Years ago some amazing sewing ladies who are my mother’s friends, gave me a vintage wool blanket (among other things). They had a business repairing antique quilts, as well as upcycling quilts that couldn’t be repaired and turning them into handmade goods. When they moved on to other things, they gave me some of their fabric and thread. I didn’t sew much at the time, but being a creative person, they thought I might be able to use the things.
One of my favorite items was part of a woolen blanket with two sets of initials on it. It was a winter white with two blue stripes and navy embroidery, and although I didn’t know its story, it seemed special. I put it aside until just the right project presented itself. It finally seemed that I had found the perfect use for it when I saw the Brumby Skirt by Megan Nielsen. I knew it might not work…but I also knew it might.
That idea, that sort of razor’s edge between working or not working is what makes creative endeavors so exciting. I love to try projects where I am more sure of the outcome. I get a lot of satisfaction from them, but it really gets interesting when you ask the question, “Will it work?” I think this is a question that some of the best art and the best fashion have at their heart. Sometimes the outcome is terrible. Sometimes it’s ok. But sometimes it goes beyond what you imagined.
I don’t think this project reached the level of being beyond all I imagined, but the act of walking that line made the project exciting. Could I create a skirt from this blanket? Would it be too thick to sew? Would it lay right? I’ll tell you from the outset that I love this skirt. It’s not perfect. It doesn’t give me an enviable form or lack mistakes. But I still say it works because some of my big goals in sewing are to create clothing that is unique and interesting. (And I get to wear a blanket as a skirt in winter! Always a worthwhile goal!)
So, let’s get into some details. The skill that I hoped to learn in this project was how to create a lining, so I bought some Bemberg rayon lining from Joann’s and leaned heavily on the book Easy Guide to Sewing Linings by Connie Long.
Maggie from Pintuck & Purl helped me think through my process for creating the waistband, which included lining it with some fabric from my stash and omitting the interfacing.
I found a plain navy fabric in my stash for the inside of the pockets. Since the edge of the blanket was already finished, I decided to omit the hem. This also saved me fabric, since I had a limited amount of blanket to work with. In order to do that, I marked the place I would have turned the fabric up to sew the hem and used that as the new bottom line for my skirt. You can see it faintly below.
Like vintage fabric sometimes does, this blanket had some light stains. I tried using a stain remover to get them out, but it didn’t work, so I did my best to cut around the ones I could. The rest just had to remain. I did run into a little bit of trouble while sewing in the zipper. It wasn’t quite even at the top, but since this is for me, and I get to decide what I will and won’t fix, I just folded the extra over and sewed it down. Problem solved.
I also decided to do a decorative topstitch above the seam that joins to waistband to the skirt, just to make sure everything was tacked down.
I wanted this done before winter was over, so I was pretty motivated to get it finished. The days after I finished it were cold, so I could wear it right away!
I really like the skirt. I don’t think it’s going to be the most flattering look, but I just love its interesting uniqueness. My sister says I need a clever response when asked what the initials stand for. Any ideas? (Keep it clean!)
It’s really warm and comfortable and love all the different parts I incorporated–lining, colored pockets, and patterned waistband. I deem it a sewing success.
I haven’t yet had a chance to blog a few of my other winter projects, but as far as sewing things goes, this was my last winter make. I’m on to spring sewing. I’ll still post the few made-in-winter projects I haven’t shown you yet, but this is the only garment that will probably be worn exclusively in the winter, so I wanted to blog it before spring came.
- As I come to love hand-sewing more, I find my interest in embroidery being renewed and growing, too. In that vein, I’ve found some really fun embroidery artists. An etsy shop I recently discovered is cozyblue handmade. They have embroidery patterns, etc. I’m a fan of the Sea Captain.
- If you listen to podcasts, I’ve just found a new one that I like: The Seams podcast. It’s about clothing and the stories connected to it. Jacki Lyden does a great job of interviewing a wide variety of people and looking at clothing from many angles.
- If you like to garden, but sometimes feel nervous because you don’t really know your plants’ intentions, you should watch “Indoor Gardening Tips from a Man Who’s Very Scared of Plants”. Problem: SOLVED!