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Tips for Sewing Successfully With Boiled Wool
By Karen Rudman, Karen’s Kreations



Our Boiled Wool is a fabric that is machine knit, then shrunk. All of our fabric is a "Made in Washington" product created at our studios. Because it is a knit fabric, it has "give" both horizontally and vertically. A plain knit fabric has a "right side" (the knit stitch) and a "wrong side" (the purl stitch). When making boiled wool, the "wrong side" becomes the right side. As the fabric is shrunk, the purl stitch begins to bubble, creating the fabric’s texture. The yarns used are very fine, which results in a lovely medium weight fabric that is very comfortable to wear. It gives warmth without weight and is water and soil resistant. Yardage made from woven fabric would be much heavier.


Choose a pattern with fairly simple lines. Generally, the traditional Austrian jackets are the Princess line. This style is classic and elegant and looks good on most figure types. It is easier to fit because there are more seams to adjust for larger hips, full bust, etc. A style with a seam down the back works very well. When constructing the garment, you can leave a 2" vent at the bottom of the Princess seams to add a little more give around the lower edge. Bust darts can be converted with easing rather than stitching.


The important guidelines of garment construction are:

One of the advantages of making a garment from boiled wool is that it is generally single layer with no facing, interfacing, lining or hem. All raw edges are bound with either a commercial or custom knit trim. Seam allowances may need to be removed from center front, neck edge and hems, No serging of seams is required because the fabric doesn’t ravel, since it is so dense, If you do choose to line your garment you will lose the freedom of movement of this luxury fabric. This is one of its greatest qualities.

Stitching is the same as for regular fabric except that the stitch length should be slightly longer for seams and topstitching. Increase length by one or two settings for each function. Test first!! Each brand of machine is different; choose what looks best for yours. You can topstitch using the same thread that was used for sewing the seams, but other thread can be used. You can also topstitch using a decorative thread or stitch for added elegance.

As noted earlier, buttonholes should be done using a gimp cord to keep the buttonhole from stretching. Be sure to tighten the cord before cutting.

Darts are added to the garment by easing in on the seam at the dart placement rather than stitching an actual dart. Ease in the dart with a basing stitch, stitch the seam and steam in the dart. It is invisible but adds the extra fullness as needed.

Stabilize armholes with a bias strip of either fusible tape or matching lining. Shoulder seams should be stabilized with a straight strip of fusible tape or matching lining. I prefer using the fusible tape in both cases in either black or white because it works wonderfully.  Both come in 3/8" by 22 yd. rolls of soft 100% cotton.


The traditional Austrian jackets are trimmed in a coordinating trim knit from the same yarn as the fabric or a contrasting color. We carry this trim, as well as a lacy and sport trim. Many fabric stores carry beautiful woven trims that will compliment our fabrics. Let your imagination be you guide. If you prefer the conservative. classic look, use the coordination knit trim. If you like to be daring, use anything that excites you! Embellishments make for a unique, one-of-a-kind garment!!


If you are certain that all components of the garment are washable and that the colors will not bleed, it can be washed in Eucalan Wool Wash using the soak method, no agitation. Other wise it should be drycleaned.

More information on Karen's Kreations Boiled Wool

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