After I have dried my wool sweaters, I store them in plastic bins until I’m ready to use them. I add organic lavender buds (in baggies/sachets) to discourage moths. If I’m feeling extra motivated, I will sort them according to thickness and or color family. This is also a good way to get my kids involved!
When I am ready to make some covers, I find the right color and thickness sweater. For soakers and longies, I use more substantial wools: lambswool and thicker merino. For woolie wraps, the outer layer is recycled and the inner layer is new wool, so I’m able to use a thinner or medium thickness wool on the outside.
I prep by turning my iron on. I have this iron from Reliable and I love the steam (I used to use a Rowenta and it was a POC). I set it to the highest heat setting and the highest steam setting.
I determine what part of the sweater I will be using: the front or back for a soaker, the front and sleeves for longies/footies, or the back + a tiny bit of the sleeves for a woolie wrap. Use your pattern pieces as a guide as you choose your pieces.
I check for holes before cutting. I do this by holding the sweater up to a light and looking from the inside of the sweater to the outside. Holes are fine, you will need to patch them though! Then I cut the piece I want, leaving plenty of space for accurate cutting of the pattern piece after pressing.
I press my sweaters on my tabletop, not an ironing board. I use a piece of cotton fabric on the top of the table as my press cloth. As I press, I use the full steam, and work from the middle to the outside edges.
After I’ve pressed, I place the pattern piece(s) onto the fabric, weigh it down, and mark the edges. For marking, I use a variety of different tools, depending on the color of the wool. I use a black sharpie, a marking pen, or chalk. I love Wawak for these tools.
For cutting, I use high quality scissors. You will need to have your scissors sharpened at a local shop quite frequently if you do a lot of wool cutting. Alternatively, you can use a rotary cutting mat and a handheld rotary cutter like these: (bonus: you can purchase a blade sharpener tool and get more use out of each blade)
If a piece of wool has holes or weak spots (places that are not holes but look like the yarn is weak and may bust a hole with a bit of wear), I cut heart shaped patches and applique them onto the spots. I will write another post on tricks and tips of wool applique!
If I am cutting more than one cover, I group each cover in a little bundle. I stitch them assembly line style: first I serge around the edges of all of the inserts, then I sew the leg cuffs and waist bands of all of the covers, then I sew the inserts into the body of each cover, then the side seams of each cover, then I attach the legs and waist of each cover. I finish by zig zag stitching the serge tails of each seam, and sewing in a tag and a size tag.
Check out my selection of wool diaper covers here!