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.
Aren’t they the cutest? Based on Katrina’s pattern, 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…
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.
Many Moons Later…
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.
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 2018 – applique never happened, but the soaker DID get a lot of use)
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:
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.
Update: I had so many sweaters (and fun) that I just kept going. The middle pair of pants below – the beige ones – are made of the thickest, softest cashmere/wool blend. They proved to be the BEST (i.e., they lasted ages and were brilliant for soaking) soakers I made and were handed down and used by 2 other babies.