Restyle Sweater Sleeves into Leg Warmers

comments (8) November 9th, 2016     

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Tina_Hilton Tina Hilton, contributor
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So toasty and stylish.
Sleeves with a variety of patterns and colors make great leg warmers.
Lacy leg warmers are right on trend!
So toasty and stylish.

So toasty and stylish.

I have always been a fan of leg warmers since I first saw Jennifer Beals strutting her stuff in the infamous "Maniac" scene in Flashdance. Guess what? Leg warmers are back with a vengeance. From the runway to mall merchants, leg warmers have been popping up in a variety of sexy yet practical styles. has tons available for sale and you can find patterns in the latest knitting mags including the high-fashion European Verena and online pattern resource Knitty.

goodwill store   Visit your local thrift for a wealth of crafty raw material.

A trip to a mega Goodwill in Dallas recently yielded two huge bags of thrift store crafty goodness. I slipped the sweater sleeves over my calves to check the fit and baffled the other shoppers with the sleeves encasing my legs and the rest of the sweater dragging along in the wake searching for a mirror. Ahh, what we have to do to satisfy our creative brilliance!

Needless to say I found a couple of sweaters perfect for leg warmer fashion. As I was searching through racks of sweaters, I was on the lookout for an interesting pattern and color. The sleeves needed to be snug, soft, and machine washable. I was also looking for a sleeve that could be disconnected from the body without having to cut, thus avoiding the unraveling issue. You should look for a sweater that is stitched together with thread or yarn; if the edges are serged together, the sweater will unravel. A clean amputation from the body allows you to use the rest of the sweater without destroying it.

Restyle Sweater Sleeves into Leg Warmers   Sleeves with a variety of patterns and colors make great leg warmers.


Restyle Sweater Sleeves into Leg Warmers   Sleeves with an openwork design will look great over colored tights.


  • Sweater to suit your size, style, and material preference
  • Stitch ripper
  • Small, sharp scissors
  • Sewing machine

Step by Step

Turn the sweater inside out and cut the thread that attaches the sleeve to the body.

Restyle Sweater Sleeves into Leg Warmers   A super-sharp seam ripper will make the task fast and accurate.


Restyle Sweater Sleeves into Leg Warmers   The yarn was fuzzy, so it was best to cut the stitching as opposed to ripping the stitches from the center.

If the sweater has set-in sleeves, the top of the sleeve will be uneven and will taper to the armhole. If you are able, you may wish to unravel it to create an even top or cut with your scissors.

Restyle Sweater Sleeves into Leg Warmers   I ended up cutting off the top to shorten as it was difficult to unravel this tightly knit bouclé yarn.

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posted in: restyle sweater sleeves to legwarmers, repurpose sweaters, Leg warmers

Comments (8)

lesterneal32 writes: Better Things to use in Winter
Posted: 3:59 am on July 26th
ebuy24hours writes: I'm not good at this, if need sweater or leg warmer, I can only buy them online
Posted: 9:52 pm on March 4th
BarnMomJen writes: I've been making doggie sweaters for my weenie dog out of felted sweater sleeves for a few years now. I never could find sweaters for her to cover her tummy, they all have it cut out, for the boys' "business" I suppose, lol. Well, her business is really, really, low, and her belly is super cold, so I made her some sweaters to cover that pink tummy. Since I felt the sweater first, the edges do not unravel when I cut the arm holes. I don't even need to finish them. Works great. And she has an entire wardrobe of fabulous sweaters!
Posted: 4:43 am on March 13th
JenniferStern writes: This is the perfect thing to whip up to wear with your yoga pants...My legs have been a little nippy running in and out of yoga class. I noticed my yoga teacher was wearing leg warmers to cover her legs below the hem of her yoga pants...I told her to check you out on Craftstylish so she could make some more (and I'll get to it too!) Thanks for the idea
Posted: 1:47 pm on January 20th
Tina_Hilton writes: Hi queenofpurls - Super idea for cast off cashmere. I have just the sweater in my stash...
Posted: 9:36 am on January 11th
Tina_Hilton writes: Hi Jen1964 - The legwarmers will stay up if the sleeves of the sweater feel snug on your legs. If you want them slouchy, pick a sweater that has larger sleeves, perhaps from a big guy sweater. Check back in February for pet project month to see what we have in store for the pups in your life!
Posted: 9:35 am on January 11th
queenopearls writes: Yeah! Great idea! You've inspired me to use some of the $2.99 wool sweaters to make wrist warmers. A too-small cashmere sweater, now felted, is becoming super soft wrist warmers. Thank you so much!
Posted: 5:03 pm on January 10th
Jen1964 writes: Love the lace ones especially. Do they stay up? I never got used to using leg warmers. Never got used to thermals either, really. Love the idea of something to go with the fuzzy robe! Seems the P.J. industry forgot about that, and not all of us like flannel... The dog version IS something I've tried - on our little dog, one sleeve = 1 doggie sweater, with a little sewing and crocheting. I'm not the type to match the dog, or... ... ... is suppose you could - but I think we're all safe, since I haven't seen any 3 sleeved sweaters! I like your co-worker's idea of making pillows out of the body. almost no waste!

Posted: 8:15 am on January 10th
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