Sewing for baby: knit baby leggings

made by rae just hatched leggings

I love to make baby pants and leggings. I always have so many cute baby onesies hanging around that making tops seems fairly pointless, but pants? Leggings?? Bring it on. So far I’ve made these and these, and now…there’s more. From knits this time. Hopefully these will fit when Baby Boy is newly hatched:




Oh yes and the adorable kitty pants were from the same pattern, just with a drawstring made of a strip of jersey:


Someone needs to stage an intervention.

It all started innocently enough…I just thought I’d try to chop the feet off of the free pattern in my Baby Tights Tutorial. That worked great for this little navy striped pair, which are made of rib knit:


Super cute right? But then when Tashina was cutting out another pair here at the studio, she accidentally put the fold down the center of the pant instead of along the leg, and it was just as cute. So we tweaked the shape a little, added a cuff, and we had a new pattern!


And then we made a free pattern (link below) just in case YOU want to make a pair! Or twenty!

I’m calling these the Just Hatched Leggings, though I suspect that they will fit more like pants in the very beginning. If you add a cuff they might even fit 3-6 months? Who knows? You’ll just have to give it a try. Here’s how to make them!


Please remember: all of my blog and pattern content is protected by copyright, including this tutorial and pattern. Do not repost or distribute. When linking to this tutorial/pattern, please link to the blog post URL but not directly to the download file itself. Thanks!

You will need:

A small amount of knit fabric; jersey or interlock recommended for main pant, rib knit recommended for cuffs
1/2″ wide elastic
3″ piece of ribbon for a tag to mark the back (optional)


To make the basic legging:

Step 1: Cut out two main pant pieces using the free pattern template, link above. Hey, if you used an old t-shirt for your fabric, you could use the bottom of the t-shirt for the hems of the leggings!! The stretchiest direction of your fabric should run perpendicular to the fold. Place the two main pieces with their right sides together. Sew along the sides and bottom curve with a 3/8″ seam.

NOTE: Use a ballpoint or stretch needle on your machine. A straight stitch will work if you have a walking foot and/or stretch thread, but if you’re using standard polyester thread and presser foot, use a long narrow zig-zag stitch for your stitches.

Step 2: Fold and press down 3/4″ along the top edge, toward the inside of the leggings. Stitch along the lower edge to make a waistband casing, leaving a 1-2″ hole in the center of the back (just pick a side) for the elastic. If you want cuffs, skip to the next step and add the cuffs later (see handy infographic, below). If you don’t want cuffs, fold and press 1/2″ toward the wrong side along the bottom of the legs and stitch along the raw edge to hem them. Read this post on hemming knits for some tips if you like.

Step 3: Cut 14″ of elastic (or measure baby’s waist and add 1″) and thread it through the waistband with a safety pin.

Step 4: Overlap the ends of the elastic by 1/2″ and zig zag stitch them together a few times.

Step 5: Fold the piece of ribbon in half and stuff the ends into the opening in the waistband for a tag to mark the back. This is if you want your mate to put them on the right way, EVER. Now stitch that shut.


To add the cuffs: (these will fit longer because they ARE longer)

Step 1: Cut out two cuff pieces with the stretchiest direction of the fabric running the length of the cuffs. Fold them in half with the wrong side of the fabric facing out and the short ends together. Sew along the short end with a 3/8″ seam.

Step 2: Press the seam allowance apart.

Step 3: Fold each cuff in half so that it is double-layered and the right side is on the outside.

Step 4: Place each cuff over the end of each leg (legging should be right side out) so that the ends of the leg are even with the two raw cuff edges. Line up the inner leg seam with the cuff seam, and pin the cuff to the leg (you’ll have to stretch out the cuff a little bit to make it fit the end of the leg; that’s because the cuffs are smaller than the ends of the legs). Sew through all three layers with a 3/8″ seam.

Step 5: Flip the cuffs downward so that the seam is inside. Voila! Finished cuffs!

Here are a few links you might like:
My KNITS page (for all of the knit sewing hints referenced in this post)
Baby Tights Tutorial

And here are all of my “Sewing for Baby” posts:
Cloth Diapers
Adorable Kitty Outfit
Newborn Pants
Nursing Pillow Cover Tutorial (+free pattern!)
Bringing Back Big Butt Baby Pants

20 thoughts on “Sewing for baby: knit baby leggings

  1. Your leggings look so cute! I’ll give them a try for our soon coming sweety. Sure more then once πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing and all the best!

  2. Rae I just wanted to comment and say how thrilled I am that we are both having a baby boy within weeks of each other. Your sewing patterns and pinterest boards have been great inspiration for me! I have been doing a lot more knitting than sewing but I expect that tide to turn soon. Good luck with your new bundle πŸ™‚ Morgan.

  3. And why do you come out with all these cute things 9 months after my baby is born when he is too big for them! Boo… Guess ill have to have another one to take advantage of all the cuteness. Or just make some cute shower gifts… Yeah maybe that’s a better option for now. πŸ˜‰

  4. Randon fact: If you lived in Norway you wouldn’t have to chop the feet off the baby tights pattern. All babies regardless of gender wear tights. Actually all children up to age 6 or 7 wear tights. Then the girls keep going with it and it fades out with the boys. It’s a warmth thing.

  5. Oh I love these and have loads of good fabric that would work for them! Am going to give them a shot the next time I have a little spare time.
    Thanks for the pattern!
    a x

  6. Would some not really stretchy at all sweatshirt fabric work do you think or would they be too restrictive for wee legs? I might give it give it a go anyway and hope they fit more like trousers for a very new baby. Yours look great, thank you for the tutorial.

  7. Hi, sorry if this is obvious, but is the seam allowance included in the pattern? What about waistband casing and 1/2” bottom edge?

  8. Do you think I could make this with a fat quarter? Would love to order some from Spoonflower for this purpose and avoid buying a whole yard…

    Interestingly I got the error message that I am “posting comments too quickly” when I tried to post this. Sorry, I’m a fast typer!

  9. Just made a pair of these for my expected boy from just a fat quarter of soft jersey. Such a lovely pattern, and they look adorable. Can’t wait to make a few more! Thanks for this.

  10. Thank you for the pattern, Rae. Just whipped up a pair from some leftover pink/orange striped knit. Hoping some little girls are born this summer πŸ™‚

  11. I’m excited to try this pattern! I tried another pattern once and found they were just too teeny tiny for the size they were listed for, these look a little more wide and forgiving. I do have a slight preference for the seams along the sides instead of the middle like this pattern, too, so I’m going to try it today for little girl coming in August! πŸ™‚

  12. These look so great! I’m champing at the bit to try them….will just a fat quarter work for this pattern? Also, is the seam allowance .25 inch?
    Thanks for sharing the pattern with us!

  13. I love these leggings and the fabrics you’ve chosen! Do you have a pattern to make them for a 1 year old? I think these would even be adorable on a toddler.

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