Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ruched leggings - Take them from too short to too cute in 10 minutes

How come when spring comes, not only do all the weeds shoot up but so do my kids. I find every spring my two kids outgrow all of their pants and I end up buying new ones only for them not to fit by the time fall rolls around. This year I am determined to save a few dollars and outsmart this growth spurt. 

My daughters leggings are too short to look normal but are too long to look like they are capris. I hate hemming so there is no way I am going to take a few inches off to make them capris. So I searched online and found this technique  (ruching the bottom)  to solve my short pant problems (with my daughter at least).

I purchased a spool of elastic thread at my local fabric store for $1.50 and ruched both sides of the leggings. I have never used this product before so I did some searching on youtube on how to use it. After an hour of playing around I finally got it to work the way I wanted it to.

This is the method I used:
Hand wind the bobbin with the elastic thread. Do not pull the elastic; let it go on the bobbin at the same tension it comes off the spool. If you pull it tight, the area you sew will not pucker.

Load the bobbin into the bobbin case the exact same way you would with normal thread.

Set the tension on your machine to 9 or the highest.
I did a long straight stitch; set my stitch length to 3.5.
 I loaded the top thread with a matching color to the legging.

I then measured and marked 5 inches up both sides of each leg of the legging and sewed three parallel lines (approximately 1/4 of an inch apart) up the sides.  IMPORTANT - Be sure to reverse your stitch at the start and the end of each row. This allows the elastic to stay put and not pull through. As you can see I didn't really manage to get the lines straight but once it is ruched, you can't tell. (this is the underside)
I heated my iron and sprayed the ruched area with water and ironed it. I found this shrunk the elastic and made the ruching stand out more.

I managed to get a couple of 'after' shots even though my daughter went immediately back to skipping.

I am really happy with the end result and will continue to do this with all the other slightly too short leggings she has. At least this will get me through the spring and summer months :)
Sewing with the elastic thread was far easier than I expected. I might try my hand at ruching some t-shirts that are just a bit too big. I will let you know how that goes.

I hope this helps some of you moms out there who are afflicted with suddenly long legged kids :)

I hope everyone has a Happy Mother's Day!

Linking to some great parties including The stories of A2Z


  1. What a fun idea!!!! I think I might try this on some of her leggings that have holes in the knees!!! Cut them and then use them for her to wear under her dresses on Sunday!!! Thanks for sharing, I've got to go get a ruffler so I'll add this to the shopping list!!!!

  2. Wow, so easy! Thanks for posting this tutorial. I saw you at Polly Want a Crafter, and I'm your newest follower!

  3. What a clever idea! I LOVE the way ruching looks but have never done it before. Thanks for the tutorial!

  4. Stephanie - Thanks for coming over to my blog today and visiting! :-) I feel like a celebrity came calling, because I have been following your blog for a while now! I get such great ideas, and I LOVED your $0 budget extravaganza! :-) Cuz that's exactly what my budget is too..... LOL You do great stuff, and I'm glad to have "met" you! :-)

  5. Nice article, thanks for the information. It's very complete information. I will bookmark for next reference
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  6. WOW! steps are simple for it.I like it. for more rediment leggings visit us at women's leggings



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