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Turn Outgrown Tights into Leggings

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How’s the weather where you’re at?  It’s still a bit snowy here….but we’ve had some warm days mixed in.  Which is nice.  But somehow, Elli grew 3 feet since last fall, when her tights all fit.  Ha, well not really, but sometimes it feels that way.  Because now……several of her pairs of tights have suddenly gotten too small.  You know, where the crotch section hangs low and never sits in the right place?  It bugs her.  It would bug me too.  But…….it’s still chilly enough to need her legs covered. 


So, when I came across this tutorial by Ucreate (love those gals at Ucreate!), I knew I wanted to create something similar.  But instead of creating the ruffle, I just made mine straight across at the bottom.  And instead of a zig-zag, I used that sweet little double needle to create a double line. LOVE.





And you know, sometimes I find the cutest prints in leggings….but now that she’s getting bigger, they’re harder to find.  SO, now I can just convert a bunch of tights. Yay!





Ha…..glad I found that tutorial and tweaked it a bit!  Because this girl is a skirt kinda girl.  And an always-chilly-girl as well.  So, she LOVES leggings!





And once she gets a little taller, we could actually turn these into capri leggings for the spring.  I’m telling you……she loves leggings! :)





If you don’t have any too-small leggings…….you could try finding the clearanced winter ones and convert those over. 







You can’t really even tell that they were once tights.  A perfect little speedy project.




Would you like to convert some tights into leggings??



First of all, round up your too-small tights…..or just grab some tights you’d rather convert into leggings.



Then, cut off as low as you can in a straight line, before the tights change shape for the curved foot section. 



Then, tuck under the raw edge of each leg opening, about a 1/2 inch.  Pin in place….and use plenty.


**Now, in order to allow for the fabric to stretch when it slides over the foot, you’ll need to either use a zig-zag stitch OR sew with a double needle.  I like the look of the double needle better, so that’s what I used.  But either one works.  The cool thing about that double needle though, is that the stitches on the “wrong” side are sort of zig-zagged, so it still allows for some stretch…..but it looks like a nicely finished double line from the outside.  (Need more info on the Double Needle??)


Now, open up the legging opening and face it downwards as you slide one edge under the presser foot.  Just be sure that you sew a little at a time, lift the foot, adjust the fabric, and continue on.  Repeat many times.  Also, because the fabric will be stretchy, it will help to lengthen your stitch length so that your needle jumps over more fabric with each stitch.  If you need to practice, use the scraps that you cut off.


Now, don’t worry if it’s stretched out a little.  Use your iron and steam and help reshape and shrink down the fabric where it’s stretched out.  Most likely, it will still look a little wider where you’ve stitched but once the leggings are on, you’ll never know.  (If it’s super SUPER stretched out, you may want to pick out your stitches and then re-stitch and increase your stitch length even more.  Unless it doesn’t bother you……..then just go with it!!)


Now, repeat with your other too-small tights.  Perfect. :)





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  1. carol says:

    I just found your blog, thnaks to pinterest, and, waouuuu, you have fabulous ideas, I’m going to spread the good word over here, in France!!!!

  2. whitney says:

    I would make it for my 3 year old!

  3. Sheryl says:

    Love this..going to make these for my little nieces!! Thanks

  4. Kelli says:

    Hi there, I just made these last night. My daughter could not wait to wear her favourite tights again. I hav made your diaper bag also. I’m getting ready to make two more. We love it!

  5. ABB says:

    I just made these and they turned out great. I love all your repurpose ideas and have made several of them. Your instructions/tutorials are very easy to follow. Thanks for sharing all your creative ideas!!!

  6. Beverley M says:

    Great idea – we don’t have any outgrown ones; what we have are holes-in-the-toes tights.

  7. Charlize says:

    Another great idea! Thanks a lot, I will try it for my little girl.

  8. Erin Young says:

    I LOVE this idea. That’s why I’m not that crafty apparently. My daughter hates footed tights. I have a stack that I was considering taking to the Kid to Kid but now I am totally turning them into footless!

  9. Whitney Williams says:

    I LOVE this! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to do this with my daughter’s tights, but being a sewing novice, I was too scared to try. Thanks so much for the tutorial!

  10. BeautifulCanvas says:

    You know I am not crafty at all and about few months ago, I came across your blog and next things you know…I am reading a bunch of crafty diy tutorials. I so wish I know how to sew like you…I can’t even make a straight line :( Still, you inspire me and I made a no sew tutu for my daughter for her birthday. Can’t wait for her to wear it!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh good, just keep at it! You really will start to surprise yourself!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    So I noticed on your awesome giveaway the other day that you had some generic looking metal bobbins. Do those work in your Bernina? I assumed you’d have to buy expensive Bernina ones. I’m dreaming of getting a Bernina and was excited to see that those would work. I have about 30 in my current machine and wasn’t looking forward to yet another expense when switching to Bernina.

    1. Ashley says:

      You know, I was told to only use bernina brand bobbins when I got my machine but after buying one package and not loving the price, I have only purchased the generic variety and haven’t had one problem. I don’t care for plastic bobbins so I have no experience with those in my bernina. Hope that helps!! -Ashley

  12. Anna, od Andulky says:

    Wow, thanks!! Lovely idea!!

  13. fitri says:

    oh my, so cute.. what a lovely idea.. thank you ashley

  14. Katie says:

    We bought our daughter new socks over the weekend, and while she and I tossed the socks, I pulled out three pair of tights to get rid of. She was very sad to see them go, so I left them on the counter to try to repurpose. Thank you!! I’ll be working on this tomorrow!

  15. Anna says:

    This is the reason I’ve been buying leggings and not tights! Problem solved. (Because I also dread having to find just the right socks to go with the leggings! Haha!) having a daughter that forgets about modesty requires something under those skirts and dresses! We live in Florida so it’s rarely for the warmth.

  16. Kristin Green says:

    Okay, okay, I will buy a double needle already!

    1. Ashley says:

      Haha…..that made me laugh! :D

  17. Melissa K. says:

    OMG. Thank you for this idea. I have 2 tall 2-year-olds whose tights are either too short now, or the feet are so grubby I can’t stand it. As I got them dressed to go out this morning, they both insisted on dresses, even though snow was still on the ground outside. Sooo, I put on their too-short dresses (thank you growth spurts) and leggings and wished they could have worn their cute tights … now, with a little editing, they can! I like your ruffle-free version and am pleased to have another extension of their Colorado winter-ish wardrobe until I can do their spring and summer shopping.

    1. Ashley says:

      YES! That was my predicament. A girl who loves skirts/dresses (and we’re in CO too)……and saggy crotch tights, with dirty feet. Bingo! Problem solved. :)

    2. Melissa K. says:

      This may be the small project inspiration I need to set my machine up again. I took it on a craft weekend to Idaho Springs 2 weekends ago, and haven’t gotten it out of its bag. I thought you were in Colorado. I’m in Littleton. :)

      And I agree with Kristin’s comment below, you are SO making me want a double needle!

  18. Regina says:

    Ok Ashley, it is time for your husband to quit his day job……you have a super model on your hands! He doesn’t have to work as a PA anymore, he just needs to manage your daughter’s modeling career. Haha! She is just adorable and so comfortable in front of the camera. Her old/new tights look GREAT!

    1. Ashley says:

      How sweet are you! Elli is a sweet little thing……but maybe I should send you some grumpy shots! ;)

  19. Becky @ Ucreate says:

    Love them! I can’t wait to try this technique! Thanks so much!

  20. jen says:

    you’re so clever!

  21. Amanda says:

    Oh yay! I love this idea. My daughter DOES have outgrown tights and I’ve just had a hard time tossing them because they are so cute! Thank you for the idea :)

  22. Laura says:

    Question: do you have other things to do other than creating such lovely things?? haha!! I love the legging’s idea, of course, same as I love all your creations and transformations, but most of all, the way you share them with all of us :) ah! … and your daughter’s shoes are adoooooorable..

    Thanx :)

    1. Ashley says:

      Hahaha…..yeah, and it involves scrubbing a toilet. ;)

    2. zentinya says:

      Hi I was hoping you might be able to help me take my leggings in,please.I couldnt resist them only $5 with
      black background and little pink roses ,but to big.thank you,please.

    3. zentinya says:

      By the way i cant take them back,they were the last pair i had to have them.

  23. debbie says:

    i looooooove this idea. :) thanks again, for the pictures that go right into the detail. :)

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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