Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tutorial: Leg Warmers out of a Sweater

It's no secret that I love taking things I get while thrifting and turning them into something new.  
It's so much fun to look at something and then have that light bulb moment where you can totally see it as something fresh and new. 

My daughter, aka Little Miss Ballerina, refuses to wear pants or jeans of any kind.  She is a skirt and leggings/tights kinda girl which I think is awesome BUT when it gets cooler she def has a thing or two to say about being cold.  I have crocheted her some leg warmers but I thought making some out of sweaters would be something fun and new for off to the local thrift store we went in search of some awesome sweaters to breath new life into. :)

We spotted this super cute striped number in the girls section and knew this was the one for us.  And who could argue with a $2.00 price tag? :) 
{Second Tutorial in the works for using the rest of the sweater to make matching mittens for the leg warmers.}

What you will Need 

An old sweater {Make sure the sleeves will fit your child's legs}
Sewing Machine
Matching Thread
Thin elastic {see photo below}

To make sure the leg warmers will fit, take the sleeves and have your child slide their leg in them. If you can pull it up to right below the knee with ease you have a winner.  You also want to make sure that the bottom ribbing will hit right at the ankle for full coverage.  If you have a child with longer legs you may have to go up to a bigger size and end up with more roomy leg warmers which won't be an issue because you will be using elastic to hold  them up.  My daughter usually wears a size small and we found that going up two sizes to a kids large worked best for nice roomy leg warmers. But since every kid is built different, def. try them on first. 

Step 1
Turn your sweater inside out. 
 Cut across the sleeves right at the arm pit. {See photo above}  Make sure that you cut straight across so you are getting the most out of your sleeves you can. 

You will then have two cut sleeves that look like this. Cut your edges up top to make them nice and smooth.  I was snapping photos quick before I went to sew these up so I didn't do that till I went back to the sewing table.  :)

Step 2
 Fold over the top about an inch to create the casing for your elastic to go through. 
 {You will want to use the thinner elastic like you see in the photo above.}

Step 3
 {This step is just like making a skirt casing.}
Go to your sewing machine and sew around your leg warmers leaving a two inch space not sewn closed like you would when you make a casing for a skirt.  

Step 4
Measure the elastic around your child right under the knee. You want it snug to keep the leg warmers up but not so tight its not comfortable. You will want to add a little extra so that you can overlap the piece when sewing them together.  Cut your two pieces.  Attach a safety pin to the end of one piece of elastic and thread it through the casing of one of your leg warmers, holding on to the other end of the elastic so that you don't loose it in the casing.  

Once you get your elastic threaded through the casing, use your sewing machine and a zig zag stitch to sew the two ends of the elastic together. Sew the gap in the casing closed with your sewing machine. 

Repeat for the other leg warmer.

Now have your cute model slip on their awesome new leg warmers and show them off to the world!

This prob. does not need to be mentioned BUT I thought I would throw it in since I made this silly mistake. 
When using stripes use the color thread that is the outside stripe, not the inside stripe.  I used white not thinking about the fact that the stripe on the outside was pink {and not white like the one I was sewing on on the inside} ...silly moment and a lesson learned for next time.  Little Miss does not mind and she was so excited over these and loves them so I'm not too fussed about it myself.  I just know for next time when using stripes I have to pay closer attention. :) lol 

Two dollar sweater = new adorable leg warmers and a pair of matching mittens. Awesome! 
Mitten tutorial coming up soon, :)


  1. oooh this is so lovely!!!! thank you for sharing this very good idea

  2. You are a genius! That is awesome! I love it! Mind if I link to it on my blog later today?

    1. Thanks hun! I def. don't mind if you link it on your blog later! :) I wish I had more time to read blogs but my body has a mind of its own when it comes to the computer. How are things going with your new apartment? Hope all is well!

    2. things are going great! I am all settled in and everything is exactly as I want it to be. Now I am just waiting for school to start. I understand not having the most time to read blogs, I have to be in the right mood myself :) I love reading yours though!

  3. This is a nice idea!! Thank you so much for making and sharing the tutorial!

  4. How adorable they are! I did the same thing with a sweatshirt one desperately cold winter day, but I was lazy and just slipped then on! They've actually done just fine because the material doesn't fray. But there's much to be said for the perfect fit and a neat edge!

    1. Thank you! :) I think if you got the right material you could def. get away with that :) I am looking for the perfect sweater to make myself a pair before it gets too cold here.

  5. This is such a great tutorial, I have to try this for the boys and I this Autumn.


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