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Leggings Into Sleeves /Designer Curve?

abcameo | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I have too-small leggings with zippers at the ankle/calf. I want to cut off the legs and turn them into sleeves, attaching them to an existing garment.

I held the leggings up and used tailor’s chalk to mark my shoulder and sketched around my armhole as best as I could. I’d like to make sure when I cut the leggings, both sides come out the same and that they will really fit my armholes. I don’t exactly know how to use my Olfa designer curve rule to accomplish this.

When I try to match up the spot that says “underarm” or “shoulder”, the curve doesn’t come close to matching what I’ve sketched with chalk.

Would someone please explain how to use this tool properly. All help greatly appreciated.


  1. Teaf5 | | #1

    Sorry I can't help with the tool, but maybe I can help with the project.  The leggings are knit, right?  Do you want them as a long-sleeved t-shirt-type sleeve or as a gathered-cap sleeve?

    A t-shirt sleeve cap is just a very slight arc from the underarm to underarm, only about 1-2" higher at the shoulder than at the underarm seam.  You just need the width of the sleeve to equal the seamline(circumference) of the armscye (armhole), and you cut the back half of the arc a little higher to allow room for forward arm movement.  You can cut a t-shirt sleeve without taking out the seam of the leggings.

    A gathered-cap sleeve has a high arch (4-6" or so) rising from a couple of inches away from the underarm seam to the shoulder, and the back curve is considerably deeper (maybe 1" or so) that the front curve.  Then you gather the cap until the whole sleeve seam matches the armscye seam.  It's usually easier to cut this type of sleeve after you've opened the leggings seam to lay the fabric flat.

    Either way, if you find a sleeve (rtw or a pattern) you like, you just need to measure the armscye and the sleeve cap to make sure they match.  You can even trace a sleeve from a garment to use as a pattern. 

    Let us know how it turns out!

  2. stillsuesew | | #2

    It sounds like a totally cool idea. I would find a tshirt that had an armhole that is the same size as the garment that you are going to set the sleeve in and trace off the pattern of that sleeve top. Knits are very forgiving. It should work well.

    1. abcameo | | #3

      Thanks to both of you for the suggestions. It's actually going to be a bigger project than just this. >:-0I cut off the legs of top-quality black jeans and already turned the pants into a skirt. Now I'm taking the cut legs, attaching them to a zippered knit vest plus adding the leggings with zippers underneath the denim sleeves....I hope. The vest has deep armholes, so I'm also going to have to narrow those down. I'm not an advanced sewist, believe me, but I've got a highly-developed imagination and design sense which urges me on to try stuff like this. >:-)

      1. MaryinColorado | | #4

        I am intrigued with your design concept!  I am cheering you on!  Please share photos of your creations!  This is the type of thing that inspires new people to sew!

        1. abcameo | | #5

          Thanks for the encouragement, Mary. I almost always end up accomplishing what I set out to do but, too often, I don't think it looks professional enough because I'm winging it the whole way and my sewing skills are improving but still lacking. I'd like to find an enthusiastic sewist nearby and get together with them for one-on-one sewalongs and in-person advice and sharing. I can't make local ASG garment sewing meetings that interest me due to my work schedule. I probably would have loved pioneer quilting bees (minus the quilt!) :-)

          1. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #6

            I would not worry too much about having your projects look "Professional Enough" at this point, My Friend! If you really look hard at some of the so called professional stuff put out there, there is a sad lack of quality in some of it.
            Wear your unique work with pride! You are going through an learning process, and each time is a learning curve. Most people will only see the overall look, not the sewing in it!!!!! As you grow in your process, things will get better. Don't be so hard on your self. To tell the truth, I envy you. With all my skills, I wish I had the enthusiasm, courage, and freedom to just jump in an do what you are attempting. My knowledge tends to hold me back as I tend to overthink things. Bless you!! and Just Go For IT. :) Cathy

          2. MaryinColorado | | #7

            Threadkoe said it all.  Keep stretching and doing and your skills and knowledge will improve along the way.  Listen to your Muse and she will take you where you need to go. 

            Read the posts here that fit your needs and interests.  You can also do searches here to find more posts.  There is a wealth of knowledge here and it's the best sewing forum out there that I've found.  If you click on the names, you can read our profiles (a few of us have filled them out).  Maybe you will find someone who you feel a kinship with or want to ask a specific question: you can click on "reply via email to a specific person" to send an email just to them.  You just might meet someone who is in your area who would love to get together and share your joy of sewing. 

            Google search designers names and some of them have great websites. You can see how they set up their sites and such.  http://www.kaylakennington.com click on each specific pattern, see how she has made incredible garments from them.  Her website is very artisticly done.  If you click on her "blog" it shows a video of how to get her fine serged edges on silky light fabrics too.  Look up some of the names in Threads or other mags and search thier sites. 

            You also might google search for quilting/sewing shows near you.  I missed out for years because I wasn't interested in quilting, but those shows have instructors in a variety of areas, classes, cool sewing related things for sale. 

            I only did clothing for decades, now I'm into wall sized art quilts.  Enjoy the process!  Mary

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