Grasser Sports Leggings 468

Just because leggings aren’t considered pants doesn’t mean they have to fit poorly. When I first started sewing, I did what every sewer does, I made leggings using a basic pattern. The standard design often does not have a side seam to “make it easier” for the beginner sewer. I prefer having side seams because that gives me more degrees of freedom to make alterations. Later, when I developed my basic pattern block, I drafted my own leggings. That pattern still works great for me, but I wanted to compare my self-drafted pattern that I made up on the fly with a pattern that I thought would be drafted well. Unfortunately, I had difficulty finding a pattern to compare to because most patterns don’t include a side seam. In the end, the pattern I selected was Grasser sports leggings, pattern no 468.

Sizing

I am a size 52 RU based upon the Grasser size chart. Unfortunately, the pattern only goes up to 52 RU, so if I need a size larger (spoiler alert), I’ll have to draft my own.

Grasser also offers patterns drafted based on different heights:

  • 158-164 (centimeters)
  • 164-170 (centimeters)
  • 170-176 (centimeters)
  • 176-182 (centimeters)

Unfortunately, the leggings are only drafted up to 170-176 cm, and I’m 180-181 cm tall.

First Toile

Front Pattern Pieces

I promise I tried to do as little as possible with this pattern. My first question: Did the center grainline bisect the ankle and knee? It was a bit hard to know this, given that the front pattern piece has a color block option on the lower half. When I place the pattern pieces together, you can see that the center of the ankle matches up with the center of the knee.

My second question: At hip level, does the center front (excluding the seam allowance) to the center grainline measure 3.5 inches? For the front pattern piece, the measurement was perfect! Remember that I draw the hip level at the top of the crotch curve.

With that, I made my first toile. The final question: Do the leggings fit? Unfortunately, they did not.

Let’s take a look at the clues. The first clue was that the leggings were so tight that they were trying to fall off. They weren’t too hard to get on around the calves, but I really had to hoist them up around my upper thighs and torso. Any movement and I looked like a plumber. The second clue was the look of the fabric: the crotch area was overstretched, and the matte fabric was shiny. The excessive tightness was most apparent around the upper thighs and torso. I felt like a sausage.

Back Pattern Pieces

I asked the same questions for the back pattern pieces. The back pattern is split into three separate parts, plus there’s a yoke piece for the top. The first question is, does the center of the ankle match up with the center of the knee? Yes, yaaaaayyyyy!

My second question, at the hip level, does the center back (excluding seam allowance) to the center grainline measure 4.25 inches? Unfortunately, my lucky streak was over. The pattern measures 2.625 inches, so I will need to make a significant adjustment to the pattern.

I cut along my hip level and moved the piece medially 1.625 inches to make this alteration. I then redrew the crotch curve and the side seam as best as possible.

I had made all the alterations I wanted for this first toile. But, unfortunately, the back pattern pieces didn’t fit either.

The back piece was also way too tight around my butt. Where does my butt end and legs begin? In real life, these leggings show everything! The other thing to notice is that the yellow knee piece is not centered at the knee crease. It needs to be lowered 2 inches.

Second Toile

Front Pattern Pieces

At this point, I totally cheated and pulled out my self-drafted leggings pattern to help guide my alterations. However, I still tried to be minimal with my decisions. I made alterations at key locations: top, hip level, crotch level, knee level, and ankle. I then redrew my pattern between those levels. So let’s break this down starting from the top of the pattern piece:

  • At the top, the side seam needed to be raised 1 inch and widened 1 inch. No adjustments were made to the center front.
  • At the hip level, the side seam needed to be widened 1 inch. No adjustments were made to the center front.
  • At the crotch level, the side seam and inseam needed to be widened 1 inch.
  • The knee level needed to be lowered 2 inches.
  • At the knee level, both seams needed to be widened ½ inch.
  • At the ankle, both seams needed to be widened ½ inch.

Immediately no! Immediately no! The crotch curve is way too low and pulling down. Yikes. The rest of the leggings fit better.

Back Pattern Pieces

Again starting at the top, here are the adjustments I made to the back pattern piece:

  • At the top, the center back needed to be raised 2 inches and the side seam needed to be raised 1 inch to match the front piece adjustment.
  • No additional adjustments were made at the hip level.
  • At the crotch level, the inseam was lowered to match the inseam on the front pattern piece.
  • The back piece needed to be lengthened 2 inches, so the knee piece was centered.
  • At the knee level (not shown), the side seam and inseam needed to be widened ½ inch.
  • At the ankle (not shown), the side seam and inseam also needed to be widened ½ inch.

The crotch is too low on the front piece and is pulling the back crotch curve down as well as seen with the slight excess of fabric at the bottom of the center back seam. It looks like a really small “V” right at the bottom of the center back. The horizontal wrinkles on my upper hamstrings indicate that I also need to lengthen my crotch curve. It is too short and is causing all the rest of the distortions on the back leg.

Third Toile

Front Pattern Pieces

I raised the front crotch hook 1.25 inches for my final toile. In other words, I lengthened the inseam.

Much better. The front crotch is now in the right location and I no longer have fabric being distorted along the center front!

Backing Pattern Pieces

I adjusted the length of my back inseam to match the front piece alteration. I also needed to widen the back inseam at the crotch level.

Adjusting the inseam to match the length of the front pattern pieces fixed the fabric pooling at the bottom of the center back. Adding 1 inch to the crotch hook fixed the issue of fabric distorting around my hamstrings.

Final Pattern

Front Pattern Pieces

My final pattern is pink, and the black outline is the original pattern. When I added ½ inch at the knee level down to the ankle level, I decided to keep the alteration on the main pattern piece. I also lengthened the front pattern piece above the knee level to center the back knee piece. Therefore, I did not need to alter the side calf piece.

Back Pattern Pieces

Again, my final pattern is pink, and the black outline is the original pattern. I had to redraw the top yoke since I altered the back pattern piece quite a bit. The bottom of the yoke arc needs to match the top of the back piece perfectly, so that’s how I began my redrafting. You can also see I widened the knee piece and calf section by ½ inch on both sides, as I stated previously.

Waistband

The final adjustment was to widen the front and back waistband to match the adjustments I made to my pattern pieces.

Conclusions

Fit

One could argue that I really didn’t need to add width at the knee level down to the ankle. I don’t love my leggings super tight around my calves so the decision to add ½ along the seam was mostly a personal preference. The fit everywhere else is as tight as I should be. Even though these are just leggings, there is a fine line between tight enough and too tight. Fabric choice also affects how tight the leggings can be. Luckily my toile fabric had plenty of 4-way stretch but was just too thin to really be usable for leggings.

Fabric

I used Blue Moon solid matte nylon spandex for my toiles. The fabric is 200 gsm, which is too thin in my opinion. With 149 colors, it is tempting to try and use but the fabric isn’t opaque enoug.

I used leftover Pine Crest Zen ATY nylon spandex for my final version. This fabric is glorious for leggings but is often difficult to source. The material is 88% ATY Nylon and 12% spandex, and 310 GSM. Don’t pass up the opportunity if you can ever get your hands on this fabric.

However, the color options are minimal, and I recently found another spandex fabric that looks like it’ll be just as glorious: Blue Moon Fabric’s, Superflex heavy compression spandex. This spandex is 82% nylon and 18% spandex, and 345 GSM. The Superflex fabric also comes in a few more colors, which I appreciate.

Pattern

You may remember when I posted these color block leggings on Instagram:

Those leggings never fit great, and the fabric choice was terrible. I love the fit with this new pattern, and I finally have a pattern with color block options! The Grasser pattern is a lovely pattern and well-drafted. I just wish it came in more inclusive sizing. I bought the largest size they offered, and it was still too small for me. I’ve confirmed that my self-drafted leggings are wonderful too!

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