Baby It’s Cold (and dark) Outside

By Mary Boalt

Winter. Not my favorite season. It’s cold. Dark. Wet. Dreary. My wish for snow and the brightness it brings has not yet been realized. On the positive side of the calendar date, the days are getting longer. Thirty seconds at a time. Thirty short, slow seconds each day. Sigh.

To cope with the weather, I sew. Although I sew all year long, jackets and coats are some of my favorite things to make. Let’s start where I left off last month. Having just finished the pleated collar vest pattern from Jenny, another one was calling to me. The denim version.  Off to the thrift store for two pair of the largest men’s jeans I could find.img_2311img_3024

Nothing went to waste. Waistbands, pockets and labels were all included along with a black velveteen-like fabric for the buttons and under collar.img_3047img_3039img_3040img_3232img_3230

I’m really liking this vest. The collar is flattering and it has a slightly funky shape. I took it in a little in the back and I’m happy with the fit. And it’s warm. That’s important right now. Did I mention that it’s cold outside?

Moving on to a hooded jacket aka Little Red Riding Hood. The denim came from Stonemountain and Daughter. It has what looks like a discharged pattern all over it. That was a selling point. It’s a print I would liked to have designed if I had the skills. But even with the unique artwork on it, it needed some color. Red. A nice warm color.img_3041

My friend Gayle showed me how to make these easy pockets.img_3043

The red fabric is a sort of sueded polyester so it is warm and fuzzy inside the pocket. My hands appreciate that. Because, you know, it’s cold outside.img_3046

The pattern is Butterick 6394. I added the zipper, deepened the armholes for more movement and comfort and made it slightly like a swing coat with more volume at the hemline.

It’s been exactly one year since I was asked to join Christine, Sandra and Heidi as part of Artistic Alchemy. As part of my “duties”, I was informed that I would be writing a monthly blog. Fear swept over me in large amounts! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d ever do this. Putting myself and my work out there in such a public format is way out of my comfort zone. Sometimes there’s plenty of things to write about and other times…..not so much. Christine was kind enough to say I could write about my dog. I have. And I do. Thank you, Christine.

My first blog was about using Solvy to make scarves. I thought I’d revisit that subject by showing you the rest of my stash of Solvy scarves, many are perfect for perking up a blah winter’s day. Except for the first one. It’s gray. And black. And more gray. Many photos were taken trying to show how cool this scarf is but alas, nothing can make this gray scarf look good in a photo.  Here’s the most recent product I’ve been using. I found this in the department that sells sewing machines inside Joann.img_3088

Cut cut cut


Sew sew sew


Add binding. Then rinse rinse rinse. Repeat. Rinse and repeat many many times.


Ta da! Lacey mesh scarf.


I have a drawer full of mostly dupioni silk scraps. Cutting them on the diagonal makes them perfect for these scarves. It produces just a slightly soft frayed edge without all the raveling that cutting on the straight of grain would make. I find a ribbon or yarn that gives inspiration and then rummage through my silk drawer to see what I have to make it all work together.img_3066img_3177img_3128

I use shiny rayon embroidery thread and just let the long ends hang loose.


The following kimono scraps require only one small strip of Solvy between each section. img_3152img_3154

The following scarf is a hodgepodge of dupioni silks, velvet and silk tie fabric. And more of the “cardiac” stitch.


This scarf has hand stitched bias cut squares of dupioni silk. They are hand sewn onto a lightweight piece of wool challis with embroidery threads and decorative threads. The only print comes from a piece of Japanese fabric used as a book cover. Taken apart, I made squares of these to tie the other colors together. No Solvy needed.img_3171img_3169img_3176img_3173


Sixty pounds of snugly warmth.

After writing this post it finally snowed a little here. img_3216

I hope this post find you healthy, happy and staying warm. Very warm. While the seconds tick away until spring. Tick tock………….

26 thoughts on “Baby It’s Cold (and dark) Outside

    • Thanks Terry. The Butterick coat was easy and it’s a great little coat to throw on to run errands. Remember “car coats”? That’s what I thought of while sewing this. See you soon! Can’t wait!

    • Thank you. These scarves are fun to make and a great way to use up scraps of treasures. Yes, I love my 60 pounds of snugly warmth too! Ain’t he cute? He he he.

  1. Wonderful scarves and vest and coat!! You are my inspiration! Can hardly wait for the AA retreat sign-ups at the end of the month! Keep dry in the Pineapple Express!

    • Hi Kari, glad you enjoyed the post. Have you tried the Solvy products in this way? With your great sense of color, you would make some awesome scarves. Sounds like you’re coming back to Zephyr!?!?! Yay!

    • Hi Lindsey, I see by your email address you are a weaver. Some of those scarves were made by doing a super loose primitive weave with the silk scraps and ribbons. Leaving spaces between the fabrics allows the products to stick together so no pins are needed.

    • Hi Bonny, I’m glad the post inspired you and I do hope you give it a try. Once you make one, you’ll want to try it again and again.

  2. Mary, you are amazing! First I thought, oh I have to tell her how much I love the denim vest and then I saw the gray scarf! LOVE!! I’m still trying to figure out how the background of the fabric disappears, so I think I need to come live next door to you! LOL! Your creativity inspires me!

  3. Hi Rosemary! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I should have shown a picture where I had cut those circles out of the fabric. I placed the circles on the sticky side of the product. The fabric didn’t disappear. I cut it away first. The product disappears when rinsed. You can use yarns, ribbons, scraps of fabric. It’s a fun process.

  4. Awe, thank you! That is so sweet and encouraging. I get nervous about it every month so your words are very helpful! Thanks.

  5. Mary (Christine here), I don’t know where to start—your post is sensational! So many ideas, and I want to try them ALL. Love the vest, coat, and stunning scarves. You make me want to give up quilts and sew, sew, sew wearables. We are incredibly lucky that you joined us a year ago—you are a delightful and talented teammate!

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