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My Sewing Strategy Told Me to Make an Easy Wool Poncho

Mood images misc 2013 Sewing inspiration: Missoni wool poncho, available at MyTheresa.com
How's this for a sewing catch 22? I'm surrounded every day by the most beautiful fabric in the world but I'm too busy to sew. Gah! Because I would go crazy if I had to give up sewing entirely, I've modified my sewing strategy to keep things really simple: When I get the urge to sew something I gravitate toward sites like Net-a-Porter and My Theresa, in search of something easy to make where the fabric is the star. Then I look through my pattern collection for a pattern I can easily adapt. With a job at Mood where I'm always busy and a family and home to take care of, I need to keep my sewing projects on the simpler side, and this method works well.

So you can see why a poncho like this one I saw at MyTheresa.com jumped out at me for a sewing project. I already had an old poncho pattern at home, and seriously, how hard is it to make something like this? Two shoulder seams, stitch the edges under and that's it.

cape 1 Pardon the low-contrast iPhone photo, but you can get a good idea for how fabulous this wool plaid is. It's a lightweight wool and doesn't feel too hot or too heavy to wear over a sweater or top.

For my poncho I chose a beautiful wool plaid that I found in Mood's wool department at the NYC store (also available online as well at MoodFabrics.com). I pair it with a cream cashmere turtleneck and tan wool pants, creating a look very similar to the Missoni above, and I get a ton of compliments on my outfit when I wear it to work and out. This poncho has become one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe, and it had to be one of the easiest to make as well.

cape 2 To stabilize the neckline, I bound it in some contrasting leather I had in my stash.

So here's my recommended strategy for home sewers with no time to sew: 1) Look to established designers first for inspiration, because they know best how to make beautiful clothes with simple, clean lines. 2) Dig through your pattern collection to find an adaptable pattern. Even if you own just a few patterns you're likely to have one that's readily adaptable to your needs. 3) Let the fabric be the main focus of your garment, rather than relying on a lot of seams and darts and gathers and other structural details.

Tell me here about your sewing strategy!

8 thoughts on “My Sewing Strategy Told Me to Make an Easy Wool Poncho”

  • Dilliander

    Lovely Meg! That wool is quite beautiful and perfect for the poncho. Good tips too, this fabric is definitely the star :)

  • Lori

    Gorgeous garment, Meg.

  • Wanett

    Cute!!! I've been really into the idea of a cape/poncho, lately.

    I was hoping to meet you at Mood, yesterday! Maybe next time.

  • Ginger

    This is gorgeous! I hear you-- simple projects sometimes feel like the only manageable ones! I love that you let the fabric be the star. :)

  • Patti

    Beautiful. Love love, the fabric.

    Q: what pattern did you use, or did you just take the length you bought and did no sewing, except to bind the neck and front edges?

    • Meg at Mood

      Patti, I used an old Simplicity poncho pattern from the 1960s that I found on Etsy. It was a pop-over poncho, but I divided the front piece into two sections that aligned with the back neck edge. The edges on all sides, top and bottom, are turned, pressed and stitched in place. If you had a fabric that didn't fray you could skip that step. —Meg

  • Matt

    This is a new interpretation of a wool plaid, love these poncho style.

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