Repurposing Quickie: How to Turn Leggings into a Top with Just One Snip

Sew a simple TUNIC top/ dress – with {FREE} DIY Pattern

Repurposing Quickie: How to Turn Leggings into a Top with Just One Snip

Free very simple DIY TUNIC pattern for women.

This is a very easy to sew tunic top/dress DIY pattern which you can make with minimal pattern making experience. Stitching it up is also very easy and possible to start and finish in less than an hour.

This top has a very modern irregular hem and short kimono sleeves ; It is very modest in that it lies below hip in the back and well below waist in the front. The length given in the pattern is for a top but it can be adopted as a delightful tunic dress also.

This stylish but comfortably fitting tunic will look best paired with thin pants . Loose bottoms will create an undesirable baggy look.

You can add a belt to this tunic along with a long chain to look ultra fabulous.Checkout the tutorial to make an easy leggings pattern and sewing instructions.

If you are making this is as a nightwear checkout the tutorial to make a pajama pants to go with it for a comfortable combination. 

How to make a sewing pattern for a simple tunic

Two important things to consider before making the pattern – if you want a loose fitting tunic choose the next size ie if the bust round is 32 inch choose the measurement for a 34 inch. Always prewash the fabric before sewing it up. I have had tops shrink a size smaller after the first wash. 

You need about 1.60 meters of cloth for this top. Fold the fabric as per the diagram below . For more details Check out this article on how to cut fabric properly 

I have made a paper pattern first. Then kept it on top of the cloth folded as above and marked with a chalk all around it.

Mark the Back pattern on the top piece first. Cut the 4 layers as per this back pattern measurements. Remove the fabric piece inside – you have the back pattern.

Now start marking the remaining cloth. This is the front pattern now.

Make sure that you have cut out all the chalk lines. They just add up. 

You just need to mark front neck and bottom hem different in the front pattern.

Mark Back pattern for a tunic top/dress

Mark A-B which is the total length of the top. You can increase this if you want to make it as a dress  = 31 inch
Mark the length from top to Armhole ( armhole depth) 7.5 inch 
Mark the length from top to waist as A-J
Mark N-M as 1/4 of the Bust round + 1 1/2 inch ease

Mark B -K as 1/4 of hip round + 1 inch ease ( increase this  if you want more flair).
Add 1/2  inch seam allowance along F-M-O-H

Mark the Neck width A-E as 4 inch.
A-C as 1 inch
From E mark 10 inch to L for shoulder
Go down to F 3/4 inch
Join F- M
Add 1/2 inch seam allowance along F-M

For the bottom hem curve go up 3 inch from K to H
Draw a soft curve from B

Cut out this portion including the neck hole for all the 4 layers.

Remove the inside piece – this is the back pattern.

Mark Front Bodice pattern

Mark the rest of the pattern for front bodice on the remaining piece.

Mark up 3 inch from B to I
From I join in straight line to H

You just need these two pattern pieces and  strips of bias tape to sew this simple and easy tunic and a facing piece for the front neckline

I wanted to add a piece of contrast coloured fabric to the front bodice bottom edge so cut off some of the main fabric and added the extra strip of fabric by fold. 

Top stitched this in place. 

How to make the tunic top or dress

Sewing this up is as easy as making this pattern. The fact that this pattern doesnot have sleeves makes it all the more quick. Just 6 quick steps and your Beautiful tunic is ready. 

Step 1. Finish the necklines 

Back neckline – Cut out a strip of bias binding strip of 2 inch for the  back neckline. Checkout the article on bias binding for more details .

Keep the bias tape on top of your back neckline right sides together.Pin in place. Sew them together along one edge with a  1/4 inch seam allowance 

Snip along the seam allowance every one or two inches. 

Turn the bias binding to the inside and stitch in place. 

Finish the front neckline with  a facing

Actually you can finish the front neckline with a bias strip as well but the facing gives a neater look. So skip this and bias bind if you are in a hurry.

Make a facing as per the pattern given on a piece of fabric with interfacing attached.

Change the neck length to your choice. I have taken 7″.

Cut out the pattern piece and you will get the piece as given below.

Keep the facing on top of the bodice matching the neck width markings. Pin in place. 

Stitch the facing in place with a very small seam allowance

Cut the inside piece. Clip the seam allowance. Finish the edges of the facing as well

Understitch- this will make the facing roll to the inside easily

Turn the facing to the inside and it will look neat

Step 2. Join the shoulders

Keep the shoulder seam together of the front and bodice patterns Right side together. 

Pin in place and stitch the shoulder seams 

Step 3. 

I have decided to make a small cuff at the sleeve edge.This can be skipped altogether and the sleeve hem finished by turned under edge finish

Take 2 pieces of fabric strips 2.5 inches wide and 16 inches long. Fold by the middle (length wise)  and press ( you have the fold to one side and two edges together).

Keep this piece under the sleeve edge ( cut edges together) and stitch the edges together

Turn the folded strip to the front bodice

Turn the cuff to the front of the tunic. Tack stitch the cuff in place 

Step 4. Finish the bottom hem of the  back bodice. A narrow hem or bias facing should be used especially for the back bodice hem because it is curved. I have used bias binding

As I have the extra fabric folded bottom edge at the front bodice no need for finishing this edge

Step 6. Join the side seams of the front and back bodices with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. 

Ensure that the sides match and the sleeve cuff is turned to the inside. 

Finish the fabric edges for a neat finish at the inside as well


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Handy Ways to Repurpose Old Leggings

Repurposing Quickie: How to Turn Leggings into a Top with Just One Snip

If you wore your leggings often, then you've probably noticed that they wear out pretty quickly, yet it seems a waste to just toss them out. Why throwing your tights, leggings, or yoga pants away in the trash when you can get artsy and upcycle them instead?

Most leggings are made of synthetic fabrics which can’t be composted, so microfibers are often released into the water causing harm to marine life when they enter rivers and oceans.

Luckily, with a little bit of DIY innovation, you can repurpose your old leggings in really cool ways. Even if they no longer carry out their duty as legwear, they have the chance to be so much more:

Storage Solution

Reuse your old leggings as storage for shoes while traveling: Slip them inside the fabric and tie off in a loose knot so they won’t become separated in your suitcase.

Polishing/Cleaning Cloths

As your yoga leggings become more worn out, the fabric turns into super soft material, so you can cut smaller clothes to use them for cleaning, dusting, or polishing furniture.

Leg Warmers

One of the easiest ways to stay warm during the cooler days is layering. Cut off the two separate “legs” of your yoga pants to make leg warmers. There are so many awesome ways to style them in cozy fall and winter outfits.

Emergency Hair Tie

We (ladies) are almost always down to our last few hair ties, so here’s the most crafty idea ever: Start cutting strips at the very bottom of your leggings (about 3,4 cm in), and finish at the top of each leg. Well done, now you have at least 20 soft and gentle hair ties!

Personalized Headband

A similar way to repurpose old leggings is to create cute headbands for you or your girls. Leggings fabric will keep hair in place because it stretches and bounces back easily.

Harvest Spare Elastic

You can always reuse the waistband from your old leggings which is still stretchy and functional to replace elastic in other pants or skirts.

Beautiful Lampshades

Convert those printed legging you don’t wear anymore into a unique and stylish lamp-shade. All you have to do is cut the two separate “legs” and stretch the fabric lightly onto the lampshade.

Glue with silicone gun first point with the rubber and then cut with scissors fabric over from the other side, leaving a 1,5 cm margin.

Finally, stick the margin of the fabric around the cap with silicone gun.

Woven Floor Mat

If you have more than just one pair of old but fun leggings, or any other kind of pants made from a soft fabric, even your children's old t-shirts or blouses that are too old for donating or gifting to someone, you can create one of a kind colorful floor mat. Begin stripping them all, and then knot each end to the other one, so you can create braids in one long strand. Coil the braids around themselves, gluing all along, and you have your super natty rug!


Photo credits: The Crafting Chicks and eHow

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