Holes in the knees 3 – Inserts

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Yes I am back on the holes in the knees band wagon!  I have turned them into short leggings, and added cute patches.  But then my MIL gave me this idea and I just had to try it out.  It is easier and quicker than adding patches and you can add/reduce length as much as you like.  Both sound pretty good in my book!

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You can even stand around in mid-air wearing these!  Well Hannah can, I got on the trampoline not so long ago…you realise you are not as light and strong as you were as a kid!!!

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I love the look of the band around her knees!  You can use any stretch (knit) fabric you like.  Mine is slightly heavier than the original leggings (shop bought) and it works fine.  I wouldn’t go too heavy, then you’ll get bulky seams either side of the insert piece.

What You Will Need

  • Leggings (with or without holey knees!)
  • Two small pieces of knit fabric for inserts – mine were 6” (15.2cm) long by 12” (30.5cm).  One for each leg.
  • Pins. Overlocker (Sewing Machine ok too), thread

Step 1 – Measure and Cut Fabric

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Firstly cut out the holey piece.  I removed a 3” (7.5cm) section to remove the holes and any overly stretched fabric.

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I had small off cut pieces that were almost the right size to work with, but you can lay your fabric on top of your leggings as a guide.  Make sure the stretch of the insert is going horizontally across the leggings.  Decide how long you want the insert to be.  Hannah’s leggings were 7/8 length and I wanted to make them longer.  I removed 3” to cut out the holes, so I wanted to add those back plus the extra length I wanted.  I decided on 3” (removed piece) + 2.5” (extra length) + 0.5” (seam allowance), my total added up neatly to 6” (15cm).

As in my calculations above your piece will need to be 1/2” (1.2cm) larger to allow for the seam, at the top and bottom. Add more allowance 3/4” (2cm) should be fine if you are using a standard machine.

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Cut out your pieces leaving the width a little long, so that when folded double and lined up on the leggings it overhangs the seam side a little (see photo above).  You can see I have marked the excess to remove with a pen.  I have left the 1/4” (0.6cm) seam allowance on (or 3/8” (1cm) for standard machines).

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Pin the edges together, knit fabrics have a tendency to roll up and you wouldn’t want to miss on layer when sewing.

Step 2 – Overlock Side Seam

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Overlock the side seam so that the cutting blade lines up with your pen mark.

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This is what you should end up with.

* If you are using a standard machine stitch the seam using a 3/8” (1cm) seam allowance using a small zigzag stitch.  You can then trim off the excess, you don’t need to finish the edges as the knit fabric shouldn’t fray.

Step 3 – Sewing Pieces Together

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Leave your insert piece inside out and slide over the leggings, which are the right way around.  This way they will be right sides facing each other.  Line up the raw edges, and the seam needs to line up too.  Make sure that you insert is the right way up!  You don’t want the narrower end at the top.

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I like to pin the seams together first.  I line up the seams and fold the seam allowances one each way.  That way there isn’t a thick lump with them all to one side.

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Pin on the inside the rest of the way around, making sure it is lining up nicely.  It is ok if one side is slightly longer than the other, just spread the gather evenly.

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Starting at the seam overlock the two raw edges together.  You can lightly stretch the fabric to make the sides line up, but don’t overdo it or you will end up with a wobbly seam.

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Now you should have something that looks like this!

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And once turned around the right way you get to see what it is going to look like.

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Now just attaching the bottom piece.  Lay them out like above, with the bottom piece inside out.  Pull the upper leg inside the bottom piece.

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Pin into place and sew just like you did for the first join.

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Here it is a little clearer to see with the colours this way around!

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And there you have some nice knee inserts!  These are grey with a neon-orange stripe, I do love a bit of neon!

Just one more way to get some more life out of those leggings with holes in the knees!  I would like to try the inserts on an angle next…I won’t bore you with another tutorial but will share the pictures on Instagram.  Now just to wait for Hannah to go through the knees on another pair!

What is your favourite way to fix those holey knees?

Holes in the knees 2 – Patches!

Holes in the knees patches
Hannah has been at it again!  Two pairs of leggings this time a black 7/8 length and a navy 3/4 length pair.  I would usually just cut and hem them to turn them into short leggings for under skirts/dresses.  I have a tutorial on that too if that’s what you’re looking for!
Holes in the knees 2 Patches
But then I saw a great post by Rachel from Stitched Together (link to post) in which she had made Mini Briar Tops and Mini Virginia Leggings for three of her daughters.  They are absolutely gorgeous and the leggings have very cute patches on the knees.  They each had a different shape, Oval, Hearts and Cats.  So instead of short leggings I was inspired to patch this pair!

What you’ll need

  • Fabric – Small amount of knit fabric – I wanted it to maintain it’s stretch to prevent further tearing!
  • Thread
  • Regular Sewing Machine (Overlocker Optional)
  • Unpicker (Seam Ripper) is the most important for this one!

Step 1 – Unpick!!!

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That most loved and hated of tools…is going to get a bit of use here especially on the ovelocked pairs!  Depending on your leggings you can unpick either the side seam or the inseam.  My don’t have side seams so the inseam it is.
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You don’t need to unpick the whole seam but you do need to go a fair way past the holes so that you can lay the area flat(ish).
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Here you can see I’ve gone a good way passed the hole.

Step 2 – Patch Hole

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It’s never a clean tear with kids so I like to tidy up the hole so that there are no lose pieces that can be pulled or tickly later on.
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I just use small scissors to trim the hole so that all the rolled edges and torn pieces are removed.  Leaving a nice tidy hole.
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Cut a piece of fabric quite a bit larger than your hole.
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Place it on top of the hole, so that the hole is in the center.  On the inside of the leggings.
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Turn over and pin on the right side of the fabric.
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Sew on the edge of the legging fabric in zigzag stitch all the way around the edge.
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This won’t be seen at the end but it just tidies it all up nicely and makes it more sturdy and hard wearing.  Also if you just patch straight over the top it creates a pocket on the inside…my kids love the sand pit…I find piles of sand in all sorts of random places!
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This is how it looks form the inside.
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The last part of this step is to just trim off the excess!

Step 3 – Cutting Patches

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For a start I thought I’d keep it simple and go with the old fashioned shape I remember my patches being as a kid.  A kind of oval/rectangle combo.  I used the leggings as a guide and cut a piece of fabric the right length to cover the entire knee area where the fabric was a little thinner.
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I folded the patch in half…
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Then in quarters…
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Then I cut the shape free hand.  If you feel more comfortable drawing it first and then cutting out, do it that way!
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Once you fold it out it should look similar to above.  But since it’s free hand each pair will be a little different.
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I then used the original as a template to cut out the second patch.

Step 4 – Attaching Patches

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Place in position and pin in place.  I found this easier with the leg folded double for the start, till pinned like above.
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Then folding out to pin the last side.  With it folded out right at the start I found it difficult to get it to lay nice and flat.
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Now zigzag the patch in place.  Sew close to the edge the whole way around the patch.  You can see it is a little puckered as stretch fabric likes to do, but a quick press with the iron will reduce this a lot.  But as you can see in the photos of Hannah at the start it stretches while wearing so becomes invisible!

Step 5 – Sew Unpicked Seam

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Pin the seam together.  As you can see I use A LOT of pins which is a little unlike me…but the edges had a tendency to roll up.  I didn’t want to have one roll under as I overlocked and have to unpick it all again!  If you don’t have/aren’t overlocking zigzag work great for this step too.
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Sew the seam over at the hem to prevent it coming undone and so it sits nicely flat.  You can tuck the overlocking tail in this fold and trim the end off afterwards.
Rather cute I think!   A great way to keep a few of her leggings long for the cooler days.

Holes in the knees?

I don’t know about your kids but my Daughter in particular has a habit of going through the knees of EVERY single pair of tights and most pants too!


I have been turning them into shorts for summer, and short tights which are great for underneath dresses/skirts, especially since she loves hanging upside down on the monkey bars!

There are two great and EASY ways to do this.

But first up cut the pants/leggings into shorts.  I try to cut fairly close to the hole, as long as the surrounding fabric is good (not thin or worn).

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Now it’s time to hem them up!

Overlocker/Serger Method

Fold over the hem over onto the outside with the pants the right way around.


Then fold it back down so that the cut edge lines up with the folded bottom edge.  Pin in place.

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Run this through the overlocker, making sure to catch all the layers of fabric and take the pins out as you are going!☺  I have sewn on the outside, but you can sew it from the inside of the leg too, which ever is easier for you!

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There you have it a neat tidy hem!  So simple yet effective!  Great for yoga pants style waistbands too, more coming on that soon.


Now for round two with the sewing machine.

Sewing Machine Method

Fold the hem inside the leg, with the pants around the right way.


I prefer to sew on the outside of the fabric, you can see what you are doing!  I also like to use zigzag to prevent that puckered look and to retain as much stretch as possible.  You can use any stretch stitch you like!  Start at the inseam seam, that will be the least visible spot for the join.


If your leggings/pants are too small to fit around your machine, turn them inside out and sew on the inside of the leg.  One leg down and one to go!


Fold your pants in half so that the legs line up, pin and sew the second leg in the same way.


Just so you can see, this is what the inside will look like.  You can trim of any excess, to prevent it rolling down.


And there you have it!  Very simple but effective way to get a little more use out of those holey kneed pants!