Turn old leggings into a fancy pouch

Ever had a pair of leggings which you hardly wear anymore but love the color? Why not turn it into a handy pouch or a pencil case instead!

In another of my what-was-I-thinking moments, I got this pair of leggings with a zipper at the bottom of each leg a few years back. They came in handy for some photo shoots but I never got a lot of use out of them (especially since I’m now in hot, sunny Singapore).

But I really loved the texture and color of this pair (some kind of purple-grey which I’m sure someone has coined a name for). So… since I was short of a pencil case recently, I decided what better way to re-use this great fabric and turn these hardly worn leggings into something useful! :)

DIY leggings into pouch pencil case

Read on to find out how!

DIY leggings into pouch pencil case 1

Grab an old pair of leggings. I think this would be mighty fun if you had a bright pair of leggings too! Maybe even neon. We won’t judge you… :)

DIY leggings into pouch pencil case 2

Cut it off one side, giving some allowance after the zip ends. This will be the base of your pouch/ pencil case. If your leggings don’t have a zipper, feel free to insert your own if you know how to make a basic zippered pouch. If not, use an old pouch as a base. Cosmetic counters tend to give a lot of these pouches as free gifts during purchase.

DIY leggings into pouch pencil case 3

You should have something like this. Note that most leggings taper towards the end, so you should cut a straight line at the base to ensure everything remains even.

DIY leggings into pouch pencil case 3

Cut off another chunk of the leggings and make sure it is at least 1.5 to 2 inches longer than your pouch zipper.

DIY leggings into pouch pencil case 5

Cut it open and cut out strips. The width of the strips depends on how thick you want each braid to be.

In this instance, I used strips of about 1 inch in width (using eyeball power of course. If you want it to be exact and perfect, you can use a ruler and mark it out with a pen or chalk).

DIY leggings into pouch pencil case 6

Pile three strips together, pin the top and start braiding, the same way you would if you had pigtails. :)

I may be taking it for granted that everyone knows how to braid. So if you need detailed instructions in another tutorial, please feel free to let me know!

DIY leggings into pouch pencil case 7

You should end up with something like this.

DIY leggings into pouch pencil case 8 Make as many braids as you need to fill up the sides of the pouch. In this case, I used four as I wanted a slimmer case for pencils and pens.

If you want a deeper pouch, sew on more fabric to the side walls and continue adding on more braids!

DIY leggings into pouch pencil case 9

Stitch the braids down onto the fabric underneath. The important parts to stitch are the sides of each braid to hold them down, and the top and bottom of each braid row. You’ll want to make small stitches on the outside and use similar colored thread so it’s not obvious.

DIY leggings into pouch pencil case 10

Repeat for the opposite side. If you’re feeling lazy you could get away with just one side too of course ;)

DIY leggings into pouch pencil case 11

Now close the zipper to about the halfway mark and flip the pouch inside out. Sew all around to form your pouch shape.

DIY leggings into pouch pencil case 12

Once you’re done with stitching all around, cut off the excess edges. Be careful not to cut any threads as everything will unravel! I didn’t insert a lining in this, but you can if you want to make it even prettier.

DIY leggings into pouch pencil case 13

Flip it back to the right side and you’re done! The braids also provide some cushioning in case you have more delicate items to place inside.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and have a blessed Christmas and a happy new year coming up! :)


    • says

      Hi Ariana, I stitched the entire thing by hand! Found it easier to control and the pouch wasn’t very large so it didn’t take too long :) I don’t think my basic sewing machine would be able to take such thickness either! Have fun making yours!

  1. mia says

    love the design!
    Just have 2 questions,
    How wide and tall is the pouch?
    And how did you make the braides so wide?
    ( when i did the braids with 1 inch strips, i got very small braids)

    • says

      Hi Mia! My apologies for the late reply.. everything is in boxes now that we are moving, but it was approximately 7″W x 3″H if that helps? My leggings are usually XS or S size. I think my braids were about 2″ wide and I braided them very loosely. Hope this helps! :)

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  4. Patricia says

    Merci pour ce tuto !
    Je vais recycler les liggings de ma petite-fille qui apprend aussi à coudre.
    Bonne journée.
    Best regards.
    Patricia de Rennes


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