Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Little Wool Goes a Long Way

A few weeks ago, Fabric Mart had a sale on wool jerseys. I enjoyed sewing wool when I made my husband's Albion coat, and resolved to sew with it more often. And we all know my jersey obsession. I found an amazing wool/organic cotton/spandex blend, which also happened to be 76" wide! The only down side, it was an ugly poop green color.


But for less than $8/yard I couldn't resist. It's pretty impossible to photograph the color accurately, so I'll just describe it as army green. It's not terrible, but it is boring. So what do you do with boring colors? You make leggings, and underwear, and a camisole!


Despite the color, the fabric is pretty amazing. It's thick, crazy warm, soft, and recovers very well thanks to the spandex. AND it's washable! I tested a swatch first and only had minimal shrinkage. In my experience, if a wool jersey is a merino wool jersey, I've been able to wash it without the wool felting or changing. But always test first!


For the leggings, I went back to McCall's 6173 (first version here). This time I made the "regular" length version, although I guess I'm petite because they're still a tad slouchy. I shortened the rise and also took a wedge from center back because I have a super flat derriere. I saved the scrap of fabric I had after making this alteration last time, and literally traced the new shape onto the pattern piece.

Yes, my butt actually curves in...

This color falls pretty well into the "nearly neutrals" category, so it goes well with other neutrals and some colors. Just what you want from leggings.


Next, I moved on to a pair of underwear. I've been a tad obsessed with the idea of wool underwear since seeing these gorgeous beauties online. Since the cold weather doesn't seem to be going anywhere, why not? I used a self-drafted pattern based on a pair of RTW underwear. And if you're going to sew underwear, grab yourself a copy of Sewing Lingerie from the Singer Sewing Library. It's fantastic!


The waistband is finished with fold-over elastic. I know, I know...I said I was never going to use FOE again, but I figured that a flat waistband would be easier than a curved neckline. And it was. It looks a little stretched out in the photo, but while wearing it's flat and snug.


The leg openings are finished with a simple self-fabric binding. For some reason, most books say to finish underwear leg openings with elastic, but a lot of my RTW underwear is finished with bindings. I think as long as the style is snug, you don't need elastic.


To complete this wool base layer trifecta, I made a camisole using the free Sami Cami pattern from Iconic Patterns. This was my first time making this pattern, so this is sort of a wearable muslin to see if it's worth making again. In the winter, I tend to wear tank tops instead of camis, but summer will be here eventually and I'll need more camis.

The cami is a size 6. I should have shortened the straps but oh well. Next time! I left it unhemmed so it's easier to tuck into shirts (okay...I'm just lazy). I might lengthen it a bit next time for the same reason. I did end up with a wonky binding on the front, due to using a zig-zag stitch. I pressed the blankity blank out of it, but it was still wavy, so I ended up folding it over into a weird tuck.


For the binding on the back I switched to a longer straight stitch and had no waviness. I was worried about stretching it over my head but it wasn't an issue at all. I think it's more important for your fabric to have good stretch and spandex for recovery.

Phew! I tried to keep this as short as possible, but with three items it was hard. And I still have more fabric, so this might not be the last time you see it!

Time for another new release from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop! Today only, grab the Amelia Dress and Romper pattern for 15% off! There are so many options with this pattern, you could make a whole spring/summer wardrobe!


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