When my daughter was a wee baby, I discovered the awesomeness of baby leg warmers. All of the cuteness of leggings, but with SUPER-easy diaper changes.
But when fall and winter brought chillier weather, and she needed socks on all the time, I wondered why I couldn't find baby thigh-high socks anywhere. (There are only a couple of commercial companies that make them, and they are EXPENSIVE.)
With thigh-high socks, I thought, I could have all of the convenience for diaper changes, and a much simpler solution than pairing leg warmers with socks all the time. 50% fewer clothing items!
They're also great for keeping little legs warm during elimination communication (diaper-free time, potty time, etc.) and while babywearing (little pants/dresses/shorts/skirts tend to ride up when you wear your baby, but leg warmers underneath will keep those legs toasty).
So I set out to make my own baby thigh-high socks out of adult knee-high socks (available at Target for really reasonable prices… I've heard H&M has great ones too). I ruined a lot of pairs of socks in the process of discovering this easy technique.
See, at first I thought I could just alter the foot of the sock for length. But if you do this, you end up with a way-too-wide foot and ankle for a little baby (although this works fine for older kids). You'll never be able to get a pair of shoes on over that mess.
So I played around with ways to make the foot and ankle more fitted. And again, ruined a lot of socks in the process. Then I had an epiphany one evening as I was nursing my daughter to sleep. I could mimic the foot style of her footed pajamas! And I could do it with only two simple seams.
The result is a fitted baby sock that EVERYone will comment on, which you can use with shoes if you'd like, or leave “plain.”
I'm happy to share my step-by-step instructions with you, to save you the hassle of re-inventing the wheel.
Please don't take them and pretend that you came up with this though… however, links back to this page are always appreciated and welcome! And feel free to sell socks you make using this technique.
Note: This technique can also be used to turn adult thigh-high socks into toddler thigh-high socks. Adult knee-high socks will end up more like toddler just-above-the-knee socks, which is cute too.
One more note: These pictures show only one sock, but it's better to do both socks at the same time, so that you can make them match more exactly.
1. Start with your adult knee-high sock. In case you skipped my rambling above, I mentioned that you can get them at Target for reasonable prices (about $2.50 a pair, or more for holiday socks). People have told me you can get good ones at H&M too, but we don't have one so I don't know.
2. Using sharp fabric scissors, cut the foot off of the sock. You want a straight line at the end of your “tube.” The top part is what you'll be working with, and you can turn the bottom into a puppet. Or trash. Or whatever.
3. Turn the leg of the sock inside out, but leave about 2 inches, or 4 fingers' width folded up on the inside at the bottom. I hope that makes sense to you, because I'm not sure how else to describe it. It's not folded BACK… it's folded INSIDE, like tucked in.
4. Using chalk or a water-soluble fabric pen (I used Sharpie so you can see it really well in this tutorial. Don't do that), draw a curved shape like this on one side. The top of the curve should be about an inch from the bottom edge, or 2 fingers' width.
5. Sew along this line (ONLY on one side of the tube, not all the way through), and then cut out the semi-circle shape. I just use my machine's default length straight stitch. I played around with a LOT with different stitch lengths, zig-zags, and so forth, and this ended up being what worked best for me. If you think I'm full of crap, go ahead and use a different stitch setting. I liberate you to make that choice.
6. Now, un-tuck the folded-inside part of the sock. Arrange things so that the foot-to-be part lays flat like this:
7. And using your pen, chalk, or whatever, draw a foot shape like this. It should extend OVER and PAST the first seam you sewed. I could keep trying to describe it, but a picture is worth a thousand words, right?
8. Now stitch along that line, and trim away the extra fabric. I didn't mention it before, but I trim about 1/8″ away from the seam.
9. Now turn the whole thing right-side out, and you've got a super cute baby sock! I know it still looks a bit bulky in the ankle area, but once it's on your baby you'll see that it works really well.
Some people get weirded out by making things for babies out of adult socks, because they think the elastic at the top of the sock is too tight. Just remember that the elastic at the top of the sock was supposed to be somewhere on an adult calf/leg. And your baby is probably much smaller than that.
Since babies are squishier than adults, it might leave a red mark when you take it off, but it's just like wearing a hair elastic on your wrist (or a bra. or pants with a real waistband.) will leave a mark… it's not hurting anything (they'll let you know if it's uncomfy) and it'll fade pretty quickly.
Now, go forth and make socks! You probably don't even have to go to the store… just raid your sock drawer.