Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Boiled Wool Shrug - free tutorial

We have some luscious boiled wools in stock at The Drapery right now, and have put together a free tutorial for possibly the easiest garment you'll ever make!

Searching for boiled wool inspiration, we came across this simple and lovely shrug by Manda of Treefall Design, who was inspired by a ready-to-wear piece. We whipped up a couple of prototypes in the shop and arrived at this which takes just a 75cm cut of fabric and three straight seams. Edges can all be left raw because boiled wool does not fray!

75cm x boiled wool, ours is 150cm wide
- would also work in wool knit fabric such as this Japanese wool blend (or this one) and this Merino Rib
Gutermann Sew-All thread in matching colour

Cut about 50 - 55cm in from each selvedge so you have 2 pieces approx. 50 x 75cm, each with a 75cm fluffy selvedge. The piece from the middle is spare so you can use it for another project, or perhaps to embellish your shrug.

Pin your pieces together along the 75cm non-selvedge edges. Using a small zigzag stitch, sew with approx. 1cm seam allowance.
Open the joined pieces out flat and fold in half longways, with the raw edges of the seam you just stitched on the outside. Pin and sew the selvedge ends, leaving 20cm open at the fold on each end. These will be the arm holes.

Set your iron to 'wool' and use plenty of steam to press all the seams open. Turn so seams are inside. You're finished!

 There is no 'right way up' and the fabric will naturally fall to create a small shawl collar.

If you'd like to embellish your shrug, you could try stitching the seam allowances down with Valdani Perle Cotton, or perhaps binding the open edge with pretty homemade bias tape.

Of course you can play around with the dimensions of the shrug, and use more of the width, or a longer cut to suit your personal preferences!

We were even more pleased when we worked out the shrug could be made with this grey boiled wool we have in stock which has some tiny faults down its centre.

The supplier offered it to us at a greatly reduced price and we thought it would be a shame for such beautiful quality wool to go to waste. So come and grab a bargain! The pattern as specified above works perfectly to remove the faults.

If you're interstate and wish to buy a quantity that's not a multiple of half-metres as our website requires, please feel free to call us during opening hours - W-F 10am-4pm, Sat 12-4 - on 08 7324 5883 and order over the phone.

- Jane & Fiona xx

PS why not make an underappreciated dog-coat with the leftovers?


  1. Love this - think I need to make one....

    1. Thanks Justine, yes it's really such a great little 'throw on' thing, you need one for sure :)

  2. Is there a pattern for that lovely dog's new coat?

    1. Hi Kay, I made the jacket pattern up myself. It's very basic! I'd be more than happy to trace you off a copy next time you're in if you have a wee pooch that would fit it. I must say, even though she's not looking very happy about it here, the stretchiness of the boiled wool works really well for a dog coat! - Fiona

  3. Fantastic! I still wear mine all the time! I still get so many requests for a pattern for it - but it was just one of those things that I made on the spur of the moment!

    1. Hi Manda! It's such a great thing - thank you for the inspiration! xx

  4. I don't do much sewing at all these days and have a question. Is there any reason this couldn't be made from a good quality fleece? I cannot wear wool at all, and fleece is so warm and soft. Just wondering.
    Also, how do directions translate to inches?
    Thanks for any help!

    1. Hi Debbie, thanks for your question! This could definitely be done in fleece as it probably as pretty similar stretch/stability to the boiled wool. However we'd always recommend going for a natural fibre alternative (even if you can't wear wool), so perhaps a cotton French terry or something? There's a lot of talk lately about how microfibres from synthetic clothing make their way into the ocean and elsewhere in our environment. It's hard to always avoid synthetics (school uniforms for example make me cringe!) but every little bit helps. Sorry, didn't mean to turn this into a lecture. As for converting to inches, Google conversion or a double-sided cm/inch tape measure should do the trick! - Jane :)


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