Unicorn Leg Warmers Tutorial

Rosie, age 3 ¾, is going to be a unicorn for Halloween. Halloween comes a few days early at our house because we attend our church’s Trunk-or-Treat, a family games and chili-cook-off event.

I looked at some costumes online and cursed myself for tossing the unicorn onesie costume Olivia wore for a few years as a preschooler. Literally years, like the ankle hem was tugging at her knees by the time I stuffed it at the bottom of the donation box. But that’s ancient history now.

I decided I could do this myself.

My friend Lisa offered her girls outgrown clothes over the summer and I grabbed a size 6 tutu skirt to cut down to Rosie’s size. No time like the present to resize it for a frilly unicorn bottom.

I bought a $3 headband with ears attached last week, and set crafty Sophia to work with scrap fleece, ribbon and $1 artificial flowers to make a headpiece.

I don’t think Rosie is aware that unicorns have manes like horses, so we’re doing without. Thank goodness for the ignorance innocence of small children!

Between a T-shirt, tutu skirt, and headband, this was going to be only half a costume. Mostly-there is definitely my style, but I’m trying to turn a new leaf. A tail and leg warmers would make this costume pop!

I grabbed rainbow faux fur at JoAnn Fabrics. I figured Rosie’s knee-to-ankle measurement couldn’t be more than 12 inches, so 1/3 yard was enough. The material was on sale because, like who’s going to start sewing a Halloween costume with 3 days to go? (Actually, my friends, I know a lot of us do it, but I’m not going to call you out here. You’re welcome.)

Anyway, new supplies cost me about $6.50 for the fleece and $4 for the headband. Total price: awesome!

Here’s what I did:

Assemble supplies and equipment:

1/3 yard faux fur (enough for 2 leg warmers and a tail)

scant 1 yard ½” elastic (actual amounts vary)

glue gun and glue

scissors, measuring tape, pins, thread,

sewing machine with sturdy needle (my regular one was strong enough, but a fine one will break)

 

Take measurements: Measure your child’s knee to ankle length (L). This gives you the rough length of the leg warmer.

Measure around the leg at the widest part of the calf (widest calf circumference, or WCC). The WCC gives you the rough width of the leg warmer.

Measure around the leg just under the knee (under knee circumference, or UKC). This gives you a rough top elastic measurement.

Finally, measure the length of leg from the UKC to the WCC, typically 2” to 3”. This measurement is used to space a midpoint elastic length (MEL) along the length of the leg warmer at the widest part of the leg.

Calculate and Cut:

For Fabric:

Remember that hairy faux fur hangs down ½” and you don’t want that rubbing along the sidewalk, so subtract half and inch from the knee-to-ankle measurement.

Rosie was 7”, so 7” – 1/2’” = 6 1/2”

To cut this length, I copied the technique of the lady at the cutting counter. I folded my faux fur right sides together and measured the length. Working on the wrong side of the fold, I clipped through about 1/2” faux fur. I shoved my fingers into the hole and tore that material apart like an animal. It was great for taking out my previously-unknown aggression. I may need to keep a bunch of that faux fur lying around. It tears clean through along a straight line.

Take the WCC measurement and add an inch, ½” for seam allowance and ½” for ease (comfortable fit).

Rosie’s was 9”, so 9”+ 1” =10”

Working from the wrong side, measure the width and cut shallowly along the back just through the material backing, not the hair. This way you don’t end up with leg warmers looking like they ran into a bad hairdresser. Repeat for the second leg warmer.

I now had 2 fabric pieces 6 1/2” long by 10” wide.

 

For elastic:

Use the UKC measurement and reduce by ¼” for seam allowance and stretch.

Rosie’s was 7”, so 7” – ¼” = 6 ¾”.

Cut 2 pieces of ½” elastic at this measurement (mine was 6 ¾”) to place at the top of the two leg warmers. That’s one piece of elastic at the top of each leg warmer.

Use the WCC and reduce by ¼” for seam allowance and stretch.

Rosie’s was 9”, so 9” – ¼” = 8 ¾”.

Cut 2 pieces of ½” elastic at this measurement (mine was 8 ¾”). This is the midpoint elastic, placed at the MEL, typically 2” to 3” from the top elastic.

 

I now had 4 pieces of elastic, two short and two long. One short and one long per leg warmer.

Place your fabric wrong side up on a paper-lined, heat-safe table. If your faux fur has nap, like mine, make sure you’re working on the back of the top (hairy fur hangs down, never up). At the top, pin your short elastic piece ends to the wrong side of the faux fur and fire up your glue gun.

 

Apply the longer elastic piece in the same way at the MEL, typically 2” to 3” lower than the short elastic.

On the right side, press the fur back from the cut edge with your fingers to keep them out of the seamline. Pin right sides together.

Sew with medium length stitch along a ¼” seam, backstitching at the start and end. If desired, you can trim back the (un-glued) elastic in the seam allowance. This reduces bulk for a more comfortable fit.

Repeat for the second leg warmer.

 

Turn the leg warmers right-side-out and help your little one pull them on.

Unicorn legs are in the house!

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