I made this poncho for my textiles class at university this semester. The brief was to make ‘something’ out of a blanket (preferably woolen). The blanket I used was one of my Great-Grandad’s, which my Nan generously gave me to use. Just that she trusted that I would use her father’s blanket in a gentle way inspired me. I wanted to make something that would continue to give warmth, shelter and comfort to the user. So I made a poncho. I wore it nearly every day after I made it, during winter. And it was indeed warm and comforting. I really feel that I did the blanket justice.
The blanket itself isn’t particularly soft. It’s an old Waverly Woolen Mills’ blanket. My Nan thinks it may have been a standard blanket handed out to men who worked on the roads in Tasmania, men like my Great-Grandad.
After struggling to find a decent pattern for a simple cape-like poncho, I ended up tweaking a circular skirt pattern that I had made (my Dad was very amused with me wearing the skirt around the house as a poncho). It ended up doing the job just perfectly. I added a Peter Pan style collar, a hood (I made the pattern by tracing around the hood of one of my favourite coats) and a row of toggles down the front. Oh, and also arm holes (which are kind of important).
After making this I went on a few family trips out and about. It was perfect for windy and cold conditions, and made me feel like a bit of an adventurer.
I used the label off the blanket as the pocket, so that the origin of the fabric is still attached to it. The label also has a cute little phrase. It says “Best for Rest”. What a great slogan.
I hope that this poncho goes on to last for many many more years, and that it stays in my family, as the blanket did. I feel proud that I made such a practical, yet beautiful and tactile piece of clothing. It makes the everyday object just a little bit arty. I would very much like to make another poncho like this one day, hopefully soon.