Lupine is my summer girl. Born during the first snowfall four winters ago, she must have held the memory of those first blasts of cold against her fresh skin. I can still remember the way she would gasp as the cold air reached her lungs, an inhale that seemed to go on forever until wide-eyed, she ducked back into the warmth of my jacket.
At four she bucks winter and I think she would stay in the house until spring if we didn't have to venture out. She is perpetually cold when we are outside, and therefore miserable. She has polypropylene long underwear, but never seems to stay warm. The Waldorf tradition is to dress children in wool, so I got the idea of sewing up some woolies for her, similar to these, minus the $43 price tag.
And so we thrift again. We go sweater hunting.
A little moth nibbled, but a wicked bargain at $1.50 each, I found these 100% cashmere sweaters while thrifting with my sister last weekend. After washing and drying them on hot they were a little felted but still plenty thin for under clothes. And seriously. Cashmere. Long johns. How yummy does that sound? Warm, softer than soft, plus cheap, recycled, and mama-made? It doesn't get any better in my world.
I hand stitched the moth holes and turned them into long johns in under fifteen minutes using another pair as a pattern. And with the entire blue sweater and the remains of the green I'll have more than enough for a matching shirt.
When she put them on she made a gasp similar to her newborn gasp in the cold air, but with her eyes dreamily closed and a smile on her face. "Soft, soft, soft! Warm, warm, warm! Love-y."
I think I'm onto something. Now, can we go outside?
I'll post the top in the next few days!
43 thoughts on “Homemade Cashmere Long Johns. Really.”
I love your blog! and your baby wipe juice! One question and you may have addressed it before but I haven’t had the chance to go all the way back… did you grow up crafting, sewing, and knitting or is it something you taught yourself? You are quite the inspiration!
Is this leading up to the giveaway I’d like to do? That would be exciting. They are cute.
Those are fabulous, did you use the sleeves as the legs? And also what stitch did you do for your seems? i recently made an old sweater in to gloves for my boy and I didn’t select a good stitch.
Oh those are so awesome!! Great job 🙂
I was a crafty kid, spending my time making. One of my grandmothers was extremely crafty (this one), http://lusaorganics.typepad.com/clean/2010/02/loving-hands.html and she taught me how to knit when I was a kid but I didnt pick it up again until I was 25. Then there was a crafty lull when Sage was young. My plate was full, I was overwhelmed, and crafting didnt seem to fit. When Lupine was born it all fell back into place again and Ive been crazy crafty ever since.
I did. I was going to use the body but found that the XL sweater had plenty of lenghth for a size 5T pant. I have a vintage sewing machine that has a setting called stretch straight stitch and I used that. I simply adjust the stitch length to a 1 and stitch width to 1.5 on my machine (0-4 are the options). They have lovely stretch but didnt pull while sewing.
These are great, I love reading about all the crafty things you make. I’m not the best sewer in the world so I don’t really venture out so much to making pants. I really just need to try sometime.
I would attest that there are no easier clothes to sew than pants. So easy. Two pieces plus a strip of elastic. And to make them out of sweater sleeves mean you are simply notching the crotch part and seaming it together. If you are ever inspired give this tutorial a try: http://handyprojects.blogspot.com/2005/04/how-to-make-easy-kids-pants.html .
All the best,
Ah yes. My Isaac is similar to Lupine. He was born last winter and hates being cold. When we brought him home I would put him in his crib to sleep and he would wake up shivering and crying because he was cold. So I would bring him in bed with me, he would nurse and curl up on me and sleep. This is still our pattern with him being over a year. He loves to be cuddled close and warm – and I can’t say I really mind it. They are only little for so long so I cuddle them while I can. Love the long underware. I can see Isaac in a pair of those one day.
Great idea Rachel! Here’s a tutorial on my website if others are interested in making some, too!
I used lambswool, but cashmere is even better!
Stay warm 🙂
Wool pants are the ultimate cloth diaper cover, too! I made a pair out of a cashmere sweater for my little guy. They are awesomely easy and soooo soft. Totally great. I’m so impressed that you found some great sizes for bigger kids, too!
What an awesome idea! I’m going to dig through my husband’s sweater drawer and try making some of my own. Thanks!
I wish there was a thrifted cashmere sweater out there big enough to make long underwear for me!
so adorable! 🙂 🙂 i wouldn’t mind wearing some myself!
Great, Josie! Thanks!
I told Pete that I was needing some Giant sizes so we can make some for ourselves too. 🙂
Me too, Jenn!
Oh, those are amazing! I think I need a pair, too! :o)
Sigh…must get sewing skills! Love this idea!
Those are great. I am now on the look out at my local thirft store so that I can make a pair for the two year old in my life. She also does not like the cold and is alway “freezing”. Thank you for a wonderful idea.
Hmm, do you think these could be made for big people? I guess it would require a whole bunch of sweaters, right? They look so amazing, I just want to touch the cashmere through my screen! Lupine is just too cute for words.
I LOVE these! Nice work, Rachel. : )
I want some of those too!
My little cold girl would be delighted. I’ll be on the lookout for cashmere! (Then I might need some remedial help.) 🙂
Yeah – seeing bare legs in winter makes me shudder. And pants aren’t an option unless I plan on winning the Get Dressed Tug-of-war. These look so cuddly – well done, you!
What a great idea!
My friend Anna is teaching a class. Jump on it! If you are on Facebook, here is a link the the class. Otherwise go to Tulips in Viroqua and get the details. http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=182577371775734
Cashmere is over the top wonderful, but any soft wool sweater will work. Just be sure to rub it on your neck to make sure it is baby-soft.
Susanne, Yes – but they would have to be from new purchased wool or patchwork-style. So yummy. Im dreaming of my own pair…
Let me know when our wooly pants class should commence.
My middle daughter sounds similar–born Jan 2 and still has fingers that turn white in the cold. She’d love these but at 16 & 5’9″ I suppose they would need to be patchwork. By the way, the writing in your first paragraph is amazing. Good luck with your book.
You can make them for big people! It would require a few sweaters. I do customs. Mine are mostly diaper covers, but I can make any custom! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Off-the-hook/145164528870428
I laughed at your message. Go for patchwork! And thank you so much for the lovely comment about my writing.
You know, cutting up the sleeves of multiple sweaters and sewing them together (like rings) you could make any length you want…and make some FUNKY pants!
Sounds crazy/cute. Do you split the sleeves to adjust for various widths?
yummy! I’d love some for myself. I’ve been doing some felted wool projects lately, though mine are too big to make woolies out of the arms now:(
Lupine is a very tall four year old, but somehow this sweater had the length to work. I went all the way to the neck and pieced the top to have enough to work with.
I really, really love this idea. Long johns can get pretty expensive, depending on the kind you buy, and then kids just turn around and outgrow them. (And my favorite thing to buy at Goodwill are cast-away sweaters!!)
Also, what a wonderful thing to repurpose–it borders on a tragedy to think of cashmere possibly being thrown away by others.
I love the photo, but wish I was tiny enough to fit… maybe something can be made. I must think of a way to make these fit me. Maybe wide stripes from two sweaters?? I have many thrifted cashmere sweaters waiting for their purpose.
Ah! What a bargain and a fabulous use of those tired sweaters. Nice work, mama.
I agree, Nancy. And Im looking to streamline my thrifting to treasues that are immediately useful. These qualify!
All the best,
I would think piecing them into large enough pieces to cut a pants pattern from would work, as long as you had three or so sweaters of a similar weight. The seams are so soft they dont rub so seams all over would probably be fine.