Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wool Longies, Just in Time

I believe that in the winter, one wears layers. When outside, we have thick down coats on, woolens wrapped around all our exposed skin, and warm sturdy boots. Inside, we aim for 3 layers on top and two on the bottom. I keep the thermostat at a frugal 65 degrees day and night. We have friends who keep their houses 80 degrees and their kids play all day in t-shirts and thin pants, which boggles me a bit. It would feel lovely on our skin, but offends my sense of season.

I was recently shopping for woolen long underwear for the kids since the winter is sustaining the cold temperatures and snow that I so love. $70 for a set of long johns - and I'd need at least three sets - quickly set me on to a new path and I decided to sew my own. I bought a bunch of wool and cashmere adult sweaters at the local thrift store and felted them in the washer, folded them and then waited for the trifecta of enough time, energy and inspiration to strike at the same minute. It took about a month.

You can find other folk's tutorials here and here. I just winged it after perusing those posts. My kids are big enough that pants to fit them used both entire sleeves and most of the chest of the sweaters; this gives the pants a slightly "built-in panty" look, like I did a far sight more sewing than I actually did. Pequita's pants were made from a matronly vintage pink boiled wool cardi, Monito's from a women's merino sweater that hadn't been in fashion since I was 11 years old, dancing with a sweaty Kelsey Mason to a young new band called The Police. The sleeves were so long that when he wears his pants, they fold up almost his entire lower leg; these are like having on leg warmers over pants.
Both kids loved them. Cozy, stretchy, and made just for them. (I am really lucky that they get a thrill out of that, enjoying the process of making as I do.)

In the above photo, I asked them to smile at the camera so I could take their picture. Pequita opted to have me record her for all eternity earnestly singing her favorite song, Ariel's aria from the Little Mermaid. Monito? He's my little ham.

We ran errands all morning, ending up at Jillian's Drawers, an amazing cloth diapering/natural toys web business that has a home base in my town. They sell the special pacifier that Monito requires, and the kids love their selection of toys. Pequita was playing with the wooden toy kitchen while I chatted with the lovely owner and then I saw it, the expression of surprise and panic on her face that could mean only one thing: accident. Her play lately has been increasingly focused; she gets very deeply engrossed in her imaginings. It has caused a few accidents as she misses her body's cues that were before huge red flags for her. So there we were, on the store's carpet (of course) with no extra pants or socks, soaked from the waist down. The owner couldn't have been kinder, and whipped out some absorbent cloths for me to remedy the situation. I squeeze-dried the wool pants for a minute and they were fine, dry enough to comfortably wear out into the cold. I LOVE these new pants! I'm delightfully motivated to transform the rest of the stack of sweaters into pants. That might mean a continued diminished blogging level, but I'll do my best to balance all my creative endeavors.

1 comment:

Alison Williams said...

These are sooo wonderful! I am very impressed and inspired. I need a sewing group. Knitting is fine solo, but I just don't use that sewing machine without some structure. I so wish I was not the craftiest of my friends, as I am really not all that crafty.
Wanna visit?