DIY Cozy Sheep Sweater

I suppose you could say my latest make has me feeling a bit sheepish…ha! Actually, I’m feeling pretty great, not to mention incredibly cozy. This little number got her start like so many of my seemingly hairbrained ideas that end up looking awesome: I feel in love with some crazy fabric.

I’m pretty sure this fabric was in one of Mood’s “Recommended for You” emails. Mood, you know me so well. I instantly fell in love with the sheep, the pea-green color and the chunky knit. I mean, what’s not to love? So, I ordered enough for a sweater and impatiently waited for the mail.

When the fabric arrived, I tore into the package and pulled out…fabric…covered in GIANT sheep. I was expecting a fabric covered in small, tasteful little guys (seriously, past self? Tasteful? They’re sheep!). As you can see, that’s not what I got, and this is 100% my own fault. Mood had a photo of the fabric with a ruler on it for scale. It clearly showed the sheep in all their glory at three square inches. But, apparently, in my exuberance to order the fabric, I completely lost my mind and all rational thought. I should mention here that the fabric is a wool blend.

Well, I had the fabric now. There was no turning back. Also, I still liked it. It’s quirky, AND it feels like what I would imagine cuddling an actual sheep would be like.

I knew from the start I wanted to make a sweater and preferably one with inset sleeves, sleeve bands and a bottom band. I was up in the air about whether to make a crewneck or turtleneck. As I mentioned at the end of my last post, I don’t like flimsy turtlenecks, but this…this would give me the chunkiest turtleneck ever.

I selected McCalls #7195 for the base pattern. I made this pattern before, so I already had a sense of how it would fit. This pattern is technically designed for wovens, not knits. But let’s be honest, when do I ever let suggested fabrics stop me? As an English major in college, I had a professor (and so did probably every other English major in the history of the world) who would say, “You need to know the rules before you can break them.” I think the same applies to sewing. Once you know the rules you can bend them to your heart’s desire.

Part of this rule-breaking sheep sweater (most ridiculous sentence ever?) was lots of alterations. Since this pattern is sized for wovens, I needed to take it in a bit, as I didn’t need the extra room at the hem…or around the arms…or in the bodice. I took the side seam in a total of four inches under the arms, grading to six inches at the hem. I also took in each of the sleeves by two inches. On my last version of this pattern, I felt the sleeve bands were too short, so I re-cut them, adding one inch to the height. I then redrafted a bottom band, making it three inches tall.

After these alterations, I was really pleased with the fit, and this just left the question of the neckline. The pattern was originally drafted as a crew neck. However, the weight of this fabric gave a bit of a wider neckline than I like with my crew necks. If there is one thing I dislike more than a flimsy turtleneck, it’s any kind of scoop, U or very open crew neck. I just don’t find them flattering on me. So, I decided my sweater would be a turtleneck.

I have a ready-to-wear sweater that I absolutely love, which has a big funnel neck collar that practically turns into a hood. So, I grabbed my sweater, took a few quick measurements and drafted a quick pattern for a funnel neck collar.

Looking at this sweater now, I couldn’t imagine it without the chunky funnel/turtleneck. They were meant to be – just like me and this sweater. I think we’re going to have a long, happy relationship.

Until next time,

Happy Sewing!

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8 comments

  1. The scale of the sheep is great, very bold! You look so cozy! I don’t think anything would stop me wearing that daily if it were mine.

  2. How cute is that! I couldn’t imagine it with smaller sheep. It’s perfect. And love the funnel neck. I think I want one…. 😊

    1. Thank you so much, MissRosieLynn!! Now that it’s all finished, I agree – I don’t think I could imagine it with smaller sheep either!

    1. Thanks, Kathie!! Now that it’s finished, I really like the larger sized sheep. I guess it all worked out for the best!

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