DIY Leggings from Repurposed T-Shirt Sleeves

Upcycled t-shirt sleeve leggings

Leggings are Addie’s clothing piece of choice.  She loves stripes, pokadots and big, bright colors.  While leggings are usually not very expensive, I love that by making my own I can create any style or color we need want.  And who am I kidding, I love to put pieces on my kids that I made.

During my nesting period when I was pregnant with Bethany I found a shirt I loved but no longer fit.   It was a heather gray, so soft and had such cute buttons on the sleeves.  While trying to decide what to do with it, Addie came in asking if I would pull out her leggings.  Then I realized that the sleeves would be adorable as leggings for the baby!  Don’t you agree!

The concept is so easy!  I had already made cute ruffled leggings from a t-shirt so I knew it would be easy to do and part of the work would already be done for me!   Since this project only requires the sleeves, you can use the actual bodice of the shirt to create these adorable ruffled leggings while you are at it!

DIY Leggings from a Repurposed T-Shirt

You will need a long-sleeve t-shirt, 3/4″ or 1″ wide elastic and a pair of leggings the size you are wishing to make.


Cut off the sleeves at the shoulder seam.  Lay your leggings on top of your sleeve.  Line up the bottom of the sleeve with the bottom of the leggings.  Mine had an unfinished edge, which I really liked with the buttons but it will save you time using the existing seam.   Leave about 1 – 1 1/2″ above the waist for the elastic casing to be made and cut off the rest.


Now you are going to cut the inside seam of the sleeve where we will be sewing the two together.  Again, using your existing leggings for your guide, mark the crotch seams on the inside of the sleeves.  Cut the fabric on the inside of the sleeves where they will be sewed together.


Turn the sleeves inside out and with right sides together, pin both pieces of the sleeves together.  Sew together using a 3/8″ inseam.


This is how they will look.


Turn them inside out again and fold over the waist wide enough to feed your elastic through, about 1 1/8″.  Sew around the waist leaving about a 2″ opening to feed your elastic thorough.


Using a safety-pin as my guide, I fed the elastic through the waist opening.  To create a snug fit then I overlapped the elastic by about 1 1/2-2″ and sewed the two pieces together in a rectangle pattern.


Sew your 2″ opening closed.  Turn your leggings right side out and you are now ready to let your little one rock them!


The cool thing about these leggings is that you really can embellish them as much or as little as you would like.  I loved the buttons on the sleeves already or you could add a few of your own!

BEthany leggings

Do you have any last season t-shirts waiting to be loved again?

6 thoughts on “DIY Leggings from Repurposed T-Shirt Sleeves”

  1. What a great idea! I have never thought to do that… 🙂 I will definitely be making a few pairs for Natalie like these! And that picture of your daughter is THE cutest!

  2. Sweet & Precious baby girl rockin her new outfit! It’s really a shame that I can’t even sew in a straight line with a sewing machine~~~~(LOL)
    You truly have the talent.

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