I have tried many many many brands of leggings and I finally found a couple of brands that had beautiful prints, in larger sizes, that were so very comfortable and I thought I'd found the perfect leggings.... until I practiced in them and the high-waisted, guaranteed-to-not-roll-down, yoga band, rolled down! Or slides down! So I got out my trusty sewing machine and started modifying them. Here's my step by step guide.
Step 1: find the side seam and use a quick-unpick or pointy scissors to unpick a bit of the seam on the inside of the leggings. There’s usually two layers of stitching so you might get through the top layer and have to do it again through the second to make a hole. Only unpick enough for your elastic to fit through and try not to go over the top of the band.
Step 2: measure your elastic. You want the elastic to be the about the same diametre as the waistband. Lay the leggings flat, without stretching them, and then lay the elastic across the waistband, without stretching the elastic. Then double that length of elastic and add 1 cm for overlap and that’s the length of elastic you’ll need. If you cut the elastic too short it will still work but you will feel the elastic around your waist when you wear them. Too long and the elastic won’t do the job you need it to do.
Step 3: getting the elastic inside the waistband. Stick a safety pin in one end of your length of elastic. This will give you something to hold as you feed the elastic around the inside of the waistband. You sort of push the pin through the fabric, then hold it still while you pull the fabric down the elastic. It can be slow but it works eventually.
Step 4: Then you eventually get the elastic all the way around the inside of the waistband with the two ends of elastic stick out of the hole in the seam.
Step 5: Get the seam and the elastic aligned and flat. You want both ends of the elastic overlapped inside the seam hole with the seam laying flat and neat over the top of the elastic. Also, it can feel annoying if the elastic is twisted inside the waistband so maybe make sure it’s untwisted now. Try not to lose an end of the elastic. Once you have it pin it in place with a safety pin or dressmaker pins.
Step 6: Sew it. I use my trusty little Singer sewing machine but if you don’t have one just use a needle and thread. You only need to sew the elastic ends and the seam together. There’s no need to sew all the way around the waistband. So it’s very little sewing.
Step 7: See, I sew just a little square which holds the ends of the elastic together and the seam closed. Not that neat, but who will see that under my tshirt? Then you can sew a little at the seam on the other side of the waistband too, just to keep the elastic in place, if you like.
And you’re done! Try them on and do a few downward facing dogs to see if they stay up!
The leggings brands I buy are Natopia's 'Ultimate' and 'Super Soft' in the Extra Curvy 22-28 size at www.shopnatopia.com and www.exoticathletica.com in size XXL (22-26).
If you have any favourite brands let us know.