Lately I’ve been feeling the need for some clothes that are appropriate for fighting good guys. Yes, hard core villains will tell you that you don’t need special clothes to make you a bad guy, and I’m perfectly capable of fighting good guys in jeans or sheath dresses or whatever. But sometimes I just want some pro gear, you know?

Naturally, I fell for Helmut Lang’s combo pants, which I believe retail for about $800 and are likely built for women whose legs can double as lamp posts.

Fortunately the chance discovery of some perfect black stretch leather at Gorgeous Fabrics and the terrific McCall’s 6173 basic leggings pattern as a block made a little do-it-yourself villainy into a nice evening project. A little drafting here a little grading there, and ta-da, a perfect replica in Selfish Seamstress size:

Oh, haha, that’s the muslin, in some pea green ponte and some leftover graphic ponte from my wrap dress. Fortunately the McCall’s legging was a great fit from the start, and it was off to slice into my precious stretch leather and some leftover black wool doubleknit, a remnant from another wrap dress.  And, ta-da! Homemade Helmut-inspired badass.

The details are a little difficult to see in my wannabe-model shots. Here are better lit pictures of the pants while on a break from evildoing (a little wrinkled and stretched from wear):

You can see that there are faux welt pockets and a doubleknit insert on the inner thigh. The doubleknit above the welt actually wraps around from the back- there’s no side seam there. This was quite a puzzler to draft and it took me a while to engineer how it would all fit together with the welt, but I figured it out. True to the Helmut Lang original, the back is all done in the knit:

The one thing I didn’t try to copy from the original is the doubleknit faux welt pockets on the rear. After twisting my brain to figure out how the side wrap front welt pocket thingy was going to come together, I really wasn’t keen on slashing through my scarce materials in attempt to make a welt on knit fabric. Plus, I imagine I’ll usually wear this with a longer top (leggings make my ass feel vulnerable) so the welts would likely have been hidden from sight most of the time anyway.

As you can see, mine aren’t as bandage tight as the originals are on the model, but I like that as I prefer a skinny pant to leggings anyway.

And it’s really just the leather that wrinkles- as you can see, the wool doubleknit is pretty snug. I had actually planned to use a black rayon/poly/lycra ponte knit thinking that it would be better for leggings, but upon playing with both fabrics, I found that the doubleknit actually seemed to have better stretch and recovery. Plus it feels so luxurious- wool doubleknit and super soft stretch leather. The doubleknit is also great in that it conforms to your shape but doesn’t do that sausage casing clingy thing where you can see every fold and underwear line through it.


The leather was a dream to work with. I hadn’t worked with leather before, but the stretch leather, with its knit backing, behaves very nicely. I used a teflon foot and meant to switch to a leather needle but forgot to. It wasn’t a problem. I used the stretch stitch on my machine, and a rotary cutter and scissors to cut, and it all went off without a  hitch. I wish stretch leather weren’t so hard to find- after this experience I wouldn’t mind a couple more pieces of gear for battling good guys.

Or at least to wear around the house, posing like this.