Homemade Wool Soaker from Old Sweaters

Several months ago I saw the cutest wool soakers made from old sweaters in a local cloth diaper shop. Thing was, they were close to $40 and I figured heck, I can make one of those.

So off I went on a hunt for old sweaters to felt (shrink). I put notices on facebook and freecycle and hit the local thrift shops.

Meanwhile, I found Katrina’s Sew Quick Soaker Pattern on-line. I’m definitely a beginner sewer but I can attest that this pattern is very easy and suited the limited capabilities of my $50 sewing machine. Thank you Katrina!

I found a really nice striped sweater while visiting my mother and made my first batch of soakers last summer.

Three Soakers Made from One Old Wool Sweater

Large, Medium and Newborn Wool Soakers Made from One Old Sweater

Aren’t they the cutest? If you’re planning on using Katrina’s pattern, I can tell you that these are size Large (fit my 20 month old), Medium (made for a friend’s 6 month old) and Newborn (made for another friend – she told me it was VERY small and fit only for a couple of weeks).

Here’s a picture of the large soaker in action…

homemade wool soaker from felted sweater

Sweet Cheeks in Wool Soaker

Unfortunately, these soakers shrunk. I had washed the sweater twice in hot water and dried it twice on hot in my drier, but apparently that wasn’t enough. I’ve since read on-line that it’s best to cut the sweater apart (and get rid of all seams) before shrinking/felting.

It’s been several months since I made those three soakers. Now I’ve got another baby on the way and a hankering to make some more. So that’s how I spent today.

Let me just say, there are certain tasks that are best left for days when you’re not sleepy.  Take a look at today’s creation. See anything wrong? Yup, big oops. Sewed the damned waistband on inside out and backwards.

Homemade Wool Soaker from Old Sweater

Oopsy - lovely wool soaker with darned inside out waistband

The bummer is that I used a zigzag stitch to sew the waistband on so I won’t be taking it off and re-sewing. On the bright side, there won’t be a nasty seam irritating baby’s wee belly.  Sigh. Maybe I’ll get creative and applique a little apple or something over it. Probably not.

UPDATE: A smart person would have gone to bed last night. But after the excitement of getting that little, oh so soft, cream soaker done, I HAD to make another. So I stayed up too late and made a pair of wool longies from an old cardigan sweater. Check out these little cuties:

Homemade Wool Soaker Pants

Homemade Wool Longies Soaker Pants

These involved a bit more sewing than Katrina’s pattern calls for because the wool came from a cardigan and there were no nice big pieces to cut from. I think I went a little too long in the legs – this is a size small that I’m hoping will fit a two month old in September – but I figure I can shorten them no problemo.

Oh, and I made a really stupid mistake in the back at the top (make sure when you cut out the leg pieces that you place the pattern piece face down for one leg- otherwise you’ll be sewing the front of one leg to the back of another and that just doesn’t work. If you do make this mistake and need a quick fix, let me know – I’ve got it figured). Thank God I’ve got that Engineering Degree that’s been sitting useless in my back pocket that lets me think “outside the box”.  Fixed it up and you can’t even tell.

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13 Responses to Homemade Wool Soaker from Old Sweaters

  1. shirley says:

    does anyone have a list of the “standard measurements” for the inseam on these longies? I am making them for my as yet unborn grandchild and have no idea what the inseam length should be for each of the different sizes. thanks so much!!!

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    • Hi Shirley – I seem to recall having the same issue. At the time, I asked a friend of mine – who had just had a baby – to measure the inseam of her newborn sleepers for me. She said they ranged from 15 cm to 21 cm (that was for 0 to 3 month clothing). I ended up making my longies with a 21 cm inseam, which was far too long for a newborn but I was able to roll them up and he wore them until 8 months old (when they were too short but still fit around the bum).

      I just measured the inseam of the my son’s first sleeper (the only piece of clothing I’ve hung onto). It is 14 cm. It was a true newborn outfit and only fit for a few weeks. I would think 17 cm would be a nice length if you wanted to get a few months use out of it.

      Hope this helps.

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  2. Hi Kate, Thanks for a great post, it is good to have that pic of all the sizes made up – such a good reference. I have been playing around with the Katrina’s pattern a bit on my blog and linked up to your post as a good example/tute I hope that is ok

    http://hatchlingsclothnappies.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/diy-longies-and-covers-how-draft-your-soaker-pattern/

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    • Thanks Liz. I always appreciate a good link back to my blog, for sure! And I love the modifications you made to the patterns as well! I’ve made several more and always remember too late that I wanted to make the leg cuffs longer. Hopefully the next batch ;)

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  3. Pingback: DIY Longies and covers – How draft your soaker pattern | Hatchlings Cloth Nappies

  4. cindy says:

    Wondering if you have a pattern for the wool longies? I’d like to make a wool jumper out of this cashmere fabric I have, for my 1 year old. Every time I go to sew up some wool baby pants/soakers I search the website for ideas, but then never remember, when i begin to sew again, what site I my patterns from. Anyways…I like the way your things come out so I was hoping for some help.

    Thanks,
    mamaofour

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  5. Katie says:

    Those look great! And you know, his shirt will cover any imperfections 8D You really did a nice job.

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  6. Shana LaFore says:

    Absolutely adorable. I’m due this spring and am feeling crafty. What a great project!

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    • Thanks for the comment Shana. My “little” guy (who is now almost 22 lbs at JUST 5 months!!!) put them all to good use. When I get some spare time I’ll be making more. I copied all the patterns onto tissue paper so I just have to pin them onto the wool and I can make them in a matter of minutes now. I’ll love to see pictures of yours when you finish!

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  7. reneeholiday says:

    turned out great! i found your post in the comments on the katrina longies pattern page. i’m itching (no pun intended) to upcycle some wool for my newbie due next month. so the timing is perfect!

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  8. Bridgette says:

    I accidentally sewed it in backwards and just folded it down, looks so cute I did a few more that way…really nice job, btw!

    Like

  9. Katrina says:

    Those are adorable! Nicely done. :)

    Like

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