Tutorial – Leggings into Legwarmers

A couple of weeks ago I got a new pair of the “buttery soft” LuLaRoe leggings (OS). I spent a lazy afternoon on the couch, got up to go play some Guild Wars 2, and noticed a weird feeling right on my lower butt. Reached down to see what it was, and touched bare buttcheek. Well, that’s no good. Took the leggings off to find a tear from the butt seam halfway across to the side! Since it was my first time wearing them, I contacted my consultant and was pleased to get a replacement. But now I’ve got a pair of brand new leggings that are a little breezy in the buttular region. What to do?

Turn them into legwarmers, that’s what.

I got a pair of Mika legwarmers at Pole Expo back in early September that are a staple in my pole bag. They’re basically like the bottoms of their leggings, and you can see where I got my idea from. They’re leggings material instead of fuzzy knit, which is what the majority of legwarmers are. Seeing as they’re to keep your legs warm, it usually makes sense. But sometimes you just want some leg/knee protection without the extra heat of some fuzz.

This is a great way to get a second life out of leggings that are no longer wearable as-is: Be it worn out thighs (chub rub, yo), shrinking in the wash/dry, unfortunate holes…

Materials required:

  • Sad pair of leggings
  • 3/4″ or 1″ elastic (any color, it will be covered)
  • Thread (matching or contrast)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine 😉

     

     

To start, I cut both legs off from the crotch. Unfortunately the tear wasn’t down on the leg, so the crotchular region of the leggings weren’t useable. If it were though, you could cut far enough down on the leg to have a pair of booty shorts that might be good as flash-coverage for under dresses and skirts.

     

I put on the leg pieces in such a way that they were a bit loose around the ankles/able to be pulled over my heels. I then marked where I would like the elastic top of my legwarmers to be. For me, it’s at the point where my thigh starts curving out a lot. This way it’ll stay in place when I bend and straighten my knee, but won’t cut into my thigh-meat too badly.

I haven’t really worked with elastic much, but I searched and came across this Craftsy tutorial. It’s not exactly the look I’m going for here, but it should work with some mods. Who would I be if I didn’t mod my own tutorial??

I cut the elastic to be a bit smaller than my desired thigh spot in hopes it’ll stay up better. I sewed it together as in step three: across the top, bottom, and both ends, to create a square.

Fold the elastic in half from the join and mark the other side. Place the marking and join together and mark the other two sides.

Fold your leg down to the mark you previously made for the top, wrong sides together. With pins, mark the fold position on the inside seam. Mark the corresponding four spots as with the elastic.

Taking care to keep your pins in place, unfold your fabric. With the wrong side facing, insert the legging through the elastic, aligning the bottom (left side) of the elastic with the top-of-legwarmer marker and all four marks together.

Pin the elastic to the fabric. Using a zigzag/stretch stitch, sew along the righthand/top edge of the elastic. You get the lovely trumpet-like result below:

Fold the elastic *and* fabric down so the formerly bottom edge of the elastic is now at the top of your legwarmer. Make sure that the elastic is right along the edge of the fold. Pin into place and sew along the seam we just created.

I sewed another seam just underneath the joining seam – just to keep the extra fabric down. It gives it a twin-needle effect, not that you could tell from my lovely grainy photos (I lost my natural light by this time, sad).

To finish them up I just trimmed off the excess. I’d like to make ones that the extra fabric creates a double layer of knee protection, but I just didn’t have enough fabric for that this time.

I am really happy with how this turned out. I’m expecting it to get better with every iteration, if I make any major adjustments, I’ll be sure to let you all know!

Just had to try them out, couldn’t help myself.