Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Ruana Shawl

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.


Housewife59 said...

You have shown how simple it is to make this beautiful shawl. Yes - even I can do this! I will be searching around for some fleece. thank you so much Lady Lydia

Little Birdie Blessings said...

Clever and resourceful. Thanks for sharing how to make this lovely shawl. ~ Abby

Faith F. said...

Hello Lady Lydia. I am an eighteen year old home educated daughter. I first met you on Ladies Against Feminism and I love your aticles. Your writing about refinement really helped me, because I feel that refinement is lost in much of our culture. As we are fond of saying here "What the world does cheaply, ugly, coarsely and crudely God can help us do sweetly, gently, and beautifully." Every thing from eating a meal, to the way we dress and speak can be so lovely and a testimony. Your website always reminds me of these truths. I love your Victorian pictures that you add- my sister who is the photographer in the family was looking at your blog with me last night, and the paintings of well dressed ladies in gardens and walking and home making and sewing were so pretty. I just recently began sewing, my Mother is very good at crocheting, and she used to enjoy making doll garmets, hats, purses, out of yarn for us. The sewing is something we are learning together. I have the most time to work on it, and I have one main problem. I am afraid to leave my seams plain on the inside of a blouse or skirt, for fear of them fraying. I have french seamed some of my skirts, two in cotton and one in courderoy. Do your seams stay in place well? Blessings in Christ, Faith.

Lydia said...

I hope you have good success making this, and if you make a mistake, you can use the fabric for something else, which is not always possible with other projects.

Lydia said...

Hello Faith, with the modern machines, a good stitch will keep the seam from fraying. You can go along those edges with an overlap stitch or zig zag stitch of some kind, but regular cottons (like the quilting cottons at JoAnns that I use for my every day dresses) does not fray. Just wash your fabric first and have a look at what the cut edges end up looking like and you'll see it holds up pretty well. We only wear a dress for a few years anyway, as it will begin to fade and wear in other areas, so it is not necessary to finish the cut edges of the inside seams. More importantly, some seams need to be doubly stitched to prevent breaking, especially on "tugging" areas like the under arm sleeve, the waistline seam, and the hips. Once you have reinforced those seams with another layer of stitches, you won't need to worry about the frayed edges at all.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lydia for sharing and showing yet another wonderful garment and being so clever and resourceful as Little Birdie Blessings stated. I agree!

Mrs. J.

Faith F. said...

Thank you Lady Lydia!! I am glad to find out that I need not worry about my hems and seams. The material I am working on now is something new- I don't know what it is- it feels silky and is very thin. I am attempting to sew a blouse for my mothers Birthday with it. Thank you very much again!!!!!

Cathy and Steve said...

Thanks so much for researching how this is done and providing us with a quick and easy road map. I am going to make a couple of these in different colors for my mom and sister and best friend (we'll all match LOL). What a clever idea... and it looks comfortable for a ride in the car or for a trip to the mall where a bulky, heavy coat becomes a millstone.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to try this!!

Anonymous said...

I just tried making one with this really pretty bubble-gum pink fleece. Even with just the cut up the front, it is pretty and WARM! I'm going to have trouble keeping the cats off of me when I'm wearing it. I may get some contrasting ribbon to finish the edges, but even as it is, it is lovely. Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Good Evening, Lady Lydia,

I bought some chocolate colored fleece today to make this wrap before the holiday, and because I need to see it in my mind's eye before I cut, may I confirm with you what I see? I see that the cut is going up the garment length-wise, not width-wise; is this correct?

Thank you in advance for your time and sharing this pattern with us.

Mrs. Skutt

Lydia said...

Yes, it is cut halfway up the long way. That way, a large flat piece lays to the back of your body, while the front has two flaps

Anonymous said...

Wonderful - thank you! I see sewing adventures in my weekend. :)

Have a lovely day,
Mrs. Skutt

Iva said...

The ruana is not Irish, but from the Andes and Venezuela.

Lydia said...

I got the idea for this shawl from an Irish site http://www.lindaclifford.com/Cloak.html where it was mentioned.