Avery Leggings Three Ways
Today I have not one, but three(!) distinct pairs of Avery Leggings to share with you for #SewMyStyle2019 Activewear! It wouldn’t be a MEGMADE blog post if I didn’t touch on some emotional facets of sewing activewear, so read on for some thoughts and a closer look at each pair of Avery Leggings.
When I found out I’d be leading Sew My Style for the month of January and the Activewear theme I was initially very excited—all of my workout leggings were worn out so this was the perfect jumpstart to make some replacements! But then I realized that this also meant I had to blog about activewear, and probably even take photos in activewear…and slowly my excitement turned to nervousness.
Growing up I danced competitively (in the niche sport of Scottish Highland dance) and participated in musical theater, often performing in multiple shows at once. And having my body scrutinized was no rare occurrence. Though I was thinner and in pretty good physical shape then, I still regularly received comments from teachers and choreographers about how my body looked when it moved or wore my costumes. Comments that were made to me at thirteen years old are still very easily recalled seventeen years later.
So when I thought about taking photos in my activewear, a lot of those memories and feelings started to resurface. I imagined people looking at my blog post and scoffing, “yeah, like she actually works out”. I worried that no matter how well I made my clothes, people would only notice the body in them.
This is a hard place to be when in my objective, rational mind I truly believe that my body is an instrument and that I like to exercise because I want my body to be strong. I want to be able to play with my children. I want my kids to see me working out because it makes my body feel good, not just because I want or feel pressured to look a certain way. I want them to know that exercise isn’t a punishment.
So despite my inclination to apologize for my body, or my fears of how I’m perceived, I am making a choice to quiet those voices. I made some kick-ass activewear and wearing it makes me feel good while moving my body—or sitting on the couch with my babies.
As I mentioned before, I was in serious need of new athletic leggings. Mine were a few years old and had worn holes in the inner thighs which was very uncomfortable when exercising. So making some sort of legging was a no-brainer. I chose the Avery Leggings by Helen’s Closet because it looked like a great basic pattern with no outer side seam, a gusset included, and two different rises. It would make the quintessential black leggings and could also be used to create a variety of activewear bottoms. I didn’t set out to make three pairs, but as I began to look at different fabrics and made my first pair, I ended up loving them so much I just kept going! Now I have three pairs of Avery Leggings in different styles and fabrics to share and compare. For all pairs I made size XL, high rise, and shortened the length by 2.5”.
My first pair was a black legging made in Lululemon deadstock from Portland Sewing Studio. The fabric has more stretch than I had envisioned so my leggings have a less compression-y feel and the rise ends up wearing higher than my other pairs. These are great for loungewear and yoga. After testing out flatlocking on dozens of scraps I still wasn’t happy with the look so I did a faux flatlock seam on this pair which I like well enough on the black, but I probably wouldn’t do it on a one sided, printed fabric.
While at Joann’s earlier this month I was perusing the performance wear section and stumbled upon this mauve knit with rose gold foil gradation, and I knew it absolutely was coming home with me. To distribute the large portion of rose gold foil I chose to add a stripe to the outside of my leggings by simply cutting the legging pattern into three pieces and adding 1/4” seam allowance to the sides. I assembled the leggings with my serger and didn’t do any kind of topstitching except for along the waistband.
My final pair of Avery Leggings was the most in depth. I have always loved the look of the athletic leggings with mesh panels but had never tried a ready to wear pair, so I decided to really go for it with a lovely pink floral antimicrobial tricot and stretch mesh from Mood. Inside the blocked side panel I also created pockets so I had a place to put my phone and other small necessities. To keep the mesh panels nice and neat I topstitched all of my seams in where I wanted them with a 5mm zigzag stitch, which, though simple, is probably my favorite finish of the three. The tricot was the least stretchy of all of the materials so they are a little snug (and light so undergarment choices must be made carefully!), but I can happily report than they made it through a lower body BBG workout and Cosmic Kids Yoga with my littles without a single popped seam!
Though different styles and different materials, I love all three pairs of leggings and have been wearing them regularly the past week. Having clothes I enjoy (like a pair of freaking rose gold leggings!) also make it more fun to get up and get active. I was so pleased with the fit of the Avery Leggings and will certainly go back to that pattern again and again.
Here’s to being STRONG!
PS: Make sure to check out my previous blog post on how I hacked the Tallinn Sweater with a crew neck for my Sew My Style Activewear top!