If you’re not familiar with cloth diapering, you’ve probably never heard of longies. But, don’t stop reading, because even if you don’t use cloth diapers, these pants are super-cute and cozy and super easy to put together if you have some basic sewing skills. Oh, and they can be worn over disposables too.
Wool longies can be used as a diaper cover over flats, prefolds, and fitteds. Wool is naturally water repellent and anti-bacterial, so it prevents leaks and can be used over and over without being washed, as long as it’s not soiled. It’s also breathable, so it’s great in summer or winter for keeping baby’s bum dry and rash-free. The problem with commercial wool covers is that they can be really expensive ($30-$70 each). You can find some great and reasonably priced upcycled covers on Etsy or, if you know how to sew, you can make your own using an old wool sweater.
I hit up the local thrift stores to see what I could find. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything really colorful or pretty, but I picked up a few sweaters anyway for around $5 each. I decided to start with this one, which Michael threatened to put on and change his shoes a la Mr. Rogers. Won’t you be my neighbor?
You’ve gotta look for 100% wool and lambswool or merino wool is ideal because it’s soft. If the tag says DRY CLEAN ONLY, you’ve got a winner. Oh, and it’s best to get a pretty large sweater because of the next step…
Before I could cut them up and start sewing, I had to felt them by machine washing them in warm water and throwing them in the dryer. This will probably shrink the wool significantly and it kind of brings the fibers in tighter and thickens the wool a bit.
Once the wool is felted, I just used a pair of Evelyn’s pants as a template following this tutorial at Life Alaskan Style (no, I don’t have the patience or sewing expertise to make a tutorial of my own). The sleeves became the legs and then I just added a waistband by using the sweater’s existing waistband. I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out, considering this was my first try. The waistband tends to stretch out after a wear or two, so I might alter them a bit by adding some elastic.
Once I completed the pants, I had to lanolize them to make them water resistant. Here’s a great tutorial for lanolizing. If you’re not planning to use them as a diaper cover, you can skip this step.
So far, they’re working really well. I’m using them over fitted diapers at night time. And they look pretty cute, don’t you think?
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