There’s nothing more versatile in my daughter’s wardrobe than her leggings. Their current best use if for preventing her from removing her diaper! But we put them on with all styles of shirts and dresses. It’s the perfect wardrobe modifier. But I’m sure I don’t have to convince you how great leggings are- you’re reading this post, right? I recently fell in love with ruffled leggings and we even have a pair of really nice ones from Matilda Jane. As much as I love them, I can’t justify spending $30 on shorts for a toddler when I know I can make them for $5 and less than an hour of time! But they’re so darn cute under tunics, I can’t resist making lots!
Here’s what you’ll need:
The Ariel Leggings pattern
Enough knit fabric for capri-length leggings (check the first page of the pattern for fabric yardage)
Basic sewing supplies (machine, needles, thread, scissors, rotary cutter tools, pins
Optional- Wash Away Wonder Tape
These instructions are for above-the-knee shorts, you can lengthen or shorten them however you desire.
On your Leggings pattern piece, draw a horizontal line that’s approximately half way between the crotch and the blue capri cut line (shown in red). Measure the line and make a note of it’s length. Cut the pattern piece along that line then finish cutting it out.
Use the modified Legging piece to cut out your fabric. Sew the shorts together following the directions on pages 10 and 11 and then follow the waistband instructions on page 15.
You’ll need two ruffles (one for each leg) but of course you can cut more and layer them! You can follow the chart below or find the width yourself using the following method. Take the length of the red line from the first step, ours is 10.7″, and multiply it by 2. This new measurement is the width of each ruffle, for our example it’s going to be 21.4″ wide. The length depends on your own preference. I like a 2″ finished ruffle length on this size 2 pair of shorts. We’ll add 1″ to the length for seam allowance and hemming. Fold both Ruffles in half with right sides and short ends together. Pin together at the short ends.
Use 1/2″ seam allowance to sew together where pinned.
We’re going to use a 1/2″ hem allowance to hem the Ruffles. On the wrong side, measure 1″ from one long edge (If your fabric has a directional print, this will be the bottom.) and draw a line all the way around both Ruffles.
Fold the bottom edge up to meet the line you drew, press and pin in place.
Sew 1/8” from the raw edge, or 3/8” from the folded edge.
Sew two lines of baste stitches around the top edge of both Ruffles, making sure to stay within the 1/2” seam allowance. We sew two lines because it creates a more evenly gathered ruffle and is more durable for gathering.
With right sides together, pin a Ruffle to each leg, having the seams aligned.
Pull in the gathers so the Ruffle is the same width as the leg and pin together more frequently.
Use a stretch stitch to sew together where pinned.
Tip- I like to sew gathered pieces on with the gathers on the bottom, against the feed dogs. This prevents the presser foot from pulling out the gathers.
Another option is to topstitch the Ruffles on. This method leaves the raw edge of the ruffle on the outside of the leggings, giving them a more playful look.
Pull in the gathers so the Ruffle is the same width as the legs. Draw a horizontal line on the leggings, 1/2″ from the bottom edge. This line will be used to line up the Ruffle. Place the Ruffle around the leg so its wrong side is facing the right side of the leg. Align the top edge of the Ruffle with the line. Pin together. If you have wonder tape, place some below the line you drew to help the ruffles to stay perfectly even.
Hopefully you’ve found that adding ruffles to leggings isn’t difficult at all! You can use the same methods to add ruffles to just about anything! If you found this tutorial helpful, let us know and don’t forget to share with your friends!