Finding truly warm, affordable clothes with some style is not all that easy. Ever on the lookout, I find that too many offerings that look warm are actually made with synthetic fibers, like polyester, acrylic, or nylon, which don’t really keep you warm and can trap perspiration, making you colder. But good wool garments are expensive.
So, I decided my best alternative was to sew myself a sweater jacket for winter. A few months ago, I found an easy pattern and some cranberry-red alpaca knit fabric on sale online. Next step was to get the fabric dry-cleaned, to preshrink it (this prompted the dry cleaner to request my signed understanding that the fabric might ravel in the process—which didn’t happen).
But then the fabric, now ensconced in a plastic dry cleaner bag, lay folded in my office. For weeks. The problem was two-fold: I didn’t have time/couldn’t make time to work on the project due to holidays et al., and, more importantly, I have been wrestling with some very sensitive ulcers on both thumbs and my right ring finger. No way to cut out the pattern, figure out any adjustments, cut the fabric, and sew it up when I really couldn’t handle scissors or pins.
That is, until this past Sunday, when my hands had finally progressed enough, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah celebrations were past, and I decided to just get down to it. Cutting the fabric was still hard, despite using spring-loaded shears, but I made a lot of progress, especially because I could use my serger, which sews, trims, and finishes seams all in one step (but you really have to pay attention, because seams can’t be resewn easily!). Wool is also very forgiving, with any wobbles in the seams (due to weaker hand control) easily steamed and straightened. Still another sewing session needed to finish it, but I’m pretty pleased (ever the perfectionist) with the outcome.
And, it’s delightfully warm.