I’ve been sewing for a number of years now but one thing that I never plucked the courage up to try was sewing with Jersey! I’m not sure why, whether it was because I didn’t have a pattern that required stretch fabric, whether I hadn’t found any jersey fabric that I really wanted to work with or whether I just didn’t know what to do with it?! I’ve just been so comfortable stitching with cotton.
I’m starting to get together quite a cute little collection of jersey fabric in the Little Miss shop, I have some with more of a stretch, perfect for leggings and dresses and some that have less stretch, slightly thicker and a fleecy back, ideal for jogging bottoms, PJ bottoms and tops.
Stretch fabrics are becoming more and more popular in the world of sewing, especially with the growing popularity of baby and toddler leggings and the prints on the fabrics are pretty gorgeous! Have a pop over to our shop and have a look at our range xx
If you haven’t stitched jersey before then I’m going to show you a really easy ‘no pattern’ way to sew a pair of leggings or PJ bottoms from an existing pair. You don’t need anything other than your normal machine, foot and needle and to use a ‘stretch’ fabric stitch.
As the jersey fabric is a stretch fabric you need your stitching to be able to ‘stretch’ with the fabric when it’s being worn, a straight stitch just won’t do this. Some machines have special stitches for this but a small zig zag works perfectly well. Another benefit to sewing with jersey is that the fabric doesn't fray so there's no need to finish the seam making any jersey project so much quicker to complete if you don't own an overlocker!
Stitch your own leggings or PJ bottoms
All you need to make your own pair of leggings or PJ bottoms is an existing pair that you can trace around. I would recommend drawing a pattern first on either pattern tracing paper or baking parchment. Fold your leggings in half and place on the paper and draw around using the seam allowances as illustrated on the picture. You can choose to make them with a cuff at the ankles or without a cuff – I’m going to show you here how to make the leggings with a cuff.
Place your leggings pattern piece (cut out on the slightly shorter length to allow for the cuff) on the fold of your fabric and cut two pieces. If you choose to make leggings without the cuff then cut on the longer length, allowing 2cm for the hem to be turned up and sewn.
The cuff piece is to measure the width of the bottom of a leg piece folded out and double the length required for the cuff as you will be folding this piece widthways, remember to allow an additional 2cm for the seam allowance. Cut two pieces from the fabric.
Fold a cuff piece right sides together along the width. Place the unfolded edge in line with the bottom of a leg piece as shown here and pin.
With a 1cm seam allowance, stitch in place using a small zig zag stitch. Repeat this for the other leg.
Now place the two leg pieces together right sides touching, stitch both sides from the waist down the curve to the point of the crotch.
Now fold the legs in half the other way so that the points of each crotch piece are touching - just pinch the middle of the top piece and pull them out and lay flat as below. Line up the seam in the crotch and pin up on inside leg and down the other. Now stitch in place.
Are your leggings looking super cute and nearly ready to wear?! Now just the waistband to go!
Create a casing for the elastic (I recommend ¾ inch non roll elastic). Fold over the top of the waistband by ¼ inch, and over again by about an inch, pin in place. When stitching you need to leave a gap of approx 1.5 inches, I’ve marked mine with two pins. Starting from the back, centre seam, stitch the waist band in place making sure you stop at the double pins.
Cut your elastic to the circumference of the waistband and add an extra inch. Use a large paperclip or a safety pin to thread the elastic through the casing, over lap by and inch and sew the elastic together then pull the waistband flat and sew the gap to the casing closed.
Turn out your leggings the right way and there you have it, you’ve made a pair of no pattern leggings! Now pop them on a cute little one and go ahead and make loads more! Use this technique on a pair of jogging bottoms, PJ bottoms or your husbands lounge pants!!!