How to make leg warmers from sweaters

How to make leg warmers from sweaters

It is a truth universally acknowledged that you will always have more sweaters than leg warmers… so why not turn one of those old sweaters into something useful and new? Leg warmers are such a practical way to throw on just one more layer when the weather turns chilly. You can wear them over almost any footwear, and they’ll keep you snug through autumn/winter if worn over tights with dresses, skirts or trousers. Leg warmers are far too versatile to be labelled ‘eighties retro’. After all, nothing says “yes, I will be climbing mountains today” like chunky knit leg warmers paired with tweed suits and brogues.

You can make upcycled leg warmers from sweaters, socks, T-shirts and even old tights that have become ripped or worn. Here’s how to make them out of sweaters. (You can also make your own DIY furry leg warmers, if you prefer.)




How to make leg warmers from sweaters

  1. Take a sweater and chop the arms off at the armpit, cutting along the seams. These arms will form your leg warmers. You can pull the seams apart with a seam ripper if you have one.
  2. Now cut the tops of the sleeves so their tops lie flush with the hems at the wrists.
  3. If it’s a sweater with narrow arms, you’re nearly there. Try the leg warmers on for size, and if you’re happy with them, you can just take a few extra minutes to finish them with a fold-over cuff.
  4. If it’s a sweater with wider arms at the armpit, your leg warmers might be too baggy at the top. You can cut down the arms length-ways, remove the excess material then re-sew them to narrow them up (test round your upper calf for comfort before removing the excess or applying needle or sewing machine. In addition, if you use a sewing machine, you may prefer to go for a zig-zag stitch).
  5. Your leg warms will stretch and fray if you don’t give them a supportive hem at the top for a bit of structure. If you don’t mind, you can simply fold them over at the top and let them sag as gravity intended. Otherwise, you can give the tops a fold-over cuff using the base of the leftover jumper. First, neatly cut away the hem of the base of the original jumper. Now pin the required length round the tops of your leggings so they fold over the top hem, and sew it in place. It only takes a few minutes if you have a sewing machine or fabric glue, and will make your leg warmers more durable.

You can try this DIY method with all kinds of sweaters of differing thicknesses, patterns and fabrics. With some patterned sweaters, it’s worth checking to see what they look inside-out, in case the inside has a pattern you like more. And… you’re done! Upcycled leggings!

Read more: How to make furry leg warmers

How to make leg warmers out of sweaters using the no-sew method

Tip: Clothing using fabric glue should not be washed for the first 48 hours