Today I'm really excited to share a new make with you. These compression leggings have been on my to-sew list for my upcoming trip to Copenhagen and I've finished them just in time. The pattern is the Avery Leggings by Helen’s Closet and it's amazing. I’ve made a few pairs of leggings before, using a pattern I drafted myself and the Virginia Leggings pattern. They are really fun and easy to sew. And they make great wardrobe staples. The Avery Leggings by Helen’s Closet is an upgrade from the basic leggings pattern. It features a two-piece waistband and a gusset making it more similar to athletic wear. I especially love the high waisted option and that the gusset provides more comfort and ease of movement.
To start out, I made a wearable muslin using two pieces of fabric from leftover stretch fabric. To make a full length, I had used black for the top half and gray for the bottom half of the legs. I sewed up View B in a size Medium and added 1” to the rise and 2” to the length of the leg. For reference, my waist is 28-29” and my hips are 39”. So my waist is a medium and my hips are just .5 inch bigger. Also, I’m 5’11” with a long torso. View B has a high waist and extra long legs and these leggings are definitely long. In fact, the waist is almost too long for me! Otherwise the fit is perfect, even though my hips are a little out of range. The fabric I used is so stretchy that it’s very forgiving. (By the way, I wrote a post with tips for sewing the Virginia Leggings last year for Sew My Style and you might find some of them helpful with this pattern too.)
So for my next pair of leggings, I bought some black compression fabric from Blackbird Fabrics. I can no longer find the fabric I bought from Blackbird but they have lots of gorgeous knits currently in stock. If you are looking for compression fabric, I did find a lot of options available from Mood. Compression fabric is often used in athletic wear or in clothing to help circulation. I’m planning to wear these leggings when I travel on planes to promote circulation. I have a pair that I purchased last year but the length is a little short on me.
Compression fabric does not stretch as easily as other fabric so on the advice of some helpful IG friends, I cut a size Large for this pair. This time I added 5/8" to the rise and 1" to the length of the legs. I'm really happy with these adjustments and I think the waist now hits at just the right place. As I sewed, I basted and tried on the leggings to check the fit. Pulling these on is definitely reminiscent of putting on control top pantyhose. Which is the point. You want them to be tight but too tight would uncomfortable. Anyway, I was pretty happy with the Large and to make them slightly tighter, I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance for parts of the garment (not for the gusset).
The instructions for this pattern are really fantastic. Very easy to understand with lots of tips for beginners and instructions for using a conventional machine (as opposed to a serger). The illustrations are easy to understand and I didn’t have any problems with the construction. They are a little more complicated than your standard pair of leggings but those extra details make the fit really contoured. I've also made a few Blackwood Cardigans by Helen's Closet and it's one of my favorite patterns. If you're looking for wardrobe building patterns that you'll want to use over and over, I highly recommend checking out her shop.
I really like both pairs of leggings. I’ve worn the wearable muslin to the gym a couple of times and they held up really well. I’ll be testing out the compression leggings soon on my trip to Copenhagen. The only thing I’m worried about is that they’ll feel too tight by the end of the journey. Fingers crossed! In these photos I'm wearing the leggings with Neenah Dress cropped into a top. I'll be sharing this one soon.