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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

woolies - how to make wool pants/diaper covers

babydear in woolies
I love woolies. I am addicted to making them. I would put my four year old in them if he would wear them. Wool is perfect for babies, cozy on winter days but allows baby’s skin to breathe as they wick moisture away from baby. They also work even on warmer days because they breathe so well. You can make straight up covers or pants. Lanolize and pair with a fitted diaper and you are good to go. They are also great for potty training, with a pair of cotton training pants underneath.

So, how to make these beauties?

First off. You need starting material. I like to go to thrift stores. I have a favorite thrift store (click here for you locals) and I LOVE it. Fabric. Pots. Kids clothes. Random pictures. And always, great wool sweaters.

ok, you cant see the woolies she is wearing in this picture but
isnt she dang cute??
I went there this Monday (half off sale!) and found this cute sweater to show these steps to you. Ok. It was kind of crazy of me. It was totally packed. The kids were nuts. Actually babydear was nuts. Little man was an angel, carrying things for me and chasing after sister. Other shoppers alternated between “oh how cute” and “oh how annoying” as I chased her under the clothes racks and etc. (YOU know what I am talking about right??) Finally some store clerk took pity on me and found us a cart to use (they are scarce on sale days). She gave me the old “Honey, you need this more than anyone in the store” kind of pity. I gratefully accepted.

Or if you are not the thrift store type you can always dig around the closet for that sweater that your mom gave your dear husband and he never, ever wears.

You are looking for a nice soft wool sweater at a thrift store – 100% wool ONLY or maybe a wool/silk blend – maybe cashmere, angora, etc. Its best to get the kind of sweater with a waist band on the bottom edge. That waist band is great for making the waist of your bands, without having to mess with elastic.

So, the basic steps.

Cut sleeves off sweater. Cut waist band off of bottom. Snip edges of sleeves to form crotch of pants. Sew crotch seam. (Double stitch) sew on waist band to create waist, gathering a little. You can also just fold over and use elastic.

See pictures of this below.

Wool is also great to work with because it is very forgiving. And each new sweater you work with presents a new set of challenges.

See pictures of that below too.

To lanolize simply squeeze some Lanisoh breast cream into hot water, massage cream into woolies, let air dry. You can wash your woolies (by hand, although mine go through the wash all the time) then drip dry and re-lanolize every now and then.

I have also made wool overalls which I am dying to get babydear in this fall. SO DAMN CUTE. (I am actually fearful she will potty train before then…heck, I am gonna dress her in the woolies anyway.)

Any questions?

little eddie bauer lambswool sweater.
pre-wash it, on cold. mine still shrunk too much which
presented a whole new set of challenges...
cut off sleeves
measure on your kid and cut along the seams,
this forms the crotch of the pants.
my sweater shrank too much (these are going
to be leggings) so i will need to do some
improvising to "make it work"
i had to cut off more than just the bottom
ribbing because i will need more fabric to
cover the big diaper butt.
is this making sense?
so you see how the leggings will fit together?
now, right sides facing, sew the pieces together to form the
crotch seam...(is there a more polite term for this?)
if it doesnt make sense just look at a pair of pants
see how this seam works?
now, trim up your bottom (now top) piece to form the waist area.
sew this together, RIGHT SIDES FACING to create the waist band
arrange waist band to legs, just remember RIGHT SIDE TOGETHER
if you get confused...i hope this is understandable...
arrange seams, i like to center my seams to the back
sew around the waist, attaching legs to waist band.
and here, are your woolies. geez these are ugly. that seam across the
butt makes them look so weird! to try them on babydear...
as i feared, the rise of the back of the pants
isnt enough...doesnt cover the big diaper butt..
here is where one must improvise.
hopefully yours turn out better!
i riped out the seams, took it apart, and cut out a little piece from my
left over waist band to create a "rise" allowance...
the "rise allowance" sew on the back
the waist band sewn back on. the "rise allowance" gives a little
more room for the diaper butt
see how it creates a nice little butt for the pants?
i like them better now...
really CUTE. especially under dresses...
not my best work but...
these are my best pair ever...
made out of a cashmere turtleneck sweater.
GENIOUS. i used the turtleneck part to create
a great waist that can fold down or up...
unfolded up, underneath a shirt, it is great to keep crawling
babies warm in winter...
i used the sleeves of this sweater to make the
kick ass overalls, basically woolies but with a bib and straps attached
anyway...hope this all makes sense. happy sewing! and watch out, its addictive. i have like 20 pairs at this point for the kids...


  1. Wow! Awesome!! Extra pairs=side business? And yes, she is way. too. adorable. :-)

  2. hmmmm... think I'll go to the thrift store tomorrow... thanks!

  3. E - let me know how they turn out! and let me know if you have any questions
    tracy - i have thought about that, and other crafty baby things i do, however 1) i dont have a serger which means seams can tend to split after a lot of use and i hate to think of that happening to a customer and 2) i am afraid that might make it un-fun, you know?
    maybe someday.
    when i have a yurt.
    and dreads.
    and a million babies.

  4. I love your writing style!
    And although I knew about and have sewn many recycled woollies I'd never thought to do it your way...GENIUS!!!


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