For my best friend’s birthday I made her a snuggly hot water bottle cover. For the fabric I used a second-hand pure wool jumper (found at the op-shop), which I then put in the washing machine on a warm wash, to felt and thicken it up a bit. I then traced around a hot water bottle to make the pattern. I added half and inch seam allowance, and for the back I cut the piece in half across and added a full inch overlap on the bottom piece (plus half an inch on both top and bottom pieces for hem). I then dry hand felted on a bird design, which I created myself, using felting wool. I folded over and felted down the half-inch hem on the two back pieces then stitched around the whole thing using the sewing machine. I added two buttons and cut two button holes in the back to close the gap. Here is the final product:
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.
Band ‘Bears with Guns’ from Sydey NSW
Also known as OMTH’s (Owl My Tummy Hurts) these are my latest (practical) creation. Will hopefully have them up on Etsy soonish. These are just the outsides, they’re yet to be sewn around and filled with wheat and a bit of lavender (to keep the mice out of the wheat). They can be heated in the wicrowave to soothe a sore tummy or aching ear.