I remember distinctly, around 2008, when Blair on Gossip Girl declared that "Tights are NOT pants!" At the time, I was wont to agree. It had become the trend to wear basic cotton black tights a with a slightly longer than normal shirt and call it an outfit. The problem was that not all black leggings are created equal and this led to a lot of mildly see-through pants going down the sidewalk.
If only Blair Waldorf could see how far the humble pair of leggings has come in the last 12 years! Since then, athleisure has exploded and not only have I come to believe athletic leggings are a perfectly acceptable pair of pants, but I've also started wearing them pretty regularly in my own life. Part of this change of heart is how popular and available solid weight athletic fabrics have become and how amazingly they've progressed since the days of black cotton jersey.
All that preamble is to say that I'm super excited about this month's boxes, featuring the wonderful, comfortable, ever-so-versatile leggings!
There are two ways you can go with these pants. The first is the simple, natural fabric route to create a pair of leggings like a tighter pair of sweatpants, something that is perfect for lounging around the house. The other is the more athletic, performance wear look with specially designed fabrics that wick away moisture and stretch to fit your body.
Since it can be hard to find these fabrics at your local fabric store, we decided to go this route and put together some boxes for you to make a fabulous pair of leggings that would put Lululemon to shame. Featuring performance knits and some great patterns, we think you'll love these leggings boxes, whether you're planning to wear them to exercise or just throw them on for errands or whatever your life throws at you!
Sew Fearless Box: Isabelle Leggings from Jalie Patterns
- Purple Heather Spandex Knit/Jade Green Accent - Designed specifically for yoga and athletic wear, this polyester spandex knit wicks moisture and has excellent recovery so your leggings will last longer and wear better. In a deeply saturated purple and a bright jade green, it will create a unique pair of leggings that you can't buy in stores. Plus, did we mention that the knit is touch-ably soft? If you want to make a brightly colored pair of leggings, this is the fabric for you!
- Charcoal Gray Bamboo Jersey/Black Accent - There's a reason that classic solid colored leggings are so popular. You can pair them with practically anything and use them as both layers under a dress or tunic and as workout clothes. I wanted to go beyond the classic black, so I chose a dark charcoal and paired it with black accents so you can get a traditional look without being completely one color. Plus, this bamboo fabric is soft and breathable and will be a great option whether for yoga or netflix-watching. It's a win-win!
- Blue/Pewter Floral Print Ciré Knit/Pewter Accent - If the athleisure movement has taught us anything, it's that sometimes you just want a pair of bold leggings. And this is the bold choice! Ciré knit is often used in dancewear and has a liquid look finish that resembles polished metal. Combined with a fabulous print, this fabric will make a statement. Plus, the nylon spandex is breathable, completely opaque, and has great recovery (There's a reason it's used in dancewear). It even has UV protection to keep you covered when you're exercising outside!
Sew Confident Box: Ooh La Leggings from Papercut Patterns
I plan the themes for the boxes several months ahead, and, I must admit, I had a bit of a panic when I learned that Papercut Patterns was discontinuing several of their patterns, including these leggings. Luckily, I was able to snap up a bunch before they sold out and now I can offer them to you in this box.
Why these leggings over others, you ask? Papercut always has unique style lines and these leggings are no exception. Curved lines define the leg and evoke gothic cathedral arches. I really do love an architectural line! With these details, you can transform simple fabrics into amazing and unique leggings. Plus, in the right fabric, you can achieve a dressier look so you can pair them with boots and a long sweater for a casual and chic winter outfit!
With that in mind, I chose fabrics for both a fun, athletic look as well as a more classic style. So, here they are!
- Heather Raspberry Fleece Backed Spandex - If you wondered the best way to make a simple spandex into the ultimate cozy fabric, adding fleece to the back is the best way I can think of. The added brushed softness means the fabric will feel amazing against your skin and it will keep you warm, especially if you use these leggings for outdoor things like running or biking. The color is bold but not too bright and the striated pattern will show off the style lines nicely. A warm and stylish choice!
- Black/Charcoal Double Side Chitosante Knit - Never heard of chitosante? Don't worry, me either until recently. It's made by combining the fiber from, of all things, crab shells and polyester fiber, making it odor resistant, anti-microbial, and moisture-wicking, all excellent things to have in an athletic fabric. Who knew?! This fabric is a double knit with one side black and the other charcoal, allowing you to choose which side suits your wardrobe. You could even colorblock if you wanted!
- Green Strata Print Spandex - This print is all about the color! A bright turquoise green with blue, navy, and white lines brushed across it. The fabric itself has a soft hand and great recovery, plus, it's moisture-wicking and fast dry to keep you comfortable. The slightly blurry lines of the fabric will also look great as you move, and they will show off the style lines of the sewing pattern when you're still. So no matter what you're doing, you'll look great!
Sew Curvy Box: Belmont Leggings and Spruce Tank from Cashmerette
Back in 2018, Cashmerette introduced their workout collection, and it couldn't be better suited for this month's theme. In the collection, they had the leggings, a workout tank, and a loose dolman tee. We've already offered the dolman tee in our Sweatpants Box last year, which left the other two for the taking. And because our Sew Curvy Box tries to go above and beyond, we're offering BOTH in this box. That means you can create an entire workout outfit with this month!
The Belmont Leggings are perfect for both lounging and getting fit. They come with options for a gusset or not, depending on how much movability you need, and they have two waistband options, a simple elastic one or a wide, foldable yoga version. This allowed me to play with more color-blocking to give you a truly unique look.
The Spruce Tank is your new favorite fitted workout top, with princess seams, wide shoulders to cover your sports bra, and an option for cap sleeves for a little bit of extra coverage. It's fitted without being constricting and will move with you whatever you're doing, from downward dog to hiking to sitting on the couch.
We have the traditional three fabric choices for the Belmont Leggings, plus two options for the Spruce Tank. So, without further, let's take a look!
- Poseidon Blue Zen Nylon Jersey - This fabric is specifically designed for yoga wear - it's in the name - and is made with the same fibers you'd find in yoga pants from Athleta or Lululemon. These nylon fibers are ultra fine, making the fabric lightweight yet completely opaque, always good when bending and stretching. The fabric also has a super soft hand and is moisture wicking, plus, the gorgeous blue color, like a blue green ocean color, is great change from the classic black without being too bright. A simply lovely fabric!
- Navy & Neon Peach Polyester Spandex - The 1980s gave spandex a bit of a bad name, but I'm reclaiming it as it has so many wonderful properties. This spandex is matte, silky, and highly saturated, with great recovery. It's also used for swimwear, so it has 50 UPF built in and it's abrasion resistant, meaning it won't pill after one workout. The dark blue pairs beautifully with the neon peach (complementary colors for the win!) And I really love the pop of color at the waistband.
- Teal Sunburst Printed Nylon Spandex - The cousin of the polyester spandex above, this fabric has the same great qualities with the UPF, the abrasion resistance, and the excellent recovery. Plus, the nylon gives the fabric a noticeable sheen, which makes the sunburst/spirograph print really come alive. The circles themselves are made up of light green, black and even a bit of purple for good measure, and they all dance on a deep teal background for a layered pattern that is fun and funky. We're also including a half yard of black spandex for any color blocking ideas you may have!
- Duotone Lava Double Brushed Poly - I love a good double brushed poly for it's ultra soft hand and excellent stretch. This one also has a duotone print giving it a heather quality and depth of color. Lightweight and thin, it will feel great against your skin and keep you cool as you workout. The solid color will also show off the princess seams, or you could color block with any leftover fabric from the leggings to create a cohesive look. Ooo, the possibilities!
- Black Textured Dobby Knit - Everyone loves a basic black, but basic this fabric is not. The dobby weave creates a checked texture on this fabric, adding a subtle hint of pattern and extra movement. Nylon fibers give the fabric a soft hand and excellent breathability, and a healthy dose of spandex gives it great recovery. A unique yet classic option!
Sew Indulgent Box: Pacific Leggings from Sewaholic Patterns and Nikita Workout Tank from Jalie Patterns
Sewaholic really knocked it out of the park with their Pacific Leggings. One of the very last patterns they released, they epitomize the athleisure thing that has happened in the past few years. Cool seaming, diagonal lines, a zipper pocket big enough for a phone (!) - this pattern has it all and I love all the possibilities it opens up for customization.
Like in the Sew Curvy Box, I'm also pairing these leggings with a workout top, in this case, the Nikita Workout Tank. As I said above, Jalie Patterns does workout clothes well and this top is no exception. Perfect for soft, drapey knits, it's a nice contrast to the tight fit of the leggings and because it has options for either a tank or tunic, you can transform your workout outfit into an everyday outfit without changing your sewing pattern!
For fabrics, I wanted to play with some color-blocking on the leggings (Are you sensing a theme?), so you'll get an extra yard of contrast fabric for two of the boxes. For the Nikita Tank, you'll also get a half yard of black jersey for the option of a contrast yoke.
So, let's get to it!
- Mint Textured Web Nylon Spandex - A nylon poly blend, this fabric boasts a black web-like texture over a deep mint background. The web will flex and contract as you move, creating eye-catching movement and texture. With great recovery and breathability, the fabric will be joy to wear. Plus, paired with a matching matte green spandex, you've got the makings for a one of a kind, high end looking pair of leggings that will put Lululemon to shame!
- Eggplant Micro Polyester Spandex - If you're going to chose a solid knit for your leggings, why not go with a rich, deep purple like this eggplant spandex? The micro polyester makes this fabric thin yet completely opaque, and gives the fabric a touch-ably soft hand. The interlock weave is abrasion resistant and UPF rated, so your leggings will be as durable as they are stylish. The matte fabric will show off the seaming of the leggings, especially with some good topstitching, and they will pair with both your workout tops and a tunic so you can wear these pants practically anywhere!
- Navy Abstract Printed Nylon Spandex - It's hard to see the pattern of this fabric, but if you look closely, it's a black on navy marble or almost nighttime camouflage look. Whatever it is, I absolutely love it for these leggings. The lines of the pattern run vertically, creating an elongating effect that will show off the panels of the leggings well. Paired with a black spandex, you have all you need to create a pair of leggings that are unique, subtle, and customized completely to you!
Nikita Workout Tank
- Slate Blue Bamboo Jersey - I absolutely love this bamboo jersey! It's silky soft, doesn't pill, has amazing stretch and recovery, and best yet for your workout, is naturally cool to the touch. The slate blue color is calm and serene and will pair beautifully with any of the leggings above (I personally love it with the eggplant color). Plus, the drape is semi-fluid really suits the yoked cut of the top and will fall nicely from the bust. A lovely choice!
- Printed Stars Bamboo Jersey - My favorite printed jersey (I've used it twice before in other designs), this fabric is medium weight and wonderfully thin. Printed with a constellation of stars, the pattern is fun without being cutesy, and will add a bit of whimsy to your workout wardrobe. The bamboo is naturally cool and anti-microbial and the silky soft hand will feel amazing against your skin, even when sweaty. If you're looking for a print that can go from gym to brunch, this is the one for you!
Whew! What a month! February is so short, I like to choose projects that are quick but satisfying and these leggings certainly fit the bill. If they're not for you, though, I've got the culottes boxes from 2019 to entice you. Loose-fitting and breezy, they are basically the opposite type of pants from leggings, but they are just as quick and easy to sew.
As the end of the year approaches, I'd just like to close this blog with a wholehearted thank you for supporting me and this business and to wish you a wonderful and promising new year!
Until next time (and next year). . .