Welcome to this issue of Experimental Sewing! Today’s project involves turning the remnants of a down jacket (from this past project) into a scarf.
After seeing the scarves Alabama Chanin and Patagonia made from worn out Patagonia jackets a few years ago, I reallllly wanted to try it for myself. I thought it was a cool idea, and I was intrigued by the thought of recycling a down jacket (plus, I couldn’t pay $90 for one of theirs just because I was curious). It was time to get sewing.
I decided at the outset that my goal wasn’t perfect, heirloom sewing. Undoubtedly the Alabama Chanin + Patagonia scarves are amazing in quality and workmanship, but I didn’t want to worry about that. I just wanted to know if I could do it and what the process would be like.
After my first project with this down jacket, which was interesting, but somewhat unpleasant to sew, due to the reality of sewing down in your living room, my husband suggested that I try sewing the scarf outside. That was a game-changer. Sewing outside in October, when it was still somewhat warm but not hot, was heavenly. Any escaping down floated away on the breeze. I felt like I was in a sweet, sweet dream (the weather was really nice), sewing away on my Featherweight in the backyard. 😀
Let’s talk process for a bit, and discovery. I looked at what I had left of the down jacket, and marked off pieces with my sewing marker that were as rectangular as possible. Then I sewed a straight stitch on either side of my cutting lines. After that, I cut my pieces up. And then I sewed them back together…as you do. 😉 This left me with something like a long rectangle, but also some exposed, slightly downy edges.
And that’s when I made my discovery. I went to an estate sale and came away with, among other things, fleece binding! I had no idea this was a thing you could buy! It was perfect for my project. Rather than buying more to match things, I just decided to use what I had to cover the seams joining the rectangular pieces and the edges. There was a little hand-sewing involved where the binding crossed from side to side, but not much.
Before I finished, I also sewed a little rectangle to the inside of one end so that you could weave the other end through, helping to keep the scarf on.
Some bonuses include the three pockets that are left in the scarf from the original jacket and, weirdly, the fact that the front zipper is still a part of the scarf and you can zip it up so it looks like you are wearing the front of a jacket. It’s weird and cool. (Really! It’s cool! I promise!)
Look out! This could be the next trend coming your way in 2018. You heard it here first! 😉
I don’t think, after doing this, that I’m going to set up shop making a million things from down. It was fun, but not so much that it’s going to be my new favorite thing. What IS one of my favorite things in sewing is trying out different fabrics, and this definitely scratched that itch. I’m pushing the boundaries of my sewing knowledge a little more each time! That’s a win.
- I just checked out the new cookbook from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, called Smitten Kitchen Every Day. I’m still reading through it, but after only making it through the Breakfast section, I want to make every recipe. Seriously. I might need this cookbook.
- I feel I would be remiss if, after this project, I didn’t recommend Wrights fleece binding.
- I can’t get the great fabric/color combination of this Kelly Anorak sewn by Lauren of Guthrie and Ghani out of my head.
- Oh! And one more since we’re talking fabric. I LOVE this Neon Neppy fabric from Robert Kaufman, and I can’t decide which one I love best: Blue, Royal, or Charcoal? The internet really doesn’t do it justice–it has little slubs of neon color throughout, and since I’m clearly in a speckle as well as a neon phase, it’s right up my alley.