Leggings are everywhere. They come in all lengths – knee, calf and ankle. They come in all colours and patterns and fabrics. They are being worn by everyone. The young and the old. The skinnies and the curvies. Women and yes, even men. Come on now, you know some of those male skinny jeans be straight up leggings. If a man gotta be jumping up and down to get in his skinny pants, chances are they’re too tight to still be called pants. Don’t play you aint know.
In my house, leggings have been a staple for YEARS. My mom is without a doubt The Leggings Queen. She probably owns 40 pairs. No joke. Whenever we went on our yearly summer vacations to my aunt in NY, you can be sure my mom bought at least 3 new pairs of leggings for herself, as well as for my sister and I. So very easily, any of the females in my house had about 10 pairs in circulation at any given time.
Why so many? Two reasons really. Both are essentially a kind of geographic location/ culture thing.
In Barbados, as in any other tropical or hot location, there be bugs that like to snack on your blood and feast on your skin and make you totally miserable – mosquitoes and sand flies are the primary culprits (and sand flies are without a doubt the worse!). Some people, like those on my mother’s side of the family, tend to be extremely bite prone (a trait both my sister and I were blessed with) and leggings are the easiest way to add extra protection to your poor legs after you have been bathed in insect repellent.
The other reason is that in Barbados, as children, we were raised with the concept of having specific clothes to suit what you have to do and where you have to go. So you would have your school clothes (or work clothes for adults), church clothes, out clothes, and home clothes. Each of these were separate and distinct from each other, so you would never wear your out clothes to church or vice versa and your school clothes were only for school and school activities. Yeah, so trying to sneak and wear your church shoes to school because you somehow damaged your school shoes and hadn’t told your mother yet, was a sure-fire way to get some punishment. Home clothes were what you wore on evenings when you came home from school and on weekends, when you were home and didn’t have any outing or church to go to. Both out clothes and church clothes were your very best clothes, with church clothes being those which were decent and respectful enough to be worn into the House of God and out clothes being those you wore to parties and fairs and general fancy outings with family and friends.
Leggings were mostly classed as home clothes for my sister and I. But we had specific leggings that were to be worn at home and then specific leggings that were to be worn to the dance classes we both did at Erdiston Primary (and those she later wore when she was going to Dance Strides Academy on evenings). These two sets of leggings were never to be confused, as the dance leggings were the “good leggings”. Although dance tights could be retired to home clothes, just like out clothes, when they started to lose their shine or got old (and old clothes in my childhood years had to be like 3 or more years old to count as old and be worn at home).
As I got older, especially during my image conscious teenage years, big tees and leggings became a staple, for home and for out. This is also true now, even though I’m a less image conscious adult, as you can look in my wardrobe and actually count 20 pairs of leggings. Some are way old, like twelve years old and they still look good enough to be risked worn on a supermarket or mall run. Some are newer, but not nearly as durable or of a high quality as my old faithfuls and they already need replacing because of misshapen waistbands, shorn seams or long ugly runs, which is how I ended up adding leggings on to my sewing wishlist.
Burda has a really nice leggings pattern called Carol that sells for $2 and the instructions seem pretty simple and easy to follow. Seriously, US $2!!! Most leggings retail above $18. Even adding the cost of fabric, you can still make your own for less than retail. #justsaying But I was being a bit defiant and wanted to do my own thing and copy an old favourite leggings to make my new one.
Overall, it didn’t take very long to make my new Black Skinnies made with this beautiful stretch jeans fabric I found at Abed’s… sorry, I really can’t stand the word “jeggings”. At most, I’d estimate an hour and a half, and most of that time was spent tracing and cutting. I was also being very lazy and didn’t want to go through the hassle of cutting a waist band, so I used 3-inch wide elastic instead. Yes, I know. Very lazy indeed. Of course, I had to add pockets too. What good is any skirt or pants without pockets?
I’m comfortable with the results for now, but I know I’m going to tackle this leggings project again with the same fabric but using the Carol pattern and added all the fancy topstitching and back pockets like real jeans leggings. I’m not very pleased with how the crotch came out, but that area will almost always be fully covered by a top, so I won’t have to be too paranoid that someone may notice the flaws.
Abbey 3.0 Sewing Birthday Challenge Status: Item 6 Completed!
PS: I even found a website that ONLY SELLS LEGGINGS!! It’s a Leggings Superstore, if ya please… Just had to share!