Whether you call them soakers, longies, or botty sweaters, they are warm, practical, and in this case, cheap!

If you are mildly crafty, frugal, or into recycling, and have a little person in your life, you might like to try your hand at making a pair of wool pants. They can be lanolised and used as the water proof layer of cloth nappies, or left as is and used to protect crawling knees. In my case, it’s just for fun because it’s such a good idea and I couldn’t resist trying it to see if it works!

Find an unwanted wool jumper (checking the tag to see that it is wool, not acrylic, if you are a novice in these matters).

Cut the arms from the jumper, and use a pair of baby’s pants to judge the length and curve of the rise.

Using a piece of chalk to mark the curve, cut out, and use the little triangle pieces left to make a gusset for extra room if you use cloth nappies and want to try it out as a night time cover, when the nappy is bulked out with night time boosters. Fold one point of the triangle toward the longest side, then cut the excess from the sides, producing a diamond shape with a seam down the middle. If you don’t use cloth nappies, you may want to skip this step.

Pin the gusset in, and if you are like me, it is worth folding it all the right way out after pinning, to see if you have pinned it to the correct side (eye roll!) before you sew. It normally takes me a few goes to work this out!

With the sleeves sewn together, you can fold over the waist and insert elastic, or a drawstring. As I wanted to use them overnight, and so wanted them longer in the rise, I then cut half the waist band from the jumper, and sewed this on as my waistband. The ribbing works like gentle elastic, and it gave me the extra length I wanted to be sure to cover the front of the cloth nappy.

Here the waist is sewn on, and I have prettied up the knee pads (which used to be elbow pads when the jumper was in use for “Sydney Electricity” as a work uniform!)

The finished pants, with a little bear on the back, because that is, after all, the view you have most of little crawling persons!

Here are some pictures of the longies Heidi has made for her little one….

baby wearing homemade longies.

view from behind


overlocked seams (inside out view)

rolled cuffs and waistband

The end result can be quite long (rolled down cuffs and rolled up waist band) or short (rolled up cuffs and rolled down waist band).

Heidi made the gussett larger than my original pattern, (wish I’d thought of that!!) and as she was using a turtle neck jumper, used the roll down neck for a waistband in the longies instead of using the waistband of the jumper cut smaller.

Don’t they look great on that darling little model?Ā  You’ve done an excellent job, Heidi, and I am so grateful to you for sharing your experience and photos with me.

If anyone else attempts a pair, I’d love to add your photos and tips to the article.Ā  My email address is now in the comments, along with a few extra tips from Heidi which are worth reading before you start.