Does the very thought of wrestling your baby’s squishy little legs into a fresh pair of Levi’s have you contemplating the pros of nudism? It might be time to sew up some jeggings…
The bulk of this tutorial will be on modifying a basic legging pattern but I will add some notes at the end about modifying harem style pants in similar fashion.
But first things first, let’s talk materials. I’ve tried a bunch of different jegging fabrics, some great and some not so much. I won’t bore you with the duds but here are a few I’ve really loved so far:
-Lillestoff Summerjean (pictured above)
-NOSH Denim Sweatshirting (see the lighter blue further down in the post)
The Lillestoff is a little softer and stretchier and the NOSH has a bit more structure, both are absolutely lovely to work with. For thread I usually go with the classic “blue jean gold” from Maxi Lock and a similar hue from Guttermann, but this would also be a great project for fun topstitching colors. Whatever floats your boat! (Just keep in mind that the inner seams will show when you roll the cuff so pick something you like the look of for that stitching too)
This mod will work with any leggings (no yoga bands, just elastic waists) so grab your favorite pattern and let’s get started!
Start with the pattern piece that is 1-2 sizes up from what your child usually wears. All the modeled pictures in this post are 1 size up on my fairly skinny 19mo and 4yr old girls for reference. Sizing up is important for two reasons… 1) We will be slashing the outer leg to add a seam and will need a little extra width for seam allowance. 2) Most jegging knit isn’t as stretchy as your average jersey so your finished product will end up looking like fancy denim spanx if you use the size you normally would. Not exactly what we’re going for here 😉
Once you have your pattern selected go ahead and cut out your two leg pieces. Cut without adjustments if going up two sizes but add roughly .5-1” to the hem if going up just one size… this just ensures you have enough length at the bottom to roll a nice cuff. Set aside your scraps to make the pockets from later! Then fold your legs in half as pictured below (matching up the inseams) and cut up the crease.
You will now have two front pieces and two back pieces. Pair the backs together (the ones with the longer rise) and the fronts together (the shorter rise) and stitch the rise seams like so…
Now the topstitching fun begins! There are many options so just pick whichever is available to you and/or fits the look you are going for:
-Regular sewing machine with single needle (triple stitch looks great)
-Coverstitch machine single needle chain
-Regular sewing machine with double needle
-Coverstitch machine with two needles
(triple stitch and two needle coverstitch are pictured in a close up farther down)
Open the front piece and topstitch the rise seam, repeat for the back.
Next up are the back pockets. They are a bit of a hassle. But if you’re up for a little guesswork and finagling they add a lot to the finished look. Grab the scraps you set aside earlier and cut out two rectangles (width x length+1″ for hem). If you don’t feel 100% confident on the sizing just cut a little bigger, you can always cut them down. Fold the hem down, press and topstitch. I leave my edges raw but if you prefer to fold the edges in that’s fine too, just be sure to cut the pockets a little bigger.
Pocket placement is a wonderful mixture of idealism, luck and anger management. Don’t let it beat you!
I generally aim for the middle of things (halfway between side and rise seams and about halfway down from the waist to the crotch). It can be visually helpful to fold the waist down about 1″ like it will be once you add your elastic. Once you have everything arranged to your liking (or even if not to your liking but you have had enough) pin in place and topstitch those suckers down!
Well done, the worst is behind you!
Line up your back and front pieces with right sides together, close your inseam and topstitch. I like to stagger the rise seams (like pictured below) since the bulk in that area is significant and tough to topstitch through. If you prefer to line them up nicely, and are prepared to deal with the consequences, then by all means go for it! (but don’t say I didn’t warn you 😉 )
Once your inseam is complete you can finish the hemline if you like (I serge the raw edge) and close up your outer leg seam. Then its on to the elastic and that’s it!
Cut your elastic using the measurement given for your child’s usual size, you do not need to size up. Sew the elastic in as usual and topstitch. (If you look closely you can see one of my needles isn’t threaded… I made it 3/4 of the way around before I noticed! Fudge)
Give the hem a quick cuff and your jeggings are finished! Run off now and bribe your child into wearing them, at least for a few cute insta posts 😉
Modifying the harem style pants is a very similar process. The main difference is that they already have a side seam and tend to have a looser fit so sizing up isn’t necessary. If your harem pants pattern has a regular hem you will need to add about 1-1.5″ to bottom and if they have a cuff I usually add half the height of the cuff + 1″
Since the harem style doesn’t have a rise seam you can add stitching to mimic one like I’ve done on the pair pictured below. If you’re feeling really fancy you could also stitch on a fly and/or pockets using the same technique. Have fun with it!
Other than that the process is exactly the same:
-Add pockets (optional)
-Close and topstitch the inseam
-Finish raw hemline
-Close the outer leg