Making your own baby leg warmers is fun and easy! It also can be super cheap yet customized to the tot's or parents' preferences, so baby leggings can make for a sweet homemade holiday gift.
All you need is a pair of women's knee socks (the bolder the pattern, the better, in my opinion!), a bit of thread and sewing know-how (but seriously not much at all!), and about ten minutes.
Why baby leg warmers?Well, because they're awesome.
Need more specific reasons?
- Cover those bared shins when pants hike up through babywearing or baby carrying.
- Protect your crawler's little knees.
- Streamline elimination communication and diaper changes by wearing just baby leggings and a shirt.
- Punch up your baby's wardrobe with bright colors and fun patterns.
- Use them as seasonal transitions to add a light layer under shorts or short sleeves.
- Speaking of which, they work great as arm warmers, too, even for older kids and adults!
- Women's knee socks. Men's are fine, too, though women's styles are usually more fun. I've made lovely baby legs from my old worn-out socks, since they tend to wear out in the pieces you'll be cutting off anyway (toes and heels). You can also find thrillingly cheap knee socks in department and discount stores, often themed for whatever holiday or season is upon us (and on clearance just after the fact, if you want to snap up some a year in advance). Thrift stores are another place to peek. I've made Alrik stripey orange-and-black leg warmers for Halloween and have a pair of googly-eyed reindeer socks with his name on it!
That's it! Oh, my!
InstructionsHere's the simple step-by-step!
- Cut off the toes and heels. Save the rest of the foot portion for the bottom cuff.
The original top cuffs and length of the knee socks stay put.
If your socks have a strong pattern like stripes, try to cut evenly along them.
These were a pair of my favorite socks. I bought them in Cornwall, and the tag promised me they were "The Most Stripy Socks Ever!!" I was sold, and apparently loved them too much. I'm glad to give them second life!
- Turn the foot portion into a cuff, right sides out (wrong sides together). Some socks don't have a strong inside and outside, but be sure the outsides are showing if yours do.
- Pin the cuff around the bottom of the leg warmer. Make sure the raw edges line up along the top and right sides are still together and showing. (In other words, can you see the right sides out on the outside of the cuff and the legging itself?) Note that the top you're seeing is actually going to be inside the leg warmer. You might first hold it in place with your fingers and experimentally flip the cuff into place so you can see what the end product will look like — make sure stripes and patterns are lined up, and you're seeing what you want to see, on both leg warmers. It's a pain to take out stretch stitches if you goof! (Ask me how I know this…)
- Sew a stretch stitch through the layers. Here's a no-duh, but I'll say it anyway: don't sew the legging closed! Sew around the outside in a circle, just below the edges. (It helps to take the extension off the arm of your sewing machine when sewing these little things.)
If your sewing machine doesn't have a stretch stitch, use a zigzag.
- Zigzag the raw edges. I don't consider this mandatory, but I think it makes the interior neater and helps keep the sewing stronger through wash and wear.
- Turn it right side out. Tug it all into shape and see what you think.
- Try them on!
Here are my Halloween stylings on Alrik as a toddler.
Here are my old stripeys on Alrik at 6 months.
Aw! Remember when he had zero hair?
Buy some!Not feeling crafty? Not to worry.
You can always purchase adorable styles as well! My favorite places to shop? The fabulous Anktangle Creations on Etsy, which offers custom orders as well as an inspiring in-stock collection, and the original BabyLegs, which I cannot stop collecting. They're addictive!
Do your little ones wear baby leg warmers? Have you made any yourself?