After what seems like a lifetime of Not Making Stuff, I got my sew-jo back this weekend. This is the first result, and it’s definitely the snuggliest item of clothing I’ve ever made. Ever!
I’ve already mentioned the inspiration for this is the cape/poncho thing that my niece Lucie has been wearing, which is fundamentally a square bit of blanket with a split up the front and a fur collar. I took a quick look at what shape the collar was, and figured “I could do that”.
The main fabric is a sweater knit from Fabricland (those of a sensitive disposition should be warned that this website is enough to give you a headache!) which I’m using the wrong way round I suspect. I just preferred the texture and colour of the reverse side. The correct side (the smooth side of the knitting) is a much stronger coral pink, and it doesn’t have so many of the white slubby bits. You’ll see in a minute.
I wanted a really luxurious white faux fur for the collar, and I found this one from Ebay seller Swincraft2, who I will definitely return to if I ever need more faux fur. They’ve got some beautiful ones which are very tempting. This is a really soft silky fur and allows me think of polar bears and rabbits in an entirely guilt-free way. I was convinced that I also had in my stash a white silky lining fabric, which I thought would be perfect for the back of the collar, but it was clearly a figment of my imagination, because I couldn’t find it at all, and I settled for lining the collar with a plain white cotton that I *did* have in my stash.
I made the collar pattern up myself, based on what I’d seen of Lucie’s. All together it’s a horseshoe shape, with the two ends tapering. I cut it out in paper first, to check that I’d got the angles right, which allowed me to tinker around with the top of it. It’s in two pieces for the fur, so that both sides have the same pile. It means that the lapels stroke downwards, but the back strokes up. The lining though is just in one piece, for smoothness.
I sewed the two fur pieces together at the top to make the horseshoe shape. I was a bit worried about sewing with the fur fabric, especially with how to make sure the filaments wouldn’t get all caught up in the stitching, but I checked out a couple of online resources, including this video & this instructable, which both gave me a lot more confidence. Thankfully, my lovely new Singer machine coped magnificently with the extra bulk of all that fluff. I then sewed the fur pieces to the lining on the outside edge.
Then came the tricky bit, attaching the collar to the blanket-with-a-split-up-the-front. In practice, because the sweater knit has a lot of stretch to it, it was quite, ahem, easy to ease the curve of the collar into the straight of the split. I think it would be much harder with a woven fabric. I had to check twice that I was sewing the collar onto the correct side! Fur side sewn in by machine, collar closed by hand stitching the lining in and Bob’s your uncle.
After that it was just a case of swathes of hand hemming. I also added a hanging loop, made from a bit of ribbon from one of my Christmas presents, though I don’t really want to use it too much or the fabric will sag out of shape in no time.
I’ve worn it to work two days running, and it’s been lovely to have such a warm snuggly thing to wrap myself up in, because it’s quite nippy in my office.
And a few more…
This project has really kicked off my creativity. I’m determined that in the 8 days I’ve got before I go away, I will have made a substantial contribution to a Me Made Cairo.