A Spring Day by the Seashore
by Rene Lelong
Lately I have been interested in the things that people are making with fleece, and the Irish ruana shawl caught my eye. The one you see above comes from Kohls and is nearly $30.00. I looked at a woven one in Walmart to see how it was made, and then experimented with 2 yards of 50 inch wide fleece. The 60 inch wide will work, also. A one-and-a-half yard length might suffice. Here is how I made one of these ruana shawls.
To get the entire project in a photograph, I've just made a miniature sample to show on my blog. First (above) you lay out your two yards of fabric. Make sure your cutting table is very clean if you use white fabric.
Next, I folded the piece in half, as you see, below.
Usually if you open your fabric up after you get it home from the fabric store, you will find there is a fold l down the middle, the long way, from the way it was folded on the bolt. That line will make it very easy to cut along. Just unfold the fabric and cut halfway up that line, to get the front piece into two pieces that you will use to put over your shoulders or around your waist.
After folding the fabric from one end to the other, fold it over from side to side, so that now it is folded four ways. If your fabric has a fold line that is already sort of pressed in to the fabric, you do not need this step.
With colored chalk or a pencil, mark a complete line from one end to the other of this fold to cut along. (You will not need to do this if you just use the fold line of your fabric.) Do not cut through all the layers of the fold; only the outside layer. If you are using 50 or 60 inch fleece, all you have to do is open it up and cut halfway down the fold line.
Open the piece up again and lay it on the table and place a bowl halfway down the cut, and mark it with chalk for your neckline
Cut out the neckline, and if you wish, cut off the square edges so that the neckline area is more smooth down the front of the shawl. You can roll the edges under and stitch the with a fancy stitch on your machine, or, you can use colored thread and any type of zig-zag stitch around the neckline and down the front, so that it will have a little gathered "curl." The ruana shawl pictured above, has a ruffle on it. I may add a ruffle to mine later.
This is what your shawl will look like without any stitching on it. Although stitching is not necessary and makes it much quicker to construct, I would suggest making decorative machine hems on all edges. Note: the sides of this shawl are separated and open, not sewn together.
Basically, you just lay your fabric down and cut it in the middle, halfway up, to make the front. The back is not cut. also, you do not need to make the neckline, as it will work just fine with only the straight cut. I added the half circle for the neckline, but if you will examine the ruana shawls in stores, you will see that some of them do not have the curved neckline. So if you are not sure about doing it, you know that just a cut up the front will do fine.
Try on the shawl, placing the large unbroken piece in the back, and the rounded neckline on the neck. Then pull one front piece over one shoulder. There are many other ways to wear this, but I tried this one and it was very comfortable and does not fall apart even when going for a walk. The cost of this is about $6.00 when you buy the very thinnest fleece. Fleece is quite warm, so you may not want to use the heavy fleece.
In the house, I hardly know I am wearing this shawl, as it is so comfortable and the parts you wrap around your shoulders stick to the fabric just fine. It does not flop around nor get in the way during various activities of the home, and is perfect for times of sitting.
I will try to find some way to get a picture of myself wearing this, after I get the ruffled edge on it.
One thing that is so nice about this kind of garment, is that you can use the fabric later if you want to make a jacket or some other fleece project.
I like the fact that it is as long as a coat. Long coats are very expensive and this affordable project might mean you can get 2 yards of fleece in all your favorite colors and make wraps. The thin fleece at WalMart is about $2.70 a yard. Fabric stores also sell reasonably priced thin fleece.