Today’s project is learning how to make leg warmers. Have you ever felt overwhelmed by all of your scrap fabric pieces leftover from other projects that you don’t necessarily want to throw away, so you hold onto them until the perfect project comes along? Well, this leg warmer tutorial is a great scrap buster project! This is one of our simple sewing projects for accessories. There are certainly different methods to make these (I've heard of them being made with an old pair of socks or sweater sleeves). That being said, I don't see much of a need to use sewing patterns besides the simple legwarmers pattern I'll show you how to make below..
Learning How to Make Leg Warmers
No more than a 1/2 yard was needed for a pair of leg warmers I made for myself and if you are making a pair for a child, it would be less than that. This tutorial will be pretty basic with a touch of flare. I’m positive if you wanted to get creative with yours, a pair of leg warmers could become as involved or uninvolved as you would like. Your creativity is the limit so feel free to add or take away what you learn from this.
I designed mine with stretchy fabric in mind, but I’m sure a non-stretch fleece could work just as well for the body of the leg warmer as long as you make adjustments for the band pieces such as using a rib knit with good stretch and recovery or by simply omitting the cuffs and doing a basic elastic casing for the top and bottom. Either way, I will walk you through how I decided to make mine.
Leg Warmer Supplies:
- 1/2 yd of Fabric of your choice. I used a stretchy sweater knit for mine (Adult size) 1/4 yd for a child.
- Scissors or rotary cutter & mat
- A flexible tape measure
- Sewing machine or serger
- Clips or pins, needle and thread
- Paper and pen
To begin with this project, you will want to grab a pen or pencil and some paper. Start by taking the following measurements:
- Calf circumference
- Ankle circumference
- Length between the knee and ankle (or wherever you want the leg warmer to sit)
- Your desired overall width -more width = looser fit, less width = tighter fit.
Designing Your Leg Warmers
If you want leg warmers that are shorter or longer, you will adjust the length measurements accordingly. Below is a picture of my draft measurements. I wanted my leg warmers to start right below my knee and stop right around my ankle bone. I also wanted mine to have a gathered, drapey look around the bottom, so I made my width about the same as my length.
If you prefer a more fitted leg warmer, then you will bring your width in (side to side). I made calf and ankle cuffs to hold my leg warmers up and in place. Elastic would be another option which I did try but aesthetically, I liked the cuffs, and they kept me warmer! To get my cuff measurements, I tried to stick to around 80% of my overall width measurement. For example, I took my calf and ankle circumference measurements and multiplied them by .80%.
I then added .25 to those numbers to account for my 1/4″ seam allowance. Feel free to adjust your measurements as you see fit.
I did tweak my measurements slightly after drawing it out, but I just wanted to give everyone an idea of how I drew mine up before I began cutting out my fabric.
Ok, now we can begin cutting out our measurements.
Measuring out my leg pieces. Width and length. My width Is based off of my calf measurement plus a little more. Since I was going for a drapey, gathered feature towards the ankle, I kept this same width up and down. The length will be the distance between just below your knee and your ankle. (Or wherever you decide you want yours to sit). I went with 14″ for mine. Again, this is totally dependent upon your own measurements and preferences.
Calf cuffs. I made mine 6″ long by just over 11″ wide. The amount of length is totally up to your discretion. If you want a taller cuff, increase the length of your measurement. The width is dependent upon your calf circumference. Important! Don’t forget to add in the 1/4″ seam allowance to your width.
Ankle cuffs. I did have to recut this piece to make it slightly wider after testing it out, so this picture won’t match my final math I have written down. Just wanted to include some basic pictures for everyone to visually see my process. Don’t forget to add the 1/4″ seam allowance to the width.
You will need two leg pieces, two calf cuffs (bands) and two ankle cuffs.
Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Make Leg Warmers
Leg Warmers Step One: Leg Assembly
Clip or pin your leg piece in half with right sides together. Sew using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Repeat for the other leg piece.
Leg piece is sewn up.
Leg Warmers Step One: Calf Cuffs
Grab the larger of the two bands and clip or pin them with right sides together.
Sew using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Repeat for the second calf cuff.
Next, we will fold our calf cuffs in half with wrong sides together.
Place the calf cuff inside the leg warmer at whichever end you would like the top to be. If making one like mine, it won’t matter which end. With right sides together, line up the seams and clip or pin in place. Sew using the 1/4″ seam allowance.
Calf cuff sewn on. View from the wrong side of the leg warmer.
Leg Warmers Step Three: Ankle Cuffs
Now we will grab our ankle cuffs and fold them right sides together and assemble them the same way as the calf cuffs.
Ankle cuffs sewn up. Now we will attach them to the leg piece.
Fold the ankle cuffs with wrong sides together. Place the cuffs inside the bottom of the leg warmer with seams aligned and clip or pin in place with right sides together. Sew, gently stretching as you go.
Here is the completed leg warmer. It came out just as I had envisioned with a simple calf cuff at the top and the gathered look at the bottom of the ankle cuff. With the ankle cuff being gently stretched at just the right width for my ankle, it allowed for the look of gathers without actually using the standard gathering technique.
A better glimpse of the ankle style.
Fitted around my calf’s but not too tight and then drapey around the ankle, yet still warm.
I totally wore these grocery shopping with my winter boots and they were great!
I hope you’re able to go and make your very own pair of leg warmers now after reading how easy it is to make a pair using basic scraps of fabric, some simple math based on your measurements and a little bit of creativity of your own to design some leg warmers catered just for you!
What are some good fabrics to make legwarmers out of?
Good fabrics to make legwarmers out of include knit fabrics like acrylic, wool, and cotton. Making a pair of fleece leg warmers is also a popular choice. Overall, choosing a fabric that is soft, stretchy, and provides warmth will ensure that your legwarmers are cozy and functional.
Thank you for joining us today to learn how to make leg warmers. Before you leave, make sure to join our Facebook Group and follow us on Instagram. Happy Sewing!