Listen with Your Eyes


The blog of designer-maker Laura Thompson who specializes in fibre art, including art dolls, bowls, art journals and artful clothing.  Creativity, kindness, understanding and patience. 



Fall Wrap with Hand Sewn Appliqué

After a long and VERY hot summer I'm thankful that fall has arrived, bringing with it cooler weather. For me, that means longer sleeves and layers - especially lightweight sweaters. Fine, lightweight sweaters are a staple in my wardrobe. I have several. They're great for layering, add a pop of colour to an outfit and are small enough to tuck in a bag when I'm out and about. Lately I've been making a number of unstructured wraps, ponchos and shawls to wear instead of a sweater. Here's the first of several I plan to make.

I'm a fan of Natalie Chanin and the exquisite clothing she makes at Alabama Chanin. This wrap was inspired by her beautiful garments. I chose a lovely brown knit for both the background and appliqué work. I did not use a pattern, but based my design on this lovely wrap I found online.  Because I prefer 3/4 sleeves I wanted the wrap to end roughly at my elbows. With this in mind, I cut a rectangle approximately 25" and 60" and turned a 1/2" hem along both short sides and one of the long sides before doing the appliqué work. 

I wanted to use a simple floral design. A larger flower with 12 petals, and smaller one with 8 and a circle in the centre of each. I made three stamps from a jumbo eraser - a large petal, a small petal and a round circle. Using a marker  that matched the brown fabric, I traced lots of petals and centres. When I started I wasn't sure how many flowers I would need. I only knew I wanted to cover the whole wrap, so I traced dozens and dozens. I wanted to have plenty - likely more than I would need. The tracing lines were dark enough to cut out the shapes, but not so dark that they bled through and stained the fabric. As expected, tracing was followed by cutting out the shapes.


I pinned the petals onto the background fabric then appliquéd them into place with dark brown thread. After many meditative hours hand stitching, the appliqué was done. I folded the wrap in half, right sides together, and stitched a seam from the outed edge into the centre for about 15". This left a neck opening about 15" long. I hemmed the neck opening by machine, stitching down the seam allowances on the machine.  A series of large, mismatched buttons and beads were sewn over the seam. They're purely decorative, the poncho-style wrap pulls on and off over my head. 

Here's the finished - front, back and sides. Simple, lovely and cozy!