Wool Trousers

I originally planned on making this pattern as a pair of jeans but after I made a muslin and went to go cut these pants out of my denim I discovered that I just barely didn’t have enough of the right weight of denim, despite having 3 different suitable denims in my stash. So I decided to make them out of a stashed wool instead. And then when I started cutting the wool I discovered that I had inadvertently traced one stovepipe leg and one extra wide leg for my final modified pattern and that’s why they weren’t fitting on my denim. Oops. But I’m really glad that my silly mistake led to these wool trousers! The pattern is vintage McCalls 5559 from 1977. I was drawn to the unique pockets – an opening between waistband and leg is the top of the interior patch pocket. I was thinking that …


Stag Head Pullover

I have accomplished what I didn’t think could be accomplished! I picked out a seasonally appropriate pattern, started knitting it, and finished it all in that same season!! And how ridiculous is it that I now kinda wish that we hadn’t upgrade our furnace to a heat pump this winter because our house is actually a comfortable temperature and I don’t need to bundle up in sweaters every day so I can’t just wear this sweater all day every day all winter long. Not that I’m complaining that our house isn’t freezing in the winter any more or anything, I just want more excuses to wear this gorgeous sweater. The pattern is Stag Head Pullover by Norah Gaughan. The pattern was written well, the charts easy to follow. And of course it’s a totally awesome design, unlike anything I’ve seen elsewhere. Norah Gaughan is a master of cables! And I …


Wool, Silk, and Leather Luxe Fumeterre

I started this skirt at the beginning of the year. I meant it as a replacement of an old high-waisted wool maxi skirt that I loved in theory, but I had made it so long ago that the shoddy construction I used back then drove me crazy now. I used Deer & Doe’s Fumeterre skirt pattern for a replacement wool skirt. I certainly could have drafted my own 8-gore maxi skirt, but I just couldn’t get over those delicious front pockets. Again, I could have figured them out on my own, but Eleonore had already done the work to get the proportions perfect and I like to support indie designers so I went ahead and bought the pattern. This is a very deluxe skirt that also happens to be quite frugal. I used a gorgeous wool crepe that I picked up at the thrift store for $2/yard, a silk crepe de …


Purple Wool Jersey Vintage Simplicity 6934

This luscious fabric, given to me by Minerva Crafts, is a wool blend jersey. I originally had visions of making the world’s comfiest harem pants (Don’t laugh! Every other tourist was wearing them on our trip in SE Asia and they got into my psyche. Okay, go ahead and laugh.) to wear around the house, but the fabric was just too nice to never be worn in public. Then I had visions of a wrap dress, but I hemmed and hawed about buying a pattern or drafting one and I’ve always felt that wrap dresses were hit or miss on me. So finally I ended up on a vintage Simplicity pattern from my stash – Simplicity 6934 from 1975. The pattern is written for wovens, but I knew that it would look lovely in a knit. The only thing that gets lost in the knit is the slight gathers above …


The Last Wool Mill in New Zealand

In a nondescript town (called Milton) on a quiet highway, we found the last wool mill in the south island of New Zealand. The brick buildings line the road and, were it not for the modern cars, I could almost imagine I was in Dickensian London. The Bruce Woolen Mill was built in 1897 and at its peak, employed over 500 workers, although there aren’t nearly so many employees now. In fact, a fair portion of mill space is actually rented to a fiberglass company for storage. They no longer offer tours, but if you show up first thing in the morning and happen to tell a certain friendly employee that you actually spent 2 nights in the town of Milton (because you arrived on a Sunday and they were closed for a public holiday on the Monday) and you came all the way from the United States and you are …


Hand Embroidered Rigel Bomber Jacket

I dreamt of a peacock. Floating feathers, cascading flowers. Striking stitching on a simple jacket making it unique and wonderful and one-of-a-kind. (I already detailed the process of the embroidery, if you’re interested.) I love that the Rigel Bomber jacket is fairly simple, making it wearable with so many outfits, day after day. But my stitching makes it completely unique at the same time. I’m a jacket junkie and this is pure manna for my addiction. The outer wool is from a vintage pashmina. I bought the pashmina along with a stash of vintage fabric from a flea market in Guerneville, CA (mostly 70’s fabrics, including the fabric I used for the bodice of my Thanksgiving dress). I pulled it from my stash for this project because I knew it would be a dream to embroider on because of the relatively loose weave. I bought the ribbing and perfectly matching zipper from Britex and the …


The Wedding Jacket Chronicle Part 1: Pattern and Fabric

Stop what you’re doing and look at this fabric. Off-white wool brocade with delicate gold flowers. Yes, I said wool brocade. Go ahead, stare. But you might want to catch that drool before it hits your lap. Really, you’re not drooling yet? Okay, I’ll chalk it up to the fact that a picture hardly does this beauty justice. Just wait until I get sewing on this project. There. Will. Be. Drool. Since I decided not to sew my own wedding dress (or shall I say the universe and my girlfriends decided for me), I’ve been obsessing about things I could possible sew (and make and do) for my wedding. Concurrently, a part of my brain has been obsessing about finally hand tailoring a jacket for myself. And the two ideas seem to have collided. Because I’ve decided to hand tailor an off-white wool brocade jacket to wear over my wedding dress for …


Mad Men Joan Dress

I’ve made my Mad Men Challenge Dress. Phew. I used Gertie’s Wiggle Dress as the pattern with only minor fit changes (changed the hip shape and added 1/2 inch to the front at the shoulder). The pattern uses dolman sleeves with an armpit gusset for fit. I didn’t get the shoulders fit perfectly as mine are much stronger than the pattern intends, but I’ve got some ideas about how to make the fit perfect next time.


Autumnal Wool Floral Pencil Skirt

I am so very excited about this skirt! I found the fabric at SewExpo last year. I don’t remember the vendor and I don’t remember the exact fiber content other than mostly wool. I’ve known since June that I wanted to make a pencil skirt out of it and have finally done so. I love the print on this fabric, especially the fact that, while it is certainly mostly brown tone, there is a significant amount of black so I can wear it with both brown and black.


Grey Wool Thurlow Shorts

I’ve managed to squeeze in a bit of time to sew for myself this month, even though most of my free time has been full of making Christmas gifts. I made another pair of thurlow shorts to wear for winter. This time I used some grey wool that I pulled from my stash that my mom bought forever ago (25 years?). I used the rest of it last year to recover the seats of our dining room chairs.


Wool Leaf Potholders Tutorial and Template

Want another gift to nicely complement the tree ring coasters from yesterday’s tutorial? How about some potholders in the shape of leaves made out of green felt? Again, you can make them in muted tones for a subtle and earthy aesthetic or go to town with bright colors and play up the kitsch! You Need: Wool Leaf Potholder Template Green (lots) and brown (a little) wool felt* Green thread Sewing machine *You can buy wool felt at the fabric store (make sure that it is wool felt, not craft felt as craft felt is synthetic and will melt when hot). I recommend buying 100% wool clothes at the thrift store to use for your felt. Cut the garment into pieces by cutting off all the seams and then wash and dry the wool on hot. I used a pair of brown trousers and a green jacket. In Short: Cut the Template …

Wool Tree Ring Coasters Tutorial

This is a tutorial for sewing coasters and a trivet out of wool felt to look like tree rings. Make them from a neutral color palette to fit in just about any decoration scheme, or go bright and play up the kitsch!