They’re cute, instant girly, but not over the top like ruffles can be. In one of the Facebook sewing groups I’m apart of, a member asked for someone to design a pattern for leggings with bows in the back to mimic some she saw in a shop. The request got my wheels turning, and I figured out one way you can make your own bow back leggings.
First thing you need is a trusty leggings pattern. The easiest way to do this is to get a pattern that has separate front and backs like Figgy’s Sunki. You can make yourself a free pattern by copying a pair of RTW leggings as Mimi G demonstrates, or there are a few free patterns on Craftsy. Most commercial legging patterns and that youtube tutorial are one piece that combines the front and back. This is great for matching patterns and designs, but we are going to need to do some surgery to add the bows.
Add your seam allowances to both sides. You want to go with at least 3/8″ to make sure you catch all the layers. Mine are 1/2″ here.
Choose a stretchy fabric. Some fabrics become sheer when stretched, so make sure your fabric has a good amount of opacity. The stripe I’m using today comes from the Doodles line at Joanns, but it is no longer available. Cut your two backs and two fronts with your fabric right sides together. Grain line is always important, but the more pieces you have the more you want to make sure all your pieces are on the straight of grain. You don’t want twisty legs!
Now determine the size of your bow. Measure across the bottom of the back pattern piece where you are going to place the bow. This will be the width of your bow. Mine is 4.5″. How tall you want your bow will be up to you. Make sure to include seam allowances. So 3″ for the bow + 1/2″ for seam allowance (1/4 for each side) for example. The bow middle is 2″x2″. I think that is a good reference point for most bows. Smaller than that and it will be a little difficult to turn right side out, but the stretch of the material will help. Cut out two bow pieces and two middle pieces.
Fold the long sides right side together. Press and sew. Do the same for the bow middle pieces. Turn the bow right side out and place the seam in the middle. Press.
Do the same to the middle pieces, but you also need to fold them right sides together(the seam line will be facing you)and stitch the short ends together. Turn right side out.
Pinch the bow together like a fan and pull the middle piece onto the bow. A bodkin is very helpful for this.
TADA you have a bow! Do it all again for the other one.
Now figure out your bow placement by determining how far up the leg you want the bow to be plus the hem. Mine is 2″.
Pin the bow in place and sew your front and back together, so it looks like the original pattern piece before we got scissor happy. Do the same for the other piece.
At this point, you can follow the directions of the original pattern. They usually have you sew both front and back rises together, next the inseam, and finally attach your elastic. Turn them inside out and admire how cute they are!
Now don’t be a dunce like me and think you put the bows on wrong if one of them flips to the front. In fact flip them over to the front sometimes. You might love them even more that way!
I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. Have any questions? Please feel free to ask. If you decide to bow-a-fy some leggings, please come back and share!