Ok, so here it is!! I've gotten so many emails asking me how to make a pair of toddler/ kid leggings from a t shirt, so here ya' go!!
I have read tutorial after tutorial and I never really found one that explained all the steps, like putting in the waist band, which was a huge mystery to me. Thank goodness I have some super sewing friends, Janith & Marie, to help me!! So after my 200th or so pair of leggings, I'm ready to share my knowledge! Ha!
Turn this shirt (below) into these leggings (below, below)... that's an abstract Mickey Mouse, in case you're wondering. ..ha...
Ok. So I use a straight stitch machine and a serger. My serger is a piece of junk. Seriously. You don't have to spend big bucks on a serger, unless you have big bucks or want to make an investment in something you'll have forever. For about $200, you can get a serger to get the job done but don't plan on falling in love with it and never wanting it to die. I am looking forward to the day this serger gets replaced. Anyway, moving on...
Get a pattern for toddler leggings. Go to Etsy and there are lots of people selling patterns or just go online and find them for free. Find a pattern that you like and can work with easily enough. These patterns that I use I purchased online and have tweaked a lot but toddler leggings are the simpliest patterns ever. This one piece of paper is literally the entire pattern.
Lay the pattern OVER the front of the t shirt and MAKE SURE the bottom of your pattern lines up with the bottom of the shirt!!!! That way you won't have to add a bottom hem, just use the hem that's already there!! EUREKA!!!
You will need to cut the pattern through the front and the back at the same time and luckily for you (and me), you get opposite legs! So lay the pattern on the top and cut it out.
Take apart the pieces you cut and you'll have a left leg and a right leg! How awesome is that!!
Fold them in half (right sides together, just like the pic) and pin from the crotch to the bottom hem. You will be sewing up the legs and then putting both pieces together after.
Ta dah. You have both legs sewn up to the crotch.
Now, turn ONE leg right side out, doesn't matter which one. Put that leg INSIDE the other leg (still inside out) so the right sides are together.
That pic above is showing you both right sides together, one leg inside the other. Now you will want to pin the crotch together to prepare to sew. You always want to make sure your crotch pieces meet or they'll look crazy and not line up.
The pic below is showing you the crotch pinned.
Now you want to sew from the front all the way to the back in one continuous motion, like a big U. Crotch should be directly in the middle.
Then get your waist band measured and cut. These are a 2T legging and the waist band need to be 18.5 inches long. Your pattern will tell you how long to cut your waist band for your size leggings. Sew it closed on your straight stich machine.
Ok, here's some super great info for you. I tried and tested elastic band after elastic band and it drove me batty. I finally found (thanks, Janith) an elastic that was PERFECT for toddler leggings and I'll share the info with you. I got it from Wawak.com and it's the item #: EL55BKElastic 1 1/4" x 50 yd / No-Roll Waistband. Boom. You're welcome. :)
Make sure your pants are now inside out. Take your waist band and pin it around the outside of your pants, just as shown in the pic. I only use two pins to start, that way it's easy to know they are evenly spaced on the pants. Add two more pins, evenly spaced.
Serge the waist band to the pants. That way you will have a nice finished edge when you flip the waist band but you can also zig zag it with a straight stitch machine. It doesn't really matter as this stitch will be hidden inside of the pants anyway.
You will want to PULL the waist band and add a bit of tension while serging (by pulling, not actualy changing the tension on your sewing machine). That way the waist band will stretch right when it's being worn.
These pics are trying to show how I pull the waist band while sewing...
When you're done serging the band, turn the pants right side out. FOLD the waist band inside once and you will have a nice finished waist band!
I didn't add a pic of that because it's pretty self explainatory, right?
Pin the band folded with two evenly spaced pins and straight stitch on top of the serger stitch. Notice that this stitch WILL be seen from the outside so make sure you keep a steady hand and go slow. I sew on the inside of the waist, as in the pic, so I make sure to sew on top of the folded band.
Again, make sure you PULL the waist band taught while sewing. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!! You want your waist band to have that crinkley scrunched look and that's how you achieve it. I'm showing you in the pic above how to stitch and pull back, but don't pull back too forcefully because you'll stop the feeders from pulling your fabric forward!
You're done! Seriously! That's it!
Now do it again and make another pair! And another!! Think of all the money you'll save by making your own!!!
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