I’m sure I’ll look back on these formative years of our online business and say “Boy, I’m glad I was pregnant during that time! What an educational opportunity!” Running a business while producing and raising kiddos can be exhausting, but I am usually able to access perspective while being tired or covered in vomit (kiddo number two is a puker), and I’m glad that I’ve gotten to sew for my pregnant self and share the journey with the fabulous community of Sewing Machines that follow along.
Our “Made to Measure Leggings” class was released a few months before the birth of my second child, so I was pregnant during the development, testing, filming, editing, etc of this class. I’m not on camera in this one- Zede is that star- but I certainly sewed a lot of leggings in this time, and now that my second kid is almost a year old, it’s high time to hash out the details of Made to Measure Maternity Leggings in an official blog post, instead of just in live videos and discussions in The Self Sewn Wardrobe Facebook Group.
What is the Made to Measure Leggings Class?
The Made to Measure Leggings Class is an online class that takes you through the process of measuring, drafting, and constructing your leggings- no matter what equipment you have! You can use the techniques and processes in the class to make leggings for anyone- but we definitely recommend treating yourself to perfectly fitting leggings first!
Relevant Measurements for Maternity Leggings
You don’t have to take any additional measurements when making “maternity” leggings using our class. In fact, when I showed off my maternity leggings, a lot of people chimed in and said “I have a belly and I’m not pregnant!” Well, I can identify with that too! Not to worry, we help you account for all parts of your body, and the tape measure doesn’t care why your body is the size or shape it is, it just gives us the numbers we need to cover your body with fabric.
The most relevant measurement you’ll take for maternity leggings during the Made to Measure Leggings Class is the Front Rise measurement. This will go from your crotch area up to your waistline. This is the number you require to adequately cover your belly. This is revelatory for a lot of stitchers. Sometimes we think of bellies, butts, or hips as being “wide”, and we focus on circumference measurements, because that’s what pattern companies have us note in order to choose a size.
But we don’t always consider how those parts of our bodies need longer or “taller” lengths of fabric to provide proper coverage. Think of a skirt that looks “too short” in the back, because of a full bottom, or think of leggings and underwear that always roll down under a full belly- not only do we need the proper width, we need the proper height!
I went back through photos from a year ago to get my leggings pics. What was i doing 5 days before giving birth? Promoting the Made to Measure Leggings class in the Self Sewn Wardrobe Facebook Group- ha!
Fabrics for Maternity Leggings
Which fabrics are best for maternity leggings? The stretchier the better! I really enjoyed black double-brushed polyester (DBP for short) from LA Finch Fabrics for my maternity leggings. My leggings lasted me from week 17 to week 37. That’s pretty impressive- I think that I get reeeeeally big while I’m pregnant. Everyone’s body is different, but you can see in the picture below that the baby is way out front, and my leggings are still accommodating the belly!
I’ve made leggings out of lots of different fabrics since then, and I really love LA Finch 14oz cotton spandex for leggings and activewear, because it’s very stable. However, I don’t think that a stable knit like that would have lasted me as long as the DBP did. The main reason I liked the black is because it masked panty lines and body contour lines so that I could wear them as pants with these little crop-top Easy T’s that I made.
This combo of a cropped knit Easy T and high-waisted over-the-belly leggings was my pregnancy uniform, as you can see from the photo below!
I enjoyed a slim fabric band to finish the top of my maternity leggings. We don’t have a “formal” tutorial on using a fabric band to top off the leggings…yet…but I’ll say that I think it’s most appropriate for someone with a narrow waist or a larger belly that will hold up the leggings. The fabric band on it’s own isn’t as strong as the elastic waistband we teach in the class.
This blog post on a wide power-net waistband shows you how to use my personal favorite finishing technique for leggings now. It’s great for smoothing out my postpartum belly- but I think it might have been a bit restrictive and wouldn’t have stretched over my belly like the fabric waistband did.