Sleepy Pants from Old Wool
My client arrived with several large scraps of blanket-weight felted wool, in a large-scale charcoal plaid. The pieces were odd shapes, like they'd been trimmed from something. He also had a pair of pajama pants, and he wanted to make the wool into a new pair of pajama pants based on the existing pair.
Surely, says I, this fabric is too thick for wearing, except as a coat? No, he likes the weight. He likes the scratchiness, too.
I turn the existing pants one leg inside the other to get a look at the crotch curve, lay the new "pattern" on top of the scraps, and see there will be just enough. So I whip up a quick pair of pants, sans waistband.
When he tries them on, though, it's clear that blanket-weight wool doesn't stretch or drape as well as old flannel, so the pants are not high enough at the waist. I puzzle over it for a bit, then take the last bits of scrap wool and make a yoke to heighten the waist. I line the yoke with a lighter weight suit wool that I had in my stash (so the inside of the waistband won't be as scratchy as the rest of the garment!), and close the whole thing with a button fly in buttons of his choosing. (He has a prodigious button stash, and wanted to use up some of them.)
It was an interesting project. I felt that the quality was somewhat impaired by having limited material--no pattern matching for that plaid! And I did half the project before realizing that I had better use lapped seam construction. The wool was so felted and so thick that lapped seams made the most sense; they don't put seam allowances inside the garment, and with felt, you don't have to worry about unraveling. But only the seam attaching yoke to trousers got done that way; the others are bulky.
Ultimately, it was also a great example of using up leftovers, and making something useful and valuable to its owner out of what would otherwise go to waste. So I call it a win!
So does my client--he's quite happy with his new sleepy pants, and says they'll be perfect for camping.
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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