In the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of travelling overseas for a few weeks at a time, both times during the cooler months of winter. My husband and I love to travel and see as much as we can when we travel, so I normally try to plan out a strategic wardrobe that will fit into one suitcase and can be washed and reworn frequently. This typically means LEGGINGS.
Both times that we’ve done longer travel stints (about 3 weeks each time), I’ve been so proud and excited to pack primarily me-made garments in my suitcase. In fact, when we went to Spain in January 2020, I don’t think a single top that I packed (even my coat!) was ready to wear – I’d made it all! This makes it even more of a bummer when I do pull out my ready to wear things, though… Which to be honest, was almost every day. As I mentioned before, leggings are the perfect travel companion – for me, they go with everything, are perfectly acceptable to wear as pants, and are comfortable. They roll up nicely into a suitcase, so they don’t take up too much space, and are perfect whether I’m trying to explore a museum, take a little hike, spend a full day on a train, or have a nice dinner with my good looking husband. I wear black leggings daily when we travel, but they’ve always seemed like such a boring thing to sew in my mind – why sew a simple thing like leggings, in a boring solid fabric, when I could sew them in fun and unusual prints? Well, I guess this is the perfect example of why.
When we were in Spain, I decided that before our next travel adventure, I’d make myself a couple of pairs of everyday black leggings. Not only do I know that I would wear them constantly, but this would mean that I could truly bring along an entire wardrobe of things I’ve sewn for myself next time we go somewhere fun and new! So when this black ponte came across my inbox, I knew it was time.
This ponte was a dream to sew. Ponte is a thick, stable knit, so you don’t need to worry too much about slippery fabrics or stretching out your material while you’re working. I threaded my serger with black thread, pulled out my favorite tried and true leggings pattern, and got to work. As I mentioned before, I’m not much for “boring” sewing, so of course I had to add a little extra to these plain black leggings! I downloaded some pattern extras, and chose to make a version of these leggings with a side panel and pockets. I always find myself tucking my phone into the waistband of my leggings when I’m running errands or out for a quick walk, so I was super excited to have the pocket feature on these.
I added the waistband as the final finishing touch, held my leggings up in the air and thought… “Hmm. Those look rather small.” I didn’t take into account that a stable knit like ponte doesn’t have nearly as much stretch as something like a brushed poly or cotton lycra! These bad boys were SLIM.
Slim or not, I can be pretty stubborn. With a little wriggling, dancing, and shaking, I was able to pull these leggings on and I was shocked to find out they actually look pretty great, aside from maybe a little muffin top situation. They are surprisingly very comfortable, and I’m just going to go ahead and say it – my butt looks good in these! However, the on / off situation is nothing if not entertaining… Remember that episode of Friends where Ross wears the leather pants? That’s me in these leggings. Once they’re on, they’re on. There’s no guarantee that if I take them off, they’re coming back on, so bathroom trips are a real commitment. Water intake in these leggings is a luxury and a decision!!
All that being said, I actually really like these! I’ve worn them for regular day to day things, and for more active things, like a Saturday morning skate. They hold up well and remain comfortable, aside from being a bit tight around the waist, no matter what I put them through. The biggest testament to this fabric is probably that halfway during the morning skate we took after these photos, I fell FLAT on my butt and skidded across the pavement and this fabric showed NO signs of wear and tear! My husband was shocked! He knows me well – his first concern after checking to make sure I hadn’t been injured was my handmade leggings!
I will absolutely be making some more black leggings as time goes on, but I will heed my own advice from here forward – TAKE THE STRETCH PERCENTAGE INTO ACCOUNT. Turns out, that factor is pretty important!!
Thanks for reading my thoughts on this make! The fabric used for this post was generously provided to me by the team at Minerva in exchange for a blog post on their website; the pattern used here was purchased by me. The words and opinions expressed throughout this post are my own, as always. Links provided throughout this post may be affiliate links – if you choose to purchase any products through these links, I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. This simply helps me justify the costs of my sewing habit and the time it takes to share it with you!! Happy Sewing!
- XX Elizabeth