Easy DIY No-Sew Leg Warmers & Hand Warmers

October 26th, 2010 - filed under: The Fashion » Clothing and Accessories

Last week I posted a tutorial for baby knee pads, but what about us big kids?! A couple of readers requested my method for homemade leg and arm warmers, and I’m more than happy to oblige.

Here’s the thing: It’s so easy! To make leg warmers, you start with an old sweater (thrift store!), like this:

And then you cut off the sleeves, like this:

Aaaand, that’s it! As you can see in the top picture, the way you wear them will depend on the original sweater. You can even use a jacket, like I did with the camo, but you’ll need to use safety pins to keep them up (pin them tight over the top of your calf). The ones I made for this tutorial ended up very long – ooh la la!

~ ~ ~

Hand warmers are just as easy! Start with a pair of socks. For longies, cut off just the toes and then snip a *small* hole in the heal.

And it looks like this:

For shorties, snip below the heel instead, like this:

Then it’s just a matter of making a thumb hole in the right spot (use your hand as a guide). These are the type I tend to wear all winter:

If you want to get really fancy, you can take a pair of longies and turn them into actual gloves. Just slit down and sew up a tube for each finger. I did this with the pair I made for Damian!

Sometimes, it really just is that simple. Hope you enjoy!

  • http://www.windycityvegan.wordpress.com windycityvegan

    So I’ve been knitting mine all these years, when I could have been doing it so much more simply! I’m going thrifting next week, can’t wait to try your method out!

  • http://contagioushealth.blogspot.com melissa

    awesome idea!!! Love it

  • saundra

    you can also make mittens out of those sweaters with torso part just trace around your hand and cut it out sew it together

  • jenny b

    OMG! So freakin cute!

  • Tenise Rae

    Ha! I’ve been makin’ the fingerless gloves outta socks but I didn’t even think about making the glove kind…..that’s super cool! Thanks for posting.
    Aaaand, is it just me or are some of the photos “broken?”

  • Kate in SB

    I remember that old sweater! haha.

    Yeah some of the photos look broken for me, too. Only two. The one after “snip a *small* hole in the heal.” and the one after “These are the type I tend to wear all winter”

  • http://randomrecycling.blogspot.com/ Emily @ Random Recycling

    Great idea, especially as I clean out my closet!

  • Meghan

    Oh wow I love those leg warmers. I find it hard to find decent wool-free sweaters, especially thrifting though, so I’d be hesitant to cut one up! I guess if I find one that isn’t my size. Also, maybe I’ll check out good well. I tend to do most of my used-clothes shopping when I’m in Portland at Buffalo Exchange or Red Light, goodwill tends to be cheaper, but sometimes the clothes are uglier… but if I’m just looking for decent looking sleeves it might be easier. :-)

    I really want to go find my super tall black and orange striped socks that are getting a little too worn and turn ‘em into wrist-warmers, but my husband just went to bed. TOMORROW!

  • Meghan

    Ugh. I can’t find those socks. I hope I didn’t trash them. They would be EPIC. But I did just convert some Ernie (from sesame street, obvs) socks that I had worn holes in the heels to handwarmers. Not quite as classy as yours, but they’ll do. :-)

  • Laura Louise

    I made a pair of super cute owl mittens from an old sweater I saved from a friend’s throwout pile.
    I’m going thrifting to get some more material next week and make some from my friends.

  • http://www.choosingraw.com Gena

    Love this! Sayward, I’ll confess: I’m not very handy. I suspect your blog is going to teach me a LOT about making things from scratch.

  • Kelly H.

    So much simpler than I thought! Thank you for sharing your creativity…I wish I had it!

    I really want a sewing machine. I have so many socks to darn, but this is a good option.

    Here’s one for you…What can I do with all my old HUGE concert t-shirts that I never wear but don’t want to throw away??

  • Meghan

    @Kelly H.

    I’ve been thinking about making a quilt out of my husband’s old t-shirts. I have no sewing machine or skillz, so it is definitely a long-term plan, but eventually…

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    Hey guys! So are the photos still not showing up for people? I see them all but that may not mean anything . . .

    I wish I could see pictures of the ones you guys are making. Ernie? Owls? I want to see!

    @ Meghan – Yeah, I use super cheapies for these projects. I don’t have much trouble finding synthetics. I’m all about the Value Village, ha!

    And dude, Ernie is all class!

    @ Gena – Hey, great to see you here! Glad you like it. =)

    @ Kelly H. – My first thought was the same as Meghans – quilt! Basically you just cut out a 12 inch x 12 inch square from the front and the back of each t-shirt. Sew all the ‘fronts’ together to be the top of the quilt, and all the ‘backs’ together to be the back of the quilt. You can use an old bedsheet as the size guide and sew them onto it, it adds weight. It looks super rad as a couch blankie. =)

    I used the same technique to sew a slip cover for my dogs’ bed, which looks AWESOME.

    You may also want to check out this great book for inspiration. Me and Miss @Kate in SB up there ^ had many, many a craft night that centered on this book! – Generation T

  • Tenise Rae

    Yeah, they’re still not there.
    The pics that aren’t showing up for me are as follows:
    1. Very first one
    2. The one right before the blue and green sock hand pic (right after the thigh highs with boots pic)
    3. The one that is supposed to be the example of what you tend to wear during winter. The one right before Waits and your fingerless gloves pic.


  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    Okay i reloaded all of those. Are they showing now?

  • Tenise Rae


  • Kelly H.

    I’ve been thinking quilt as well. Thanks Meghan and Say! Now, I just need to acquire a sewing machine!

  • Meghan

    Nope, I’m still not seeing ‘em.

    I posted my hand warmers under “photos by others” on your facebook page, so you can see ‘em there.

  • http://www.heathers-perspective.blogspot.com Heather (Perspective Is Everything)

    oooh-even easier gloves to make from socks would be to cut the ends off of toe socks! weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!! :)

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    Okay, images fixed??!

  • Tenise Rae

    Mmmhmmm…perfecto! :D Woohoo!!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    Thanks Tenise! Dang, that was a p.i.t.a., ha!

  • Tenise Rae

    I bet! Glad ya figured it out though. :D

  • Caroline

    Another super-easy project for using t-shirts is to make throw pillows with them – use the graphic on the front for one side of the pillow, and the back for the other side. Sewing them onto cotton or other reinforcement, then around a pillow form (pre-stuffed) would be the most durable way to do it. I have one of these from an old Star Wars t-shirt that shrunk in the dryer.

  • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

    You are so crafty I love it! I’ve made so many hand warmers from socks and I always wondered why do people always buy them and not make them. I love your blog!

  • http://www.sciencegeist.net Gretchen Keller

    Hahaha! I recognize those socks!!! I still have a few left, too, but man are they holy… like blessed-by-the-pope-holy!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Gretchen Keller – Ha! Aww, memorieeeees . . .

  • Anonymous

    Really really <3 this. Big time. !! :)

  • Annetlaw

    but how do you keep the ends from fraying?

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    You know, I’ve never really had a problem with that. Many materials don’t fray, and usually I tuck them into my boots anyway. But if you were worried about it, you could definitely do a hem . . . of course, then they wouldn’t be no-sew!

  • Anonymous

    AWESOMEST TUTORIAL EVA!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you soooooooo much for these tutories they helped a lot with a project thx a bunch!

  • Anonymouse

    This is awesome! Thank you for posting this!! :)

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