Contrado Avery Leggings

HelenAvery Leggings, Helen's Makes15 Comments

Custom Fabric with Contrado

I have an exciting post to share with you today! I had the opportunity to work with Contrado to make my own custom fabric and it was really, really fun. Surface design is something that has interested me for some time now because I love creating digital art. This opportunity seemed like a perfect way to explore the process of making a repeating pattern and getting it printed.

Please Note: Contrado provided me with the printed fabric for free in exchange for an honest review of their product and service. All opinions are my own.

Contrado Avery Leggings

I started this process by pinning a ton of repeating prints and patterns that I liked on Pinterest (you can see my Pinterest board here). I knew I wanted to try Contrado’s Slinky Matte Lycra for a pair of Avery Leggings, so it was simply a matter of deciding what to do for the print. I played around with a few things but I ultimately fell in love with the idea of a deep green/teal background and bright, bold flowers.


My print started to take shape with illustrating these somewhat abstract flowers made from basic shapes in illustrator. Then, I added in the vines and leaves. The most challenging part was making the pattern repeat feel balanced, but I think I got it to a cohesive place in the end. I like that my print uses simple shapes to create a layered design that really flows.

Contrado Print

Before I ordered the fabric, I wanted to be really sure that it would work for the leggings, so I used illustrator to mock up the design on my flat illustration of the pattern. It looked pretty cute! Once I was sure about the design, ordering the fabric was simple. I was able to use Contrado’s design uploader to determine the size and repeat style of my design, and it gave me a preview so I could visually see what I was getting.

Contrado Print

I was really impressed with the quality of the fabric when it arrived! This lycra is soft, stretchy, and opaque enough for leggings (yay)! I love that it isn’t super shiny, and the colours came out as I had expected, no unwanted surprises. When the fabric is stretched out, the colours do get lighter because of the white base the print is on. That said, it really isn’t all that noticeable once I sewed these up and put them on. The final product looks a lot like my flat mockups!

Contrado Print
Contrado Avery Leggings

I made my latest pattern, the Avery Leggings, with my custom fabric. I have a lot of Averys in neutral colours, but I really wanted a pair in a fun print!  The seamless sides allow you to have a smooth, uninterrupted pattern on your legs.

Contrado Avery LeggingsContrado Avery LeggingsContrado Avery Leggings

The biggest challenge I had with this project was print placement! I was so worried about having a flower in a less than flattering location. Prints can be tricky like that, so do keep it in mind when you are designing. I think my print placement worked out pretty well in the end. After all, print matching is near impossible with a pattern like this.

Contrado Avery Leggings Contrado Avery LeggingsContrado Avery Leggings

These Averys are so much fun and I feel kinda like a kid again when I wear them. Do you ever think about how much fun kids have with fashion? Bold prints and colours are expected and kids tend to choose clothes based on their emotions and desires, not based on outer expectations. It’s fun to wear something so bold and uniquely me.

Contrado Avery LeggingsContrado Avery LeggingsContrado Avery Leggings

I have some extra fabric left after making these leggings and I think it would make a great swimsuit! You know how perfect swimwear prints are hard to find? Well, why not make your own? I really loved making my print and seeing it realized on fabric and then as a garment was really cool. Thanks, Contrado!


About the author


Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

15 Comments on “Custom Fabric with Contrado”

  1. Your first go at designing your own fabric? WOW…you’re really good at this!

    I understand this fabric was gifted to you, but can you comment on the delivery service? Do you think the duty fees would be high with Contrado?

    1. Thanks Sue! Contrado expedited the parcel to me and prepaid for the customs so I am unfortunately ignorant on that front. I imagine there would be duties but cannot guess how much.

  2. Love the print! You should definitely make a swimsuit with the leftovers. I made two using that same fabric and they turned out great. I agree, nice swim wear fabric is incredibly difficult to find. Self-designing is the way to go!

  3. What a fantastic fit on these Helen! You’re right–fun prints are de rigeur for kids, and it’s fun to play with those things as adults too. You did a great job with the pattern placement–I could see that being really challenging with a large scale pattern like this!

  4. Love these! As others have said, I can’t believe it is your first attempt designing fabric. Can I ask a silly question – do you have to create your design using digital means or is there a way to uphold drawings and transform them into a digital form somehow? I have all these fabric ideas in my head but little sense of how to turn them from ideas into something on a computer screen! And you are just totally rocking tthose 80s vibes with the denim vest!

    1. Hi Beck! Thanks so much! It’s not a silly question at all, I think it can be confusing for many people! There is a tool in Adobe Illustrator called ‘image trace’ that will interpret your hand drawn, scanned designs into vectors (digital format). It is not always perfect, but it can work for simple shapes. You can also scan in your designs and trace them to make vectors. Another option is to draw digitally from scratch, which is what I did here. 🙂

  5. These are really cute. I love printed leggings.. On other people. I just can’t seem to like them on me. Maybe the answer is making my own print! I’m not artistic though, which may be a hurdle…

  6. Hi, any chance you or they are selling your design? I LOOOOVE this pattern and the colors are perfect.

    1. Thanks Aimee! I am not selling it, unfortunately. I am interested in doing more designs in the future that I might sell, though! Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

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