Recycled Clothing Projects: Baby Split Pants and Felted Wool Slippers

I’m beginning to think that old wool sweaters are one of our nation’s great untapped resources. Easily available from thrift stores and garage sales for a couple of bucks at the most, or from the back of your closet for free, wool sweaters can be felted and recycled into warm, soft, water resistant clothing with a minimum of fuss.

If you’re one of those people who forgets to take out sweaters before drying your clothes, you may already have some great felted wool just waiting for a little time and imagination, and you could be wearing some new slippers tonight!

Felted Wool Slippers

This year, for Winter Solstice, my wife made the slippers above for me and our oldest daughter, using a pattern from <wait for it> Martha Stewart. Now those are two words I wouldn’t have ever thought I’d type at Natural Papa, but there ya go.

While I highly doubt Martha would be caught dead in felted wool slippers from recycled thrift store sweaters, the slippers my wife made are supremely excellent. They have two layers on the bottom, so they’re both warm and soft on the feet, keeping my feet toasty on our wood and tile floors.

Baby Split Pants from Felted Wool Sweater

felted wool baby split pantsWe use elimination communication (infant potty training) with our kids, and our youngest is almost 9 months old, crawling all over the place, usually without pants, so we can easily put him over a container or the toilet when he has to go. The issue with that is his little buns and legs get cold, and it doesn’t work well when we’re away from the house.

The solution (as many mothers around the world already know) is split pants, or split crotch pants. They easily open between the legs to take care of either number one or number two, and keep the legs covered and warm. Split pants are how people who don’t have diapers dress their kids, enabling potty training with ease.

felted wool split pants for babyA friend of ours made these baby split pants for our little guy from the arms of a felted wool sweater, and they work great! There are a bunch of designs for split pants, and these are probably the simplest, although his parts are always exposed.

This baby split pant pattern accounts for that, and the sides cross over to cover the crotch most of the time. What we do when going out is to put a cloth diaper wrap over these pants if it’s cold. Then it’s easy to pull the diaper off and let them do their business without removing the pants.

Number One and Number Two

Speaking of doing their business, what do you call it in your house?

Us: peezle and poozle (when we’re feeling humorous about it, that is, otherwise it’s pee and poop). I don’t even remember why we said that in the first place, but it’s just a funny thing that we’ve kept doing.

My heart is in the right place.

The strategically placed hearts on the photos come courtesy of Picnik, a very easy to use web image editor. I really like using it with the fantastic Picnik Firefox plugin. This add-on lets you right-click any image on the web and send it to Picnik to be edited (resizing and cropping are a breeze) and then saved to your computer or online profile (Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa, or Twitter). As a blogger, I find it to be a big time saver when looking for images to use in posts as I cruise the Flickr Creative Commons gallery.

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

7 thoughts on “Recycled Clothing Projects: Baby Split Pants and Felted Wool Slippers

  • February 5, 2010 at 10:27 pm
    Permalink

    Love the slippers, and have to admit I was/am a Martha Stewart junkie, especially when I was a stay-at-home-mom for the last 15 years…

    and the pants also very cool, I did not try the elimination communication method… missed out on that one ­čÖé

    Reply
    • February 5, 2010 at 10:37 pm
      Permalink

      Erin – I couldn’t pass up a chance for a jab at Martha Stewart (a light-hearted jab) – she’s become an icon, but not someone I normally consider for this site. (Sorry, Martha)

      Reply
  • February 6, 2010 at 11:46 am
    Permalink

    In all my nursery-school-teaching years, I found that pee and poop were excellent default words. We’d get kids now and then who would say “tinkle” or “number 2,” but I still return to the pee and poop standby, even for myself as an adult.
    .-= Mary Mactavish┬┤s last blog ..Sakurajima blowing ash =-.

    Reply
  • February 10, 2010 at 11:07 am
    Permalink

    Love old sweaters, I will definitely check out this slipper pattern. I have a bag full of scraps of torn clothes, shrunken or holey sweaters. By the way, thanks for the tip on the Picnik plug in, I use picnik all the time.
    .-= Christine┬┤s last blog ..A Bitter Fruit: A child’s plea to the city =-.

    Reply
  • February 10, 2010 at 10:41 pm
    Permalink

    I love the split pants! They would be a great addition to my child’s wardrobe! She can go on the potty by herself but cannot pull her pants down yet. These pants would do the trick!

    Reply
  • February 19, 2010 at 3:58 pm
    Permalink

    I just blogged about those same slippers recently (& i’m wearing a pair right now!). I added the cuffs from the sweater sleeves to mine, and that helps them stay on better, especially on little feet.

    I wish I would have know about EC when my son was younger. I would have definitely tried it. We early potty trained, but I wish I would have known we could have started sooner! Two friends of mine EC’d, but didn’t know there was a name for it when they did. Those pants are great! When we were potty training my son we did loose underwear & baby legs, but those pants would have come in handy!
    .-= Resweater┬┤s last blog ..Banbutsu =-.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *