Sheep Chic


One reason Sal and I started this website was to show how starting with a bag of fiber it’s possible to create luxurious handmade objects.  This week I went into the Liberty of London on a mission to find wool being used in high-end fashion. I found some great pieces that I’m confident could be handmade and certainly show what’s possible with wool.

Rowan thick thin yarn--wannabee handspun

Rowan thick thin yarn–wannabee handspun

Liberty is known for its art nouveau and arts & crafts-inspired designs in the 1950s as well as its range of print fabrics. Back in the dark ages -the early 00s–when there were no real knit shops in London, Liberty carried Rowan yarns and stocked needles.

These days Liberty has some super-expensive pieces that feature wool. Check out this handbag made by Marni.

Marni bag

Marni bag

It’s made out of leather and a panel of soft felt. It retails for £765. It’s a beautiful piece that’s an alternative to the leather and gold-plated-hardware style bags that dominant the market. I wouldn’t say this would be an easy project, but if you know how to make felt, have access to a sewing machine and a bit of imagination–it’s doable.

Then there was this wrap going for £195. It’s basically a big piece of felt. Made in Italy, it’s silky soft–probably merino–and quite thin.

Felted wrap--probably about £5 worth of wool on sale for £195

Felted wrap–probably about £5 worth of wool on sale for £195

I’d guess it was made using a felting machine, but this is precisely the kind of piece that can be easily made by hand. In fact, I’ve seen many more elaborate nuno and silk pieces for sale that show greater skill than this colorful rectangle. Still it was inspiring to see such a piece showcased at Liberty.

There was also this stole, which looked like a piece of shearling with a fabric backing. I didn’t see how much this piece was going for, but it’s part of the wider trend for all things shearling, soft and silky. Apparently the trend for these big fluffy wraps and collars comes from Game of Thrones’ popularity. I could see making something like this with tailspun yarn.

Shearling stole.

Shearling stole.

4 thoughts on “Sheep Chic

  1. Sally Williams

    I do love this Marni bag. You could also fabricate a version using thick cotton twill or duck instead of leather…vegan!
    Do you think the felted parts of the bag are woven and then felted, or are they knit? I smell another bag challenge coming on…

  2. Rachel Wolcott

    I like the idea of using cotton duck instead of leather. And yes, bag challenge!!!!

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