Wooly Leggings and Tunics


[Credit for all the beautiful photos in this post: Grace Claus, mama of the girls]

Before winter is gone (and how I will rejoice to wave goodbye to this very long, very cold winter!) I wanted to show you how I used felted wool sweaters in Christmas gifts for our granddaughters.

My daughter was looking for some Merino wool bottoms and tops for the girls, things they could wear to play indoors or layer to be outdoors. There are lovely ready-mades for this purpose, like this and this…but my DIY nature made it hard to avoid experimenting with what I had on hand.

I first searched online for simple leggings patterns and chose Sew Can She’s pattern for the 3-year-old and Life Sew Savory’s pattern (because it had smaller sizes) for the 10-month-old. Thank you, Caroline and Emily, for such great (and free) patterns and instructions!

Next I looked for little-girl shirt patterns I already owned. In a bundle of patterns I had bought from Sew Like My Mom a year ago I discovered the Posey Tunic. This pattern includes several sleeve and hemline variations. Nice versatility! I chose long sleeves and adapted it for each granddaughter.

Unfortunately, in my haste to finish sewing and then package up the gifts before Christmas, I neglected to take photos. Recently my daughter helped me out by taking several for me. Although I love the look of an item freshly sewn and pressed, these pictures tell a better story: These clothes look like they have been happily well-used this winter!

For every one of these garments, I needed to mess around with the layout because of the repurposed aspect of this project. Pieces of felted wool sweaters turn out to be all sorts of unconventional shapes and sizes! But I measured and squeezed and pieced together in order to get everything I needed. Using sweater sleeves with their finished edges works especially well for the legs of the leggings.

Here are the leggings, with small appliqués added to the front of each pair to easily differentiate front from back—especially for a 3-year-old dressing herself.

And here are the tunics. For the 3-year-old who loves purple and pink, the closest I could find in my stash turned out to be a maroon beaded sweater with crocheted edging. A little grown up, but I picked it anyway. I love the edging. And for the little one, I found a very sweet gray and barely-pink striped cashmere. There wasn’t much of it, so I complemented it with plain gray cashmere for the sleeves and neckline.

I’m pretty certain I’ll do more of these or something similar in the future. They were relatively quick to sew and they satisfied my itch to give some handmade gifts. They also gratified my fondness for figuring out a puzzle and fitting the pieces together just right. I highly recommend all the patterns I used!

Have you tried projects out of felted wool sweaters? Big or small, it’d be interesting to hear what you’ve experimented with. Comment in the comment section below ↓↓ and proudly share your project ideas. I’d love to hear what you’ve come up with.

8 thoughts on “Wooly Leggings and Tunics

  1. oh those leggings are SO gorgeous! I love the applique on the back!! I’m going to share this in my group today!!

  2. Joan, these are wonderful! Lucky granddaughters, these were, as we say, woozy all winter long.
    Your post is so timely because an adult friend of mine wants me to knit some leggings for him to wear from the knee down over his cross country boots.
    Not being a knitter, he has no idea how long it would take me to need a pair of leggings for 6’ 4” man 😂😂😂
    I am going to go back to my collection of felted but not cut sweaters and see if I can make a pair for him from some of those!

    • Marina, you can do it! I made a pair of Merino wool running pants several years ago for my daughter (the mom of these granddaughters) out of a man’s sweater. I blogged about it here: https://greensheepstudio.com/2011/04/19/tuesday-treat-2/. There’s even a link to some wonderful instructions I used. The Merino wool sweaters are best for this, I think—a good weight and they stay stretchy. (And I highly recommend cold water wash, no dryer for the finished product.) Have fun playing with it!

      • As the owner of said leggings, I concur! They’re great. And the girls love their wool, too. M is wearing her red pants and beaded sweater (which she calls “my cozy red sweater”) today!

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