sweater duster

Okay, hands up everyone who remembers all the posts I made last year about fabric given to me at an “exit party” from my job? Not everyone? Ok, I’ll just give you a chance to check out the post about the giving of fabric here.

I’ve returned to that part of my fabric stash to make my second, or is it my third (does sleeveless count?) coat.

My friend and colleague Noel gave me a big chunk of charcoal grey fabric. I thought at first it was a blanket. It was, in fact, coat material. I put it away, thinking it would be quite a while before I would feel competent to sew a coat with such heavy fabric.

One (or maybe two) coats later I was ready. I pulled out the fabric and had a good look and feel. It turns out it’s not that heavy. And it’s not woven. It’s a kind of felted wool blend knit. Perfect, it seemed to me, for a long sweater-coat. To be fair to myself, the fabric is pretty deceptive. It’s very lofty.


Like it? There’s a chenille thread looped back and forth and sewn to the fabric on the two front panels. That ran up and down one of the selvedge edges, and I used it for the fronts. The back, sleeves and front facing are plain. It almost looks like fleece, actually, and is very, very soft.


This time I sewed a hair elastic into the seam joining the front and its facing, and put a button on the other side, so I can do the coat up. How … odd … that none of the three coats I’ve made has any form of fastening. I thought I could wear a leather belt with this coat, but when I tried it, I looked again like an old bag in a housecoat. I’m definitely not the tie wrap¬† kind of crone. I may add a snap at about waist height.

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The sleeves fold or roll up. As a bonus for this project, I figured out how to use my sewing machine to finish raw edges almost like a serger. They look really good. Almost makes me wonder if I really do need to save up for a baby-lock.

I’ve always liked long, straight maxi coats. Dusters I call ’em. Not much difference between this and the pink coat, except it’s unlined, and fits closer to the body. I used Butterick 6251, which was really easy. An experienced sewist could whip this up in a day. Took me three. Maybe I should whip up a few more, one for every day of the week?



Snoods for Cancer

For the past three years I’ve been sewing headscarves for women who lose their hair because of chemo treatments. We then sell them at a hospital gift shop, where I volunteer once a week. They’re a … well, I call them “hideous” … vintage item in the worst possible way, if you ask me. I inherited the pattern. They’re padded in front, and have three lines of stitching,¬† to hold the padding, making them pretty rigid. I’ve always shopping all over town looking for bits of roll-ends and discounted fabric, so that at least I could use nice materials (I get paid a little bit to make them, but the cost of fabric comes out of my payment).

I’ve been searching around for alternatives, and came across the snood. For anyone who doesn’t know, they’re a traditional item for orthodox Jewish women, who cover their hair after marriage. I whipped up a couple and presented them to the gift shop manager, who has agreed to try selling a small number.

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I found a pattern and directions online. It’s basically a gathered “bag” attached to a band. There were instructions for two different lengths, so, we’re going to offer both shorter ones, like the one Lucille is wearing above, and longer ones. I shopped for some fabric, but I also scavenged my bin of scraps. Regular readers of this blog may notice some fabric from my own clothing projects.

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I’m planning to try all different kinds of soft knit fabrics. The green stretch velvet is from a dress panel I got from a going-out-of business sale. It’s terrific, but possibly stretch velvet may be too warm. I like the crushed velour, which is very light weight and comes in brilliant colours. The bottom one is a ponte knit.

People from all around the globe read this blog, and I wonder if anyone has experience with the kinds of headgear that cancer patients might wear when they lose their hair. Some people might wonder why the women don’t simply wrap and tie scarves around their heads. I have seen some women do that, and look particularly elegant. But not everyone knows how to do that, or has the skill for it. I couldn’t do it.

The women I’ve spoken to in the giftshop are looking for something for the sake of both appearance and warmth. It gets chilly here.

So, any comments or recommendations would be mightily appreciated.