Repurposing Clothes: Ruffled T Shirt Leggings Tutorial

ruffled leggings titleDo you ever have days where you think of something and it just clicks?  I use to really enjoy being crafty.  I still enjoy it but I use to find the time to craft, before my days were full of being a Mama.  Although I have tackled some projects, I have really missed doing projects and being creative!  Who says being a Mama you have to give up crafting?  It is just finding the time to squeeze it in and even if it one hour a week, I have decided I am going to make the time!

I have been collecting cute colored 100% cotton t-shirts from our local thrift store where you can fill an entire bag for $2 for a while for a rag rug (which hasn’t been started yet), so that means I have an entire tote full of t-shirts just waiting to be used!  I have E.V.E.R.Y. color, I mean every color!

Ruffled Leggings Collage1

With that said, I decided I would try out several repurposing projects repurposing clothes from my t-shirt collection.  I couldn’t be more excited with how these adorable leggings turned out, except for an error I made that in turn lead to me adding the ruffles!  Plus they were so easy that you literally can make several pairs in a variety of colors in a short time period.

If you are looking for a fun rainy day afternoon project, this may be just the project for you!

Upcycled Ruffled T Shirt Leggings Tutorial

Supplies Needed

  • T-Shirt
  • 3/4″ Elastic
  • Pair of Leggings the size you wish to make
  • Craft paper or Parchment Paper (optional)

In the beginning the pattern I made for the leggings I planned on using a little differently so bare with me as I tell you how to adjust it or not even make a pattern at all.

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Pick a pair of legging in the size you are wanting to make, for me it was a newborn.  Lay them one leg on top of each other on the craft paper or parchment paper.  Leave yourself an inch on the top for the seam as well as about 1/3″ on the sides that have seams as well.  In my picture I also left an inch on the bottom as I planned to  make my first pair from fabric but quickly realized I could use the bottom seam of my t-shirt and wouldn’t have to hem it!

Ruffled Leggings2Now pick your t-shirt and cut out all the seams including the sleeves, side seams and collar.  This will leave you two single pieces that look like the front or back of a tank top.

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Fold the two sides in so they are almost touching each other and pin your pattern on.  Again, from the bottom of the pattern you can see I left about an inch at the bottom because I didn’t have to hem it.  Flip the pattern over on the other side and cut out a second piece from the other side.  **(If you are not making a pattern, you can simply lay your legging on top of the material and cut around them, being sure to leave 1/3″ on the side of the leggings with seams and a 1″ seam on the top.)**

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With the right sides together, line up your bottom hems and then pin the sides together.  You are only going to sew down to the peak on each side using 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving the bottom seams open.  With your fingers flatten out the seam.  You can also press it open if you would prefer.

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Now turn the seams so that they are in the middle of the waist, rather than on the sides and line up the legs.  Pin each leg and sew using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

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Now turn the waist down a just a bit more than an inch and pin in place.  Turn right side out and sew a one inch seam, leaving about two inched open on the back waist to feed your elastic through.

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Cut your elastic about the same length as the waist because you are going to be over lapping and sewing it by an inch.  If you want to have a smaller waist cut it a bit smaller.

I always have an easier time feeding elastic using a safety-pin as a lead, but feed your elastic all the way around the waist.  Pull the elastic through so it over laps by at least an inch, or whatever amount you need for the waist to be the proper size and then sew it together.  Trim off any excess.

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Now sew your opening closed.  To hold the elastic in place and keep it from flipping, sew all the way around the waist on 3/4″ seam.  (I didn’t take a picture of this step, sorry!)

You can stop there and have a perfectly adorable pair of leggings but it was late (again sorry for the dark pictures) and I snipped my material when I was clipping my threads.  I don’t know how it happened, but it did!  I was going to just use it as a live and learn pair but decided I would add some girly charm instead!

To make ruffles, cut three rectangle strips of fabric.  My fabric strips were 8″, 6 1/2″ and 5″ wide by  1 1/2″ tall.

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Turn your stitch length up to a long as it will go and sew a stitch across the top of each piece that will be like hand basting.  Do not back-stitch as we will be pulling the threads to create our ruffle.

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Take the threads and gently pull on one thread to gather the material to create a ruffle.

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Now pin them in place starting with the longest on the top.  I wanted to stagger mine so I tucked the top of each ruffles under the bottom of the one above it.

Stitch as close as you can on the basting stitch on all three ruffles.  Clip all your threads and you are good to go with an adorable pair of ruffled t-shirt leggings that are so soft and cute but totally repurposed!

Ruffled leggings and onesie1

Although it may seem like a lot of steps, once I was able to figure out what I wanted, the pair took only about 30 minutes from start to finish!  This means I can outfit my newborn in different colored leggings in just an afternoon.

Have you tried your hand at repurposing clothes?

Be sure to check back each Wednesday during our “Bringing Home Baby” event as I will be sharing a baby project with you each week, including a cute rosette onesie to match our leggings!

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