Sigh…. Friends, thank you. Thank you so much for your encouragement in my last post about the Sewing Room. It’s so exciting and the more I think about it, the more excited I become! Oh what fun we’ll have. I did receive a comment or two and several emails about my blog posting habits and whether or not they would be affected, so I thought I should tell you a little bit more about the Sewing Room. If you’re going to twist my arm and all that. My mister coined the name, the Sewing Room. We both knew it was meant to be like my sewing room at home, but bigger. This is my stomping grounds! So I envisioned not only a place to teach others how to sew and be a crazy fabric addict like myself, but it’s clearly a place that serves my own personal sewing world. We have a sewing library complete with some good sewing titles – I’m still waffling about adding my own personal sewing library here for others to look at and possibly check-out. There’s lots and lots of space, which is really really good. The basement area of this brick and mortar building is the stash, where we keep the fabrics for the online shop and where, if you take a class, you can come and shop. Additionally, my entire set-up for blogging is located here in the Sewing Room. This has transformed from being just a passion, to what I do for a living. It was important to me to create spaces in the Sewing Room that facilitated my need for all aspects of what I do. This space to take photos in (the space you see me in below) – something I’ve wanted for years. It feels luxurious to go to a studio and take photos of my creations. To sew there and to fill orders for the online shop there. To teach there. Oh, this is a big big thing. I’ll bet you can feel that as you read this. My blogging, you ask? I know I’ve been lousy at it for the past year, but well, the future holds a different promise I’m hoping. Anyhow, onward and upward.

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Back in November, I made this Hollyburn with this luscious dark mustard wool crepe that we had in the online shop (sold out fairly quickly!). This color for me, is like one of the 8 wonders of the world. This and chartreuse, which I find closely related to this color, so naturally I’m all over this color like white on rice. I do love it so.

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I took enough for this skirt and then I’m also considering a dress or some pants with the leftover. We’ll see which one wins out for the last of the fabric. But anyway, its been sometime since I made a Hollyburn. My last rendition of this skirt was worn to a raveling. It just goes with everything so well. The shape is beautifully swingy in the wool crepe here. And then there’s the pocket thing, which I absolutely and utterly adore. Perfect pockets, perfect, easy shape. A TNT for me, for sure.

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And then I got a little lusty for this Hunter Green Wool Crepe from the shop too (still available for your info). So I took a bit home and cut out another Hollyburn. And of course, this has all got me thinking about yet another rendition for Spring – in one of our new wool crepe colors (hello bright cheery colors)!!!!!!!!!! Possibly much much shorter on the skirt length here! Oh la la! I’m sure you’re all waiting with bated breath for that!

I’ve made this skirt a few times – when it was formerly just the skirt portion of the Lonsdale dress. When I made the Lonsdale dress a few years ago, I was completely taken with the skirt portion and from there made a few. I couldn’t find my beloved pattern this time around (who ever said anything about keeping a clean and organized stash???) and so I opted to just use a Hollyburn pattern which I had on hand. I made a couple of changes – created a contoured waistband, added a lining to both skirts and separated the pocket facing from the pocket lining. Really nothing mind blowing, though I plan to show you how to do a lining for a skirt like this in a few weeks as I still work my way through the Working with Wool series.

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You’ll notice I’m in keeping with the working with wool trend! Yay! I should definitely win some extra points for that, I think – which have already been translated into a Dr. Pepper – drinking as I type! Yess! I thought you might like to see wool crepe in garment form. Again, this is one of my favorite wool textiles. It works so well in a myriad of garment options. The lovely drape and swing work so well for a skirt, yet wool crepe looks fabulous in a structured trouser as in here. If I haven’t convinced you of the loveliness of wool crepe yet, there will be more opportunities coming up for me to do so, I’m sure.

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And I know I’m tempting you, but seriously, there are AWESOME new wool crepe colors in stock in the online shop.

So who’s ready to join my wool crepe Hollyburn train? huh?

  • Tia Dia - These are beautiful skirts. What an inspiration! I totally love wool crepe. It’s my favourite of all wool weaves.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - It’s one of my favorite too! So so versatile! Love it, love it, love it.ReplyCancel

  • Angelica - Congratulations with the Sewing Room, I can practically read your joy in this post 😀 Your Hollyburns are perfect, and it reminds me I need to make more 😉ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - This pattern is such a standby in my wardrobe. It fits the bill in so many situations. And thank you for your kind words on the Sewing Room – I’m feeling so good about all of it! Yay!ReplyCancel

  • Aja - The mustard! Oh, so nice. Makes me want to make another Hollyburn with my navy wool crepe.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh you should! The flow of this skirt in a wool crepe is really something. I really do think I need one more for Spring.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - Love the Sewing Room idea and love your Hollyburn skirt! I will be purchasing this pattern and some wool crepe! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • sallie - These are lovely! I think the Hollyburn has such a gorgeous shape, and that mustard one paired with your perfect brown leather boots is giving me serious 70’s equestrian vibes in the best way possible.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - If I was forced to pick a favorite era, it would be the 70s. Maybe early 80s too. But I die over the conservative, feminine flowy look of the 70s – something I feel is often overlooked by the loud bell-bottoms and polyester double knit leisure suits of the era. Not that these are bad things, but all in all, my heart has a serious soft spot for the 70s. That is exactly what I thought when I bought these boots! AAAAHHHHH! I swear my mom had some just like them – in the 70s….ReplyCancel

  • Vicki Kate - Wow Sunni. You look so happy and at ease in these pictures! The skirts are gorgeous but what’s really struck me is how much more relaxed and at peace you seem to be. I really really hope that this change in direction that’s more ‘you’ really works out for you. If I wasn’t the wrong side of the Atlantic I’d love to come and play!
    Wishing you every success possible for 2015!!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Thank you Vicki Kate! I am more at ease and I definitely feel “happier” about this decision as a whole. It just feels good. I wish you were here too! I wish everyone was here! Oh the fun we would have!ReplyCancel

  • MaryEllen - I have this pattern & these are such beautiful motivation to get it out & just sew it … Did you make your polka dot top ? If so I’d like details !
    Best of luck on your new endeveavor – you sound so jazzed about it ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh thank you! I didn’t make the polka dot top – it’s Ann Taylor factory outlet – but whenever I see polka dots, I fall instantly in love, all over again.ReplyCancel

  • Angela - Those wool crepes are beautiful…. there are a couple calling my name…. softly seducing me that they should come to my home, never-mind that I keep telling myself to stop building up a bigger fabric stash!

    I have never made a Hollyburn skirt, but yours are so beautiful that I may need to try it.

    The Sewing Room sounds great, big sighs of sadness that I can’t get to it.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - What? Stop building a bigger fabric stash – how dare you even mention such a thing!!!! Ha ha! Mine is awfully, awfully large. Oh dear.ReplyCancel

  • Ramona Putnam - Sunni, these skirts are beautiful. How do you care for these skirts? Dry clean or Wash cold and hang? …Not only because of the wool crepe, but also because of the lining.

    I really would like to make some wool trousers in something I could wash and hang dry, but not sure if that’s do-able.

    Thanks and best of luck with the Sewing Shop!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Now, don’t tell anyone I told you this, but I wash in cold on gentle and hang to dry! I did the prewash for these fabrics that way too. I have a pair of wool crepe pants that I made a couple of years ago that I do the same for – I haven’t had a problem yet! Now I don’t wash them an awful lot. Just when I feel they need them, but I do wash them. No dry cleaning here!ReplyCancel

      • Francesca - Yeah!!!! now I am even happier with the GORGEOUS wool crepe I bought from you – have been wanting to write to tell you it’s arrived, and it is gorgeous, as is the black rayon. I also wanted to ask you if it was pre-shrunk or if I could wash it and you have answered my questions. You are a woman after my own heart, Sunni – I looooathe dry cleaning – or rather its chemicals – and have washed so much fabric pre-make so that I could wash it post make – and now the wool crepe is confirmed… whooppee!

        As for lining, I prewash that too and then wash the whole thing together – dresses, skirts, whatever. Whether I line in viscose, silk or cotton muslin, I always do it – no way am I going to put things that have been dry cleaned against my skin.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa G - These skirts are beautiful! That mustard color… LOVE. I’ve never used wool crepe, but it sounds amazing!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh you should! I think you would love the way it sews. It’s really rather dreamy to sew with. I find it will do just about anything you want it to.ReplyCancel

  • Tanya - I am in love with the wool crepe skirt. I do enjoy you blog very much. The change to your store is fantastic idea.ReplyCancel

  • Rochelle New - I’m totally drooling over the mustard wool crepe! Gorgeous color and perfect drape for the Hollyburn. I haven’t made that pattern but now you’re really tempting me… SO pretty!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I most definitely think you should try some wool crepe Rochelle! It’s such an easy fabric to work with. And with the Hollyburn, it is a perfect match!ReplyCancel

  • elisabeth - I second that you look/sound so much happier and at ease these days! So glad you have made some changes to make yourself happy and less stressed! And sweet lord I want ALL THE CREPES!! I admit I was never really into the Hollyburn but seeing it in these wools makes me reconsider…and I really would love to make a Dahlia in a wool crepe, too. Mmmm…ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh a Dahlia would be really lovely! Yum! And tell me about the wool crepe colors for spring – I am so excited to make something out of every. single. color!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - Beautiful skirts!! The mustard is such a good color, but so is the green! This pattern seems to be made for wool.ReplyCancel

  • Nakia - Such beautiful skirts. That mustard color looks gorgeous on you!

    I’ve been looking at the Hollyburn pattern for awhile. I think I’ll finally take the plunge and buy it. I need to buy that hot coral wool crepe too because OhMyGoodness it is pretty!

    Do you match your lining to the color of your skirts or do you just go with basic black or white?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Whenever possible, I ALWAYS pick a contrasting lining color. I’m LOVE seeing a pretty pop of a different color on the inside of any garment. But if I can’t, I usually opt for a nude color because it doesn’t shade the fabric. Oh this is something I’ll have to do a post on! My favorite lining and the one I use for almost everything is bemberg rayon – love that stuff!ReplyCancel

  • Manju - Both of these look amazing! I really should see this skirt up…love love love the mustard. Wool crepe? Dry clean only right?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I wash it in cold, gentle cycle and then hang to dry. I always do a prewash the same way, but I haven’t encountered problem yet.ReplyCancel

  • True Bias - its beautiful. like you im obsessed with that color.ReplyCancel

  • juebejue - love the brown one!! and i am having boot envy – where did you get them?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh thank you! They are a couple of years old, from Tahari. I bought them via DSW.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - I love them both! You have made the exact skirts that are on my winter sewing list. Same length, fabric and colours. I was planning a navy one as well. You paired them up beautifully, too!ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - These are so beautiful! I love them on you! I wish that I wore skirts… I would be all over these!ReplyCancel

  • Lori - Those are fabulous skirts and you look wonderful. Happy sewing to you in your Sewing RoomReplyCancel

  • Charlotte - Love these! That colour is divine – I’m a lot obsessed with wool garments at the moment. The Sewing Room sounds so exciting – massive congrats.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - You have a great sense of colour. I love the mustard with black and tan.ReplyCancel

  • Crimson Needle - Those skirts are gorgeous! I’ll be putting that in my must-do list (yes I have a to-do and a must-do list… don’t judge) I also have to say that I much admire you’re go-to attitude to accomplish your dreams. Heaven knows it takes a lot of effort, sacrifice and perseverance to accomplish that (and often case a supportive partner). I wish you luck and happiness in your new endeavours!ReplyCancel

  • BeckyLeeSews - Your beautiful skirts pushed me over the edge. I just FINALLY purchased not only the Hollyburn but a Cambie pattern too. I’ve been meaning to forever but just never did. Now that the weather begs me to stay inside this weekend, I think I’ll knock out both. Or maybe it was the boots…I just picked up a pair like that at DSW too. :) Great minds and all that!ReplyCancel

  • Jackie - Your skirt is beautiful and fits so well. Wish you were not many states away and I could come to your new sewing room! Sounds wonderful.ReplyCancel

  • Working With Wool: Tips for Comfort » A Fashionable Stitch - […] that goes along with this idea is waistband techniques. For my wool crepe Hollyburn skirts, I used a contrast piece of cotton as a waistband facing. Note: In this pattern the waistband is […]ReplyCancel

  • Saiph Papercut Tunic: DIY Mustard Quilted Tunic Dress | sewmanju - […] dull and cold winters day. Mmmmmm…..mustard. It’s not a colour everyone likes, but, as Sunni wrote in this post, it’s something that I am drawn too (and I loved her mustard […]ReplyCancel

  • Amy - These are really great silhouettes on you and in gorgeous colors! I loved the Lonsdale and keep saying I’m going to make another because I wore the first one so much. The pockets really make it, don’t they?ReplyCancel

Updated: Hello Everyone! As of March 23, 2015, the Sewing Room is now officially closed. If you are interested you can read more about it here. Thanks so much for the memories and for all of your support. Means the world to me! xx, Sunni

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Ahh, it’s here. 2015. There always seems to be so much promise and wonder associated with a new year. I can definitely feel it and I hope you’re feeling a little of it too. I wanted to take a special minute and thank you all for your very kind and supportive words from my last post (and also the wonderful customers who came into the store, thank you!). I wrote and re-wrote that post so many times. Finding the right words was hard. What kept coming out was a lot of negativity and it’s just not something that I wanted to feed, so finding the right words to express what had truly been one of the most frustrating years of my life was hard. But now that that’s over and done with (yay!) it’s time to look ahead to something new and very exciting.

To say that I’m a bit nervous about all of this is an understatement. Nonetheless, I’m so excited about all of this I just can’t contain it any longer! Over our holiday break, the mister and I went in and transformed our fabric shop into…….

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The Sewing Room! This space is dedicated to expertly crafted sartorial sewing workshops – meaning, we help you make your own clothes! I’m sure we’ll pull out a couple of crafty, fun workshops every now and then too, but our main focus is to help you with the crazy world of apparel arts/sewing. We offer in person workshops/classes that typically focus on a specific garment or technique. Additionally, we offer private instruction for those interested in getting our take on exactly what they want to learn (or if you’re visiting from out of town and want to take some time to have fun with us!). We’ve also got an Open Stitch Night that will happen twice a month where you can get expert help for a couple of hours on a project that’s stumping you – and have hot chocolate and treats on us!

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And then of course, there will be LOTS of fun as we get thinking about exciting new things to come. I’ve got ideas for guest teachers to fly in and do weekend workshops with us – wait, did I just type that? Whoops, just fell off my chair there for a minute – can’t believe this is really happening. Ahem. Plus we have some exciting free events to come for the upcoming year. I am committed to touching as many people with the sewing bug as I possibly can.

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As with any business, there is still much to be done, but today marks the first day of making it real by telling you all about it. I’m excited. I kept getting more and more excited as I reorganized everything to become geared toward educating rather than selling – such a cathartic and interesting change, let me tell you. I have a lot of vision for the Sewing Room. I can see so much potential and I feel really, really good about it.

So, if you live here in Salt Lake City, Utah or are in town for a visit, here’s some links you need to hop to:

Here’s to 2015 everyone! Lots and lots of sewing is dead ahead….

  • Lauren - Sunni, this is so exciting! I missed commenting on the last post bc I was sick with death flu, but I’m really happy to read about these awesome changes going on in your business, and I’m so pumped to hear even more about it! I know this past year has put a lot on you, and it makes me really happy to know that things are looking up and changing for the really awesome! The new space looks amazing – I want to visit!!!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Hi Lauren! I so want you to visit too! Thanks so much for your support! Means a lot.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - Sunni, ever since I took your zipper class on Craftsy, I’ve thought you were a natural teacher. This is such a great idea. More people need to know that making your own clothes is about getting exactly what you want and having it fit right. It is something to be proud of. I wish I lived near your shop so I could participate, there is nothing like that near me. I wish you all the best, and will stop in if I”m ever in the neighborhood.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - There is such satisfaction in making something with your own two hands isn’t there? Thanks so much for your thoughts Jennifer! So glad you liked my Craftsy class!ReplyCancel

  • Heather Lou - CONGRATS SUNNI!!! I am sooooooo happy for you – this sounds like the perfect fit for your skills. The class list looks awesome – so much better than “how to sew a tote bag” (sigh). All my best wishes for you in the new year!ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - Congratulations on your new venture and I’m wishing you much success in this new phase of your life!ReplyCancel

  • Mary - I don’t live in Salt Lake City but if I did I would certainly take a class or two. I wish you all the best for your new endeavor.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - This is so exciting!! Go and spread that sewing bug around SLC!ReplyCancel

  • Caro - I love to be in Salt Lake City to attend these classes, workshops sure these wonderful things will.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - Congratulations! I wish you the very best, and with your talent I know you will be successful. I have one question. Is the price correct for the shirt workshop? That seems way out of line to me. Again, good luck.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Hi Karen! Yes, that is the current price for the shirt workshop. It’s 9 hours of personal instruction and with a classic button-up shirt, there are a lot of techniques that are involved. Collar, collar stand, button placket, buttonholes, cuff, sleeve placket, flat felled seams and then a fitting. I’m a teacher who likes to spread things out so we do this workshop in 3 sessions – each 3 hours long. We also keep the class sizes low – a limit of 4 – 6 people – to ensure that everyone who takes the class gets some personal attention. It’s a lot of good, enjoyable work for me as the teacher.ReplyCancel

  • Nakisha - Now THIS sounds exciting!!!!

    Really a great idea. And like someone else said, thank GOODNESS you are not teaching pillowcases and tote bags exclusively! :)

    CONGRATS and here’s to a successful 2015 and beyond!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - This is so true! One thing that I’m looking forward to is trying to bring this idea of sewing your own clothes into the now. Something that I still get from people is the slightly durogatory (spelling?) question, “You sew your own clothes?” People still associate a negative connotation with it and I find that unfortunate and something I want to change! Here’s to infecting everyone with the sewing bug!ReplyCancel

      • Nakisha - Poor deluded souls. 😉

        My 16 year old was all o_O when I first started sewing. But now that SHE also has gotten some things custom made oh you’d better believe she is ALL about mom’s sewing now! Ha!ReplyCancel

  • Kaoru Marie - Congrats! What an exciting adventure. After listening to your interview on the Sewing Affair podcast, it seems like teaching is much more up your alley than a full-blown retail shop. Good luck! Wish I lived nearby so I could stop in.ReplyCancel

  • Ani - My husband finishes his PhD in two years, and I’ve been pushing him strongly to apply to work in SLC, under the guise that it is almost perfectly halfway between my family in Oregon and his in Texas. But really, I kinda just wanted to be able to go to your store.

    And now I want to push it even more because even more than a store, I want a place where I can go and get help and learn! This sounds amazing.

    Also, should you know of any creative writing (with a focus on Latino studies and poetry) positions opening up in two years time in SLC, let us know. Ha. :)ReplyCancel

  • May - Sunni, what an amazing solution for your space! I wish you the very best as you start your new journey :) On my next trip to SLC, I know what’s first on my itinerary!ReplyCancel

  • Mari - Brilliant idea. I am so happy for you and only wish I lived close enough to take advantage of such a wonderful place to learn and perfect my sewing skills. I truly believe you have hit on a much needed void in the “sewing world”. I wish you MUCH MUCH success. I think you will become “the place to be” and the business to duplicate in the years to come. Congrats. Additionally, I admired your perseverance and honesty throughout the past year. Most people never try – they dream but are afraid to take the risk. You took the risk and in that case it did not work but I am sure you learned a lot. May this new venture be the reward.ReplyCancel

  • Camilla - Hi Sunni good luck with your new venture. I wish you lots of success. Happy 2015.ReplyCancel

  • Connie - Sunni, I wish you much success with the new revamped shop. I think it will do well. We have a shop like that here in Olympia WA called Refabulous You where they focus on refashioning projects plus have sewing classes. Good Luck.ReplyCancel

  • Miss J - That’s more like it! I’ve seen your Craftsy class and liked your teaching style and learned a lot from this and your blog. I’m sure you’ll be able to translate the tone of your blog into your real life classes.

    Sometimes you have to take a detour to find the right road!

    Just hope you’ll be able to keep up the blog. Will miss it if you can’t!

    All the best,

    J.ReplyCancel

  • Erin - Best. Idea. Ever. I only wish I lived nearby so I could take advantage. I wish there was something like this where I live. Bravo!ReplyCancel

  • Becky - Brilliant idea! Love it. Bummed I moved from Salt Lake last year but maybe one of my visits back to town can overlap with a good workshop. Best of luck – you’re a terrific instructor and this fills a need for sure.ReplyCancel

  • Mainelydad - This is exciting news, and I wish you all the best. In my dreams I’d be doing the same thing. Opening a space where men could come and live out their sartorial fantasies. But since that’s never gonna happen, I’ll settle for living vicariously through your blog.ReplyCancel

  • Miss Crayola Creepy - So cool, Sunni! I would love to come to a sewing retreat someday at your new spot :)ReplyCancel

  • Heather - this is so awesome!! Congratulations on your new venture – I’m sure it will be great! Now, if only I lived closer…ReplyCancel

  • Rochelle New - I must have missed your last post in the holiday shuffle, but I just wanted to congratulate you on your new venture!! How exciting! I used to work in a very small fabric shop, it was just me and the owner, so I worked alone most days and did a lot of “boss” type stuff …boy do I ever sympathize with you. There’s no shame in figuring out your passion isn’t with fabric store ownership, no matter how dreamy it may sound on paper.

    Stick with your gut and do what you love! I can’t wait to hear what awesome things 2015 has in store for you :) :)

    xoReplyCancel

  • Lisa G - Congrats on the new venture! This sounds like the absolute perfect fit for you. Best wishes for 2015!ReplyCancel

  • Noelle - Wow, that’s great news! I bet you are looking forward to it!ReplyCancel

  • Jenna - This looks too exciting! I really wish I was living closer! I’m going to have to let my US friends living nearby know! All the best!ReplyCancel

  • BeckyLeeSews - With the extremely limited amount of wiggle room for profit in fabric, it’s not surprising you closed the store. Unfortunate? Yes. Surprising? No.

    Through your blog, I’m watching my dream of owning a store with a classroom in the back like a movie and you are the star. But I live in a very small town about 25 miles SE of San Antonio, Texas so one must travel 20 miles just to buy elastic around here. Even the nearest WalMart is 20 miles. So in my store, I’d set up classes with the Scouts and local 4H to infect small people with the sewing bug at an early age. I’d enlist the assist of those with knitting skills to hold workshops, etc. I’d see what my store could do to support the school (pompoms, cheer stuff, drama costume support, etc.) or church choirs & Christmas programs. Of course, you’d have to buy the stuff for the classes up in front. :) Join the Chamber to endear yourself with the local business owners and support the schools & churches and you’ll build a customer base to last a lifetime or two.

    How exciting Sunni and I wish you the very best!ReplyCancel

  • Eleanor - This sounds like such a great idea. After following your craftsy class I was impressed by your teaching skills.
    And the place looks great!ReplyCancel

  • Stephani - I had a feeling this was the big news you’d be announcing. Congratulations on the new venture, Sunni! You’re a fantastic instructor, with great ideas, and I know you’ll do well.ReplyCancel

  • Corporelle - Sending you many encouragements for your new venture! It’s scary but excitingly liberating to make such decisions.ReplyCancel

  • EmSewCrazy - Oh wow! I’m so excited for you! I hope you will post business progress posts as you did with the shop. Something like this is what I would like to do someday so please let me learn from your experience! :) I wish you all the best!ReplyCancel

  • cal - super exciting sunni! i hope i can come and teach some time! never been to Utah ;n)ReplyCancel

  • Liz - I’m new to your site, and I’m loving what I see.

    Congrats on the taking a new direction with your sewing workshops.

    The above photos of your ‘sewing’ bookshelves are very enticing.
    I seen you have done a few book reviews on this site, but I’d love to see a post or two listing more sewing titles that you enjoy.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Fantastic! You’re such a wonderful teacher and this new adventure seems like a natural fit. And these are all amazing classes! I love that you’re doing a classic shirt class–in my experience shirtmaking really helps to accelerate sewing skills and there’s always more to learn!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - I learned so much from the classes I took from you: Serger; Copy a Pattern; A-line skirt. The Classic Shirt is next on my list. And I just signed up for the January Open Stitch nights. Actually committing to sewing on certain dates will help me make progress on my projects. Thank you!!!ReplyCancel

  • Hollyburn Take 5 & 6 » A Fashionable Stitch - […] Friends, thank you. Thank you so much for your encouragement in my last post about the Sewing Room. It’s so exciting and the more I think about it, the more excited I […]ReplyCancel

  • Coralee - This sounds so exciting! I will miss shopping at the store, but I hope you have a wonderful time with the studio, it sounds like a dream come true.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - I know I’m late to the party, but what a GREAT idea!!!!!!!!! I wish I was closer to take advantage of your great classes!!!!! Good luck to you, I think you will do great!ReplyCancel

  • Leslie - What an awesome idea! I wish I lived closer, I’d be there in a heartbeat. When I was at Quilt Market I met a woman from Oregon who owns a faltering quilt shop. Instead of just quitting altogether, she tried something new. She packed up her sewing machine and a simple project and headed to a pub. Once a week she holds lecture demos there. It draws the ladies, which draws the men ~ everyone is happy! Anyway, all that to say I love how you’ve remade your store!ReplyCancel

Before we start looking ahead to the new year – and I can’t even tell you how excited I am for 2015 and the new things we have planned! – I thought I would reflect back on this past year and tell you a bit of biggish news that is happening in my life. More often than not I try to keep as much highly personal emotion out of my blog as possible, meaning, I try to keep the negative silenced here and only focus on the positive. This has been the hardest year for that. I’ve been through a lot, both professionally and personally, during the course of 2014.

I have learned that owning a business is not an overnight sensation – meaning you’re not instantly a great business owner just because you own your own business. It draws heavily on both your strengths and preys equally on your weaknesses. It illuminates weak spots in your character and in your life. You also learn so much about yourself as a business owner. I’ve had to answer some really tough questions this year. I have also come to realize the importance of truly following your heart, even when it means closing the door on an old dream.

And here is where one chapter closes. The mister and I have decided to close the storefront portion of A Fashionable Stitch. We are doing this in favor of something else that is to come (much more on this soon, I promise). I personally, have found that I’m not a shop girl. More to the point, I really don’t dig working (or owning) retail. After an entire year of trying to suppress this inner truth it was time to let it out, let it be known and also re-design my vision of my future. You should know that this won’t affect the online shop – we’re still going to be selling fabric, notions and supplies there. Yes, the online store is still a thing and we have some really exciting new things lined up for it this year! (I’m so excited to tell you about it!!!) But my brick and mortar storefront is being put to rest (a positively morbid thought when I really think about). As of today, we’re closing the doors on our retail fabric storefront. We have something new and exciting planned to take over in the same brick and mortar space beginning in January.

I’m not sad. Well, OK, fine. Maybe a very small part of me is sad because I’ve wanted to be a shop owner for so long and I got to and I found out that it’s just not me and so, a small part of me is a little melancholy. But more than anything, I’m relieved. My soul is letting out a long, year long, sigh right now as I type. For the first time, in a year, I feel positive. That feels really, really good and dare I say, on the right track for future things. Here’s to you 2014 and the many wonders and self knowledge you have unlocked. I’m glad 2015 is just around the bend.

And before the holiday gets away from us, the mister and I wish you a very merry on your holiday this year. Thank you all for reading my blog. It means so much to me! I hope I inspire and help you out on your sewing journey. I do so love this interaction! All my best wishes to you and yours this season!

  • Tilly - Sunni, big congrats on making a difficult decision and doing the right thing for you and your business. It must have been a scary decision to make – I have so much admiration for you for following your heart. I can’t wait to see what you have planned for 2015! xxReplyCancel

  • Wendy - you are right to let the shop go before it bites you! Looking forward to hear more on the new venture and sending seasons greetings to you and yours.ReplyCancel

  • Janeice - That was beautifully written. My very best wishes for you in 2015! I look forward to reading your blog in the new year.ReplyCancel

  • Becky - I’m glad that you are following your best instincts and altering your aspirations to fit what you want out of life. That’s so important, and I might add, WISE. I think owning any independent storefront is an exceedingly difficult thing to do these days. I am excited for your new plans, whatever they may be. Happy Holidays to you and the Mister. Bring on 2015!ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - Best of luck with your new adventures, Sunni! As you very eloquently stated, you have to follow your heart and do what’s best for you, and I’m glad you’re content with your decision. Life is hard sometimes, but it’s how we choose to deal with hardships that defines us in the end. Your blog followers are supporting you, as always. Happy holidays!ReplyCancel

  • Corinne - Ah, the New Year! May it be good for you. Sometimes in life it is absolutely necessary to make major changes. I used to laugh because I have more or less lived on a 5 year cycle. On occasion someone would ask how I had experienced so many different experiences in a long career, my answer was essentially a 5 year plan. I always wanted to own a storefront but fortunately discovered that it just would not work out. Only you know what is best for you and your family. My best wishes and hope that your new venture e a great success.ReplyCancel

  • Daisy Jones - I believe, Part of finding your dream is growing with it through accepting the inevitable but never letting it go. Bet you are actually sighing with relief somewhere inside yourself?
    This time next year you will look back and think ahhh that was just the beginning…lots and lots of luck to you and Merry Christmas to you and yours I am a newbie to your blog but have enjoyed reading….bestest daisy j xReplyCancel

  • Renee - Best of luck Sunni! I’m glad you were able to make the right decision for you. Can’t wait to see what you do next!ReplyCancel

  • didyoumakethat - I think 2014 has been a hard year for a lot of people, but I’m very glad to hear you have positive plans soon to come to fruition. Take it easy on yourself, rest, rediscover the joy. You have been a brave woman. Life has shown me time and again that the seeds of happiness are often unwittingly being sewn in the midst of misery. I look forward to seeing your happy face in 2015!ReplyCancel

  • tracy - I love your site, your shop and your honesty. I just got done writing a post on how I need to reevaluate my business plan. It’s tough to face down the fact that what you wanted may not really be what makes you happy. It’s just part of the journey I guess. I still love sewing but tweaking my business is important so I remain happy. Isn’t that why we are doing it in the first place?
    Best wishes in your new adventure, can’t wait to read about it!ReplyCancel

  • Elena Knits - Think that at you had the chance at trying that. It’s ok if you didn’t like it as much as you expected. You can focus now on new dreams :)ReplyCancel

  • Ramona Putnam - Don’t be sad. You gave a dream life which is a good thing. Think of all the wonderful things you’ve learned about yourself along the way. Some dreams don’t feed us the way we believed they would and drain us instead. You never would have known that if you hadn’t given it a try.

    Now go put those creative talents to work and find the joy in your life.
    RamonaReplyCancel

  • Angela - So glad you were able to accept that you aren’t loving a retail shop and are moving on….and I’m quite curious to see what is coming next!ReplyCancel

  • May - Following what’s truly in your heart even when it’s different than expectations – even your own – is so important. I’m so excited to see what’s to come!ReplyCancel

  • Peter - I’m reminded of that Dalai Lama quote: “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” Have a great holiday, Sunni. Looking forward to what’s in store for 2015!ReplyCancel

  • liza jane - Best of luck to you in 2015! I’m not sorry to see 2014 go either. I’m excited to see what is in the cards for you next!ReplyCancel

  • maddiemadalynne - Because the internet doesn’t have overhead like a retail shop, it’s hard making brick and mortar successful. I admire your ability to know when to close one door and open another. It takes guts and courage. Wishing you and the mister a prosperous 2015!ReplyCancel

  • Anne - It’s good to make difficult decisions and know you’ve made the right one! Well done and good luck in 2015 with your new venture. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

  • mstmoore - Sunni,
    This is my first time commenting and I have already been a customer of your shop. I want to thank you for sharing your wisdom, for inspiring new sewers, for selling awesome fabric that is just beautiful to behold. Thank you for taking the time to write insightful details of the products you sell, they help so much. Thank you for being honest and above all thank you for following your dreams! Merry XMas!!!ReplyCancel

  • Heather - Thank you for your honesty and for sharing. I think sometimes the best way to find out if something is right for you is to give it a shot. I’m so glad you are keeping your online store open, and I look forward to whatever you are up to in the future!ReplyCancel

  • Robyn - Best wishes to you in the new year. I have a feeling that 2015 is going to be an epic year for a lot of folks. I am looking forward to what you will bring to us as I know it will be grandReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Best wishes for 2015 as you follow a different path! Can’t wait to hear your new plans.ReplyCancel

  • Rebekah - Hi Sunni,

    I am so happy to hear that you are setting your sights to something you will truly love doing. Excited to see what you have in store!ReplyCancel

  • Heather Lou - I’m happy you’re following your heart and super excited to see what the new year brings for you Sunni!ReplyCancel

  • Kyla - I had the pleasure of stopping by your shop a few months ago and it was a beautiful little place. I’m sure you are turning it into something equally as beautiful. Happy Holidays!ReplyCancel

  • Mary - I don’t post comments nearly as often as I should, but I wanted to say that I LOVED this post! No matter what you do, just know that you are inspiring others (*raises hand*) as we follow our dreams along with you. Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

  • Nikki H - Sunni, I am so relieved for you. Even though you didn’t say anything overtly negative on the blog, I could tell that the stress of owning a retail store was really getting to you and sapping your energy and joy. I grew up with my parents owning a business and I’ve seen the mental and emotional toll it takes. It’s not worth hanging onto something just because it’s what you *thought* you wanted at one time.
    I’m so excited to see what you have in store for 2015! I don’t live in SLC, but I’m still dying to know what you’ll turn the shop into! I hope you have a relaxing break over the next few weeks.ReplyCancel

  • Miss J - I’m glad you’re not sad Sunni,but I am as your shop looked so nice!
    You are so talented and a great teacher as I saw from your Craftsy class, I know your new secret venture will be great.
    Wishing you the best for the New Year!
    JReplyCancel

  • Peggy Lobello - Kudos for following your dreams. You never know til you try. All the best.ReplyCancel

  • Alessa - Good on you for making a difficult decision and lots of luck and success for the new venture in 2015!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Hi Sunni! I know it takes a lot of patience with yourself and guts to make those kind of radical choices. And yet there is a sigh of relief. I have always loved your blog and style and wish you all the best in your new adventures!ReplyCancel

Fabric-Friday-Banner

Oh the rarity that is wool knit. Today’s Fabric Friday is all about wool knit. So what does this mean exactly? Again, wool is the fiber type and knit is the type of fabric (weave/knit structure) we’re dealing with. Knitted fabrics are actually knitted on large knitting machines. They are either knitted flat – meaning they have selvedge edges running along each vertical edge – or they are knitted in a tube. I’ve seen both in different fiber types, but let’s get back to wool.

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Wool knit is not easy to come by. I rarely, if ever, see them (even as a fabric store owner with some good fabric getting connections). When I see them, I snatch them up like they are going out of style!

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I like to think of wool knits in 4 categories – just to keep it relatively simple. There’s wool jersey – this means that the cloth is knitted from a single yarn. Think t-shirt weight. I also classify wool rib knit in this category too. A good quality wool jersey will have a nice drape and will be soft.  The nice thing with jersey weight wool knits is that they can be fairly thin and they will still last you a good long while if you keep the moths at bay. Wools are awesome in this way. Wool jerseys sometimes have a bit of spandex (or Lycra) in them, for recovery (meaning it won’t stretch out of shape and never come back!).

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Wool Double Knit is next. To create a double knit, two fabrics are knitted simultaneously at the same time which creates thicker, denser cloth. This is one of my favorites. Wool Double Knit (or ponte knit too) usually doesn’t curl making it easier to handle and deal with and it’s just beefier than your average jersey. It’s lovely cloth. Sometimes, double knits have some spandex in them too, just for nice recovery.

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Third category is Boiled Wool. Boiled wool is kind of special because it’s formation is actually made from boiling wool, hence its namesake. It can be made from either a woven or knit wool and from there the cloth is boiled and agitated. This causes the wool to shrink in both directions and creates a lofty sort of cloth. Additionally, it tends to have a nice amount of give in the cross-grain. Would make a perfect Oslo – the new Seamwork cardigan. Ends up being a bit of a sweatery knit with nice bumpy irregular texture. Very warm too.

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Sweater knits comprise the fourth category. Even though boiled wool is kind of a sweater knit, I tend to put it in its own category because it’s formation is a little bit special. Sweater knits can be regular knit or raschel knit – meaning it has more of a lacy feel to it. These are generally, well sweatery. Think sweater and you have the idea. They sometimes feature interesting designs in the knit – like cables and such. My apologies for featuring a boring solid color photo for the sweater knits – I don’t have any fun or funky design wool sweater knits on hand! Several sweater knits are made of wool or are a wool blend (I see these often coupled with acrylic, polyester or nylon).

Since we’ve covered fiber types, I thought I would also mention that I mostly see merino, cashmere and angora rockin the knits. In fact, I daresay, I’ve never seen a merino wool that wasn’t a knit – what about you? If you come across these in wool knit yardage then it’s worth it to take a closer look and possibly even add to your stash. These particular types are usually quite soft and little fluffy.

Do have any wool knits in your stash? These are worth having!

For more about Wools, visit the Working with Wool Section!

  • Claire - Oh oh thank you so much for this whole series! I’ve never sewn with wool knits before, but it is about time.ReplyCancel

  • Renee - Wool knits and silk jersey are my absolute favorite. I’m always stocking up on them when I can. Thanks for this series. I was never quite sure of the difference between them all.ReplyCancel

  • Jet Set Sewing - I just finished making a dress from a 50s Claire McCardell pattern out of merino wool jersey from The Fabric Store in L.A. It’s a wonderful fabric to sew with! Now I’m making a wrap from a wool sweater knit. Once you get the hang of it, it’s very satisfying to sew with these fabrics. Also merino jersey is known for its ability to not get smelly, which cuts down on cleaning.ReplyCancel

  • Iselin - Oh, I love wool knits! Here in Norway wool is much used during the winter months, and I buy most of my wool knits from http://www.janusull.no/produkter/63/ull-paa-rull. Right now I’m wearing my new favourite dress that I made from this fabric: http://www.janusull.no/detaljer/UR4805-814-175/83–merinoull-14–polyamid-3–elastan#.VJQzfV4CI. It’s a heavy french terry and so, so soft and cosy. I use wool knits a lot when making clothes for my girls, too. They generally always wear wool as their base layer in winter.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - Thank you so much for this wonderful series. I know you spent a lot of time gathering the pictures and doing research. I will bookmark it for future reference, although I do admit I have several pieces of wool in my freezer at the momentReplyCancel

  • Stillsewing - Well done on this series. Unlike most of your readers whom I presume to be US or North Americans, all my sewing is done in either wool, cotton or silk. Wool is so easy to work with. This needs to be spelt out quite clearly. Over here we can buy “Woolmark” fabric which is very washable. I would encourage sewers to try it. Wool sews better, sits better.

    Happy Christmas.ReplyCancel

  • Billie - Very interesting series, I learned a lot! I have a question: what is the difference between boiled wool and felt?ReplyCancel

    • French Toast Tasha - Boiled wool is felted, after it’s knit or woven. Fabrics labeled “wool felt” are usually felted right from the fiber without being spun/knit/woven first, so they tend to be quite thick and sturdy. Since boiled wool has an underlying structure in the fibers, it doesn’t have to be felted as firmly to make a lasting fabric, so it often has a lot more drape per thickness.ReplyCancel

  • French Toast Tasha - Sunni, thanks for introducing more people to he joys of wool knits! Although I’m an American, like a lot of your readers across the pond I’ve converted to wearing almost exclusively silk and wool knits as base layers during the winter. It’s so much warmer, more luxurious and just more awesome than cotton, etc. And yeah, wool is pretty much always a dream to sew!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Oh how right you are – sadly, wool knit is a rare breed. If I spied wool double knit – especially locally – I would buy up the lot!! LOL Even on the West Coast of Canada, where the weather tends to be relatively mild, the damp can make us feel chillier than the temperature would dictate so a wool knit garment is an absolute joy to wear – and just lovely to sew with as well :)ReplyCancel

  • Patty - Thank you so much. Very informative!ReplyCancel

  • Topstitched by Anne - This is a brilliant series. I love working with wool. Both the wiven and the knitted kind. As Iselin said, we have a good source of knitted wool fabrics in Norway at Janus. They are a producer of wool underwear that last year decided to go on the market with wool fabrics also. They have beautiful wool Terry among other things.ReplyCancel

  • Rachelle - Warming Crafts - We get a lot of merino knits over here; there’s a wonderful factory in the North Island that makes a lot of merino knits and they are lovely to wear and to work with. Not cheap, but well worth it in my experience.ReplyCancel

  • Beth - I always thought boiled wool was a sturdy woven fabric for coats. So I was really confused when Lauren/Lladybird recently made a tshirt from boiled wool. Thank you for solving the mystery!ReplyCancel

  • maddie - Well this post comes at the right time! Over Thanksgiving, I bought a brushed wool knit on Emmaonesock.com (they have a whole section dedicated to them – link below). I haven’t dealt with this type of fabric before, so sewing with them was a new adventure (regular or ballpoint needles? Straight or zigzag stitch?). I’m not sure the one I have is any of the above categories. It has a face side with a paisley pattern, but the wrong side is solid grey, so it should be a double knit? But it curls to one side and isn’t as thick as a ponte. Any idea of what kind this is? If you look on the page, 5 he one I bought is the Etro teal brush wooded.

    http://www.emmaonesock.com/fabrics/woolknits.asp?c=58ReplyCancel

  • LeeAnn - Loved reading through this series. I’m lucky enough to live with in driving distance of The Needle and Thread fabric store in Gettysburg PA. Wool (and linen!) fabric for days!
    http://woodedhamlet.com/about_us/index.htmlReplyCancel

  • Danielle - Double knitting isn’t done with two strands held together; it is a method by which you create two layers of fabric using a single piece of yarn, so that each side has the little Vs characteristic of knits. It does create a thicker fabric and is much less prone to curling than typical knits (which are done in stockinette stitch, so that one side shows the little Vs while the reverse has little bumps).ReplyCancel

Not all woolens are created equal. Here’s where we’re going to get super snobby! Let’s talk about wool fiber types. So, what does this mean, wool fiber? It refers to the animal that the wool comes from and also any special finishes that the wool may undergo to become a yarn. First, I’m going to talk about the animal that the hair fiber came from in order to make the yarn to be woven or knitted into cloth. Remember that wool as a general definition is the hair of any animal made into fabric. So let’s talk animals, eh?

Most wool comes from sheep. When something just says its wool, it’s coming from a sheep. This is not a bad thing in any way, it’s just the base level and from here we’ll get a little more exotic.

Qualities_Cashmere_GoatsCashmere. I’m sure that’s one you’ve heard before. Cashmere. Oh how excitingly lush! Cashmere comes from cashmere goats (and a few other similar goats apparently) and the reason it’s such an expensive cloth is because it’s most specifically the hair around the goat’s neck. Not a whole bunch of hair there if you know what I mean. So you have to shave a lot of goat necks to get a small stash of hair to spin into yarn. This cloth is usually very very soft. Yum!

merino-sheep1Merino. Another fairly common wool out there. Merinos are sheep. A special sheep that is very much prized for its soft hair. Merino is very high quality and especially in knits, it’s positively heaven.

9136158d8120243de66d0bd43903e44cMohair is another wool fiber type. I actually see this fiber coupled a lot with rayon in suitings, but alone it’s more like a fur (but it’s not fur, so don’t be confused). Mohair comes from a certain breed of goats.

Annie 2 (2)That leads right into Angora which does come from little angora rabbits. I’ve actually never seen angora as a single fiber in a cloth. I’ve only ever seen it coupled with other fibers – perhaps to make it stronger? Either way, this stuff is quite soft and little bit fluffy.

800px-AlpacasAlpaca is a pretty wonderful woolen. It’s from an animal that is very similar looking to a llama. Alpaca hair is hypoallergenic! There are a few different breeds of the animal, Suri (considered the more luxurious) and Huacuaya.

vicuna-18This leads me to Vicuna which is considered one of the finest wools you can buy. It is very rare and the animal itself (relative to the llama also) can only be shorn once every three years! Surprisingly, I have a Vicuna scarf that was given to me by my dad. He lived in Bolivia when he was younger and a family gave my dad a pure vicuna scarf that had been in their family for many many years. It was considered a very prized possession. Crazy enough, it does not feel like the traditional wools I’ve come across. It’s very soft and almost feels like a very fine cotton, meaning it doesn’t itch in the slightest!

sheepWhat about Shetland wool? This comes from a Shetland sheep, is fairly course and rather scratchy. It’s usually something that you would use in a coat. Usually very thick and very very warm.

I also wanted to touch on a few other things that can make a wool special. These have to do with finishes or processes that the wool fiber goes through to become a yarn.

What is worsted wool? The worsted yarn goes through a different process than regular wool yarn to become yarn – that was a mouthful! When I come across worsted wools as a buyer, it typically implies that the wool is fairly soft and is light to medium weight and opaque. When I see a worsted I usually buy it because it usually means fine quality.

Have you ever seen high quality suiting wools? They are usually marked as super 120s or super 130s. I’ve even seen some go up to super 180s (very rare). These are very very high quality wool suitings. And they do not feel like wool, they feel akin to silk. Many have a luster to them – a little bit of a sheen – and the numbers themselves refer to the long staple yarn count per square inch. Like bedsheets. The higher the number, the better the quality. I’ve only seen these kind of suitings come from Great Britain or Australia, and that is usually reflective in the price as they can run pretty expensive. They hold a press, but wrinkling is very minimal.

What about virgin wool? Have you heard that term before? Virgin wool implies that all the wool in the piece is new and it does not contain any recycled wool. Virgin wools are typically more expensive than others, but worth the price. They are finer quality, have minimal wrinkling, usually a bit softer and have a lovely brilliant color in whatever color they are dyed in.

I know this was a long post, but hopefully this gives you a better idea of wool fiber types and what you’re looking at when you purchase something in store or online. It’s more than likely that I’ve missed a few here, but hopefully I’ve nabbed all the major ones! Do you have any of these fabrics in your stash?

For more about Wools, visit the Working with Wool Section!

  • Tia Dia - Love all this information! Wool is, hands down, my favourite fibre with which to work. I had never heard of Vicuna, and I have stumbled across a super 180 wool or two. Gorgeous, drool-worthy fabric, and, yes, very hefty in the price department. Thanks for posting!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Thank you Tia Dia! I too LOVE wools. They are marvelous to work with. Yay for woolens!ReplyCancel

  • Caitlyn M. - It’s exceedingly strange to me that the sewing world uses the term “wool” for fabric made from the hair of any animal. In the knitting/crocheting world, if a yarn is made from the hair of an alpaca, the yarn is labeled “alpaca,” not “wool.” There’s just a greater degree of specificity. Considering that the structure of sheep hair and alpaca hair is different and imparts very different qualities to the fiber (memory vs. drape in the case of wool and alpaca), I tend to think is the better way to go. It’s a lot less likely to confuse or mislead people about what they’re getting. I’ve gathered that knitters/crocheters in the UK tend to use the term wool to mean any yarn, but often use a modifier when the yarn is not actually made from sheep, e.g. cotton wool, in order to be clear. Any idea why the sewing world doesn’t observe these distinctions?ReplyCancel

    • Jen - I would tend to think that the differences in terminology relates to the subject matter, in other words, the subject of textiles versus the use of the material. If you are sewing a woolen material, then how you handle it would not be much different whether it is merino or shetland (except for sewing specific issues of the thickness of the fabric etc.). Angora fibers would tend to be an element of the fabric. So to a sewer I tend to think that the distinctions don’t matter so much, and so they grouped together as “wool” or perhaps more precisely, as “woolen” fabrics. I’m just guessing though, so maybe someone else has a different idea about this!

      I’ve noticed the difference with UK usage also and I suspect that it relates to texture rather than content. Also, if I remember correctly, the German word for cotton is baumwolle – tree wool. So perhaps that’s were the UK use comes from. This general use of wool seems not to have crossed the Atlantic, but then again, there is steel wool…ReplyCancel

      • Sunni - I agree with Jen too! When sewing, how you handle the cloth really is not much different even though the fiber content might be different. I can definitely see how it would be different for a knitter or even weaver though. Additionally, I would add that as far as cloth yardage is concerned, with all the different fiber types of wool in addition to all the different weaves it could be formulated into, that would end up with a lot of combinations that I think would add to confusion rather than eliminate. Great points though, both of you!ReplyCancel

    • LinB - My best guess is that it is a colloquial distinction. As a language spreads across the world and through time, local usage changes. For instance, my 80+-year-old father refers to his “shirt” as a “blouse.” Local usage in central North Carolina when he grew up did not distinguish between masculine and feminine garments. (It does now.) About using “wool” to describe any animal’s hair, you’re right, that IS odd. We say “camel’s hair,” not “camel’s wool” although you’d think that would also be a “woolen.” My LYS (local yarn store) owner collects hair from her collie all year, and spins it into a lovely undyed dog’s hair yarn to sell at Christmas time. Would that be considered “wool” where you live?ReplyCancel

      • Sunni - This is fascinating! I personally would think of it as a wool. And how dare I miss Camel hair! Aaacck! I will update this post very soon with some Camel hair. Thanks LinB!ReplyCancel

  • Caitlyn M. - Oh, and for anyone who might be interested, Clara Parkes is considered by the knitting world as one of the foremost authorities on fiber. Her books The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and The Knitter’s Book of Wool are excellent resources for anyone who wants to explore fiber in depth.ReplyCancel

  • Åsa - Thank you for your informative posts! I love wearing and sewing wool.

    Regarding angora wool, you may want to mention the animal cruelty aspects. This is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on angora wool (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angora_wool):
    “In 2013 several clothing retailers suspended the sourcing of products containing angora wool after video evidence surfaced of live rabbits with their paws tied being plucked raw in Chinese fur farms. Major retailers that banned angora products in response to welfare concerns include Gap Inc., Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M and Esprit.”ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know this! (shame on Sunni!). I had actually wondered why you couldn’t purchase angora sweaters anymore, but I definitely understand now. I’ve also seen some angora fabric yardage in the past couple of years and it is outrageously expensive, so hopefully these cute little guys are being treated in a much more humane way!ReplyCancel

  • patsijean - This is quite informative, and I have been sewing for a long time. Vicuna is new to me, and so is the information on worsteds. Good job and nice photos.

    I too have read news articles regarding the unnecessarily cruel harvesting of Angora wool. The rabbits are left bloody from where their fur was yanked out. I signed a petition regarding that practice, but cannot provide a link as this was a few months ago. My personal reaction was to avoid anything with angora in it.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - I’m just going to say that I love the animal pictures!ReplyCancel

  • Kate McIvor - Thanks Sunni! This is a great series. You should have print outs of your fabric nerd series to go along with fabric purchases. You could also consider selling the print outs to other shop owners. :)ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Thank you Kate! I will most definitely think about it. I was considering creating a downloadable e-book with all this info in it. I still have a fair amount of posts to go through, so I think this might be a fabulous idea!ReplyCancel

  • Becky - I’ll admit that I almost skipped this post altogether, because I’m allergic to wool. I was pleasantly surprised to see information on the non-sheepy stuff, though. Especially the alpaca, since I can handle that in at least lower percentages. It was an interesting read, and I hope you do similar posts in the future on other types of fabrics!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - Growing up in NZ, I saw a lot of wool (of the sheep variety, recognising Caitlyn’s point above ;-)… I thought for ages that wool just meant that made from sheep). It’s still my favourite too – structured yet pliable AND it doesn’t need to be washed as often, result! I’m loving this series – thank you Sunni!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - Thanks for a very helpful post. The one thing that comes out of this for me is the question of how animals are treated in the production of cloths, which though true of all of the above is particularly true of the angora rabbit. From what i understand it is possible to harvest the wool painlessly, but this is very slow and expensive and so best practice is not always followed, so worth watching out for cheap angora as a risky one. For me part p1f the reason for sewing my own clothes stems from a desire to have control over the production processes and this extends to the cloth itself. It can be difficult to find out, however!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Yes, this is very hard to know. I would also add that as a small business owner who sells fabric, many times, the fabric I’m purchasing has gone through at least 3 middle men before I see it. I rarely, if ever, deal directly with the manufacturer of the cloth so its really hard to find out if something has been ethically milled or not.ReplyCancel

  • Terri Gardner - I enjoyed your post. Being a wool lover and country dweller, I actually have all wools (with the exception of Vicuna) on the hoof. I started out with Shetland Sheep but had to have a little of everything. I love sewing and knitting with this versatile and wonderful fiber.

    And I will agree that in the knitting and spinning world what type of wool one uses tends to be more specific than the sewing world. That is the way it has always been. When we make or buy yarn, there are very exact percentages of raw materials. Wool fabric just doesn’t seem to go to those extremes, unless there is silk or cashmere involved. That’s what I think.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I agree, you are right! I find the same thing.
      It’s awesome that you own these animals! Soooooo cool!ReplyCancel

  • Lyn - When I was little, my grandfather had some Angora goats on his farm back in South Africa, until the wool market crashed and he sold them as it cost more to shear them than the wool was worth.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Lyn, this is terrible! And nowadays, its hard because I don’t know that the majority of people understand the worth of real wool. I’ve seen department stores here in the US market something as cashmere when it contained 5% of cashmere and otherwise was acrylic!!! This is incredibly disappointing! An all-around BOO! for the state of “fast fashion” the world is in today.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa G - Thanks for the crash course on wool! I’ll definitely bookmark this for future reference.ReplyCancel

  • Tanya - Thank you for the highly educational post – has actually opened my eyes to the different fibre types of wool and more importantly their origins. I didn’t know that cashmere came from a goat.ReplyCancel

  • bibliotecaria - One more thing to add a bit more detail. As a handspinner, worsted wool cloth actually means something a bit more specific — it has to do with how it is spun. In handspinning, there are two basic types of spinning: woolen vs. worsted. (Yes, woolen again! The word has been used with great variability, depending on the part of the process you are talking about.)

    The basic difference between these two types of spinning is how much air is included in the basic yarn as it is spun up. Woolen spinning includes a great deal more air, and is far more likely to be available in knitting yarn. If you weave with it, it is better to weave at a very light density, so as not to lose the trapped air, which leads to greater warmth. Truthfully, I’ve really only seen that type of weaving in handwoven items, not commercial stuff!

    Worsted spinning tends to be very tightly spun, with very little air trapped in the yarn at all. Although this can certainly be done with thick yarns, this type of yarn is more likely to be spun very finely and used in weaving cloth, which is why worsted cloth is the way you describe. The down side is that worsted-spun cloth is not as warm as woolen-spun cloth.

    Anyway, just thought I’d add to the general knowledge.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Thank you for this! Love hearing more about everyone’s knowledge of wool fabric and fiber.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - I would take one of each of these adorable fuzzies… I’ve always wanted to raise goats for real, but alas, i live in an apartment, which is probably why i hoard fabric and lovely squishy wools instead ^__^ Seriously though, wool is one of my hands down favourite fibers to work with – and silk. Silk-wool blends are the ultimate IMO ^__^ Thank you for sharing – I learned some new things! :)ReplyCancel

  • Sara A. - Speaking as a knitter, these animal fibers have lots of different effects on finished fabric.
    Wool is the most elastic. Merino wool is the softest and needs a firm spin to keep it from pulling. Shetland wool is a medium wool sheep with guard hairs and kemp in its coat that requires some more extensive processing to go from sheep to yarn.

    Alpaca is warm and soft but not very elastic so very drapey and has a halo to it. Can shed.

    Angora rabbit fur is often cut with other fibers because it is completely inelastic and also about 5x warmer than other fibers.

    “Angora” is kind of a catch-all term in the animal husbandry world for an animal with thick, warm, long, and lustrous locks. There are angora goats, rabbits, cats, and dogs. I think the root comes from “Ankara,” a region in Turkey.

    A question for you though. I got some beautiful wool from the fabric store and I didn’t realize it at the time, but it’s a stretch wool. It feels like 95% wool 5% lycra, judging against stretch denim. I’ve never sewn with wool woven, let alone wool stretch woven– Is there anything special I need to know about that?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Thanks for your input Sara! I would say that with your stretch wool, just keep in mind that it’s meant to stretch when you wear it. This works lovely in a jacket – when you want a very fitted jacket and you want to be able to actually move in it and not feel like you’re wearing a straight jacket. I would recommend going down one size in a pattern, or using a bigger seam allowance everywhere with whatever style you choose to make up the stretch wool in. Fit as you go too. Hopefully this helps you!ReplyCancel

      • Sara A. - Thanks Sunni! I think I’m gonna stash the wool for a while. I’m fairly new to garment sewing, so I don’t want to botch something beautiful or attempt something too far beyond my current skill set. Button holes and zipper installations are still adventures for me.ReplyCancel

  • Fabric Friday: Wool Knits » A Fashionable Stitch - […] we’ve covered fiber types, I thought I would also mention that I mostly see merino, cashmere and angora rockin the knits. In […]ReplyCancel

  • Francesca - Adorable pics and great post. I have something of everything in your post, including some great Italian vicuna – or “pura lana vicogna” as it says on the side. This huge store we have in my island sells everything from totally unadulterated rubbish to some really nice silks and wools, and I had stocked up on some of this wool – had made a blue jacket and skirt, and a coat, and recently found I still had some black left and made a New york cape (tessuti pattern). It’s lovely stuff and my friend Franco who has a men’s shop recognised it by look and feel. I have found that a lot of Italian and some French fabrics tend to have the composition stamped on the edges – at least the good ones. I’ve been fortunate enough to score great stuff from Franco’s shop – since tailoring is no longer so popular among men nowadays (idiots) he is selling his fabric stock at great prices, so I have bought Dormeuil fabrics and others – super 120s, 140s, tropical wool, mohair suitting, etc etc….. these are the only fabrics I actually hang from a clip hanger instead of folding them in my different stash places! And I have also managed to buy merino knit on line from New Zealand – it is gorgeous, and doesn’t itch my neck and chest like other wools do (except for cashmere – but hey, can you even buy cashmere knit??!!).

    I have bought angora for knitting in the past but always made sure to buy British made or Italian, especally after seeing pics on laughing hens of this woman spinning directly off her pet rabbits – so cute! – but the last time I bought some was from Rowan and I was shocked to see that it was from “French and Chinese rabbits” – I did not expect Rowan to use Chinese angora, I wouldn’t have bought it if I knew. That country has no culture of compassion for animals and I avoid buying chinese made for that reason.ReplyCancel