Wool and Pleather Winter Minidress!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well and sewing up a storm! OK, question: do you have seasonal color palettes? I know I do! Sometimes I feel like my closet is split between two different people- winter me and summer me! In warm weather, I’m all about bright colors and fun prints, but in the winter, I wear much more subdued colors, like heathered browns, burgundies, or, my very favorite, greys. My cold weather clothing drawer is almost entirely grey! The unexpected benefit of this is that I have a really, really easy time getting dressed in the winter- my separates all mix and match, and for once in my life, even my boots, tights, hat, and scarf get along with the rest of what I’m wearing, yay!

So, this month I decided to give one last hurrah to Lady Grey and choose this delicious wool blend sweater knit (similar fabric here!). Guys. It’s SO thick and warm, but it’s amazingly lightweight. It’s a nice firm knit, so I don’t have to worry about it being too sheer or bagging out, but the wrong side has tons of loft so it’s really incredibly comfortable in cold weather. I planned to look for a bit of pleather in black for a bit of contrast, but I found this beautiful grey Rag & Bone pleather in the vinyl section on the third floor and couldn’t resist it (check out Mood’s selection of faux leathers here!). I really like that the contrast comes from the textures rather than color- it’s subtle, but fun.

The pattern I used is the Grainline Studio Linden sweatshirt. In Grainline sizing, my hips are two sizes smaller than my bust, so I just chose a size based on my bust and dropped the hem by 9″ to give me this minidress length. The extra size through the hips gives me plenty of ease to move and sit. I used the hem band piece unaltered, since I didn’t add any additional width, but I shortened the sleeves by 4.5″ and adjusted the cuffs accordingly to give me a three-quarter-length sleeve. If I’d thought this through a bit more, I would have planned for the sleeves to finish at this length without a cuff… the cuff seam allowance is a bit bulky. I may end up cutting off the cuffs and turning under a hem, but I don’t really want to lose the sleeve length, at least not while it’s this cold!

For the pleather details, I cut two pieces 2″ by 24″ (a little longer than my sleeve length) and lightly pressed the long edges under by 3/8″. I tested this first on scraps, but I was able to use a warm, dry iron on the wrong side without any damage to the pleather. Then, I centered the strips over the shoulder notch and the midpoint of the wrist on the flat sleeve pieces and taped them in place with light masking tape. If I’d had a fabric glue stick, I would have used that instead, but I didn’t, so I was stuck with tape. I edgestitched the pleather in place, sewing in the same direction (i.e. top to bottom) for each side to help prevent pulling and puckering. I was a bit nervous about sewing pleather to a knit, so I did a few tests before I sewed on the actual sleeves. I had success using an 80/12 universal needle and holding the fabric in place firmly in front of and behind the presser foot so it wouldn’t stretch out of shape or drag. Then I trimmed off the excess pleather and inserted the sleeves like usual. Tada!

Wool knits are just about my favorite thing to sew- they’re fast and easy like regular knits, but they respond beautifully to steam, and stitches just melt into the fabric. Now that I know that it’s easy to combine them with other fabrics, I’m even more excited to work with them! Have you ever sewn with wool knits? What are your favorite fabrics to work with? And do you have a seasonal color palette, or am I just a crazy person? Do tell!

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Comments


  • oonaballoona
    February 25, 2015

    AH SONJA! effortless chic, i love that arm detail!!!! i really really want you to wear this with your dog lady pants. you know you want to.

    • Ginger Makes
      February 25, 2015

      I had to force myself not to wear them with the dog leggings in the photos!!!! See also: orange and fuchsia cheetah print leggings.

  • carolyn roemer
    February 25, 2015

    The added pleather detail makes the sweater. I’m always afraid the pleather will stretch as well as the knit wool. After your experience, I’ll try it for my teenage grand daughter.

    • Ginger Makes
      February 25, 2015

      This pleather felt pretty sturdy, but I know what you mean- I’ve sewn with vinyl in the past that stretched a bit as I sewed it (but I was also making do without a non-stick foot… maybe that would help?).

  • Peter
    February 25, 2015

    The sweater dress looks great — love the pleather touches. I wear a lot of gray these days too. Can’t wait to break out those summer pastel shades!

    • Ginger Makes
      February 25, 2015

      It will be so nice to see and wear some color! And your pastels will be great with your new white jeans!

  • Lori
    February 25, 2015

    What a great idea, using the Linden for a dress! It is too cute and the pleather trim just kicks it up a notch. Great job and you look so cute. Could you use the vinyl for the cuff? Would that be thinner and then add a bit of a V-notch detail?

    • Ginger Makes
      February 25, 2015

      Oh, that’s a great idea! I thought about using the pleather for a cuff, but was afraid I would miss the stretch. But a v-notch would give me some ease- great idea!

  • Debbie
    February 25, 2015

    Very cute.

  • True Bias
    February 25, 2015

    well, hello super speedy sewer. looks awesome.

    • Ginger
      February 26, 2015

      Heeheehee! This may be the fastest I’ve ever turned around a project… usually my fabric is sitting around for a month or two while I think about it!

  • Mary Danielson
    February 25, 2015

    What a fabulous dress, Sonja! Those pleather details are so subtle, but so so chic. That pairing of textures is just to-die-for! You are rocking this one, lady!

    • Ginger
      February 26, 2015

      Thank you, Mary!

  • Rosie
    February 26, 2015

    Very nice! PLEATHER….way cool.

    • Ginger
      February 26, 2015

      Pleather is surprisingly fun to sew with! I thought it would be a nightmare, but it wasn’t bad at all!

  • sallie
    February 26, 2015

    Oooh I love this! Looks so super cozy! And I am such a sucker for textural contrast like this. Amazing late winter wardrobe addition!

    • Ginger
      February 26, 2015

      Thanks, Sallie! I enjoyed picking out these two materials… now I can’t stop thinking about other contrasting textures!

  • Sarah Gunn
    February 26, 2015

    So fashion forward, Ginger!! ;) Seriously, I’ve been wanting to try this with a dress and I love what you did :)

    • Ginger
      February 28, 2015

      Thank you, Sarah! I bet you could find an awesome way to incorporate some fun pleather details in a dress!

  • Lola Stockmaster
    February 26, 2015

    I’m allergic to wool so I haven’t sewn with it but I love sewing with cotton. I don’t start out with a seasonal color palette but I gravitate toward certain colors

    • Ginger
      February 28, 2015

      Wool seems like a common allergen! I’ve heard several people mention that. Luckily cotton is easy to sew and fun to wear! :)

  • Fiona
    March 3, 2015

    I have been living in grey and black this winter! I can’t wait for things to heat up so I can start using the pile of prints in the corner! This is another fantastic garment Sonja, such a great wardrobe staple and really stylish with the leather trim! That wool sweater knit looks divine

  • Sarah Wilson
    March 7, 2015

    I know what you mean about seasonal pallets, I am looking forward to bright tones and prints, already planning the colours I want to sew with in the spring. Love the detail you have added down the sleeves, nice accent.

  • Sew Busy Lizzy
    March 12, 2015

    Pleather always scares the heck out of me but I guess I need a foot for my machine or something to make it easier to sew! I love this. I have several wool knit winter dresses (not that it is as cold where I live!) and they are just the best to wear. Great idea to lengthen the Linden.