Self-Drafted Jeggings

Jeggings Thumbnail

A couple of months ago I got the idea in my head that I wanted some jeggings.  I am really not sure why this idea took hold of me so strongly, but I couldn't shake it.  I finally bit the bullet and ordered some fabric from Tissu in the UK on Melissa's recommendation.  I refuse to convert the shipping, which was bad enough in pounds, to dollars to figure out how much I paid, but I got the fabric in 3 days so I got my money's worth in shipping, at any rate.  The total cost came out to about $15/yd, which is a fair price for the fabric--it is as opaque as one can hope from a knit and has reasonably good recovery.

I have had a pair of RTW yoga pants for probably 10 years that are really perfect for me.  When they started to wear out, I tried to buy a new pair but the company, Marika, had changed the fabric content in the meantime to a cotton blend.  I have just not found cotton knits to have adequate recovery or to be good for actual, you know, yoga, so I rubbed off a pattern and made a new pair, which are perfect except that the leg seam swings all the way around at the bottom so that the inseam is at the outseam.  Annette Hickman said this is a grain issue.

A Million Little Pieces
The yoga pant pattern was my starting place for the jeggings.  I based the leg width on a pair of running tights, laying them on top of the pattern and tracing off from them.  Creating the pattern with its million fiddly little pieces (front facing, front yoke, front pocket facing, back yoke, coin pocket, and back pocket) was a horror and took about 2 1/2 hours.   But the construction went faster than I thought at about 5 hours.

Cereal Box Templates

I copied the details, including the pockets, the back yoke size, and the topstitching patterns from a pair of Levi 512s.  I made 3 templates out of a cereal box:  back pocket, coin pocket, and fly.   What is a better material for this that can stand up to a steamy iron?

My main concern was that all the piecing and topstitching would compromise the stretch so much I wouldn't be able to pull the pants on.  I set the zigzag width to 1 for all the topstitching and stretched as I topstitched.  As it turns out, I have no trouble getting in and out of them, but I don't think I'll tempt fate by doing a straight topstitch on the next pair.

I've never made jeans and don't have a jeans pattern (I don't think), so the most taxing part of the construction was figuring out what order to do things in.  I now totally understand why people gripe about the thread-changing aspect of jeans construction.  You can structure the construction to some extent so that you group items needing topstitching together, but plenty of the topstitching has to be done before you can move to the next step in construction.  I switched back and forth between regular thread and topstitching thread probably 8 times.  I used nearly an entire Guterman spool of jeans topstitching thread.


My Levis, interestingly, do not have a typical front pocket.  There is a pocket opening and a pocket facing, but the inside guts is a pocket stay that goes all the way to the fly.  So I copied that detail for my jeggings.  Because the jeggings are a pull-on, I cut the front facing and front yoke on the fold at center front, so they sit smoothly underneath the fly and offer a tiny amount of tummy control.  I cut them out of a thin black knit heavy on the lycra.

Blind Fly

If you thought I finally tackled the fly front...well, think again.  Ha!  There is no zipper in these, but I wanted the look of a fly.  I cut the center front seam with a fly extension.  I basted above the fly extension and then pressed the extension to one side.  Using my cereal box template, I topstitched the extension in place with the CF still basted shut.  Then I opened up the basted seam and topstitched it and voila!  Fly.  Or close enough.  I based the length of the fly on the distance from front crotch of some low-rise jeans I have.  I did not want the fly to be too long.  However, it ended up being bizarrely short.  Will definitely lengthen the fly next time.

Pocket and Fly Detail

The waistband is elastic.  Off the body, these jeggings look like terrifying mom jeans, but the waistband sits fairly smoothly while worn.  Not that it matters, as I *never* plan to wear these styled so that the waistband is showing--helllooooooo saddlebags.  Even so, I topstitched at the top and bottom of the waistband so it wouldn't look too plain.

Back Crotch Compare
Front Crotch Compare

So here's an interesting comparison:  the crotch on the RTW yoga pants is nearly *identical* to the custom-fit crotch created in Annette's class (will write about the second class when I have time).

I thought the yoga pants fit so well partly because of the fabric's stretch, but apparently I just happened to have found pants that were built almost exclusively for me on the sale rack of a Ross or TJ Maxx sometime in the distant past!

I am pretty happy with these though they are by no means perfect.  The grain is still all wrong--the bottom hem spirals all the way around so the inseam is at the outseam.  I have read that the grain should be parallel to the seams, but that just isn't working.  I placed the pattern on top of my custom pants pattern, aligning the crotches, and drew the grainline from the block, so it's now at a bit of a diagonal on the jeggings pattern.  We'll see if that helps the next pair.

I most likely will not get a new, improved pair done before I go to Portugal in a week or so (eep!), so these will come with me, but here are the changes for next iteration.  The pattern has already been altered and is ready to go.

-Pocket facing double in size (the edges show inside the pocket window, ugh)
-Coin pocket moved lower
-Back pockets closer to CB
-Faux fly lengthened by one inch
-Raise front waistline 1/2 inch
-Take in CB waist by 3/8 inch

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


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