Well, what I lack in ability I make up for in sheer determination.
Check out these leggings:
What do you think?
I think they came out ok for a first try with no 'real' pattern. I just told myself that if they came out super crappy I'd toss them and no one would ever have to know.
Here is what I did:
I took the pattern piece for the pants from Butterick 3109, which I recently used to make eleventy-nine pajama sets for Daughter, and MacGyver-ed it into a narrower pattern by folding it over itself in the middle. I compared it to the Gymboree leggings I was trying to copy, and it came pretty close, so I went for it.
The nice thing about this pattern? It has no outside leg seam, so you stitch the inner leg seams, then the crotch seam, a casing and 2 hems and you're done. SO FAST!
It worked just fine. I used a ballpoint needle and it stitched through the knit like a dream. I practiced with a double needle on some scraps before sewing the leggings, but I couldn't get it to stitch well without making a tunnel between the needles. That will take some more experimenting...for now a wide zig-zag does very nicely for the casing and hems.
Problems: Too small around the top, really. Too tight all over compared to what I was going for. These wear more like tights, and in fact I did not even put any elastic in the waistband - they stay up just fine without any. Daughter says they are comfortable, so what the heck, she can certainly wear them! But the next pair will be made slightly bigger for comfort and growing room.
For those interested, the fabric is from Joann's and is what they call, literally, "basic knit." It comes in a tube! I'm so inexperienced when it comes to anything other than wovens that I almost fell over when I got home and discovered I'd bought tubes. And since these leggings came out so well, I am heading back to buy more tubes soon...in all the colors! I mean, we're talking leggings for $3 here. To a penny-pincher like me that is beyond exciting.
However, thanks to Anne K., I believe I may have found my fabric mecca. I don't know what is wrong with me that I can't find good fabric sites online (and oh yes, I have tried ebay...friends, I give you credit if you can use ebay. I hate it because I have no patience). Anne left me a comment to check out fabric.com. I am over the moon. I want to make out with fabric.com. And when you place your first order in the US, shipping is only $2.95. I am rubbing my hands together in anticipation! And I am thinking very, very carefully about what I want because I am so taking advantage of that offer! Fabric.com is exactly what I was looking for - great fabrics at totally reasonable prices. Thank you, Anne!!