Thursday, April 19, 2012

How to Murder a Sweater (or How to Make Wool Longies)

Since it's become such a sudden obsession, I thought I'd share how easy it is to murder a sweater. First, you have to find a 100% wool sweater. Salvation Army stores are a haven as well as Good Will. Ours has a family day every Wednesday, where everything except new arrivals is half off.  Merino Wool, New Wool, Cashmere, Virgin Wool, and even Lambs Wool* are all good as long as they are no less than 95% wool. 
Once you have acquired your wool, you get to torture it. Hot wash and a cold rinse, then drying it on High Heat in the dryer.  It will scream for mercy and be half it's size when it comes out.  This is to felt the wool fibers so they are thicker and more sturdy.
After washing and drying you are ready to mutilate your sweater.  I have some not so pretty pictures to help explain.
First take a pair of pants that fits you baby right now or the next size up.

Turn one leg inside out..

and stuff it into the other leg.

So it looks like this.

Place it onto a piece of newspaper..

trace and cut so you have a pattern. Please make sure you allot room for the seam by making it taller, longer and a bit wider in the bum for the seam.

Then take an innocent sweater...this one is 100% lambs wool

* When felting lambs wool, don't do it in a machine. Soak it in HOT water for 20 mins, do a cold rinse and then dry on high. Otherwise it falls apart and you will have wool bunnies in your lint catcher and all over the floor.

Cut the arms off of the sweater, ignore any screams.

I like to turn up the cuff just in case of any growth spurts.

Place your pattern on top of the sleeves, in this case they are going to be leggings.

They don't have to be perfect, but get them as similar as possible.

Cut off a piece of the bottom cuff to use for a waist.

Like you did when making the pattern, turn one sleeve inside out and stuff the right-side out into the inside out.

Top : right side. Bottom : inside.

Sew around to make the crotch seam, if single stitching, do two rows for strength.  Leave top open.


Now taking, the bottom cuff, wrap it around the waist and cut it 1/2 to 1 inch shorter than the waist length. Sew ends together to make a circl.  Then holding it tight, sew onto the waist of pants while stretching it. Sew two rows if desired.

And now you have a simple pair of longies to keep your baby comfy and warm while staying dry.

After you have made them, you are going to need to wash them in a wool safe soap and lanolize them, since felting them stripped any lanolin out of the fibers.  After washing them in the wool wash, you have to do a separate lanolin treatment.  You don't need any fancy lanolin, if you have some left of the kind you used while nursing, that works fine.  You will need a pea size amount, squeeze it into a bottle of HOT water, shake well until the water is cloudy, then add to a bucket/sink of room temp water. Add you wool and squeeze gently to work the lanolin in. Then leave for 30mins to an hour. Gently squeeze water out and wrap in a towel to absorb any extra moisture.  Lay flat to dry. You may need to lanolize your wool twice before it has reached peak water resistance.

Have fun sweater murdering. :o)

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