I haven’t posted a sewing project lately, not because I haven’t been sewing, but because I’ve been catching up on projects. You know, all those things that sound like a quick and simple idea but then become quite labor and time intensive. No pattern required, a few quick seams, and voila – a new garment! Or so one thinks.
One thing I see so much of at my local Goodwill Dig are vintage wool blankets. They are often a bit holey, but overall, the structure is sound. I hate to think about what happens to most of them. I actually have a whole stack of ones I’ve rescued, with labels ranging from Pendleton to some of the local factories in the upper midwest that I’ve never before encountered. So I’ve gotten picky about picking up new ones.
But the minute I spied this one I knew it had a whole new life ahead of it. Id been thinking about making a blanket jacket for several years, but had not run across the correct size and color combination. But this little blanket ticked both boxes.
To make the jacket, I folded the blanket in half lengthwise. This blanket is only 60 inches long, so I was able to use the fringed ends as the hem. After folding I cut through the center front to a little over half the length, and then I shaped the V-neck and curved back edge. I had a little help with the pattern, as I used the neck and sides from a Bonnie Cashin design featured years ago in Threads magazine.
This feature on Cashin included the pattern for the coat, which I adapted for my jacket. I decided against the leather edges, and decided instead to use a blanket stitch to secure them.
I have to have things a bit fitted, otherwise I get the feeling of swimming in cloth. To ease in the fullness I went with a drawstring. Both the brass eyelets and the green leather belt were sourced from the Goodwill bins.
I love finding sewing notions in thrift stores. I usually buy sewing things whether or not I need them at the time, because one never knows when a brass eyelet is just the right thing for a design.
When I found the package of eyelets years ago, I also found the little tool for setting them properly. All you need is a hammer and a fairly steady hand. This one was made by Dritz and worked like a top.
I had never before encountered the Horner label, but it was around for a long time; according to the label since 1836. Like many businesses, Horner Woolen Mills went through several owners and name changes, but by 1880 the mill belonged to Samuel Horner. As far as I can tell, blankets and textiles were produced there until the mid 1950s. The good news about this business is that some of the records were saved, and are now housed at the Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections. The mill building complex still stands, with part of it being remodeled into residences, and the rest looking for a new purpose.