Instructables

Baby, It's Cold Outside! - A sweater turned legwarmer story

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Picture of Baby, It's Cold Outside! -  A sweater turned legwarmer story
"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home." 
-  Edith Sitwell 


It's also the time for a warm woolen sweater! 

I once had such a sweater. A lovely cashmere and angora blend that I'd picked up at a thrift store for next to nothing.  It felt luxurious and soft... Sigh!
Perhaps, "had" is not the right word.  I still have it. Although, now, it isn't quite what one thinks of when hearing the word sweater. 
You see, my husband was trying to help me with the laundry one day and...  well, you can probably guess the rest.
Wool sweater + hot dryer = one really shrunken  sweater.

Now, I've been told that if you purposely toss a wet woolen sweater into a hot dryer, and wait for it to become child sized, it's call "felting". 
(However, if you accidentally do the same thing, it's called a lot of other things... most of which I couldn't possibly put into print here!)
"Felting" shrinks the wool in a way that makes it so tightly woven together that it will no longer unravel when cut. 

After learning about felting , and being the "one-part-thrifty-packrat" and "one-part-recycler" that I am, I just couldn't bear to throw the sweater away.
There had to be something I could make from it. 
And, last week, after listening to my husband complain about his cold ankles, and being pretty chilly myself, I figured out what that "something" was. 
Legwarmers!

Here's how I did it.
 
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Step 1: Remove sleeves

Picture of Remove sleeves
First, I carefully cut the stitching between the sleeves and the body of the sweater in order to remove the sleeves.
Then, I stay stitched 1/2" away from the top of the sleeve all the way around.  (Stay stitching keeps the fabric from stretching as you work on it) 
I ended up with two pieces that looked like this.
ffcabral9 months ago

It's very pretty! Looks like something a dancer could use in class (suggestion :D)

VintageGams (author)  ffcabral9 months ago
Thank you! That was very kind of you to say so. Yes, I agree that they do look like they could be used in dance class. ( I do not dance well...)
Question: if the lining s stitched to the wool...how will the leg warmer stretch over foot heel ? I love these, but stitching limits stretchability...unless I missed something here.
VintageGams (author)  urbanwoodswalker9 months ago
The lining is made of a stretch cotton T-shirt material and is whip stitched to the leg warmer. It may not work so well with a stiffer non-stretch fabric for lining, but with the stretch cotton, it works just fine.
Horef9 months ago
you should make some with a beard and a mustache on them, i's pay for that :D
Horef Horef9 months ago
OMG OMG knee-beard-stache!
i just realized how awesome that would be!!
VintageGams (author)  Horef9 months ago
What a great idea! I love Steampunk and just may have to make a pair like you suggested! :)
Horef VintageGams9 months ago
just don't forget, if you start mass production, i get to buy the first pair! :D
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VintageGams (author)  Horef9 months ago
You got it! :)
rocketsurgery9 months ago
Hey fantastic job! Thanks for sharing, looking forward to your next 'ible :)
VintageGams (author)  rocketsurgery9 months ago
Thank you!
nanaverm9 months ago
Beautiful with the embroidery & ribbon! The lining is a great idea, too. If one doesn't have a blunt needle for feeding the ribbon or elastic through, a safety pin works well.
VintageGams (author)  nanaverm9 months ago
Yes, that is a good tip. Thanks for putting it in your comment. It may help someone else since I didn't mention it in the Instructable. Thank you for your kind comment!
filtercages9 months ago
Nothing for the husband's cold ankles then?
Well since he's a man, he isn't cold. Actually it's room temperature in that house, but she's a girl so....
;)
VintageGams (author)  HowardC9 months ago
I think you summed it up pretty well! Thanks for the input! :)
VintageGams (author)  filtercages9 months ago
Actually, he opted for some nice wool socks. I think I got the better part of the deal. :)
luckystar379 months ago
A sweater from my best friend shrunk years ago & I haven't been able to part with it, sure I could make something out of it... but never did. Thanks for posting this: I now have new favorite legwarmers from an old favorite sweater. The stay stitching was a great tip - didn't realize my shrunken sweater would stretch. Thanks for sharing your tutorial :)
VintageGams (author)  luckystar379 months ago
I'm glad that I could provide some inspiration for your shrunken sweater. Yes, the sweater probably wouldn't stretch anyway that you would want it to, BUT I find that they will always stretch around the edges if I don't want them too! LOL! Thank you for your kind comment!
HollyMann9 months ago
Cute!!
VintageGams (author)  HollyMann9 months ago
Thank you!
Kiteman9 months ago
These turned out a lot better than I expected - I had images of Fame before I clicked on the link.
VintageGams (author)  Kiteman9 months ago
Thank you for taking the time to check out the link! :)
l8nite9 months ago
cute idea
VintageGams (author)  l8nite9 months ago
Thank you! :)