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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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Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

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

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