Monday, October 17, 2011

Sewing with Wool

With Indian Summer gone for another year, it seems Fall has taken it's rightful place.  This recent cold snap has prompted flannel sheets on the bed and frantic searching for the kids' hats and mittens.  Pressed and put away are all my cotton summer dresses and out from the back of the closet comes the wool...slacks, skirts and jackets.

Oh, but I revel in this!  I have a separate sewing trunk bursting with only wool fabric.  Yardage in rich,, teal, hunter green.  Layers of, two-color plaids, crazy burnt orange and blue combinations.  I've salvaged wool from old Pendleton work shirts and Woolrich jackets.  Pieces in 3-4 yard lengths just cry to be a skirt and matching jacket!

So a few weeks back, while it was still Indian Summer, I made a skirt and top to wear to the last car show of the season.

Hollywood 1898 is my old tried and true skirt pattern, from which I've made five skirts to date, both in cotton and wool.  I had to seam it down the front, and I was happy that my plaids matched up nicely.  This skirt is so easy to wear.  The wide waistband acts as a built-in cincher and helps to trim the waistline.  And with a 10 1/2 foot sweep, it fits nicely over a crinoline.

I used Hollywood 1585 to make the matching tie-front top.  Cut one back piece with neck and waist darts, two front pieces, sew at the shoulders and side seams, and hem the edges.  Couldn't be easier!  I have a few of these in my dresser, too.  :)

The other wool piece that gets quite a bit of wear each season is my plaid jacket that I made last year.  I used the beach cover-up on the right but tailored it in a bit.

I trimmed in the side seams and took out the gathering at the front, top shoulder. 

I completely re-worked the back by adding an inverted pleat and faux belt at the waistline. 

While this jacket was fun to design, it was also slightly maddening because I couldn't make up my mind!  It hung on the dress form for weeks while I pinned and re-pinned and agonized before I could bring myself to take a scissors to it.  Now I've learned that it's best to pick a style, run with it, and grab another piece of wool to do the other style that is lurking in your mind.  Goodness knows I've enough wool to experiment!

So if you haven't yet, it's time to dig out your winter clothes.  Don't think of it as the end of summer (good-bye beautiful, border print sundresses!) but the beginning of warm and cozy wool.  What's better than a wool pencil skirt paired with an angora sweater?  But then I've always been a little biased towards wool.


  1. These are absolutely stunning, such panache and style. I adore what you have done and am such a fan of tweed/wool that I visit charity shops (England)to seek out little treasures. To buy wool in the UK is incredibly expensive so I make do and mend with whatever I can find. Keep up the good work - you look amazing!

  2. are so creative and it.


  3. LOVING the plaid set! I'm desperate to make myself a wool plaid 50s dress for winter. I love wool for warmth.

    xx Charlotte
    Tuppence Ha'penny Vintage

  4. I have browsed through your blog up til this post. You are amazing. Your sewing skills, you love for retro. How does the rest of your family feel about your love affair with retro things? I love it!

  5. sei così di talento, stile cool.


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