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DIY Wool Blanket Camp Sweater

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Anyone ever make their own tripping clothing? I've got no experience with this kind of stuff and no sewing machine, but a found a few folks on bushcraft forums made sweaters from wool blankets. Thought it would be nice to have home-made piece of gear for paddling in the chilly shoulder season.

Always liked the look of those Wool Blanket Shirts from Empire Wool and Canvas, but it looks like the've discontinued making them and moved on to more complicated garments. Duluth Pack makes a wool blanket shirt too but their high prices & cost of shipping (especially with the Canadian Dollar exchange) freaked me out.

Ended up googling keywords like "wool blanket shirt" & "wool blanket anorak" & "boreal shirt" and came across lots of pics and videos from folks making simplified versions.

Picked up a military replica blanket (90% wool) from a local surplus store. It didn't have that moth-ball chemical smell like many others in their stock. The width of the blanket was a perfect match to my armspan and that helped to limit the initial sewing work. The blanket was folded (unevenly) with one of my bulky fleece sweaters laid down as a pattern. The blanket was positioned so that the stitched bottom hem would be the front of the overall seater and the decorative stripe would be across the belly. Using some blackboard chalk, I traced around the sweater with about a 1/2" extra seem allowance.
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The many descriptions of handstitching mentioned the blanket stitch as the most practical. It was pretty fast to do and the sides were quickly stitched up.
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Used some extra material from the striped section of the blanket to make a collar by and folded a piece in half and stitching up the sides and then inverting.
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At this point the sleeves ends, neck slit opening and the rear bottom were all raw cut edged. I could have left it as such but worried about fraying. Instead of using the blanket stitch again on these parts, I went crazy and decided to use a double loop lacing method with a 3/32" roll of flat leather lace. The lace had been sitting in the leather toolbox for years unused. Took a while but very meditative to lace. Here is a shot of it around one sleeve end...
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At this point, I debated making some wood toggles for the neck closure, but decided against it when I saw some left over brown paracord sort of matched the leather lacing. Six small loops of scrap blanket material were stitched on the inside of the neck opening with their stitches hidden by the lacing material. The paracord was woven through and finished with a lanyard knot.
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Here's the final sweater. Certainly not the slim "Seattle Fit" that is the rage with men's outdoor clothing today, but I don't need to show off my figure on the trail. It is very warm and has some decent wind resistance. At least being wool, it'll be spark resistant so I can get close up to a warming fire with worry of burning spark holes.
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I guess the true measure of success was the fact my 7 year old son liked it and asked it I could make him one! There was enough material for me to make him a similar sweater (without the leather laced cuffs) so now we can hopefully get out in the spring for a Father & Son trip.
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Wow Murat, that sure look fantastic!! You never stop amazing me with the creativity and débrouillardise you show!!
 
Very nice. You did a good job and it looks sharp. In cool weather I always carry a wool blanket with me. To wear it I fold it corner to opposing corner - makes a triangle. Put middle of long end over your head overhanging top/front of head by about 2". Fold that long edge so it hangs around your shoulders and down the middle of your chest. At about your sternum roll the 2 edges together and clip with a gator clip. Now you got a warm poncho with a hood that converts back to a sleeping blanket. I love multipurpose items.
 
Very nice. You did a good job and it looks sharp. In cool weather I always carry a wool blanket with me. To wear it I fold it corner to opposing corner - makes a triangle. Put middle of long end over your head overhanging top/front of head by about 2". Fold that long edge so it hangs around your shoulders and down the middle of your chest. At about your sternum roll the 2 edges together and clip with a gator clip. Now you got a warm poncho with a hood that converts back to a sleeping blanket. I love multipurpose items.

Ok Doc, I lik ethe idea, but can't see it in my head:(... Can you draw, take pictures, show us? Cause I think I really like that!
Maybe in an other thread so we don't highjack Murat's thread:cool:
 
I'll get on it C. This is the first forum I've joined and haven't learned which buttons to push yet... and I'm not very proficient at uploading pics & vids but we'll get it done.
 
I really like that Murat. It looks great. Maybe even I with my non-sewing skills could try that. We've bought the occasional wool blanket here and there at flea markets (unfortunate moniker, that) and antique barns. The prices have been soaring the past few years. I guess people are rediscovering wool blankets.
I like that wool poncho idea too Doc. I'll need to try to figure out how that works.
 
I'll get on it C. This is the first forum I've joined and haven't learned which buttons to push yet... and I'm not very proficient at uploading pics & vids but we'll get it done.

Thank you so much!!
 
What a great idea, looking forward to seeing some pics of it in action.
Thanks again for sharing the process, looks like a nice project that is doable by even me.
 
I bought a green Hudson's Bay blanket many years ago, to make into capote, never could get the courage to start cutting it into blanket coat parts. Thanks for the inspiration!!
BB
 
I made a capote out of a red hudsons bay blanket, complete with hood and storage sock for the 50 cal. Hawken. I'll have to dig it out. It's in a trunk, not much need of it here in the Hamptons.
Jim

Nice job on the sweater, I really like the collar and the front closure.
 
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Murat V that's awesome! I'm sure the satisfaction of having a custom made, one of a kind, using reused material, warm, spark tolerant sweater wont loose its charm ever. Love the globe knot finish. I can't tell how you did the collar, but it looks great. Thanks for sharing.
 
A capote would be just the thing for Manitoba. We hae a large Metis community here and the winter fest in Winnipeg ( Festial oyageur) is on soon. I would look too cute in one of those with some mukluks.

Christine
 
What a great idea, looking forward to seeing some pics of it in action.
Thanks again for sharing the process, looks like a nice project that is doable by even me.

Got to Echo this !

Very cool !, I mean Warming !

Jim
 
Very nice work, I had blanket shirt made by Woolrich back in the 80's that I loved. It had an anorak type pocket in the front that was real useful.


I love the matching one for boy, you'll be stylin.
 
Thanks everyone! It is a pretty straight forward project once you get over the hesitation of cutting into a perfectly fine blanket. Youtube vids of the blanket stitch were helpful initially and I'm sure anyone with sewing machine could whip one up very quickly.

Now those capotes! They look outstanding. Had a chance to try one out at the Canoe Museum years ago but they seemed too intimidating to make at the time. Where did you get that pattern, yknpdlr?

Doc: I'm intrigued by your hooded blanket poncho idea too. Hope you can post pics
 
Now those capotes! They look outstanding. Had a chance to try one out at the Canoe Museum years ago but they seemed too intimidating to make at the time. Where did you get that pattern, yknpdlr?
Northwest Traders, several pattern choices, multiple sizes come on each pattern. Shop around for wool blankets, as they often go on sale. Minimum blanket size to fit a full size hood from the pattern with practically no waste is about 66 x 80 inches. It's a great project.

see: http://www.nwtrader.com/patterns.html
 
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