Sunday, February 1, 2009

Recycled wool sweater longies instructions

These instructions show you how to make longies from a wool sweater that you can find in your relative's old stash of clothes or at your local thrift shop. When choosing your sweater you want to look for a number of things. First of all choose, a sweater that is at least a woman's x-large or a man's large, it's going to shrink when you felt it and you don't want the longies to have to be shorties. Secondly, choose a sweater that is fairly soft and cozy. Finding something at a thrift shop is based on luck, if you don't see something you like, try a different shop or go back on a different day. Thirdly, felt the sweater in your washer and dryer. Now you are ready to get to work.

I used my serger for these longies but you could use a wide and close together zig zag. When wool is felted it doesn't tend to fray (because the fibers are so tightly knit together). All seams have a seam allowance of 1/4".

Cut the sleeves off the sweater by cutting as close to the body of the sweater as possible. That way you have the most sleeve to work with.
Lay the sleeves out flat with the seams facing each other. Measure up from the cuff and pin where you want your inseam to end. I measured my son's inseam by measuring from his heel to his crotch and I therefore pinned at 9".
Cut down, along the seam, until you reach the pin.
Now you have to trim the front and back of each leg to account for the presence of the butt in the back and the absence of it in the front. It is important to leave enough room in the back to avoid getting "bubble butt."

In order to figure how much to cut off you have to do a little math.
1) Measure how wide each sleeve is. Mine were 7".
2) Decide how wide you want your waist to be. My son's waist is 17" around so I want the longies to have a stretched waist of 20" so that there is room for his hips and prefold.
3) Figure out how much to cut off so that you will get the waist you want. For example: If each sleeve is 7" wide then if I made the longies without cutting anything I would have a waist of 28" (way to big) so I need to remove a total of 8".
4) Figure out how much to remove from the front and back of each sleeve. The front should have 1" extra removed from each sleeve then the back to account for the diaper and butt. Therefore, I removed 2 1/1" from the back of each sleeve and 1 1/2" from the front of each sleeve to leave me a waist of 20". I kinda discount the seam allowance but you can factor it in if you want.
5) Measure in from the location of where your waist will be when you trim down the top of the longies. Mark the location with a pin.
6) Starting from the beginning of the inseam, cut a diagonal towards your pin to remove the unnecessary material. Do this for the back and front of each sleeve.
7) Mark with a pin to indicate which portion of the sleeve is the back otherwise it will be hard to tell at this stage.

Hint: If you are making these longies to fit over underwear or trainers you could cut out more and have the longies be more trim.
Turn the sleeves inside out and pin the right sides together, being careful to match up the inseam seams.
Sew all along the crotch seam to join the sleeves together.
Measure up from the bottom of the cuff in order to figure out where to trim the top of the longies. Place a pin to indicate where to cut. By measuring up each sleeve on the front and the back and indicating the place with a pin, you ensure that your waist cut will be straight. Cut around the waist, removing the excess material.

I measured my son from waist to heel and came up with 16", therefore, I cut the longies at 17" up from the cuff, the extra 1" is to allow for turning to create the elastic casing.

Hint: You could even make the heel to waist measurement 1/2- 1" longer in the back to ensure that there is no plumbers butt, if you have a child with a large rise.
Serge or zig zag across the top that you just cut.

You can see the pin marking the back of the longies.
Roll over the top edge by 1" and pin and sew with a small zig zag, all the way around. Leave a gap with which to insert the elastic.
Using a safety pin, insert the 1/4" stretchrite elastic.

My son's waist is 17" so I cut a piece of elastic that was 17" and then overlaped it by 1 1/2" when sewing the elastic together. This creates a nice and comfortable fit.
After feeding the elastic through and sewing the ends together, sew up the hole. I use a size tag to indicate the back of the longies because you can't always tell just be looking.

The front has a nice amount of room to fit the padding of the diaper.
The back fits snuggly without looking like a "bubble butt".


Thystle said...

Thanks for the instructions! This was actually the very first sewn project I ever made and I didn't have your instructions at the time to do it! As a result the rise isn't quite high enough in the back and a tiny bit too high in the front, but since knits are a bit forgiving (sorta pull them around until it doesn't look too bad :) my son can still wear 'em.

I have your blog in my reader, so you know you have some follower :)

Green Momma said...

Nice blog! I subscribed to yours too:)

Wow, winding up yard! That's amazing, I once wound up a whole roll of 1/4" stretchrite elastic and I almost went crazy! I vowed never to do it again:)

The green and red longies are so cute! You can always make more and then soakers out of the rest of the sweater. Usually I can get one pair of longies and two soakers from each sweater as long as its a large/x-large and I don't felt it too much. Can't wait to see more pictures.

Sarah H. Wood said...

could you give instructions on how to felt wool? I've never done it before, but want to try making some longies.


Provider Homes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Green Momma said...

Here is something I wrote on felting:


Artist said...

Thank you for a super great tutorial! I just made my first is my son wearing them:

I have a few mommy friends interested/practicing EC so I signed up for your blog too, so I can be in the loop :)