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Turn an old jumper into baby trousers

Baby wearing a pair of handmade baby trousers, easy sewing projects from

If, like me, you dream of making adorable baby and toddler clothes, but have only fair to middling sewing skills, and minimal patience and budget, read on.

Those old jumpers you're planning to give to the charity shop can find remarkable new lives for themselves as snuggly toddler trousers and playsuits.

Self-taught designer and East London mum of two Kimberley Golding - aka Mini Magpie - has hit on a super-easy way to upcycle jumpers into clothes. She makes and sells baby outfits herself at pop-up shops and on Etsy - and she also leads workshops so anyone can learn how to make the trousers and playsuits at home.

Going along to a workshop myself, I found it was so easy. I had a pair of trousers for my son and a playsuit for a friend's newborn baby in 45 minutes, with no paper pattern, tape measure, or fitting necessary. All you need is a threaded sewing machine (or you could sew by hand), pins, scissors and the ability to sew fabrics together.

My husband cannot believe how cute our son looks in his once baggy old jumper, now a fashionable pair of trousers.

Here is Kimberley's guide to how to make a pair of baby or toddler trousers. Once you've mastered these (I promise they're ever so easy) move on to a full body playsuit - the instructions for which are on the Mini Magpie website. And once you're confident, you can change your patterns to include contrasting waistbands, zips, or narrower or wider legs.

To make

Find a jumper - any will do, but ideally it needs to be fairly closely woven or felted material like wool.

Cut off the sleeves at right angles to the underside of the sleeve (image1). The higher up the sleeve you cut, the longer your trousers will be.

Lay the sleeves one on top of the other facing the same way. Cut out a half 'U' shape from the top end of both the sleeves (image 2).

Put the sleeves one inside of the other (image 3). The inside sleeve should be right side out and the outside sleeve should be inside out.

Sew the two pieces together along the crotch to make a 'U' shape.

Turn the legs right way round.

From the remaining body of the jumper, cut a rectangle piece widthways across one side of the jumper.
The width of this piece should be twice the waist width of your trousers. The depth should be about 20-30cm.

Halve this piece and sew down one side in a straight line. It will now resemble a tube. Then fold the piece in half with the right side on the outside, now resembling a doubled-over tube.

Lay the doubled-over tube on the table with the raw edges at the top. Lay the trousers below it. Feed the trousers up into the tube until you have the three layers of material in a ring with the tube on the outer side (image 4). Sew around these three layers.

Turn the tube piece up and it's a cosy waistband for your trousers.

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