hems of the pants as you choose (Mim’s post on finishing techniques is very thorough.) On this pair, I simply folded the ends under and zig zag stitched them.

Draft and Sew Leggings - One Little Minute Blog-Tribal Leggings!

Look at that! You made yourself some homemade (and seriously awesome) leggings!

The first time you make some, it will take a little while because of making the pattern. Once you have your own personal pattern, though, whipping up a new pair (every week…) will be a snap! I’m totally in love with the few pairs I’ve made, and every time I spot some funky fabric I now immediately think “LEGGINGS!!”

Draft and Sew Leggings - One Little Minute Blog-Awesome Tribal LeggingsDraft and Sew Leggings _ One Little Minute Blog -Stretchy Pants!

Here I am  just hanging out in my new leggings, doing the tree pose because my pants are stretchy and I can! And check out how stretchy they are! (ha! I must have been getting a little loopy by the time I took these!)

Draft and Sew Leggings - One Little Minute Blog-Awesome Tribal Leggings!! Draft and Sew Leggings _ One Little Minute Blog -Stretchy Tribal Leggings

Pattern: self-drafted legging pattern (you can do it!!)

Fabric: Amazing tribal print that someone was getting rid of and handed down to me (score!!) Similarly awesome leggings print styles herehere, here, and I share my favorite places to buy knits on this Knit Fabric post. (Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for $50 to The Fabric Fairy!)

This week we have taught you to make and finish tee shirts, and alter them into dresses and peplum tops. Now with today’s leggings and Miriam’s Maxi Skirts, we’ve pretty much got you covered for a little while!

Tomorrow we’re excited to teach you all about sergers, and more specifically the Baby Lock Diana.  Although anyone with a sewing machine can sew knits no sweat, using a serger takes the construction to another level. Similarly, going from a serger to a coverstitch machine takes things up another notch. The Diana is both a serger and coverstich machine in one! We can’t wait to share the fun things it does to make sewing with knits even more fun.

BabyLock Footer- One Little Minute Blog



  1. Trish Hanson
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    This is great! Especially the explanation on measuring the the front and back rise! I’ve just started sewing clothes and have made a couple of pairs of simple pants but had no idea how to measure this. I have just used another pr of pants and drawn around them. Now I can get a much more accurate fit EVERY time.Thanks so much for this series. I’m lovin it!

  2. Posted January 11, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I´m loving this series and can´t wait to try to make things, but I must say I love the fact that your drawing has hips 🙂

  3. Posted January 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    So much fun! I can’t wait to make some leggings!

  4. Gina M
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Bicycle pants… usually a heavier, more elastic knit (‘road rash’ protection in a fall). Would they be made similar to the leggings? Any advice? (I am impressed with all your prints matching at the seams! Good job!)

  5. Posted January 11, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    so cute! i can’t wait to try to make some! definitely loving the tribal print fabrics from in the second link you posted! xo

  6. Posted January 11, 2013 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    OK, another thing to try…. and love how they will be custom to fit me exactly …. thanks Miranda, 🙂

  7. Posted January 12, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Awesome! My 14 yr old granddaughter loves these!! She got some store bought ones for Christmas, but you can never have enough with all the patterns available to you these days. I love leggings as well, but have a hard time finding anything that fits properly, so this is great for me too. Thanks!

  8. Posted January 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Wow! This seems so easy! I’m learning soooo much from you guys tutorials! Thanks for this amazing series.

    • Miranda
      Posted January 16, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome! They ARE easy, I hope you make a bunch!


      • jo
        Posted April 28, 2016 at 6:04 am | Permalink

        Hi please can you tell me if you divide no.2 the hip circumference in half like you have said you do with waist please?

  9. Andrea Crawford
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for sharing this!

    • Miranda
      Posted March 12, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome! Glad you like it!

  10. Posted May 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    i’m really curious… you have us take our hip measurements, but that doesn’t seem to be used anywhere in the pattern. am i missing something?

  11. Shania
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Where can I find this type of fabric? What exactly is the fabric called?

  12. Posted August 31, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    que clase tan excelente, se merecen un 10 sobre 10, buenisima clase !!!!!!! fiuuuuuuu, abrazo y sigan adelante enseñandonos gratis para las personas que no tenemos verdaderamente como pagar estas clases y moldes .

  13. Melanie
    Posted September 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Hasta el patron lo entendi, muy bien explicado. para mi que soy una principiante lo entendi bastante bien.
    Pero despues se me complico si me podes explicar mejor te agradesco!!!!

  14. nicole
    Posted September 21, 2013 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    did you use a standard foot for every step?

  15. Sume
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    tried it tonight, but think I did the rise-thing wrong, because it is a bit bulky especially in front…way to much…..When you have to measure from waist to ruler…must it be straight down?

    the rest fits beautifully, but the front rise is def off….

    will have to draft it all again…because it really was a very quick sew!
    thanks…would love any advice

    • Maggie
      Posted April 20, 2014 at 12:40 am | Permalink

      geeze, my leggings suffer from some serious baggy crotch. It was even kinda baggy in the bum. I made the pattern as shorts, so I tried to hitch them up and dispose of the spare fabric in the waistband, but that really didn’t work as well as I’d like. I’m wondering if, as a full size woman (size 20 pants with all the expected curves that come along with that size) I should try to tackle leggings in 4 pieces instead of 2? I hypothesize that outside seams may allow more accommodation for hips? ….I’m not exactly sure how I’d go about that, but I might make an attempt. …and thanks to these instructions I have an idea of where to start!

      • Miranda
        Posted October 17, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        Rather than measuring the thigh at the widest part of your leg, try measuring right at where your legs meet (crotch area). That will bring up the inseam and with enough stretch in the fabric, the leggings will still accommodate the widest part of the thigh. Alternatively, just ADD the thigh circumference-at-the-crotch measurement, which will make the pattern a bit more curvy, but personalized to your body:)

  16. Posted October 29, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    First off I want to say how excited I was to make these leggings from scratch. I tried making 2 pairs last year from store bought patterns and neither fit correctly. Also, I have been sewing for over 40 years so I am not new to sewing.

    As far as drafting the pattern it went well until I had to do the waist. IF you are long waisted then on the first step in drafting your pattern you will need to come down more than 2” BEFORE marking your Waist to Ankle measurement. I suggest leaving 6” just to be sure you have enough! I had to add more butcher paper 2 TIMES to the top waist portion of my pattern.

    I used a jersey knit with 25% stretch so that should be good for leggings right?

    I hemmed my leggings first! Duh, who wants to do this after they are assembled? I used a stretch double needle (the twin/double needle goes on the right side). They look great so far.

    Now it is time to sew these custom leggings together. So what seam allowance am I supposed to use? I couldn’t find this information anywhere so I used a 1/2” seam allowance. I don’t have a serger so I used the stretch stitch with a single stretch needle in my machine and trimmed the excess.

    Next I sewed the inseams and then tried them on to see how they were going to fit. This is where disaster occurred! My ankles are a slender 7.75” in circumference. Once these leggings were sewn I could hardly get them on. I could hear some of the stitches popping as I forced them on. They were so tight all over I couldn’t get them on comfortably. (I am slender and leggings tend to be baggy in the legs but not these.)

    The instructions say, “We won’t add any seam allowance, because we expect the fabric will stretch.” My warning is if you are going to make these be sure to use a stretch fabric with 50% stretch or add in seam allowances. This is my 3rd attempt to make leggings and I am totally frustrated and disappointed. Also, you might want to try making a practice pair out of “clearance” knit. That way you can see if they are going to fit before spending money on nice fabric.

    Has anyone else made these and did they come out for you OK? What fabric did you use and did you include a seam allowance?

    • Miranda
      Posted October 30, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Hi there, thanks for your feedback!

      I use a serger when making these, so I don’t have the same issue with the ankles–though I know a couple folks with especially skinny ankles have mentioned they have to keep the ankle wider to fit their feet. Pattern drafting is so individual, this tutorial is meant as a great starting off point to experiment with what works for your own body shape. I always recommend making a muslin when trying out new patterns. After a couple of iterations you’ll get it just right and not be able to stop making them:)

      I recently taught this class live at Sewing Summit in SLC, and had 30 women complete perfectly fitting leggings, so I know it works! It can take some time to get it all right, though, as with most things.

      For seam allowance, I recommend -1/4″ for 75-100% stretch, none for 50-75% stretch, and 1/4″ for 0-25% stretch.

      Hope you have some luck in the future!

      xo Miranda

      • Posted October 30, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        Hi Miranda,

        Thank you for your reply. Gosh, I would love for you to come to ABQ and teach a class on making these leggings.

        My feet aren’t very big a 7N so that isn’t a real problem but the small ankles and lack of enough stretch is where I think these failed me. Plus, the fact that they were way too tight all over because I didn’t allow for seam allowances.

        The seam allowance that I used of 1/2″ wasn’t a good thing either, but the instructions didn’t indicate what to use? However, I am a little confused by your reply; “For seam allowance, I recommend -1/4″ for 75-100% stretch, none for 50-75% stretch, and 1/4″ for 0-25% stretch.” Okay, this doesn’t make any sense to me? You mean I should use a 1/4″ seam allowance for 75-100% stretch and for 25% stretch? It seems like you would use a larger seam allowance for the 75-100%. Gosh I must be an idiot I don’t understand….

        I have a real hard time seeing how a pattern in muslin would work for a stretch garment? I would think you would have to make a test pattern out of stretch fabric? How can you try on a muslin pattern that doesn’t have any stretch to see if they are going to fit. Again, I must be stupid and totally missing something.

        After attempting to make 3 pairs without success, I am more than a little hesitant to try again. I live in leggings and tunics in the winter. I would love to have a pattern that fits me but I think I might need a one-on-one lesson. Obviously, I am doing something terribly wrong or I am just not bright enough to understand how to make them.

        How many others on here have made these? I would really like to know what worked and what didn’t work for you?

        FYI, over 30 years ago I worked for Stretch N Sew. I do understand knits but NOT how to make patterns.

        Thanks for your insight and help it is greatly appreciated.

        • Miranda
          Posted October 30, 2013 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

          So, for the -1/4″ seam allowance I’m talking about using NEGATIVE seam allowance because the fabric stretches so much that even at body measurements it wont be as tight as leggings ought to be. Of course fit is personal, too, so maybe folks like them looser–but I aim for tight yet comfy when making mine.

          When I talk about a “muslin” I’m referring to just what you said about making an trial of cheap fabric before sewing with more expensive stuff. Of course using cotton muslin wouldn’t create anywhere near an accurate pattern for leggings meant for knits–just as a cotton muslin shouldn’t be used when working with a lightweight silk or something with drape. I use the term “muslin” generically:)

          I think you might have more luck starting with a little stretchier fabric–like a lighter weight 4-way-stretch cotton/spandex blend. It may be a little more forgiving as you learn to make your own pattern than a less stretchy knit. I really prefer 4-way-stretch when it comes to leggings especially, because we need the vertical stretch to avoid baggy knees, and the horizontal stretch for the curvy leg/bum/hip shapes:)

          Good luck!


  17. Ana
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Please can do the marks centimeters?

    • Miranda
      Posted November 4, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      To change into centimeters, simply divide each number by 2.54. Thanks!

  18. Lorie
    Posted November 10, 2013 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    This was so helpful! After a couple attempts, I am now wearing a pair of leggings custom fitted to me instead of me fitting into RTW leggings. My first homemade pair of pants for myself ever. I made one change worth mentioning because I either misunderstood the instructions or there is a problem for some of us. My widest thigh measurement isn’t quite as high as my crotch. So drawing the line in step 6 at the thigh measuring point instead of the crotch didn’t allow a long enough thigh section for me. (And there is nothing worse than having the crotch of your pants not quite get there.) On my 2nd draft, I drew the line at my true crotch, but used the circumference of my thigh for the length of the line. fwiw.

    I am so happy to have found this post.

  19. jeanneth hernandez
    Posted November 11, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    exelente gracias.

  20. Posted November 21, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Ok, you know what? I made these! I really did – pattern and all! and it took me about 2.5 hours. Here’s why that’s so amazing, I haven’t sewed anything in about 35 years – since I was in 7th grade. I made these for my 7 year old, but I made them loose almost straight legged, with a yoga band at the top. I didn’t know what I was doing and I was having a ball! Your instructions are SO clear and good (you should be a technical writer!) How can I thank you? You’ve woken the creative giant inside of me and I am so proud and happy! Can’t wait to make a pair of leggings for ME next! You have a lifelong fan and follower in me.
    Thanks! Enjoy your day!

  21. Charly
    Posted January 7, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    I made these for an upcoming cosplay (not much of a leggings girl myself) and I loved how thorough the directions were. It’s shockingly hard to find good instructions to custom draft patterns. As for people getting bulkyness in the croch, make sure you cut one on the right side and one on the wrong side, you know for left and right. I had to cut out a second leg because I failed to realize that until it came to assembling them and the front and back didn’t match. It should do that normally if you fold it and cut two at he same time, but if your fabric isn’t long enough to get the grain right and you cut them separately, you will run into trouble if you aren’t careful. They are awesome though and I am wearing them now (so maybe I am a leggings girl after all)!

  22. Ge
    Posted January 18, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Really clear instructions! A little error in the drawing, two numbers confused, but nothing really!

    I made the leggings and it worked! I just had to adjust the thigh and waist. Thanks for the instructions, it worked well. You make a difference. 🙂

    Merci beaucoup! C’est génial et ça fonctionne bien!

  23. Gail
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    In the middle of making my first pair for my daughter (age 23) — ran into the same issue as some other (ankle too tight). I misread your directions: “For a minimally stretchy fabric (10-25%) I’d suggest subtracting 1/2″. For a very stretchy fabric (25-50%) I’d suggest subtracting 1″. I used minimally stretch fabric, and I used 1/2″ seams — I should have used 1/4″ seams to achieve the -1/2” you suggest. Otherwise, everything went great, and I’m looking forward to making the next pair for me! Thank you 🙂

  24. iquo
    Posted February 24, 2014 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Where I have problem is the calculation of the rise. I don’t understand what .33. and .66. Is it constant? How did u get them? Thanks, I really enjoy your tutorial

    • Miranda
      Posted February 25, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Basically, the 1/3 (.33) and 2.3 (.66) is a standard rule for rise depth. It assumes that the from the front of you to the center (between the legs) is only 1/3 of that total distance, because your bum increases the distance from the back of you to your center to 2/3 the total distance. Does that make more sense to you? If not, just believe me and stick to the calculations as written, in which case the leggings will turn out smashingly:)

  25. iquo
    Posted February 26, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I love it! Its understood. Thanks. Looking foward to seeing more. I will post what I have done.

  26. sindhu
    Posted March 1, 2014 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    Thank u …. The post is very useful ….

  27. Beverly Smith
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    This is priceless! Thank you for sharing. I am going to use the information you provided. I am a little busy right now but hopefully I get a sample done.

  28. Liz
    Posted March 8, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Just made a pair and they are awesome! I love drawing my own patterns and this was so detailed it was just right for a beginner like me. Thank you!

  29. Posted March 15, 2014 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    This blog is so great and helpful! Thanks for your sharing!

  30. chyna
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Awesome job. How many yards of fabric did you use?

    • Miranda
      Posted April 4, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      just over one yard, of 60″ wide” four way stretch:)

  31. Liron
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    This is wonderful!

    I wanted to ask if you used waist measurement anywhere. I think I don’t see it being used.
    Just wondering 🙂

  32. Miriam
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    I made my first ones today using these instructions! They fit better than any others I have! I’m 6 foot, so I can NEVER find leggings that are long enough for me and the crotch often sits low whilst trying to make the legs fit haha. My new tights are greats! 🙂 The rise ended up being a bit short so I bought matching elastic to sew on top to add some length, now it looks like a belt.
    Very happy. Already on the hunt for some more quirky fabrics now 🙂

    Thank you!

  33. ibty
    Posted June 28, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Front and back rise calculation you rouded up?

  34. Posted July 14, 2014 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    Je ne pensais pas que l’on pourrait réaliser des leggings fait-maison, même si cela semble un peu compliqué je vais tâcher de suivre à la lettre les instructions pour en reproduire un moi-même.

  35. Singh
    Posted August 21, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    For bulk production for leggings,how many yards will we need for making leggings(just say 2 dozen or more).


  36. Tracy
    Posted October 16, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    What stitch do you use when serving the seams? Thanks!

    • Miranda
      Posted October 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      I use a zig zag stitch on my sewing machine, or I use my serger:)

  37. Tracy
    Posted October 16, 2014 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, I meant to say serving the seams!

  38. cheryl
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for sharing this, you’re an angel.

    I have a question though, I want to make casual straight legged trews out of corduroy. Would I be able to use your calculations for the leggings, but just add on a bit to width of the legs or something? Hope you understand what I mean. Obviously the corduroy isn’t as stretchy as legging material. thanks.

    • Miranda
      Posted October 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      If you’re using a woven material with zero stretch, you’ll definitely want to add ease and seam allowance. Usually about an inch of ease will do, then whatever seam allowance you choose. Also, take into account that the waist will need to be wide enough for the pants to be pulled up over the hips, so use your widest hip measurement for the waist, then add elastic to cinch it back. For width on the legs, yes, you can just add inches to each side–rather than tapering to the ankle measurement, you could maintain the knee measurement all the way. Or for wider legs, even the thigh.


      • cheryl
        Posted October 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        Thank you so much. I didn’t dream you’d reply so quickly (if at all!). That’s very helpful indeed 🙂

  39. judgepax
    Posted October 28, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    FYI: For your measurement diagram at the very beginning, numbers 6 and 8 are mixed up:

    6. Waist to Ankle should be labeled 6. Knee to Thigh, and

    8. Knee to Thigh should be labeled 8. Waist to Ankle.

    Still thank you for the post as I slowly make my way through this.

  40. Posted December 9, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    This is fantastic. Such a clever way to create a fitting pattern and so well explained. Thank you!! 🙂

  41. Alyssa
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Love this pattern! Gave me ideas for how to make riding breeches (I am not paying $100+ for something I can make for $15-$20 depending on if I add knee patches!) the step by step instructions helped so much! Thanks for putting so much effort into this post, it most definitely helped a beginner like me!!!

  42. Amy
    Posted February 24, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Wonderful! Very helpful and easy to follow! I made a pair for me and used the same process to make for my baby too! pics here: http://journal.turnaround-designs.com/leggings-for-mama-and-baby/

    A tip for measuring rise for yourself: sit on a hard surface (chair or floor). For front, measure from where you want leggings waist to be to surface of chair. For back, measure at side seam from natural waist to surface.

    Also, I used a 95/5 cotton/spandex blend–very stretchy, but the cotton tends to bag at the knees after wearing for a while. Next time I will choose a higher spandex blend or maybe something with more polyester, less cotton.

    Thanks for great instructions!

  43. Noëlle Adam
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    I fail to see where the waist size and the hip size are used.
    The drawing has gone smoothly so far, despite the numbers not matching the list of mesurement.
    But the pattern looks really too narrow on the top, I dont see where my bottom can go in there.

  44. Posted March 26, 2015 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    What a fantastic explanation – thank you so much you have given me the confidence to give this a try!!! I love the photos.

  45. Karen
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    any suggestions for making maternity leggings? I’m sure the rise will be thrown off in front.

    • Miranda
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Hi there! For maternity, I actually like to lower the front rise a couple inches then add a big wide yoga waistband to the top rather than the elastic casing. I find that the yoga waistband stretches with the bump, as well as stays in place easier because of the width. Good Luck!

  46. Noëlle Adam
    Posted May 2, 2015 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Da, da, da…I followed the method, wondering somehow why some mensurations where taken and never used, and why the name of the variables changed suddenly. Anyway I managed to make a pattern. Tried on a damaged fabric. And it was just horrrrrrrible. I edited the pattern, and tried it again with what left of this fabric. It has wrinkles this and there and a pouch behind the knee (but fitting approximatively my bottom). Anyway I throw away this try too, and made another pattern that was too tight on the leg , and too short, but still have room behind the knee. Anyway, it was not a damaged fabric, but a fabric I dont liked too much. Then I got LIGHT eurekâ ! Streching in width reduce the lenghth of the fabric in proportion. I’ll probably wont get a Nobel for this discovery, but that something to mention if your legs are shaped. So I went again making another pattern, and after cutting there and curving this while sewing with the other hand, I managed to get a decent leggings. The one after was perfect fit, my pattern is in hard carboard and I am addicted. Tonight I cutted the tenth …

  47. Dani
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    This is one of the best tutorials I’ve ever read. I have proportionally large thighs, so finding leggings that fit is /impossible/. I’ve just drafted and sewn my first pair of leggings from some galaxy fabric and the fit is perfect!

    I used a high quality cotton lycra with quite a bit of stretch and recovery. I drafted without any seam allowance, sewed a 1/2″ seam, and they were a bit baggy about the knees and crotch. Took everything in another inch and now it’s perfect. Still deciding on a final length…

    Thank you so much!!

  48. Joyce
    Posted May 25, 2015 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    I am preparing my pattern following your instructions. I am a bit confused about the negative seam allowance of 1/4″. I am taking off 1″ in the 5 measurements you mentioned (waist, hip, thigh, knee & ankle). Should I take the additional 1/4″ off as well? Also, the measurements I took for my pattern turned out to be: the front rise measurement is 7 3/4″, the back rise is 9″, but the measurement from the thigh to where she wants her waistband is 7 1/4″. So when I draw the line it curves from front rise, down to the waistband mark & then back up to the back rise. Does that sound strange? Do I need to bring the waistband mark up to the 7 3/4 mark? Or have I measured incorrectly?
    Thank you for your tutorial and you patience in figuring out my questions.

    • Miranda
      Posted May 25, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Hi there Joyce! The amount you take off for seam allowance really depends on the stretch of your fabric! I’d start with just the 1″, then you can always go back and take more off after trying them on (and you can’t easily add more:)
      As far as the rise, I’d stick to the 7 3/4″. The body naturally curves from what will be the center of the crotch, where all four seams meet, to the waistband. So just because the measurement is longer, doesn’t mean that the linear measurement will be, if that makes sense. You have to take into account the curve of the body. Again, start with the larger measurement, and if once she tries them on she’d like to lower the waistband, that will be pretty easy!

      Good Luck, I’m happy to help!

      xo Miranda

  49. Holly
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    I have finished my first pair and my butt has some saggy baggy. I’m thinking that perhaps because I have a flat bum and round belly…I may need to change the ratio of the rise? I have 2 inches in the back and 1 inch in the front. On my sewing machine I removed 2 inches from the back and now they fit. So, what do you think? How should I proceed to alter the pattern.

    Thank you in advance Miranda! Every other part fit perfectly and I only added a seam allowance to the waist. (I’m using swim suit nylon/spandex for kayaking pants.)

    • Miranda
      Posted May 28, 2015 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      If you removed 2″ from the back and then they fit, go ahead and reduce the back rise pattern by those 2″ and you should be set!

  50. Alice
    Posted May 29, 2015 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your excellent tutorial! I followed your instructions today and made 2 pairs of leggings that fit me so perfectly I don’t want to take them off. My foot couldn’t fit through the ankle opening after cover stitching the hem in my first try but I cut off the stitches and serged a narrow cuff on instead, problem fixed easily.

  51. Posted June 9, 2015 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the great design clothes online tutorial.

  52. Josie
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m excited to try this but I’m a bit confused about one part. You say to take the thigh measurement at the widest part of the thigh. This measurement is, I’d say, a couple inches lower than the crotch. (it is even shown this way in your drawing.) But then the front and back rise measurement are taken from the height of the crotch. So.. what happens to that missing gap in height between thigh measurement and crotch? It seems like I wouldn’t want to add those inches into the rise, or the crotch of the leggings will end up hanging low. Or should I actually just ignore the widest part of my thigh, and take that “thigh” measurement at the crotch height instead, assuming the fabric will stretch enough to handle the extra thigh thickness slightly below that?

    thanks for all of this by the way. I’ve never drawn a pattern before so I appreciate any help since I think I may be easily confused here!

    • Miranda
      Posted July 2, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      You’re right on, and I just haven’t edited this post yet! Take the thigh measurement at the crotch. The HIGHEST part of the thigh, not necessarily the widest:) good luck!

      • Josie
        Posted July 3, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        awesome, thanks! I’m about to start making these right now, thanks so much for all this great info!!

  53. Alexa
    Posted July 4, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I found this tutorial and I was a bit apprehensive about using so much fabric, so I adapted it to make a pair of shorts first. It worked great!! I actually had followed a youtube tutorial elsewhere where the girl used all straight lines and the rise in the front and back was the same… they fit HORRIBLY and sagged in the crotch. So I came back to this pattern and followed it to make another pair of shorts and they fit like a dream. Thanks! Leggings are totally next, once this heat wave is over anyway! 🙂

  54. Steph
    Posted August 9, 2015 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    First off, thanks for the awesome tutorial! I just have a quick question regarding the back rise – do you measure following the curve of the bum right down to the bottom of the cheeks or do you measure straight down to the ruler after the widest part of the curve? I hope I’m making sense here :/ I’ll be making these for a catwoman costume so I’m wanting them to be pretty form fitting.

    • Miranda
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      I measure with a straight line, then make the gentle curve on paper after:)

    Posted August 29, 2015 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    me encantan los leggings y esta manera me facina gracias soy de PERU…

  56. George
    Posted October 26, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Permalink


    Very nice description. Thanks. One remark, it would help if the numbers on both pictures would match. This would easen the drawing of the patern.

  57. paula
    Posted December 30, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    thank you for the pattern! now i made all my leggings and shorts for this summer, i expect to make some jeans or leggins with other fabrics for the winter!!
    thank you very much again!!!

  58. Posted January 15, 2016 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    The best tutorial (and the only one so well explained) I have found. I am do glad I found your site.

  59. Roelene
    Posted January 15, 2016 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Thank you for taking the time to write and publish this tutorial. It work out 100% first time. Absolutely love my pants and so excited to finally have a pattern that fits!

  60. Patrick Benson
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Is there an easy way to add “feeT to this pattern? Any suggestion on how? Thanks…

  61. Theresa
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    I have made these for myself and love them. My issue now is that my friend who wants me to make some for her has very skinny thighs and a large abdomen. How does the rise depth work if the actual thigh measurement is 23.5in and the waist is 50 in.? I am not sure what to do with the negative number I get from the calculations and where to go next. I hope this is making sense. Thanks so much for the tutorial and any help you can offer me would be so appreciated.

    • Miranda
      Posted January 25, 2016 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      Great question! I have a little bit of experience with this, and it definitely takes some maneuvering to get a great fit, but is totally possible. Because the 1/2 waist is wider than the thigh circumference, you’ll get that negative number, like you said. You’ll need to add some measurements to your pattern so that you get the correct fit! Start with measuring the waist just barely above the crotch, rather than where the final waistband will sit. 1/2 of that low waist measurement should be slightly lower than the thigh circumference (giving you somewhere to start with the rise depth). Then measure the was it 1″ up, and another 1″ up and so forth to get the initial rise curve. At some point, the number will even out, then get bigger. At that point in the pattern you’ll see your line start to curve back outward, or opposite of the example on this post. The beauty of a custom pattern is that you can make it fit any of our super diverse bodies, though! I hope you understand the process! Good luck!

  62. Diya
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    This is an awesome way to make a drafting tutorial . So clear. Thanks a lot. I have a question. Why is the front and bag rise depths measured from end of lines toward the central vertical line. And why not from the central vertical lines toward the ends ? Pease let me know

  63. Anna
    Posted April 6, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    That is great! I just used it and it worked, thank you!

  64. Shelby
    Posted May 10, 2016 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    After I measured the front rise depth and back rise depth and drew everything up correctly– the front half is a bit wider than the back, which doesn’t make sense because wouldn’t the back be bigger because butt is bigger than front? Wouldn’t that lead to a saggy crotch? So why is back rise depth multiplied by .66 and front .33 when I feel like it shouldn’t be switched so the butt has more room than the front. Also noticed that the waist is a little bit bigger than what it should be. Because after you draw the line up front the front/back rise marks, it automatically does the waist for you but I measured everything correctly and triple checked. And the waist is a little bit bigger than it should be. I hope that makes sense! Any help would be awesome!! Everything else about this pattern is amazing, it’s just those things that confuse me.

  65. LeAnne
    Posted May 25, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Great tutorial! However, on your measurements diagram, 6 and 8 are switched. 🙂

  66. Posted June 8, 2016 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    OMG you changed my life! I hate wearing pants and I pretty much wear leggings or shorts every day. I bought some fabric almost a year ago to make my own leggings and I finally tackled the project (that I was afraid of for some reason) using your tutorial and it’s perfect! I just finished my first pair and now I have this amazing pattern to use over and over again! I’m about to go fabric crazy! I can’t believe I paid $40 a pair, way too many times! <3 <3 <3 I wish I could give you a hug. Thanks for sharing your magic!!!

  67. Qualita
    Posted July 30, 2016 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    I am a newbie and your tutorial was excellently explained. Can’t wait to make my leggings

  68. Kelley
    Posted September 5, 2016 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    How would you make this with a yoga band style waist instead of the elastic?

  69. Guy
    Posted September 13, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I’m a guy and we need to work out how much Material in Yards for Wrestling tights.
    We are 6″ 3′ (six foot three inches), and about 41 inch waist.
    Everything we read is like some alien language (including your great description and maths).
    So basically (as guys) how much Material in Yards for 1x pair of Tights?

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