The “Winged” Sweater

The Facts
Fabric: 2 yards medium weight brushed wool jersey with lycra from Mood, $36
Pattern: none
Year: 2012
Notions: thread
First worn: 12/2
Wear again: sure
Time to complete: 4 hours or so
Total cost: $36

Winter is forcing me away from my usual cotton wovens into warmer fabrics.  This is the first time I’ve worked with wool jersey.  For some reason I was certain I’d ordered 60-inch-wide fabric specifically to make the wrap top pattern I spent an hour putting together.  (Stephanie offered the pattern for sale on Craftsy earlier this year.  I can’t find it anymore to link, and I suspect it might have a future as a Cake pattern.)  When the pattern wouldn’t fit, I assumed I somehow drastically shrank the fabric when I carefully prewashed it by hand.  But no, now that I’m checking my facts for this post, I just bought the wrong width.  Oops.  I got out an A-line skirt pattern with a wide waistband that would fit on the fabric easily, be a cinch to make, and most likely become a wardrobe staple.  But I couldn’t summon any excitement for it.

I thought about the dress I’d seen earlier that day when I’d popped into a tiny boutique to get out of the bracing cold for a few minutes between errands. A cape-like jersey dress that looked like a circle skirt worn as a top, with seams for the sleeves and body and the space between stitched together like a quilt.  And then I started drawing chalk lines onto my precious jersey and cutting away like I was a different person or something.  It was pretty fun.  I had a moment when I questioned– I don’t know what I’m doing!  It’s just fabric, I told myself, and carried on.  I thought I’d already shrunk the crap out of it anyways.

I made the sleeves as long as the fabric would allow and that determined the overall length, shorter than the piece that inspired me but not by much. That was one short dress.  The seam placement took a bit of trial and error.  Then I pinned the two layers together in the wing section and topstitched. I turned down and stitched the edge of the neck opening but didn’t hem anywhere else.

In the end, my version of this look isn’t overly dramatic.  It resembles a normal top in some angles/positions, so I don’t feel too out of my element wearing it. And it’s so cozy and warm, not my last experiment with wool this winter.




Lee is a highly educated stay at home mom with a lot of projects. She lives in New York City.


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  1. That is one happy experiment that worked out amazingly well! You’ve now given me a whole HOST of ideas!! Do you have any pics of the back? And back with the arms out? I would love to see more details on your blog if you get a chance : )

    • How flattering that I’ve given YOU ideas for a change! I’ll try to get some more photos up on the blog this week– all the shots we took at MoMA that we thought were so dramatic and cool turned out to be trash. These were the backup photos at the playground while Fenna was airing out. The piece really is a big circle, the same in front and back, except that the neck opening is a bit deeper in front.

  2. That’s super cute, Lee. I love the color and your topstitching really adds character to the simple shape of it. Love that you cut right into that precious wool jersey from Mood, I need to just do that once in awhile and not worry about messing it up.

    • Thanks! It’s a gamble cutting into fabric you’ve spent good money on, isn’t it? Getting stuff from the thrift like you do so often probably frees you up to take more chances.

  3. This is cool! And I love your sunglasses. :)

    • Thanks! Ah, the sunglasses. I agonized over them and am still second-guessing the purchase (they’re prescription, $$$$$), a terrible habit I picked up growing up in a family of compulsive shoppers.

  4. I love this Lee. A superb fit, those wings are brilliant and all that top stitching.
    I loved that you questioned what you were doing it made me laugh that’s exactly what I do.

    I think I’ll make one too. Love it!

    • Wow, thank you! I would never suspect that you question what you do since you so own the results. I guess doubting is part of the process and taking a risk– that could turn out badly– a big part of the fun.

  5. Ooooh…I’ve seen a lot of variants of the circle-cut top, but the quilted wing portions are a new take on it. That is so awesome!

    Did changing the colours of the quilting threads annoy the heck out of you? I find that so tedious!

  6. THAT IS SUPER COOL. *filed away for future attempt*