How to Sew Ruffles on Leggings and Pants for Longer Length

Hey there! Luna here, your friendly neighborhood fashion designer! I’ve been designing from scratch for as long as I can remember, and today, I’m thrilled to spill the beans on a fun way to lengthen your little one’s leggings. Winter’s right around the corner, and my tall, lean toddler is outgrowing her leggings—not in width, but in length! Sounds familiar? If your kiddo’s leggings fit well at the waist but are more like capris, I’ve got a chic solution for you. Let’s get those leggings ready for the chilly season with some adorable ruffles!

Master Ruffle Sewing: Extend Leggings & Pants with Style!

What You’ll Need:

  • Leggings that snugly fit the waist but are short in length
  • Ruffle fabric (I’ll guide you on measuring this shortly), all pressed and prepped
  • Your trusty sewing machine, paired with the right needle and thread
  • Scissors or a rotary cutter plus a self-healing mat
  • Pins or sewing clips for precision
  • An iron to smoothen things out

Measuring and Cutting the Ruffle Fabric:

For a custom fit, some quick measurements and arithmetic are in order.

  1. Begin by measuring the leg opening. Take that number, multiply by 4, then add a 1/2″ for a 1/4″ seam allowance. This gives the length of your ruffle. For instance, with a 3 1/2″ leg opening, my ruffle was 14 1/2″ long.
  2. Next, figure out the height. Decide how much more fabric you’d like at the base of the leggings. Ensure you also account for any original hem you don’t want visible on the revamped leggings, adding an extra 1/2″ to hide it.
  3. Once you’ve got that height, account for seam allowances on all sides. For my creation, I added 3/8″ for the hem and 1/4″ for attaching the ruffle to the leggings, giving me a fabric height of 5 1/8″.
  4. With your measurements in hand, cut out two fabric pieces.

Fabric Choices for the Ruffle:

I opted for a non-stretchy woven cotton fabric, which was perfect for my leggings. If you’re considering a fabric with little to no stretch, ensure it doesn’t hinder the feet going through the leg holes. But hey, don’t fret if cotton’s not your thing! A knit fabric can add a lovely drape to your design.

Let’s Sew Those Ruffles:

  1. Start by hemming the ruffles. I neatened the raw edges using a serger, turned a 3/8″ hem, and stitched it with a 1/4″ seam allowance. If you’re sans serger, zigzag stitches, pinking shears, or overcasting stitches work wonders too.
  2. Make sure the fabric’s directional pattern is in check!
  3. Fold the fabric with right sides facing each other. Stitch down the side with a 1/4″ seam, and smoothen out the fabric edges.
  4. Gathering time! Sew two parallel rows of long basting stitches at the top.
  5. Pull the bobbin threads for even gathering until the ruffle matches the leg opening size.
  6. Attach the ruffled edge to the leggings’ base, ensuring the right sides of both fabrics face each other.
  7. Sew them together using a 1/4″ seam allowance.
  8. Neaten the fabric edges again and, if necessary, remove any visible basting stitches.
  9. A final press on the inside and outside, and voila! Your leggings are transformed!

At a Glance:

Materials Procedure
Leggings, Ruffle fabric, Sewing essentials Measure, Cut, Hem, Gather, Attach, and Press


Complement the information with the following video: