DIY Longies and covers – How to draft your soaker pattern

Wool soaker on baby

Draft a pattern for this wool soaker

Hi, and welcome back to my series on making your own custom longies, shorties and covers in wool and fleece for your baby. If you missed the first post, check it out here.

Warning: this post turned out longer and not as clear as I’d have liked, so sorry and please feel free to ask as many questions as you would like.

This post is a how-to on drafting a pattern for the soaker in the picture above.

There are two very popular free patterns on the net:  The Katrinas Quick Sew Soaker Pattern, and the Baby Bumsweaters Pattern. These are both awesome patterns offered for free, which is a great resource. Each of the patterns has things I really like about it and things I don’t like so much. I will admit that this pattern is a bit of a combination of the two – the best of both worlds I hope.

You can see some gorgeous examples of the Katrina’s pattern here at Scrimplythrifty’s Blog, here at Cleanin’ Up, and here at Sew 4 Bub (this is a fleece one). After much research on the net and trying the pattern myself I have gathered the following feedback on the Katrina’s soaker pattern: These tend to be short-ish in the rise, so if your kiddo is longer in the rise it is best to cut the rise setting for the next size up. This is also said to be a better pattern for wool than fleece because fleece does not have as much stretch and there may not be enough space in the behind of this pattern for all that nappy if it is made in fleece. And lastly, a lot of people seem to cut different pieces of different sizes to get the perfect fit for their little one, for instance, the small size with the medium rise, or the large but with the medium leg and waist measurements etc.

Some lovely examples of the Baby Bum Sweaters pattern can be found here at Life in a Shoe, here at Of Babies, Bikes and Owls, and here in GentlyMades shop on Etsy. I have made this pattern in both wool and fleece, with short legs and with long and every time it has been a fantastic fit and has offered great coverage for the nappy. The major drawback of this pattern is the look, not the shape so much but the placement of the seams makes this cover look a bit cobbled together and a little amateurish. It is also difficult to add a double thickness portion to the wet zone without adding more crazy seams. lastly, because this is made from a triangle, you cannot adjust the waist and rise measurement independently of each other (very easily).

So without further ado I will show you how to draft this pattern which hopefully combines the fantastic modern look of the Katrina’s pattern with the fit of the bumsweater.

Firstly you will need to be armed with:

1. A piece of paper A3 or larger

2. A pen and a ruler/measuring tape

3. Your babies measurements (from the last post here)

Shorties Pattern

The basic shape, I thought I would put the pic in first so that you knew what I was talking about.

First draw a T-shape. The width of the top of the T is equal to half of your baby’s waist measurement. The length of the bottom part of the T is equal to the whole rise measurement.

Next draw a line across the bottom of the T equal to the one at the top and a line across the middle that is equal to half of your baby’s hip measurement.

Then join up the sides as shown.

Shorties Soaker Pattern 2

The yellow part will become the front of your soaker.

The yellow shaded part of the picture above will become the front of your soaker and the white part the back.

The next thing is to draw a diagonal line on each side (as shown at 5) that will become the leg holes. Each line should be half your baby’s leg measurement less 1/2cm (to accommodate seam allowance) The dotted lines in the picture above are just guidelines to show the angle that you are after.

Shorties Pattern 3

A double portion in the wet zone

If you need a double portion in the wet zone, rule two lines parallel to the centre line, each 1cm in from the end of the leg hole.

You will also need to draw 3 rectangles for the waist and leg cuffs. The waist rectangle should be a couple of cm shorter than your baby’s waist measurement and between 6 and 10cm wide depending on how wide you want your waist band. Your leg cuff rectangles should be your baby’s leg measurement long and between 6 and 10 cm wide, again depending on how wide you want your cuffs.

and then you have your pattern.  All sewn up it will look like this:

Hatchlings Wool Soaker free pattern

Hatchlings Free wool soaker pattern all sewn up.

Wool Shorties soaker

Another action shot

Stay tuned for the next post on how to sew it all together.

DIY Longies and covers – How to measure Bubs

Up-cycled wool longies and cover

Up-cycled wool longies and cover

Hi, and welcome to my first post in a series on making your own custom longies, shorties and covers in wool and fleece for your baby. Check out the second post.

These types of covers are really easy, and are a great beginner sewing project, but it can be pretty frustrating to sew up a gorgeous cover to find that it is not quite long enough in the rise, or the legs won’t go around those chubby little thighs. So, although it is a bit mean, I am not going to post on how to make them today, but how to measure bubs correctly so that when you do come to make your covers all your effort is not wasted.

First thing to do is put on the nappy that your cover needs to go over. If  you use cloth nappies you will be well aware that nappies can be vastly different in size and bulk, so make sure you are measuring bubs in the nappy that you want the cover to fit over.

Then it is just a matter of taking a few measurements that you can then transfer onto your pattern to make it a great custom fit.

Where to measure baby for your custom wool or fleece covers

Where to measure for your custom wool or fleece covers

Ok, so let me apologise for the bad drawing, clearly completed in my office with items from my stationary cupboard, but I am sure you get the drift.

1. Measure around your baby’s waist at the top of the nappy for the waist measurement

2. Measure around the widest part of the hips/bum

3. Measure the distence around the chubbiest bit of thigh

4. Measure the rise from the centre front of the nappy waistband, down between the legs and up the back to the centre back of the nappy waistband (I also take note of the distence from the centre front of the waistband to the centre crotch so that I can adjust for a longer rise at the back later)

Ok, so that’s it, you have all the measurements you need for making custom longies, shorties and nappy covers for bubs. I will be back shortly with how to draft a custom pattern.


Liz xx