Extending the life of your children knitwear

When your child grows out of his/her favorite sweater, do you make a new one? Or do you try to extend its life for a little longer?

My daughters are lanky and slim, so when they have a growth spurt, it is usually for height and length of limbs. It is quite regularly that I notice that a sweater while fits ok in the body, has way too short sleeves.

So when “fix Sunday” comes, I gather all such garments (and all other fixable knits) and get to work. You could ask “why would you fix it when you could make a new one?” In our family, there are two main reasons: attachment to that particular garment and sustainability.

As children usually do my daughters get quite attached to some garments (and they almost do not wear some other my knits). If I know that that cardigan is a particular favorite of Hanna or Sophie, I will try to extend its’ lifetime.

Secondly, we are teaching our children not to throw away imperfect things but to try to fix them first. It is easy to extend sleeves or body length of older sweaters and cardigans if they are worked top-down. For cardigans extending the body length sometimes depends very much on closure - was it added as an afterthought or worked with the cardigan.

As an example, I unraveled the bind-off and the whole cuff from this cardigan (too worn out already in 2 years), added about 4 cm (1.5in) in stockinette and reknit the cuff back. After that - some good soaking, gentle washing and it will be as good as new!

longer_life_1 Knitting new cuffs for this cardigan

Fixing garments worked from bottom up

What if the cardigan or sweater you would like to extend in length is worked bottom-up?

As you probably know, you cannot unravel the knitting from the cast-on edge. In this case, you will need scissors and a leap of faith ;)

You can cut off just the cast-on row or if in your case cuffs are too worn out, cut them off too. I try to cut on row less than I would unravel and then unravel the last row (just in case!). Pick up your stitches and you are good to go.

As you can see, I just did so for Hanna’s “All the smallest brooks” cardigan. For now, I just cut the sleeves, but I intend to do the same with the hem. This cardigan makes it easy to do as the button bands are worked at the same time as the body.


Do you fix your children clothes or extend their life?

Happy knitting,