Legwarmers: a Down&Dirty How To

Ok so I have this sweater. Maybe you have one like it? My Grandma gave it to me when I was like, a freshman or sophomore in high-school, it was one of those Christmases where she gave everyone a variation on a theme, like my sister got the sweet and pretty pale blue cashmere sweater, and my stepmom got the sweet and nice ivory, and I got black. Black cashmere. Because Grandma Understood Me.
Recently realized I’ve had this sweater almost twenty years. And I never wear it anymore, because it’s all boxy and worn and stuff.
Also realized I could really use some legwarmers. Legs have been cold ever since November! In fact, one of the ways I can tell my flexibility has improved is the fact that it rather ubruptly de-improved when the weather got cold.
How To Make Leggings Out Of Your Old Sweater:
Cut  the sleeves
The Down&Dirty Way:
Level of difficulty: you need either an overlock machine or lots and lots of patience.
Step 1. Cut the sleeves. Cut straight across, don’t get all crazy. If you love your old sweater like I love mine, you’ll save the body for some other future project. Maybe a cashmere tube top. Fun!
Overlock the cut edge
Step 2. Overlock the cut edge.
Step 3. There is no step three, you’re done.
Note: these are Down&Dirty legwarmers. They might not last you another twenty years, but What-ever, you do what you want!
Ok so what if you don’t have an overlock?
Well, look closely at the cut edge of your sleeve. See how the knit makes a little loop? All along the edge? Loop loop loop? Thread a needle and run your thread through every last one of those loops, seriously, you must catch them all, and then try the legwarmers on, make sure you haven’t pulled your thread too tight to get up over your bodacious ballet calves, and tie off.
I was going to show a picture of this, but it turns out that The Adult Beginner doesn’t have the patience, but does have an overlock, so there.
Another alternative: if you have a sewing machine that does a zig-zag, you can zig-zag that mofo, but it’ll look kinda crummy. Just sayin. I mean, it’s up to you how bohemian you wanna get with this.
Note: you cannot make thigh-high leggings this way. Unless you have a sweater with really really really long arms. Like we’re talking straight-jacket arms. If you wanna know how long they’ll be before you cut, just put your sweater on your legs instead of your arms. It’s fun!
Also note: these’ll cling to your ballet tights, or your cotton knit leggings, so don’t be fussed about adding elastic. But if you are fussed, wear the legwarmers the other way around, with the ribbed cuff at the top. They won’t cling so well to smooth, slick fabric like Lycra or your PVC leggings, so, like, be safe, don’t wear them in the center if they seem slippy.


About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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10 Responses to Legwarmers: a Down&Dirty How To

  1. Oh what’s that? You want to see a picture of the final product? You demand a picture? Well simmer, ok? I’ll take a pic next class!

  2. I like to overlock a piece of elastic in the cut edge and then turn it down and zig over it (cuz I don’t have a cover stitch) but I am SUPER FANCY that way.

  3. lalatina says:

    This is so Cool!!! The most I have ever done when it comes to recycling clothes is cutting a very old pair of jeans into shorts, lol.

  4. Nellie Dean says:

    See, you say ‘overlock’ and my brain promptly goes into major panic at the ‘OMG TECHNICAL SEWING TERMS’. And yes, catch all the loops or you get drop stitch ladders which are fixable but it involves a crochet hook and we all know those are weird and wrong.

    I’m almost half tempted to cut the sleeves off my cardigan right now and experiment mind…

  5. Deborah says:

    Love this blog. Just found it and subscribed today. Am enthusiastic middle-aged ballet student, currently sidelined with knee injury, will probably return to this site compulsively as I wait for healing. Please keep writing about your experiences as an ABB (adult beginning ballet). You are not alone…. :)

  6. Pingback: Ballet class outfit 1/9/14 | Adult Beginner

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