Don’t Throw Out Leggings with Holes in the Knee Anymore!

My daughter is four now. She’s tall for her age and she’s super into climbing and jumping and rolling…and wearing dresses through it all (as you can see in the picture above). When it was winter and she had tights on underneath it wasn’t such a big deal. When she was little and in diapers it wasn’t such a big deal. And when she couldn’t climb so far, jump so high and roll so fast it wasn’t a big deal. But she’s a whole four years old now and times have changed. I see her underwear all. the. time. And I don’t think we need to be giving everyone that view. So, I thought to myself, better go buy some little shorts to wear underneath. Then myself thought back, no – better go through her leggings and find the ones with the hole in the knee – or the ones she never wears. Kids are really hard on clothes so it happens frequently that they have perfectly good (or brand new 😔) pants or leggings with a random hole in the knee. It is so easy to cut these leggings off and turn them into little shorts, and the stretch fabric is very forgiving so it’s hard to do a bad job. But, in case you’re nervous I’ll walk you through step by step of how to make your own shorts from a pair of pants or leggings.


  • Too short or holey leggings (as long as they’re comfy in the waist they’ll make great shorts)
  • Sewing Machine (or needle and thread, just count on it taking a lot longer). Even if you don’t have a sewing machine, see if you have a friend or family member who has one. I bet they’d be happy to show you the ropes – and save you some money.
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure


  1. Measure along the seam, about three inches from the crotch of the pants. If your daughter is much older or younger than mine you might want to line the pants up to another pair of shorts she has and measure that. You’ll need about half an inch to an inch extra for the hem.

2. Cut it off.

3. If you haven’t already, turn the pants inside-out. Fold up the cut edge two times to make the hem line while hiding the cut edge. You may choose to pin this. I found, though, that if I kept it stretched until I put it on my machine the hem wouldn’t unfold.

4. Take off the little platform thing so the small pant leg hole fits around your machine. I didn’t know my machine did this for a while. When I was taught it it felt like magic! (My mum laughed at me. She thought it was really cute that she didn’t teach me that I didn’t know that. 🤷‍♀️)

4. Set your sewing machine to A for stitch and 2 for length. Put pant leg around the machine, starting at the inseam. Try to keep pulling the fabric around as you go (so it’s loose as it goes into the needle), otherwise the fabric will be sewn in a bit of a stretch. If you look at the picture below you can see that I didn’t release the tension enough on the right leg, the left is much smoother. This won’t effect the look of it on your child, as they are meant to be snug. (For proof of this statement look at the picture at the top with my daughter wearing these shorts)

5. Turn them right-side out and cut off all the little threads!

I hope you try out this easy way to hem shorts. You can do this with pants too! I’ve made shorts for my husband and son out of holey pants. It doesn’t take very long and it’s a great way to save money on shorts and take away from landfills!


3 thoughts on “Don’t Throw Out Leggings with Holes in the Knee Anymore!

  1. Jackie says:

    After reading the book you recommended – Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – it seems there’s a lot I didn’t teach you. I love reading your posts and seeing what you’ve been up to! Those shorts look really great and comfy, too! Love you! mum


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