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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Upcycled Challenge: Wool Sweater to Wool Diaper Soaker #freefromtrash

I have wanted to try this for a LONG time.  I have been cloth diapering the kids now since they were home from the hospital, so that makes it just about 11 months!  About a month ago, I finally drank the kool-aid on wool soakers.  Up until that point, I really didn't know how they worked or really what the point was.  And they can be expensive!  So basically a wool soaker is a wool diaper cover.  100% wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight before it feels wet but the caveat is that it doesn't retain moisture very well.  There can be compression leaking which is caused by, well, compression.  That is part of the reason people generally use wool for overnight diapering because kids aren't moving around much.  I use wool diaper covers over a fitted with a regular waterproof cover.  I was having issues with the regular covers shifting around and leaving the fitted exposed, causing wicking.  With a wool cover over the fitted/cover combo we have 12 hours of stay-dry babies!!  I have 5 of the Grateful Buns wool covers, which are super well-made and actually have several layers of wool to add to the absorbancy.  For my first attempt, I just made a single-layer XXL cover.

Having no throw-away 100% wool sweaters in the house at all, I needed to first take a little expedition to the Salvation Army.  The kids decided to throw a fit in the store so I was only able to wade through about half an aisle's worth of sweaters, but here in Southern CA, there really isn't a whole lot in the way of 100% natural fibers.  I found two sweaters, a black one from The Limited and Turquoise one from Anne Klein Knit Wear that were 70% lambswool, 20% Angora rabbit hair and 10% Nylon and it was about 14$ for both sweaters. Both were super soft but definitely needed to be felted to meld the larger stitches together.  When I got home, I tosssed them in the washer on hot with regular detergent and a cold rinse then hot dried them and then repeated the process to shrink and felt them.  It worked really well.  Then I found a soaker pattern by Katrina at Katrina's Sew Quick Soaker Blog.  The pattern for the XL-XXL can be found here and the instructions for assembly can be found here.  I followed the instructions except the sweaters I had weren't long enough to cut the main body of the soaker in one big piece so I had to piece together two pieces (front and back separate and then stitched together at the crotch area) to make the body.  I also used the waist band of the turquoise sweater to make the leg cuffs, which is actually pieced onto the body before sewing up the sides of the main body of the soaker.  I didn't take pictures at all the steps because you can find plenty of tutorials out there (like this one from scrimplythrifty) or you can make it up as you go if you are an experienced seamstress.

SO this is what I started with:
And here is the almost-finished product:

Now I just need to lanolinize it and it will be good to go.  Adding lanolin back to the fibers adds to its urine neutralizing powers.  I use liquid lanolin by NOW that is scented with lavender essential oils.  I think it turned out really cute and I can't wait to try it on the kids!

This post is part of the Upcycled Crafting Challenge (#freefromtrash) hosted by Calley, The Eco Chic, and is part of a one month challenge to create from trash.  This challenge will hopefully open your eyes to the number of items that we still end up trashing every day that could be used by ourselves or our kids to create fun and useful items.  To find out more about the challenge and to see other projects click on over to Calley’s announcement post. 


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