Vogue 1378 Vogue Donna Karan pieced leggings

These leggings are from Vogue 1378, an old favourite pattern now sadly out of print. I don’t wear a lot of colour or print so I like clothes with seam line interest. But I find a lot of the patterns with extra seams have them placed in a less than flattering way. Not these though. The original pattern is strictly speaking for close fitting trousers rather than leggings, as they’re loose from the calf to the hem and have an ankle vent. But it’s very easy to sew the vent shut and tighten them up by taking in the inseam.

I made these as part of a wardrobe plan; they’re supposed to go under a couple of the dresses. I’m firmly in the Leggings Are Not Trousers camp where my own person is concerned, so no outfit photos of these until I have made at least one new dress to go with them.

Vogue 1378 technical drawing, originally from mccalls.com

They’re designed to be made in a knit, but the construction isn’t the normal overlocked seams. Most of the seams are lapped and top stitched with two rows of a long straight stitch, and then the outside seam allowance is trimmed down close to the stitching. This means the fabric can’t be too stretchy or the seams will break.

I’ve previously made these in thin neoprene, which worked very well, and scuba knit, which wasn’t as robust. This pair are in a thick coated knit that’s meant to look like leather. It came from Tia Knight a few years ago now. It’s super sticky on the coated side so it’s quite difficult to top stitch. A Teflon foot was no good at all. The roller foot worked with my machine set on the maximum stitch length only, and still produced tiny stitches. The walking foot was the only one that produced a decent medium length stitch and even then it isn’t all even, especially on the waist elastic.

The back thigh seam isn’t overlapped. That’s what the pattern says to do, and I have always assumed there is a reason for it. It’s certainly a handy indication as to which way round to put them on.

A closeup of all that lapping and top stitching. I’m quite pleased with the even spacing.

And the waist, with the not so even zigzag top stitching to hold the elastic down. The good thing is that this will never be visible while I’m wearing them.

Although I’ve made these before it was a while ago, and I’d forgotten that the waist is a little low and they’re very long in the leg. This isn’t normally a problem for me with Vogue Patterns so perhaps I added too much extra length when I originally traced them. I ended up shortening this pair by something like 8cm. There’s not a lot I can do about the waist this time, but it’ll never be seen.

Although I’ve not made the dresses I had planned to go with these, they have been getting some wear under my grey Style Arc Toni dress. They’re pretty good for the sunny but cool weather we’re getting in the UK at the moment. This is a pattern I will definitely hang onto.

9 thoughts on “Vogue 1378 Vogue Donna Karan pieced leggings

  1. These are very rock’n’roll! Fabulous job on the topstitching. Most leggings’ waists are too low for me, so lately I’ve taken to augmenting them by making a kind of double waistline. On RTW ones, I just coverstitch some folded knit fabric (about 20 cm wide before folding) right onto the old elastic. It makes them so much more wearable.

  2. Great stitching! I too firmly think of leggings as round the house and in the yard wear, and certainly not meant to be worn without a very long big shirt or dress! I made the other DK leggings (with the cool shirt and jacket)- they also sit low in the waist.

    1. I still slightly regret not buying that one when it was in print – but then I remind myself I have several other Donna Karans I’ve not made yet. Maybe this year…

  3. Oh my goodness, these sound like a nightmare to sew – all that top-stitching on such a sticky fabric. You’ve done a fantastic job though! Hope to see you sporting these with a dress soon.

  4. Very nice, I have some similar fabric that I was thinking of faux leather joggers but this is much more chic!

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