Wool Diapers and Recycled Longie Tutorial

I’ve cloth diapered my son since birth.  From the first moment I wrapped his little newborn tush in a prefold and cover, I fell madly in love with all things cloth. Cloth is addicting – easy, once you get the hang of it, but addicting.  Collecting and creating cloth diapers often surpasses a woman’s stereotypical ‘need’ for shoes to match every outfit or (in my case) a vast earring and bracelet collection.

One of the many reasons I decided to cloth was to save money. So, I decided to try and explore ways to save even more money (while simultaneously expanding our cloth stash /ninja/), and still coming up with cute diaper solutions.  During this exploration, I discovered the most addicting, yet expensive cloth addiction of them all: Wool. Oh.my.wow. And I thought I had an addiction before?!

Many benefits of wool:
1) It’s antibacterial.
2) It absorbs up to 30% of it’s weight in moisture, but doesn’t feel wet. Read: wa.ter.proof!
3) It breathes like no other diaper/cover.
4) It insulates – keeps baby cool in the summer, and warm in the winter
5) It’s so cute, I want a pair of wool longies for myself.

If you want wool to work correctly, you have to lanolize it. You can find my lanolizing tutorial –> here. It’s much easier than it sounds, I promise! Best thing about wool, in my opinion, is that, once lanolized, you don’t have to wash it. Okay, you do eventually, but the natural fibers of the wool repel dirt and grime and the material itself is antibacterial and evaporates wetness!  You only have to spot clean, hand wash every few weeks (again, tutorial forthcoming), and lanolize every 3-6 weeks. Finn wears the same couple of pair of longies, in rotation, for several days at a time. If I didn’t have a dozen pair coupled with an insatiable need for alternating cuteness, he could go even longer.

So, how does one acquire such awesomeness? You can buy them on etsy, or find them used in a swap board, OR…you can make them yourself!

Things you need:
- 75% or more wool sweater – angora, cashmere, sheep wool, wool blend – doesn’t really matter. Goodwill is great for these! They’re less than $5 a sweater, and you can get either two pair of pants or pants and two covers/soakers out of each sweater.  I’ll eventually post a pattern for a cover/soaker.
- Sewing machine or needle and thread – I highly suggest a machine, as the crotch-area has alot of stress to which hand stitching may not hold up.
- Scissors
- Measuring tape
- Pins
- Elastic (optional)

1) First, measure your little one. You need length (hip to wherever you want the longies to end), waist, hips, inseam, and rise (top of the front of the diaper, through the crotch, to the top of the back of the diaper – take this measurement with a diaper on).

2) Second, cut the arms and either the bottom or collar off of the sweater. With this sweater, I was able to use the ‘collar’, which saved me a stretchy, finished bottom to use for another diaper project later.

3) Cuff the bottom of the arm (now the leg of the pants) as you want them to be cuffed once finished. I cuff mine because it gives him extra room to grow.  The inside seam of the arm will be the inseam of your pants, so measure and cut so that the inseam matches your inseam measurement of your little one. My LO has a 12in. inseam, so I measured 12 inches, and cut the rest open. 
4) This is where I often mess up…as I did in this photo. You’re going to turn one sleeve inside out. Then take the right-side-out sleeve, and put it inside the inside out sleeve matching up the seams. In the picture, I did it backwards, and I wound up with one right side out leg and one inside out leg. Don’t do that! Remember: right-side-out, inside the inside-out! Then match up the seams and line up the area you cup open. You’re going to sew all the way across the part that is spread apart in the picture (see step 5). 
5. See? Easy Peasy. Just the two legs together in the area you cut open. This is the crotch area, so I highly suggest sewing over it twice with a zig-zag type stitch to help reinforce the seams. 
6. Reach in, and pull the inside leg out, then turn both legs right-side out. It should now look like this:
7. You’re going to cut across the entire pair of pants to even up the top. On mine, I cut right across the top of the purple stripe. Now, for some reason, I didn’t get pictures of the next step.  It’s an easy one, though, so don’t fret! If you have a collar, just stretch it out and make sure it will stretch to be as wide as the waist. You don’t want it to be as wide unstretched, or it won’t hold the pants up.  If it’s not, cut it a few inches shorter and sew it back up. If you have the bottom part of a sweater, do the same thing – cut a folded-over waistband that is smaller than the top of the pants, but will stretch to meet each hip. Then, sew in place as you stretch the waistband across. Emphasis on stretch! If all else fails, you can always just cut holes (or sew button holes) and weave a drawstring through.  And, here is my finished product! Pardon the lopsided waistband – the collar itself was kind of crooked. 
Later this week I will show you how to lanolize! 
Also coming up in the diaper department: tie-dipes, t-shirt dipes, prefolds from receiving blankets, and lots of other DIY diapering greatness!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08322579132408177305 Kelley @ Kelley’s Passion for Nutrition

    I did not know this! Thank you for sharing your review and tutorial. I need to share this with cloth friends! Thank you.

  • Anonymous

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