Pattern Testing the Avery Leggings by Helen’s Closet

Leggings sewing patternHi all! You’ll have, in all likelihood, seen that Helen of Helen’s Closet has just released the brand new Avery leggings pattern? (And yes, these are the leggings I hinted at in my #2018MakeNine plans post!) They have a smoothing doubled waistband, a gusset for mobility and no side seam meaning this pattern would make a great base layer, yoga pants or your everyday leggings. I love pattern testing for Helen (see my Suki Kimono here); her ethos and work methodology rocks – she really does want to produce Patterns for everyday essentials drafted so they’re accessible for all both in terms of sizing and sewing skill set. Plus the other sewists in her pattern testing team are fabulous…I’m guaranteed to learn something from their collective wisdom and feedback in the testing process. So, yes! Spoiler alert : the Avery leggings are awesome! PLUS there is 20% off during launch week!

Line drawings Avery leggings Helen’s closet

View A is your classic look legging whilst View B has a high waist and extra long leg so they can be pulled over the heel. I wanted mine to be yoga pants (so I could re-join the ‘Yoga with Adriene’ brigade!)

I opted for View A. These were a timely make; when I cut my first (navy) pair I sized up. I was testing these straight after my Christmas binge eating marathon (that started in November, haha) and then recently cut my usual size in the neon coral. You ain’t going to miss me wearing those bad boys out and about! There are only four pattern pieces and one of those is the gusset, making the PDF really quick to print out and assemble. Depending on your size and the width of your fabric, they potentially only require 1m of fabric too!

Helen’s Closet PatternI had nothing in my, admittedly minimal, fabric stash that was suitable. This pattern requires a jersey with 70% stretch in both directions. I found myself scouring online stores for four way stretch jersey using keywords like ‘performance jersey’, ‘athletic’ or ‘activewear’ knits like Dryflex and Supplex to narrow down the results. I considered buying from the range at FunkiFabrics but in the end, as the service was speedier, I bought both my ‘sports jersey’ from Fabric Godmother (it was my first time ordering from them and I was super impressed with the service). It has a whopping 100% crosswise stretch and 80% lengthwise, is absolutely perfect for yoga/exercise pants and is described as a “breathable super stretchy poly/spandex fabric with a soft matt finish” (read: slight sheen). If you can’t find jersey in your stash with the 70% stretch requirement, you could possibly consider sizing up and lengthening your pattern pieces to achieve the right fit?

Sew Sarah smithBecause you’re working with a highly stretchy fabric, the pattern is designed with a fair amount of negative ease which makes them really easy to fit. I cut mine based on my waist measurement; even though I’m a size smaller in the hip, I figured the negative ease would prevent any potential baggy bum scenarios! I took nothing from the length, figuring I could determine this later.

They sew up in no time. I used a straight stretch stitch on mine as I find a zig zag just doesn’t cut it for me – I always sew a test seam on a piece of scrap fabric first and then try to pull it apart. I don’t want to see either thread or teeny holes appear in the stressed seam. A stretch stitch is a complete pain to unpick though so, if necessary to check for fit, I baste the seam first and then sew up. I did use the recommended tricot zig zag stitch though for the first time to decorate / finish the waistband and ankle seams. As well as being an incredibly functional stitch, I really like the way it looks.

The waistband is finished with half-inch elastic sewn in between the waistband and the waistband facing. Some of the other testers omitted the elastic and instead lined the facing piece with powermesh. Either way, these form fitting leggings have your assets covered and are staying up! Do check out Anya’s blog as I think she intends to show this method soon plus how to add a pocket to the waistband too.

I love the overall fit, there’s no dodgy areas of cling (you know what I’m talking about!) plus the gusset not only massively improves your potential range of movement (these leggings are more flexible than I am, haha), they also avoid that nasty inseam intersection thus reducing bulk and any potential for chafing.

Helen’s closetI need/want some more everyday wear pairs in a day-to-day jersey. In earthy colours. (If you know of just the fabric with the required stretch that remains opaque when stressed, could you point me in the right direction please and save me hours of cyber searching guesswork!?!) Plus I can’t wait to start sewing up my Halifax Hoodies to pair with these. Comfort City here I come!

  • You can find the pattern HERE
  • You can find the fabric I used HERE and HERE

Until next time, when I’ll be back with either my newly finished Deer & Doe ‘Melilot’ shirt or that Hey June ‘Halifax Hoodie’.

You can join me on Instagram HERE


26 thoughts on “Pattern Testing the Avery Leggings by Helen’s Closet”

  1. Probably closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, but I have just made these in some cotton and 12% lycra from Discovery Knitting, limited choice of colours but good weight and quality and very stretchy with no showthrough.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Team tricot all the way!!! Yeah I’m hiding nothing in these day-glo pants that’s for sure! 😂 interested to see what patterns you go for and your thoughts on them all. See you on the 27th 😉 xxx


  3. Thanks Sue…oh my gosh I love yours too! That fabric link is perfect…just wondering if they’ll be import duties shipping to the UK? Also the listing for that fabric is so incredibly detailed and helpful…I wish more UK stockists were so thorough…it would make life soooooo much easier!! Xx


  4. Cheers my dears! I was a bit wary of that coral for starters but it literally grew on me!!! And you’re welcome; I’m really looking forward to your Tut, I want somewhere to stash my phone / music!!!


  5. Thanks Di! You can get these out of abmetre of fabric, I think it’s one of those instances where it’s cheaper to make your own quality ones than buy! And anything that motivates us to moves our asses more eh! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You look great in these Sarah! I have a couple of leggings patterns to try out this year (it’s a style that’s on my “sewing resolutions” list but it’s good to know there’s another out there. I like the negative ease and the fit (and of course the fact that you’ll be visible from a mile off ;-)) Really lovely makes, and yes, the triple zigzag stitch doesn’t get enough love, I’m so with you on team tricot! xxx

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  7. Great post. These leggings look just the biz. If I can source fabric that is stretchy enough and also thick enough then I’ll definitely be making some of these. They look great on you Sarah!

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  8. Oh my gosh! They look fabulous on you! I love your neon coral, so pretty. I also loved the photos. So sporty! You look great! Thank you for the shout out. I will aim to have the tutorial out by the end of the week. The photos are taken after all 🙂

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  9. I’m not much of a leggings gal myself as I never wear them for everyday wear and only possess one pair of cropped Puma brand ones for exercising in (I’m not much of an exerciser truth be told lol!), but I have to say these are splendid Sarah! The fabrics look great. I like the idea of them for sportswear though. Who knows maybe I’ll make a pair to use for my twice weekly workout.

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  10. Great looking leggings…I like the fact that they have a higher waistband. I might get these just for that, and the gusset for more flexibility. It´s true some leggings dont have enough movement. I will get these. Fab post Sarah and nice to see you all sporty!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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