Upcycling: Little Dancer Leg Warmers
shrinking a wool sweater
Having purchased this sweater for another purpose, it occurred to me that there is more than 1…I’ll share my original intentions when I get to them.
For now: a quick & easy leg-warmer out of an old sweater how-to is born. Naomi’s been needing some for a while anyway–just in time for today’s Creative Movement class, I finished them up.
Here’s how you can make your own (instruction precedes each picture):
Start with an old sweater. I chose to shrink this one (it was 2xl after all) by washing & drying at high heat.
2 arms for 2 legs…cut off the arms at the seam (just above the shoulder seam worked well).
how to make leggings
Try on your ‘model’ to see how long you’d like them to be. Trim off excess (following a stripe works well on striped sweaters).
how to make leg warmers
You’ll notice that sleeves are not exactly ‘straight’; they’re slightly angled. To remedy this cut up the seam on both sides removing it completely.
upcycling a sweaterrecycle a sweater
Square off your piece by folding in half & trimming both vertically & horizontally.

how to make leg warmersleg warmers for little girls

For the top edge, snip off a length of the trim on the bodice of the sweater.
needle felting
With right sides together pin the hem to the raw edge side (top) of your leg-warmer square. Stretch a bit as you pin to ensure a little grab on the final leg warmer. Sew it up using a zig-zag stitch 1/4 inch in from the edge.
how to needle feltsewing leg warmers
Cut close to the sewing to make a clean & less-bulky edge.

wool leg warmershow to sew leg warmers

Add a little embellishment if desired. (I used my new found love of needle-felting to play around, and can you ever go wrong with birds & flowers?)
reuse a sweaterhow to reuse a sweater
Fold your leggings up vertically, pin in place (try to make sure you’ve got your stripes matched up if you’ve got ’em).
recycle clothes
Sew each up with a narrow zig-zag stitch. Where you’ve added the extra trim (top edge of legging), try to sew in 1/2 inch making this part tighter for staying up.
How to make leg warmersupcycling
Trim off excess seamage & thread.
handmade leg warmers
Turn right side out.

handmade needle felting
Try on your model.

Document & Enjoy 😉
handmade gift for girls
they seem to work…


  • Stephinie ~ Gypsy Mama Posted February 17, 2010 2:16 pm

    Adorable!! The embroidery is especially sweet 🙂

  • Melissa Posted February 17, 2010 5:07 pm

    Those are PRECIOIUS! You really need to make some for Gremlina!

  • Sharon Posted February 17, 2010 6:05 pm

    Great tutorial! Your leg warmers are very cute! Now you could turn the body of the sweater into a purse for super upcycling.


  • naqahdahnellie Posted February 17, 2010 7:39 pm

    Very cute!! You did great! (why did I not know you were another sewing mommy?) Keep up the good work!

  • school house oils Posted February 18, 2010 3:17 am

    melissa-she's thinking about it…
    sharon, thanks! a purse is a good idea. Anelle, it's a closet thing–I'm not as pursuant as I ought to be.

  • Small Burst Posted February 19, 2010 12:14 am

    Too cute and very clever!

  • Sunny Posted February 20, 2010 3:52 am

    ohmygoodness- cute!

  • Corey~living and loving Posted February 21, 2010 4:41 am

    cute as can be. the needle felting really makes it special.

  • Veronica Lee Posted February 21, 2010 5:34 am

    Hi! I'm visiting from MBC. Great blog.

  • Lala’s Pequenos Posted February 21, 2010 3:45 pm

    Just love this idea! Thanks!

  • Valerie Posted February 21, 2010 3:58 pm

    Oh so cute and what a great way to use those old but beautiful sweaters!

  • Mama Rose Posted August 8, 2010 3:32 pm

    Oh my those are absolutely darling! I love your needle felted bird/nature motif. Very crafty and beautiful!

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