Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sweater Sleeve Pants Tutorial, DIY Woolies

I'm a HUGE fan of cloth diapering and can say that 25 months and some days into the whole experience, we have only bought two packs of disposable diapers.  When camping, we like to just pack it out and throw it away.  The smell of dirty diapers in the car on the way home is just too much to stomach.  Anyways.. we use wool covers and the lil guy is starting to out grow our stash.  I've decided to make my own this time and I wanted to share my first attempt at making a pair of long woolies.  You will have to pardon the pictures, as I am still using my iPhone and wasn't the best lighting to take these in.

I was able to use the sleeves of a cashmere sweater I scored at a local thrift store.  In order to get the wool ready for woolies, you need to felt it first.  I simple did this by washing it in very hot water a few times.  It helps if you have some other items of clothing to add a little more friction to the wash cycle.  After each wash I would dry on the highest heat setting.  You can see the final results in the picture.

Once felted, I begin the process of making my woolies.  I started by using a pair of cotton shorts as a cutting guide to the curve I wanted for the pants.  Note, the seam of the arm is lining up with the cut part of the the sleeve.

I wanted my woolies really high on the waste to add a little more coverage, so I cut just enough off on the top to make it all straight and even.  You can use a pair of pants/shorts as a guide and just make sure to add an inch or so to fold over to make the waste band.

Next, you will take ONE of the sleeves and turn it inside out.  I take the sleeve that is right side out and stuff it into the inside out sleeve.  Basically, you want to make sure that right side fabric is against right side.  I utilize clips for most of my sewing projects instead of pins.  So, I clipped the inseam (u-shaped cut part) together. 

Here is a nice photo showing the sleeves all sandwiched together.  Five minutes into the project after felting, and I am ready to sew!  Why haven't I made a pair of these sooner?

Sew along clipped (or pinned) inseam, removing clips (or pins) as you sew. I use an stretch stitch, but a zigzag stitch will work great also!  You can also go back and top stitch the inseam wings down.  I didn't bother, as the fabric is SO soft, I doubt it will bother my lil guy.

Once you are finished sewing, pull sleeve out of other sleeve and TAA DAA!  Your woolies are almost finished!  

Now all you need to do is turn the waist band for the casing and sew!  You can do this a multiple of ways.  I decided to go the super easy route and just turn the waist band down about and inch and not worry about the exposed edge.  Now go ahead and stitch around the waist using an stretch or zigzag stitch, making sure to stop a couple of inches before finishing the circle. 

Next you add the elastic.  I used a 3/4 inch elastic, as I like a wider elastic for comfort.  I again, used a pair of pants to figure out the length of elastic I should use.  Much easier that way versus a fast moving kiddo.  Get a safety pin and attach it to the end of the elastic.  This makes threading it through the waist band easy peasy.  Go ahead and feed the elastic through the two inch space you left not sewn. 

Once you have your elastic all the way through, go ahead and put the elastic's ends together and sew.  I like to sew a square with an X in the middle.  Makes it super strong, you know it won't come apart this way.  Once finished, go ahead and sew the opening in waist band shut. 

Fifteen minutes later and I have a pair of woolies for the coming fall and winter!  What a great way to upcycle an old sweater and still have enough fabric left over to make a pair of mittens.  Guess you will have to stay tuned for that tutorial!  Next post will about lanolizing woolies to make them ready for wearing with cloth diapers.  Un-lanolized, would make an extra cozy pair of pants for cooler weather.  And, did I mention how SOFT these are! 

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