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Make Your Own Recycled Sweater Longies!

In honor of Fitteds and Wool Month at the GGB, I wanted to share an easy project with you that packs a super wollop of greeny goodness. Not only are you taking a used item and giving it new life, its new life is as a cloth diaper – keeping your kiddo out of disposables! (And kiddo’s pee off of your couch! Win, win!) Doesn’t hurt that it’s monumentally cheap, ridiculously easy, and makes you feel like you did a great big thing even though it only took you about 30 minutes.

Make Your Own Recycled Sweater Longies!

Ingredients:

1- 100% wool sweater -  the bigger the better, so look at your favorite thrift shop in the big and tall men’s section. Bonus points if Bill Cosby would have worn it, though I’m fairly certain his were mostly acrylic.

Polyester thread – this is important! Cotton thread will wick, and that means pee on your couch. Even if it’s just a little pinpricky line, it’s still pee.

1/2″ or 3/8″ Polybraid elastic (optional), as many inches as your kid is around – If you’d like an elastic waist, you’ll need elastic. Make sure you look for the polybraid – it’s available everywhere, very cheap, and it is the industry standard for diaper elastic. It stays stretchy when other elastic poops out.

Directions:

(all pictures are clickable for a better look!)

1. Take your sweater and wash it in hot water with your next load of towels or something. Pop it in the dryer on high as well. Depending on the size of your sweater and the size of the kid you’re making longies for, you can either felt a lot lot lot or just a little. The more times you run it through the wash/dry, the more it will felt and shrink. We have an XL women’s sweater, and since I’m making mine for a newborn/small, I felted the bejeebers out of it, which shrunk it a lot lot lot. Felting also makes the fibers cling to each other so that when you cut it, it won’t unravel and make you cry.

2. Find a pair of knit pants that fit your kid with a little room to grow. My kid is still in progress, so I went to her clothes and hoped that these pants will fit her.

3. Cut off the sleeves. If you’re making longies for a big kid or using a smaller sweater and crossing your fingers, you can follow the sleeve line, which will give you a diagonal cut. My kid is small, so I just cut straight across. You can use your pants as a guide (see next step picture) to determine if you’ll need the extra fabric up there.

4. Fold the pants in half and lay them on top of the sleeve. If you know the pants fit your kid well, you can line up the bottom of the pants with the cuff of the sleeve (or scoot up like I did to give growing room).

5. Giving yourself a bit of seam allowance (room to sew!), cut along the backside curve. You will be folding these over at the top waistband to make a casing for either a tie or elastic, so leave plenty of room when you cut at the top for that casing. Do not cut the bottom cuffs or sides of the legs. That sewing is already done for you, so thank the sweater manufacturer and avoid extra work.

6. Take your two cut sleeves and turn one inside out. Stuff the right-side-out on inside the inside-out one and line up your cut edges. They should be right sides together. I usually pin my centers and edges only, but you’re welcome to pin around the whole thing if that is more comfortable to you. You’re going to sew from the top of the curve all around your cut edge to the top again. From the yellow to the pink pin in the picture. Do not sew across the top (waistband) or there will be no spot for your kid to get into them.

I usually do a straight stitch around and then follow up just to the right of it with a zig-zag stitch for added stability.

7. When you take it out of the machine and unstuff the leg, you have longies! Almost! Stop here to marvel at how it took you only about 2 minutes flat to get things that actually look like pants. Also, feel superior to me, because I’m sure you matched your stripes better or cut with more precision when cutting off the sleeves.

8. Turn them inside out again, and fold over a casing wide enough for your elastic or the tie of your choice. I liked the way the skinny ribbing at the bottom of the sweater felted up, so I just snipped it off to make a tie. Here’s where we separate if you’re doing a tie or elastic. (Pictures show a tie.)

For a tie: Sew your casing all the way around.

For elastic: Sew your casing all the way around EXCEPT for about an inch – leave that inch unsewn.

9. Now you will either insert your tie or insert your elastic.

For a tie: Snip two small slits on either side of the center front seam in the casing. You’ve felted your sweater, so you should be experiencing no unraveling.

For elastic: You don’t have to snip anything since you left an opening in the bottom of your casing!

For a tie: Put a safety pin on one end of your tie and run it through one slit until it comes out the other side. Pull the sides even and tie, trimming any excess tie length.

For elastic: Take the length of elastic that fits your kiddo comfortably (usually their waist size – you don’t want it tight, you just want it to stay on!) and put a safety pin on one end. Run it through the casing starting at the opening you left and coming out the other side. Once you’re through, put the elastic ends together and sew it closed into a complete circle. Back and forth stitching a few times here should do it. Tuck the elastic up into your casing and stitch the opening closed.

10. Admire your handiwork and take a picture of it. Probably post it to Facebook and reluctantly share that it only took you about 20-30 minutes, even with your children and pets underfoot. Receive at least 12 comments from friends requesting that you make their kid some. Send them here and tell them to make their own :)

Now that you have longies, Win BAMBOOZLES to put under them!!

Luscious, absorbent, fabulous Bamboozle Bamboo fitteds are AMAZING to pair with wool for every day or overnight. You will not believe the soft squishiness of these diapers! Two sizes go from birth to potty training with ease! We’re giving away TWO to one commenter randomly selected by Random.org!

Comment here to win! Have you ever made your own woolies? Are you excited to try?

Entries close on Monday at 5pm MDT!


I have never made my own woolies, but would absolutely love to try. I have some old wool sweaters I am saving for the attempt. I LOVE WOOL!!

Wow, thanks for the great tutorial! I have never made my own wool longies, but I’m excited to try, especially now that the weather is getting cooler. :)

I haven’t made my own woolies, but today I made my first no-sew fleece cover. It works great for my newborn’s sensitive skin. Woolies would be awesome to make as well! Nice tutorial :)

i just might have to give that a try!! you made it look so easy! Thanks!

I am hoping to try now that I see how easy it looks :)

I am inspired to try some longies for my little girl too!

I have never made my own woolies, but I am really excited to try! My all time favorite sweater has holes in it. I have saved it to use in that perfect felting project. This is the perfect way to bring new life to my old favorite. Thank you!

I haven’t made my own woolies but after seeing this tute I’m going to try!!

Not yet but i’m sitting at the sewing machine with a sweater in hand!! Whoo hoo! thanks for the tutorial. I have to thank Karen who got me started with two wool soakers. Thanks Karen!!

I’ve never sewn longies, but I have made wipes, fitteds, and diaper covers. Longies might be next now :)

I have never made my own longies, but I think I will be trying this soon :)
That is after my 3 dozen other projects finish :)
I just picked up 16 Kissaluv newborn fitteds for super cheap, but htey all need at least one snap replaced :) I also have to make curtains to divide the bedroom so my one year old can have his own dark ‘room’.

I would love to try making my own longies. I knit, but I’ve not recycled kit projects like this before!

Sweet. And I just got my first sewing machine! I haven’t made much of anything yet, but I am excited to start trying.

I love the tutorial! I recently found a jackpot of sweaters at the thrift store but I’ve since given them away because I rarely have time to sew anymore. TX!!

I have made and even sold (on etsy) upcycled longies, shorties, and wool wrap covers. Felted wool is easy to work with and cute on the little one. I need to make more longies for this winter even though we’re starting potty training they make the perfect pants for over ‘trainers’ as they’re an extra layer against the inevitable accidents.

I’ve never made my own longies but this looks ridiculously easy! Thanks!!

can’t wait to try making my first longies!!

I have never made my own and I am a little intimidated to try but your blog post makes it a lot less intimidating… I just may have to try! :)

I’ve never made my own…I’m missing the crafty gene!

Ive never made my own. But this looks so easy. I may tackle this. That would be so cool to know I made it.

I have never made my own, but you make it look sooo easy!!

This looks so cool, can’t wait to try it!

i haven’t even used woolies at all, let alone made them! but i really want to try – i just got a sewing machine for my birthday and i need to learn how to use it – this seems simple enough! thanks!

I have never made my own woolies, but my sister has made some for me! She is better at sewing than I am and I make jewelry, so we swap.

I would love these fitteds!!!

those look so amazing, now i need to make some :)

Who knew making upcycled woolies could be so simple?!!? Thanks for the tutorial!

Super cute! I may have to check the second hand store for a wool sweater so I can try this out! Thanks for sharing!

You make it look so easy! I wonder if I may actually be able to make these! I’ve been wanting to try them, and this is definitely a more affordable way to try! Thank you :-D

That actually looks doable! Thanks for the great tutorial! ::fingers crossed for the bamboozles!::

I can’t wait till I get some free time to work on these!

Love the tutorial! I’d love to try to make them and you make it look so easy! Thanks!

I have not made our own woolies yet but I love love love supporting our favorite WAHM Shannon at Woollybottoms! Thanks for the great tut and I look forward to trying when I get some free time.

I have never made my own woolies, but appreciate this blog explaining how. I might still need to ask my mom for help. :)

I’ve actually made several pairs of wool longies – exactly the same way you did! They are our first choice at night. I think the elastic or tie is really important to keep them up where they are supposed to be – if they are sagging off the baby they won’t keep everything dry.

Went shopping at The ARC this weekend looking for the perfect sweater to try this!

Wow you make it look easy/doable. I need to give this a whirl because we are fitteds at nap and night family. Love how wool works. Thanks.

This looks so easy! Can’t wait to try it out. Haven’t made any diaper type things for baby… Just other stuff.

I knitted my first soaker last month. I’m officially a wool addict! Longies are in the near future!

I have not made my own, but this looks like something I can do!

I haven’t made any yet but think I am going to have to try it

Such a great and cute idea! Next on my DIY list.

that looks so easy!! I’m going to make a few for my little guy for sure!

Oooh I wanna try bamboo!!! Hope I win, perfect for my lil guy he is almost a week and a half now!!

oooh fancy! I might have to give these a-go although Im new to the wool action, thanks for sharing this project!

Ooh, I’d love to try these Bamboozles for my precious princess. I think I need to take a trip over to the thrift store too to buy a wool sweater. Thanks for the tips! :)

Love this idea!! My gf uses bamboozies and loves them. I’m going to switch over from prefolds when my daughter outgrows her current size.

I have some sweaters, just trying to find the time! And need the under part too!

This post has inspired me to try making longies.

Some of my fave cashmere sweaters have been hit by moths. I ‘ve been thinking about upcycling them but hadn’t gotten around to it. I think I’ll be hitting some stores for some elastic today!





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  • The Giggling Green Blog! The Giggling Green Bean's Marketing Director, Keely, takes her family on a journey from conspicuous consumers to rampant recyclers, raving re-users, ravenous reducers! Make things, enjoy life, have an abundance of awesome while being conscious of your impact!

    Comment or contact her at keely@thegigglinggreenbean.com


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