Sewing with wool has been on my bucket list forever. To be specific, a wool cape, a winter coat and a french jacket.
Earlier this year when I launched my blog I thought about all the sewing projects I would like to make. It was a reasonable list… twenty-one items in all.. and number six on the list was a wool cape, which has now been crossed off my list 🙂 Design details at the end of the post if you want to sew up your own version of this!
It’s finally DONE!!!! I am so in love with the final product. I have been working on this for the past three days while my kid naps 🙂
I wanted something unique so I chose a vintage pattern. I wanted a superior fabric and I wanted to work with 100% wool. I picked a camel/taupe brushed wool that was such a pleasure to work with.
On my version I only used two buttons as opposed to four. I also eliminated the waist tie and styled the cape with a leather belt instead. This is a big cape, so to create a good proportion, I used a wide belt.
Here is side view and back view. The fabric drapes beautifully!
Check out my signature accent.. on the back of the collar… It’s all in the details!
The cape looks different when worn without a belt and I like that look too!
I am simply in love with the sleeves and they make me feel like a butterfly! I chose a floral lining. Isn’t it adorable?
As I was wrapping up pictures, my kid decided to join the party. I had some leftover fabric and cut a small cape for her as well, but have not sewn it up yet. That’s next on my list…
I learned a good bit about working with wool. I had it pre-shrinked by sending it to the cleaners. I learned that is takes special care to avoid overpressing and shine. I also mastered the art of perfect top stitching! What a joy..This project required more work, but the end result was so worth it.. This cape will be in my wardrobe for a long time..
PATTERN: Vintage Simplicty 9669, view 2. It’s a fully lined cape. I cut the size Medium which is for a bust size 34 to 36. The only pattern alteration I had to do was to remove about 3/4 of an inch from the Centre back. I also eliminated the centre back seam and instead cut my back pattern piece on the fold of the fabric. I like to simplify sewing where I can. Eliminating the centre back seam saved me about 5 minutes of pinning and sewing and bout 10 minutes of pressing the seam…
I did make a muslin and did a fit analysis on my dress form an myself. This is a outerwear garment so I left a good amount of ease on the pattern to accommodate a shirt and possibly a sweater underneath. Initially I had considered shortening the cape by a couple of inches but once I made the muslin, I decided against it.
SEWING : I learned a lot about sewing with wool by making this cape. This was my first time working with a wool and it was truly a pleasure to sew up. I quickly realised that pressing wool can be tricky. I am used to working with muslin and cottons and by habit, I used a hot iron, a good amount of steam and pressure.. AND my tailors clapper and that resulted in shine and over pressing. As you can see below.. The seam allowance was causing the impression and lightening of the wool color. I always like to sew up samples with some scrap fabric and press them before I take the iron to my garment. I will be writing a detailed article on what I learned about pressing wool without damaging it. That is coming to the blog soon!
This project was a labor of love. It was time-consuming. Not only because it included some trial and error as I was working with something new, but also because I was broadcasting live some of the tips and techniques of sewing as I was discovering easy ways to work with wool and having those “Aha” moments…I really enjoyed connecting with other sewists while working on this project.
I also experimented till I discovered an easy and practical way to master top stitching. That is coming to the blog soon, so stay tuned! Since there are so many little details about this project I want to share with you, I will be doing a “Behind The Seams” blog post about it soon.
FABRIC: I used a soft 100% brushed wool. It has texture, so I had to take extra precaution while pressing. The fabric is indeed luxurious. Since I knew that this garment would be an investment piece, I wanted to use the best fabric I could find in my budget. Local fabric stores like Joanns and Hancock only had wool blends with a low percentage of wool, but I found an array of pure wool fabric on Fabric Mart Fabrics at very good prices. And if you want a super yummy 100% wool, check out the selection of wools HERE
That’s all for now.. I am taking a one day break before jumping into my biggest project of the year… a Melton wool winter coat….with hair canvas, shoulder pads, sleeve heads… and all that jazz!
Until next time..