make new leggings out of old tights

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Leggi questo post in: Italiano

turning outgrown tights into fun leggings

i’ve always liked thick, colorful tights. sure, lots of people have made fun of me over the years, but i feel very me dressed with colored legs. i love that my daughter also likes them and i’ve been very lucky to have a friend who also buys cool tights for her daughter and then passes them on to us when they don’t fit her anymore. last year i also discovered leggings, which i now love for their versatility. so, when i saw this tutorial at make it and love it (inspired by this other tutorial) on transforming too-short tights into funky leggings, i couldn’t resist!

turning outgrown tights into fun leggings

i started out with these two pairs of tights, one pretty new and the other pretty worn out. the first pair had a shaped foot while the other was just a simple tube of fabric with a reinforced toe. so i did them a little differently.

turning outgrown tights into fun leggings

let’s start with the second pair, which was really simple. i just cut off the reinforced toe…

turning outgrown tights into fun leggings

…and i sewed a lettuce hem all around the cut edges. i’d read a tip on sewing really even and professional lettuce hems using a rolled hem foot in the book confessions of a refashionista (my review of it here!). it works really well and now i’m sorry that i didn’t do it that way with my striped purple sweater skirt. normally, when sewing a lettuce hem, you have to pull the fabric a bit as it feeds through the machine, but i pulled the fabric around the free arm, thereby stretching it, and that was enough to ruffle it.

turning outgrown tights into fun leggings

as you can see, this technique creates a cute little ruffle all around the ankles. super easy, but cool effect! (not so cool are those cat hairs on the backdrop fabric after the cat decided to rest on it. yuck!)

turning outgrown tights into fun leggings

i didn’t take a picture but, without the foot part stretching the fabric down, the hem tends to move its way up the leg a little, but it’s fine for when the weather isn’t cold.

turning outgrown tights into fun leggings

let’s move on to the tights with the foot shape. having to cut above the heel, you lose a bit of length, so these are definitely springtime leggings. it would be a shame to waste the foot fabric, so i did as in the second tutorial linked at the beginning of this post and i cut the foot into three same-sized strips (in the tutorial there were 2 strips).

turning outgrown tights into fun leggings

i did the usual lettuce hem on each strip’s cut edge as well as along the cut hem of the tights.

turning outgrown tights into fun leggings


it was at this point that i started getting a tad worried. the strips got considerably deformed and stretched out. i discovered that they could roll up together nicely (as you can see in the above photo in the upper right. that blob is two tangled-up strips.) and they could be made into a sort of flower to embellish a pin, for example.

turning outgrown tights into fun leggings

but it was fine. i slipped the tights into the strips and i zig-zagged the strips on (so they could stretch).

turning outgrown tights into fun leggings

hmmm… still a little weird…

turning outgrown tights into fun leggings

but when worn, they stretch out and fit perfectly!

turning outgrown tights into fun leggings


cool, right? they look sort of clownish, but in a cute little girl sort of way.

turning outgrown tights into fun leggings


the most important thing is that my daughter just *loves* them! i just love expanding our wardrobe without spending a cent!

41 COMMENTS

  1. eli, è molto facile. basta tirare la stoffa mentre si fa uno zig-zag sul bordo. usando quel piedino per fare l'orlo arrotolato è davvero stra-semplice perché la stoffa rimane sempre nella posizione giusta passando sotto l'ago. e in questo caso, non ho dovuto neanche tirare la stoffa perché era già tirata per entrare intorno al braccio libero della macchina. semplicissimo!

  2. oh dear. i guess i need to take advantage of being able to do things like this for my sofia still, before she gets too grown-up! (though, i would wear these myself!) thanks for stopping by, maya!

  3. Beautiful refashioning! I love everything you do, you are very inspirational to a novice sewer 🙂 and also an Italian-American (sicilian) who reads your posts in both English and then in Italian!! 🙂 Grazie!!

  4. thank you for your comment, Marina! i'm glad to hear from you and it's very exciting to hear that *I* am inspirational to someone else! are you originally american or italian? if italian is your first language, i'll bet you get some good laughs at the mistakes I made in italian! haha!

  5. What a great idea! I LOVE these! The ruffles are adorable. And the less ruffly version is perfect for both old and young — I know I'd wear them!

  6. Ciao, Lisa! Nooo, I am American-born to Sicilian-born parents, so I can understand and read Italian (even better at Sicilian dialect) but I am very slow at speaking it and even slower at writing it lol I do like to read your posts in Italian, though, to brush up my skills 😉 and YES, you are inspirational! My daughter is now 13 and I miss her wearing all the frilly little things I'd love to make for her, but I may try a pair of these leggings for her, she *may* wear them under some cool shorts. I mostly sew refashions for myself, little fixes or easy items…but I'm venturing closer and closer to actually using a pattern someday soon 🙂 My mother is/was a seamstress and can make ANYTHING from scratch, she used to make wedding dresses. So I have some sewing genes, I just need to hone them!! Keep up the fantastic blog 🙂 I enjoy it so much!

  7. how wonderful to have a mother who can give you tips on sewing! i, alas, have had to learn pretty much everything from books, online tutorials and trial and error! i'd love to see the things that you make. i'm assuming you don't have a blog because there is no link on your name.

  8. I don't have a blog…I really don't think I have enough to blog about just yet. Maybe someday 🙂 I would love to send you pics of the next project I make, however 🙂 I actually knit and crochet, and have made garments and all sorts of things by knitting, I find it so much easier! But I'm loving sewing and I'm really learning as I go along too.

  9. that's funny, because i find knitting so much harder than sewing! (and time-consuming) i'd love to see any pics! feel free to email them to me at cucicucicoo (at) gmail.com!

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