How to make a pattern from old legging


Today I’m going to show you how to make a pattern from old leggings to make a brand new pair.  I wear leggings or yoga pants just about every day.  That’s one of the perks of working from home!  Why be uncomfortable when no one’s looking? 🙂  The leggings I’m using for the pattern have served me well and they finally split down the seam in the midst of a sewing session.  Of course, I held them together with safety pins and wore them the rest of the day!  Who’s got time for wardrobe mishaps while there is creating to be done?

You’ll need:

  • old leggings
  • stretch fabric – fabric with spandex is preferred – I used a pattern for the leggings and a solid for the band.  Prewashing is recommended for knits!
  • ball point needle – this is a must when sewing knits
  • scissors – for cutting up fabric

I will be cutting these leggings down the seams because they are not salvageable as leggings any more.  One day I’ll show you how to copy ones you want to keep!

Old leggings

You want to cut them close to the seam to help get the most accurate “pattern” piece.

cutting up old leggings

This is the fabric I’ll be using.  Not my usual choice for leggings, but I’m mixing things up!  I got this in a Girl Charlee Knitfix bag.  You get 6, 2 yard cuts of knit fabric and a tote for $59, which is a great deal for knits!  It’s a surprise, so you never know what you’ll get!  They have a new one every month, check it out!

stretch fabric
Make sure to pay attention to the direction of the stretch.  If your fabric only stretches one way, you’ll want that to be perpendicular to your legs.  A fabric with spandex works best for leggings.  I’m fairly certain my fabric has no spandex, but I’m gonna give it a go anyway!

fabric stretch direction

Cutting and sewing new leggings

Now that the old leggings are cut, lay them out on the fabric of your choice.  Your fabric should be doubled, so you will have a front and back piece when you cut.  Cut about 1/2″ away from the edge of the old leggings to allow for a seam.  You need to add about an 1″ to 1 1/2″ to the top and bottom for hems and waistband.

pattern layout

fabric cut out

Fold one piece in half, right sides together, and align the inseam.  Sew down the seam about 1/2″ from the edge with a zigzag stitch.  Repeat for the other leg.

leg folded


Turn one of the legs inside out.  Put this leg inside the other leg, right sides together.  Match up the seams and pin the pieces together.  Sew down the seam about 1/2″ from the edge with a zigzag stitch.

two legs pinned

Try on the leggings at this point.  Make any adjustments and mark the bottom hems.  I decided to fold my bottom hems to the outside instead of the inside.  I used a zigzag stitch to sew it down and trimmed the excess close to the stitch.  Stretch fabric doesn’t ravel, it will just curl under after washing.


Adding banding

I decided to add a banding at the top instead of elastic.  Using a solid knit, I cut the banding about 1″ shorter than my waistband.  Again, make sure the stretch is perpendicular to your legs.  The picture shows the banding folded in half, length wise.  Cut it about 8-10″ wide if you want it to fold over.

banding cut

Sew the two short edges of the banding together.  Pin banding, right side to wrong side of leggings, matching seam to back leggings seam and center front to front leggings seam.

pinning banding

Find the centers of the sides of the banding and leggings.  Pin it!  I added pins between these as well.  Pinning this way helps distribute the fabric better when one piece is longer than the other.

align centers

Sew this seam at about 1/2″ with zigzag stitch.  Since the banding is slightly smaller, you will need to give it a little tug between pins.  Gently so you don’t break the needle!

tug fabric

tug fabric 2

Press the seam towards the banding and press the banding edges under 1/4″ to 1/2″.


Fold the banding towards the seam, offsetting the hem and seam to avoid too much bulk.

Aligning seams

Pin through all layers and stitch close to edge of banding with zigzag stitch.  Finished edge

All finished!  What do you think?

Make a pattern from old leggings

Good enough for around the house!  I’ll be making more so I can address some fit issues.  What happened to the old leggings?  I’ve got plans to give them a new life – stay tuned!

Y’all have a marvelous Monday and go get creative!



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply