Extend the life of kids leggings
DIY,  Eco-Parenting,  Parenting & Family

How to Extend the Life of Kids Leggings

Kids and their knee-holes!

I don’t know what my kids do to their pants, but I feel like every time I turn around, there’s a new hole in the knee! Maybe it’s because I’ve got three children, but my “project” pile is always overflowing with pants and leggings. I have a few simple strategies for extending the life of my kid’s leggings and pants.

First of all, I always always dress my kids in second hand clothes.  Sometimes they will get gifted clothes for Christmas and Birthdays which is awesome, but I will not go out and buy any new clothes for them unless it’s something they absolutely need and I can’t find second hand.  

I am also very fortunate to have a rotation with my friends for hand-me-downs!  I highly recommend this to everyone that has kids.  Find a group of friends or family with various aged kids and hand down clothes back and forth through them all.  It saves money and it’s better for the environment – kids just grow way too fast! 

I’m going to start with a quick DIY tutorial for mending holes, then finish up with my “life cycle of a legging” summary.

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How to Fix a Hole

Materials: 
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • A needle
  • Paper and washable marker for tracing
  • Material to use as patch 
Step 1: 

Trim away any loose threads from the hole.  This may make it slightly bigger and that’s ok.  Those loose threads will just make it more difficult to close the hole. 

Fix a hole in leggings - trim loose threads
Step 2: 

Close up the hole. I use a darning loom once in awhile, so the wooden block helps stabilize the material for this part, but it’s not necessary. Simply pick a thread that can close the hole. We’re covering this hole up today anyway so I just chose a thick embroidery thread in the same color.

Fix kids leggings - sew the hole

I used a braided stitch here to close the hole, but you can use any technique you can to just get that bad boy covered up and reinforce the area around it so it doesn’t spread. Try not to gather the material as you sew the hole up. Fasten off on the inside and admire your handiwork.

Braid stitch kids leggings
Mended hole
Step 3: 

Have a long discussion with your child about what color material to use to reinforce the knee and also what shape you’re going to sew on.  This conversation will probably last longer than the time it takes you to actually trace, cut, and sew. 

Step 4: 

Draw out a shape on paper that will cover the hole and reinforce the knee. Then take that paper shape and trace on the underside of your material.

Trace a shape - patch leggings

(Sustainability note:  you can use any scrap fabric or old pieces of clothing that you can salvage as a patch.)

Trace your material
Step 5: 

Do this twice (one per knee) and cut each one out. If you’re adding a fusible interfacing, follow directions for that now. I didn’t have any on hand but I would have used it if I did. If you don’t know what that is, it’s ok. You don’t NEED it.

Reinforced knees in leggings
Step 6: 

Sew on the patches you just cut out!  These are Luna’s pants and everything is pink, pink, PINK for Luna.  So I wanted some contrast in my thread.  As you can see, I’m just hand-sewing these on with a straight stitch and big stitches to give it some flair.  Little pant legs on a sewing machine are real fiddly and not worth it.  

Sew on patch

Ta Da!  All done.  

Knee patches on leggings
Knee patches

The Lifecycle of a Legging

Now, after these patches come off or get holes, or once the leggings get way too short (whichever comes first), I then take my scissors to them and turn them into shorts for the next season.  

Finally, leggings that last all year and more!

So to recap the lifecycle of my kid’s leggings: 

  • Bought second hand or given as hand me downs
  • Patched when holes present themselves 
  • Turned into shorts when they are beyond repair or too short to wear as pants
  • Passed on to the next family that needs some shorts! 

A little basic sewing can go a long way in repairing items to make them wearable again, especially with kids!  Extending the life of kids leggings is a must for your budget and the environment!

Before and after patch knee

Other posts that may interest you:


How to Get Out the Door on Time With Kids
How I Keep My House Clean With Kids
How to Walk to School in Winter
The Best Books for People With Little Kids

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