Sunday, November 24, 2013

Triple Espresso

Sooo, I'm guessing you've already heard about the Espresso hype? I'm not talking about the tiny but strong black Italian coffee, of course (although it's delicious, too) - I'm talking about Cake Patterns' Espresso Leggings pattern. Have you seen Gillians's black Espresso? Or Dixie's grey leggings?
The pattern is actually more of a template, taking measurements like your waist circumference, thigh, knee and ankle circumference, front and back crotch height and leg length to construct a pattern that's guaranteed to fit you well!
Being only one pattern piece, cut twice, that is made into a garment by  sewing three seams and attaching a piece of elastic, it's one of the quickest and most satisfying makes, ever. And since I found quite a few nice lengths of knit fabric on my last trip to the fabric market, I managed to make myself a triple dose of Espresso in one afternoon.

Version #1: Black Espresso
The facts: 
Pattern: Espresso by Cake Patterns
Fabric: 1.2m of black cotton jersey fabric, with a bit of lycra, from the Turkish fabric market at the Maybachufer.
Notions: 2.5cm wide elastic for the waistband, from the same fabric market.
Time to complete: Under an hour.

Techniques used: I used my overlock machine for the construction and followed the pattern instructions to the letter. The back is tagged and the waistband is turned down and sewn with a small zigzag, the hems are twin-needled.
And what to do differently next time: The pattern fits pretty well, although it feels a tiny bit baggy in the crotch area. I wasn't quite sure if it's because I tend to wear my RTW leggings with quite a bit of negative ease, but after reading the tips on the Cake website, I re-measured my thigh circumference and it turns out, my first measurement was too big the first time (maybe because the measuring guide lets you measure it over a piece of elastic). Next time I'll go down a size there, which will probably make the fit perfect.
First worn: A bit around the house and during sewing the other two versions.

Version #2: Espresso Macchiato
Espresso macchiato is Espresso dotted with a bit of milk foam, and these leggings are made from black polka-dotted fabric. :) Construction followed almost the same steps as the black version, with the exception that I only had 1m of fabric.
The fabric turned out to have enough lengthwise stretch that it wouldn't have made a difference, which I only noticed after attaching a fold-over waistband, which turned out to be a bit too high... ;) It's a good safe if you don't have enough fabric, though: I cut a length of fabric twice as wide as I wanted my waistband to be and as long as the waist of the leggings, then sewed together the short sides, attached the elastic in the same way as the pattern instructions (e.g. sew it to the waistband at the CF and CB) and then folded it left sides together and overlocked it to the leggings (like attaching binding on a knit top, like the Sewaholic Renfrew top).

Version #3: Espresso Lounge
... or I guess Lounge Espressos would fit better. ;) My old pair of Yoga pants is about 7 years old and slowly developing holes, so I wanted to make a replacement. Espresso, with it's nicely fitting waist and crotch area seemed perfect, so I widened the legs and cut it in a sweatshirt fabric, one of those thicker ones that are used in RTW hoodies.
It's a lot less stretchy than the jerseys I used, but the fit is still pretty good. The only thing I forgot is that hoody fabric tends to shrink in length a lot... and that the leggings were designed to be ankle length only. They turned out pretty short, so I attached a folded hem band to the legs. It's almost unnoticable, except for the fact that they are still a little short... I just hope they don't shrink much more in the wash.
Turned-over waistband and folded hem band. Also: tag!
Although if they do, I guess I have a good excuse to make another replacement, maybe in a louder colour, or with polka dots or a flower print or stripes... ;) 

I'm thinking that there are going to be quite a few Espressos in my future. My dream is a pair made from Merino knit fabric, for winter (Cake creator StephC made this gorgeous version in pink!) but I'm still looking for a fabric source. I also wouldn't mind some colourful polka-dot versions. And definitely a flower print, come spring!

What would be your perfect leggings fabric? Have you ever attempted to make leggings yourself?


  1. These are lovely! I haven't seen the pattern yet, but having seen your beautiful versions (yeah for polka dots) I should give it a try! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Ermarged, Espresso lounge pants? Brilliant!!!! And I have a meter of stretch rayon tiny polka dots which suddenly seems like it might make awesome leggings! I would never have thought of extending the length with a folded band at the top or bottom, but I'll keep that trick in the back of my mind!

    1. Thanks, Gillian! Definitely go for the polka-dots, I love my pair. :)

  3. Love the Espresso Lounge and I can't believe you made Espresso macchiato! Genious! And so cute! I love it that the pattern is in one piece!

  4. Very cute but also ... cakelike! Such a great staple, they look super comfy. Might have to give them a try, based off yours ...

  5. I haven't attempted leggings yet, but I do have the Espresso pattern. So I'm hoping to knock out a pair or two before the winter is over. (I'll probably just wear them as tights.)

    Love the lounge pants alteration!

  6. These are totally on my to-sew list. And, I found out that a fabric store called "The Fabric Store" based in Australia/NZ just opened a store in LA, I have samples of their merino knit fabric on my desk right now! It's super exiting because I too have been having a hard time finding any until now. There are a few blends with a little lycra, so merino espresso here I come!

  7. Love your Espresso Macchiato!!!! Soooooooooo cute!

  8. Love all three. I'm so glad to see a photo of the pattern, too. I was really curious how the template worked. I think I need this pattern!

  9. Argh. Everyone is making amazing things and I keep adding the patterns they used to my Christmas list, including this! Since the Big 4 legging patterns are such a disaster, this sounds amazing. They look great.