How to make footless tights

Making your own footless tights can be a fast and inexpensive way to rescue worn footed tights from the garbage heap. Form-fitting and thin, footless tights cover the body from the waist to any point between the mid-calf and ankle. Though similar to leggings, the difference is in the fabric. Footless tights are less opaque and have a higher spandex content than leggings. With a little alteration you can breathe new life into your repurposed tights.

Draw a chalk line on each leg of the tights at the length you want your footless tights to end. Choose a length that falls between your mid-calf and ankle.

Lay the tights out on a flat surface and check that the chalk line as each leg lines up.

Cut along the chalk line of each leg with scissors, holding the fabric taut with your free hand.

Stretch the decorative elastic around your calf at the place you want the footless tights to end. Mark the cutting point with chalk. Cut two pieces of elastic at this length, leaving 1/2 inch for sewing allowance.

Pin the raw edges of the decorative elastic together, right side facing in. Sew a zigzag stitch along the pinned edges, leaving very little seam allowance, and remove the pins. Repeat this process with the second piece of elastic.

Pin the decorative elastic to each tight leg, lining up the bottom edge of the elastic with the raw edge of the tight. Ensure the right sides are facing each other and pin in place.

Sew a zigzag stitch along the pinned edges, leaving very little seam allowance, and remove the pins.

Fold the decorative elastic down so that the right sides of the elastic and tights are facing outward. Cut any stray threads.


Wearing the unaltered tights while looking in a full-length mirror can help determine a flattering length to cut your footless tights. Decorative elastic can include anything from stretch lace trim to ric-rac. Choosing a unique and well-crafted trim will make your footless tights stand out from the store-bought variety. Choosing vibrantly-coloured tights for alteration is another way to make your DIY footless tights stand out in a crowd.


Double check that you have lined up the correct edges and have the correct sides facing each other before sewing.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2 yard decorative elastic
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine
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About the Author

Based in Seattle, Muriel Wheatley has been writing essays and creative prose since 1998. Her reviews and short stories have appeared in "The Fawn & Willow" magazine and "Elephant Gun Quarterly." Wheatley holds a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature from the University of Washington.