For the last few years, I have had two online friends who frequently post photos of their daily outfits; their style, mixing finds from all over, seems effortless. They often wear legwarmers on cold days, but never in a 1980s-ballerina-kitsch way -- almost more like knee socks. I'm not ordinarily a fan of legwarmers, so it surprises me that I love how these ladies wear them.
When I saw this tutorial for "Buttoned legwarmers (almost like spats)" by Craftster user LauPre, in the current list of the site's featured projects, I immediately thought of my two wardrobe-remixing acquaintances. The legwarmers showcase the same kind of sassy style, and if you can sew on a sewing machine, you can definitely make them yourself! They're a perfect match for unpredictable March and April weather.
Suggestions for making and wearing LauPre's creation (even if you're a hand-sewer), as well as a tutorial with more details, after the break.
These legwarmers are short, fit close to the leg, and add interest to plain shoes -- particularly heels (giving them the look of little buttoned boots). They also have the practical value of keeping your ankles warm when you're wearing a skirt in near-freezing weather.
They're just lined fabric rectangles, with buttons on one side and buttonholes on the other, so they're simple and fast to make. LauPre used fleece as the exterior material and non-stretch cotton as the liner. I don't think it really matters what you use on the exterior, as long as it's warm: try felted wool sweaters, for example. This is such a quick project that you can make pairs to match any relevant outfit.
It's also a great way for newer sewers to test the button-hole functions on their sewing machines. If you aren't a machine-sewer, it seems like you could stitch elastic loops into one side's seam (instead of buttonholes). The legwarmers might have to be a bit narrower to compensate.
If you need it, LauPre has a more detailed tutorial for buttoned legwarmers on her blog... and if you visit her Etsy shop, she'll even make you a pair, for under US $20. She suggests that they have an antique, steampunk-ish feel, and I agree.