sewing 101: wool throw


I’ve been totally smitten with the beautiful throws springing up everywhere lately. But I don’t love their hefty price tags. DIY to the rescue! There’s an amazing array of stunning wool fabrics on the market, and it’s insanely easy to whip up a throw yourself with just a couple yards of fabric.

At the fabric store, look for any medium- to heavy-wool fabric that strikes your fancy — wool coating, wool felt, tweeds, double-faced wool or even blends, such as cashmere or any other fiber. The best way to choose a fabric is to select something with a weight and texture that feel nice next to your skin and that make you want to cuddle up under it for the next four months or so.

This project is incredibly simple; in fact, I’d be hard-pressed to think of anything else that’s quite so easy to sew and offers such a big return on investment. I think I see wool throws in the future for everyone on my gift list this year. Let’s get started! — Brett Bara

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

Materials

  • Wool or wool-blend fabric; size depends on how large you’d like your throw to be. My fabric is 60″ wide and I purchased 1.5 yards, for a total throw size of 60″ x 52″, which is a nice size for general, lazy-everyday use. (Note: I purchased this wool by Ralph Lauren at Mood Fabrics.)
  • Trim, enough to cover the two raw edges of your fabric plus a few extra inches
  • Sharp scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine and matching thread

Instructions

1. Prepare the fabric.

Trim your fabric to the exact size you’d like, if necessary. Once trimmed, you’ll have a large piece of fabric with raw edges on two sides and selvage edges on two sides. The selvage edges are the finished edges that result from the weaving process (shown above). Normally, these are trimmed off before sewing, but wool fabrics often have attractive selvages, so I recommend leaving them on. (Of course, if you prefer, you can trim off the selvage and hem those edges as described below.)

2. Pin the raw edges.

Fold one raw edge under about 1/2″, then fold it under another 1″ and pin it in place.

3. Hem the raw edge.

Change your stitch length to be a bit longer than normal (a longer stitch is better for sewing several layers of thick fabric), and sew along the length of the hem, close to the fold.

4. Add the trim.

On the right side of the throw (not the side where you can see the fold of the hem), stitch your trim close to the edge.

Repeat to finish the remaining raw edge, and you’re done!

Special thanks to my wonderful new kitty (name TBD), who graciously agreed to participate in this photo shoot. Is she the cutest or what?! :)

  1. Okay, I’ve been thinking about getting a sewing machine for years and never gone through with it – this project convinced me! I love love throws and they would make such great gifts. Thanks for sharing!!

    XO
    Lenore

  2. These are perfect Christmas gifts. Simple and chic (and easy to make)! So happy you shared this.

  3. Lindsay says:

    I just put a sewing machine on my Christmas list :) Can’t wait to try all the projects I’ve seen on here!

  4. Claire Garland says:

    I have some grey wool – ready to be made into a coat actually – however, it would make a lovely throw… I’d like one similar to the scout camp style one from Cath Kidston, with its retro badges sewn onto it.
    p.s could these be the smallest ever knitted pumps @ http://www.dotpebbles.blogspot.com

  5. Courtney says:

    Where do you get the ball fringe/trim? Are there any good sources for it online? I’ve been on the hunt for some, especially in colors!

    Thanks!

    1. grace says:

      courtney

      you can find ball fringe/trim at m&j trimming online :)

      g

  6. Ashley says:

    I was wondering what I was going to do with the 2 yards of leftover wool fabric from my winter coat project. For some reason a throw never occurred to me, thanks for the idea!

    For everyone else, definitely invest in a sewing machine if you have the interest! I got mine a year ago and it’s already paid for itself (and the lessons) at least ten times over, not exaggerating. Plus, it’s so wonderful to be able to make EXACTLY what you want!

  7. Jessica says:

    As a recent follower, I just wanted to thank you for the great design ideas. I’m working on decorating my room and your blog offers so many great ideas!

    1. grace says:

      Thanks Jessica!

      Grace :)

  8. Amanda says:

    Oh my goodness! What a simple and BEAUTIFUL DIY! You have saved the holidays for me!! I have new in-laws this year to do presents for, and was a bit worried about the budget, but at the same time wanted to get them a special gift. This is something that is not only affordable but gorgeous as well, and the instructions look easy as pie! I’ll let you know how they turn out. ;) thanks again!!!

  9. Casey says:

    lovely! i’m inspired! :)

  10. Andrea says:

    So…I leave the selvage edge as is, hemming and applying trim to only the cut edges? Just making sure I’m reading this correctly!

  11. Samhain Moon says:

    I have seen so many people freak over something in a store, then remind themselves “I have the skill to make that…” Half of them don’t follow through, but the few that do end up with a result that is BETTER than the one they saw in the store!

    Nothing beats getting crafty!

  12. Dominique says:

    such a great idea!
    I always find blankets at the salvation army, which turn out to be cheaper than diy since they’re only about 5$…fabric in Canada is super expensive..

    Love your kitty!

  13. Maggie says:

    One of my favorite throw blankets is one where I did something like that, only I crocheted an edge around the whole thing in cotton yarn.
    I like this one better, though!

    On a related note, you should name the kitty Pugsly. He looks like a Pugsly.

  14. Natasha says:

    That looks great! I was just at the fabric store and I saw a free project sheet for microfiber blankets. I thought it looked cute and easy, but I hate microfleece. They have a great selection of heavyweight wool fabrics, and I was wondering how that would look. I love how yours turned out! I am definitely going to make one (or more).

  15. Rebel mel says:

    Oh my god. Gimme that kitty!

    Okay, the wool throw is pretty cool too ;)

  16. Kristina says:

    Ok, you’ve finally convinced me that I NEED a sewing machine and that I CAN learn to use it for something cool!

  17. Such an easy and lovely project, love the fabric and color, and please can I have the cat that appears in the photo ship to London? he is so cute!

  18. Kim says:

    Ummmm can I just have the kitty cat???? :)

  19. Jessica says:

    that’s a perfect blanket for a cat like that. i have a little white persian myself.

  20. Natalie says:

    I’m obsessed with pom pom trim! I sew it on everything! Cute and simple project!

  21. Caroline says:

    Seeing that thick fabric makes me cringe. I just broke 3 needles trying to make a suede bag!

  22. Lily says:

    Thank you SO much for this DIY! I came across this beautiful wool herringbone fabric that was marked down because it was a remnant and I KNEW I had to buy it and turn it into a throw… That was a good 6 months ago… I still haven’t done it because I didn’t exactly know how. Now I do! THANK YOU!!!!

  23. Stephanie says:

    ah, the perfect project for a gal new to sewing and in great need of warm and snuggly blankets. thanks!

  24. Brett says:

    Andrea – yes, you’re correct, just leave the selvage edges as they are and hem/trim the raw edges only.

    Caroline – wool is easy for your needle to pierce, so even though it’s thick, it won’t break your needles.

    Everyone else – sorry, kitty is not up for grabs! :)

  25. Just a little hint; sometimes the selvedge edge will be tighter or shrink, so I always cut them off. A little more work but blanket will stay flat and even. Love the kitty, my son has a seal-point himilayan, they are adoreable w/their flat little faces!

  26. Whaooou ! Where can we find this cotton with birds ????

  27. Love this and I’ve been wanting to make throw for years. Maybe one day! Thanks for the encouragement. (and I WHOLEheartedly agree with your point about making something simply for a quarter of the price we’re paying in the stores – imagine the mark up on those babies, has to cost them half of what it costs us….)

  28. katie says:

    What a great idea – throws are so expensive and this would cost a fraction of the price! One of those ‘why didn’t I think of it’ ideas :)

  29. Stickyheels says:

    Um, I’m sorry did you steal my old kitty, Belle? Because your precious new kitty is the spitting image! A blue smoke persian with yellow eyes! My eyes welled up with tears when I saw the photos of your kitty in my google reader…I miss my Belle so much! I hope you enjoy your sweet persian, and keep in mind they may not be the most affectionate cats, but the have personality to beat the band. We named her Belle because she was a Christmas present and we thought she looked like a fuzzy little present bopping around the house and my favorite Christmas song is “Silver Bells”. And because she was just so darn beautiful!

  30. Tricia says:

    Wonderful idea – I think I might just do this. Thanks for sharing.

    Blessings,
    tricia

  31. Love this project – can’t wait to hit the fabric store and get started. Although I’m not a huge fan of ball fringe, do you have another suggestion for trim?
    Thanks!

    1. grace says:

      stephanie

      you could use a regular ribbon for trim, or just sew the ends so you don’t use trim ;)

      g

  32. Gorgeous throw, lovely kitty too!

  33. Kendra says:

    i read this blog everyday as i sit in my office at work, dreaming about doing every DIY project posted.

    i’m new to sewing and do not own a machine. this project seems easiest enough for a beginner. but, is it something i can do without a sewing machine? i’m sure it would take much, much longer, but i’ve got the time :) any tips? thx!! :) (back to work i go..)

  34. Beret says:

    I love woolly throws & I love the kitty! I “accidentally” got a Persian from the Humane Society. I didn’t know what Persians were at the time. He was the love of my life. Independent at first, but then he started chasing me around the house when I got home from trips and sleeping on my pillow. I adopted another male Persian, 10 years old, the most affectionate darling I’ve ever had. He actually pet me. Males generally are more affectionate than females. Took me a long time to learn all this. Everyone’s commenting on the lovely kitty, so I thought I’d share. :) Check out http://www.purebredcatrescue.org. xo

  35. christina says:

    i love the blanket but most of all i love the sweet cat! thanks for the tip up-thread about finding the pom-pom trim…I’ve also been looking for some :)

  36. Jsnr says:

    This is so classic! Thanks for the inspiration.

  37. Brett says:

    Chic Choc – the bird fabric is a bedspread from Urban Outfitters from a few years ago, so it’s probably not available any more, sorry!

    Kendra – you could easily sew this by hand, just follow the same instructions but use your needle and thread instead of a sewing machine. It wouldn’t take too long – you could probably finish it in the time it takes to watch a movie or two.

    Thanks for all the kitty love! This is my first Persian and I am in love with her. She is sweet and affectionate, but also independent, so it’s the perfect balance for me. :)

    Brett

  38. Jillian says:

    Did I miss the part where you taught how to make the kitty? Cause I’d like to have it. Thanks :)

  39. Oona says:

    Kitty name TBD is adorable! I love that squashy face!

    I also love this project – the fabric you chose is beautiful.

  40. Kimberly says:

    I love TBD! And the throw isn’t half bad either! :)

  41. Carol C. says:

    You just gave me the inspiration to make a large throw for my brother and sis-in-law’s double bed for Christmas. I will simply make it a bit wider and longer so they don’t have to fight over the covers.

    I intend to make it by hand (I love backstitching–it’s so sturdy and you can make it look just as good as a machine stitch), because I have always enjoyed doing that. Once I made a large, fake fur Teddy bear completely by hand, other times I have made puppets and clothing for them and for dolls as well. I get a lot of peaceful, relaxing work done in a remarkably short period of time, considering that I am not using a sewing machine.

    Thanks again!!

  42. Amanda says:

    Can you tell me what search you used on Mood’s website to locate blanket-weight wool? I haven’t been able to locate these fabrics. Thanks so much! I love this post! And, the kitty is indeed amazing :)

  43. Peaches says:

    omg…..cats and pom fringe are MY TWO FAVORITE THINGS! I just want to reach out and snuggle both of them :) Tooo cute. Great idea!

    PS: Kitty looks a little like Dick Cheney …hey, actually, that might not be a bad name. I mean that in a good way, I swear.

  44. Megan says:

    I’m making this for Christmas gifts!! Thanks so much for the beautiful idea!

  45. Shayna says:

    This is such a simple and beautiful idea! I have decided to make these as Christmas gifts this year, but finding nice wools in my little canadian town is proving to be a little difficult!
    Would you all at Design*Sponge happen to have a great website or source I could purchase some great trim from?

  46. Katie says:

    I want to make a blanket, but I was just wondering how you hem and put the ball fringe on the corners. Any tips?

  47. nadine says:

    Such a cute idea. I have several yards of wool that was my grandmothers. mine is solid gray. I think I will try one with a poodle in the corner like the old poodle skirts. now to go look for a poodle template. :o)

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