I have been re-purposing again! This time I’ve been making baby leggings… from shirt sleeves. I’ve fallen in love with the idea of cute baby leggings. They make so much sense especially when cloth diapering or to pair with dresses or skirts. They look great on those precious bowed scrawny newborn legs! I’m sure they’ll also look good on the chubby huge baby thighs sure to come!
There are some great tutorials out there for how to make baby legs from knee socks… which is quite brilliant and simple and effective… or at least it looks to be. But I have no knee socks and while I plan to find some, I have lots of other things in my fabric box that make great easy baby legs… sleeves from shirts that were stained on the front or that I’ve already recycled parts of for other purposes. It takes minimal sewing skills and not much time to make these adorable and very functional baby legs. I made a few different styles in a few different ways so I’ll show you all three ways I’ve done it so far.
#1 Simple Sleeve Leggings
By far the simplest was to find a shirt with sleeves that fit on the baby’s leg. The sleeves I used are from a 3T girls cotton knit pajama top.
1. Try the sleeves on the baby. I used my 2 1/2 week old who weighed 9+ lbs. Then I measured how long I wanted them to be. They were about 6 inches in diameter and 7 inches long if anybody doesn’t have a little newborn to model for them and is wondering. I made them a little big for her so they’ll last longer.
2. Next cut both sleeves off at the length you want and cut 2 rectangles from elsewhere on your shirt for cuffs for unfinished end. Each rectangle should measure 2 inches by the sleeve diameter plus 1 inch. Mine were 2 inches by 7 inches.
3. Now fold the cuffs in half widthwise and sew the two short sides of each rectangle together with a 1/2 inch seam. Now you should have a little tube the same diameter as the legging. A serger would be ideal for sewing this, but zigzag stitch on my sewing machine works fine. Then cut off the excess close to the zigzag stitch.
4. Next fold the cuff in half over itself, right sides out, so that you still have a tube (kind of like how you would fold down the cuff of socks you are wearing) and iron. Slip the cuff over the unfinished side of the sleeve and pin together. Sew ends together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Fold the cuff up and press with steam iron. Repeat with other sleeve and cuff. Voila! Add a little embelishment like a cute flower or embroidery or something… or just leave plain so they match with anything.
#2 Leggings from a Sweater
These leggings were made from a sweater sleeve but could also be made from the body of a sweater and the hem.
1. Cut off both sleeves at the length you want the baby leggings to be (leaving the cuff on one end). Cut the width to measure the diameter you want plus 1 inch. Cut 2 rectangles the same width and 3 inches long for the cuffs to finish the other end of the leggings.
2. Fold the cuffs in half lengthwise and iron. Lie the top edge of the leggings inside the cuffs, pin, and sew into place with zigzag stitch.
3. Then fold the legging in half, right sides together, and sew the side seam. Repeat with the other legging. Done! Unless you want to add a little flower!
Ruffle Leggings With Elastic
I made these from the sleeves of a light knit shirt that had ruffled edges. It’s made it in the same way as the sweater leggings above but I folded up the edge of the cuff before sewing it to the body of the legging. Also, before I sewed the side seam of the cuff, I threaded elastic through it. I sewed on a little felt heart by hand and made a matching hair clip for a final touch.
*Especially with the knit sweater fabric it may take a while to find a way to sew with your machine that will not stretch the fabric. Sometimes I use zigzag with a moderate stitch length and width or straight stitch with a longer stitch length works. You can also help it by not pulling through the machine too hard and letting up the pressure foot frequently while sewing.