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Monday, April 25, 2011

DIY baby leg warmers tutorial

I've been meaning to do this tutorial for a while now.  It's not my own idea, once upon a time there was a very similar tutorial online.   If it moved, I can't find it and the bookmark I have says it's gone.  So here's my version.  Enjoy!

These are great for summer, crawlers, ECing, potty training, layering without wearing 2 shirts, summer nights when the mosquitoes are out, etc.  The ideas are endless.  The best part is these two sock sizes will fit a wide range of arm and leg ages and sizes!

First we start with socks.  You can use womens or mens.  I use two different lengths (heights?) of socks.  The shorter pair makes a perfect infant leg warmer and the longer pair is great for toddlers and big kids.  They even fit my arms.  Target has a great selection, and they often have seasonal prints (FUN!).  The knee highs are $2 a pair and the 3 pack of crew are $7.  Not a bad price for what we're making!  There are many prints that are suitable for boys too, and you can look in the mens section for dress socks too.  I have girly colors here because that is who I am expecting.

We're going to cut them up.  The first cut should be made just above the heel, and the second cut just under it.  Cut the toe off also.  The foot part that you are left with will end up as the wrist/ankle cuff.  You can leave it as it is (makes a perfect size cuff for me) or trim the edge off as I have done in the picture (makes a infant or child size cuff).  It's really stretchy material to start with, so don't worry too much about the range of fit when finished.  I like the cuff part to be 3" wide.  The length of the cuff is up to you (from heel to toe on our original sock).  I prefer the length as shown here, nice for holding baby socks on.

The side you cut off (top of foot or bottom) makes no difference.  I cut less off the smaller sock because I wanted to position the print in the center of the finished cuff.

Once it is all cut up, use the "foot" part to make a cuff.  Fold it the opposite way so it is inside out compared to how it originally was.  Pin the cut side so it doesn't shift.  (I also pinned the fold side because I decided to even the design out a little bit more).  Starting with a solid colored sock you don't really have to worry about where the designs/stripes are in the end, but you can see from these pictures how I accounted for designs.

Then you'll sew or serge the cut side.  My sergers are huge paperweights at the moment.  Instead of serging, I'm doing a false overlock with my sewing machine.  You do this by choosing a zig zag stitch, with the right needle-down position going off the edge of the material.  Then you go back over the left side of the zig zag with a straight stitch.  A walking foot might be helpful here.  I forgot to put mine on.  Did you know that I always wanted one, and it took me oh... 3+ years after I got my machine to figure out it came with one?  I still forget I have it..

After you have sewn the side of the cuff, fold it in half lengthwise, right sides out.  Pin the edges.  I pin at the seam, exactly opposite of the seam, then create equal fourths when placing the last two pins.

Do the same equal fourths pinning thing on the upper part of the sock.

Once the cuff is pinned and the upper sock is also pinned, we need to put them together.  You can do this two ways, stuff the upper sock inside the cuff or turn the upper sock inside out and place the cuff inside.  We're going with #2 here.

Then you'll need to match up where the pins are placed and reinsert the pins through all the layers.  I also place pins halfway in between the original ones, just to make sure everything lines up perfectly.  I end up with eight equal sections.

Over to the machine again, we're doing the same overlock stitch.  Go slowly and make sure the layers stay lined up as you sew.

Here's what it looks like when it is all sewn.

Turn it right side out.  Can you believe that's it?

Here's my model.  She's 3 but you can see how the crew socks (infant size, white with argyle) fit on her arms.  They also fit to just above her knees.

Last of all, modeling the knee high size pair.

Just for comparison, some of both sizes on an infant.

knee high size on newborn



  1. love how you made the cuffs, ingenious! I can't wait to make mine :). I have knee high socks but now I want some smaller ones like yours to make some ones for a new baby.

  2. Mine turned out great! Each one took about 5 minutes and they look very professional. Thanks for a great tutorial.

  3. I just finished my first pair. Made them from larger child's sized crew socks since I plan to uses them mostly in the hospital and a brand new baby. I also sewed them by hand doing a blanket stitch on the raw edges and then a back stitch for a smooth seem. The Machine would have been faster but this gave me something to do with my hands while I was "putting my feet up" at Doctors request. They turned out great I am excited to use them thanks for a great tutorial.

  4. It is so simple, but I waited months (stupid!!) to make my little girl two pairs of ballet leg warmers.

  5. I know this is an old post, but I just love the idea of using these leg warmers as arm warmers! Shared it with some fans yesterday:

    Great pics & tutorial :)

  6. Yay! Making these for babycakes coming home outfit;) Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thanks for this tutorial! I just made a few pairs yesteday, and blogged about them, linking back to your page! Thanks for sharing these!