Capsule Wardrobe – Wool

The outfits I am making my partner are intended for commuting by bicycle but with the intention that he could appear in the office or a business meeting and not look too “sporty.” This urban metro man of mine likes to look casual I think. He wears jeans 99% of the time, so it’s not too hard to sew up some basics that fit him well and look good.

Wool as a textile is brilliant for bicycle riding. It’s warm, water repellent (we live in the PNW) and breathable. It doesn’t retain bad smells like some of the nylon/plastic/spandex textiles which are often used for cycling. I actually wear wool socks almost exclusively, all year. Half of my tops are wool, because again, PNW. The weather here is gorgeous or wet and cold or cool and grey but always, always chilled by the sea air. Stuck between the mountains and Puget Sound, attire is everything to comfort on and off the bike.

merino wool bike commuting crew by bird and bicycle

The simple black merino crew I made him fits perfectly. Yes, I have made him at least 6 other wool crews from the same Thread Theory pattern, the Strathcona Henley. He doesn’t like buttons at the neckline, which makes construction more simple. This one has the best top stitching, indeed the best construction I have ever done. I am quite proud.

top stitching with the coverstitch on a strathcona henley by bird and bicycle

This is the coverstitch across the top of the shoulder and neckline. I saw this on my son’s ready to wear and love the look. Even if I top stitch and don’t use my fancy machine, I still prefer to go across the shoulder seams and skip the front neckline altogether. I install the neckband before stitching, and just sew right off the edge to tie in a knit. Easy, classy, and professional.

inside seams thread theory strathcona henley by bird and bicycle in a wool merino knit for bicycle commuting

Here is the inside. See how the coverstitch encases both the serged shoulder seam and the clear elastic? I used to use bias iron on fusible interfacing in the shoulder seams, but after having made them time and time again I started to dislike how the tape was always visible and after a year or so of washing, it would start to show or turn up or otherwise bother me. The clear elastic is perfect for strengthening the shoulder seam.

I know you can’t photograph black on black well. I wish you could all touch and feel and see this shirt. It’s beautiful.

Up next is the Pullover or the Paxson, whichever I can convince myself to tackle next!

Love, MaLora


PS: Lots of people ask, but I do not have a steady source for merino wool knit. I find it comes in all sorts of qualities for all sorts of prices, despite having the same content and description. I bought this in three colors, from for $12.50 a yard. I don’t get swatches from them because the few times I have they ran out before I got any. There was a midnight blue which has barely any stretch, this black with is less soft but very stretchy, and a charcoal which is perfectly stretchy and so soft I want to wear it as underpants. All of these fabrics are made by the same company – weird right?  If anyone else has an amazing source for merino wool under $25 a yard, please hook me up. I wear it and sew it all the time!


11 thoughts on “Capsule Wardrobe – Wool

  1. Really beautiful work on this and the items in your last post! My honey loves merino for his cycling also–I may have to take a look at Fabricmart and see what they have.

  2. I see someone already mentioned The Fabric Store. I went to look at their online store, and thought their prices were a lot higher than I saw in their store in LA. Turns out their online store is based in New Zealand, so they’re listing in New Zealand Dollars. I think they’re a little cheaper in the LA store. Most lightweight merino’s are $12-18 and it’s mainly the heavier weights that are $22 or $25. I live locally, so I’ve never had to call them, but I hear they have great customer service over the phone, and their stock doesn’t seem to sell so fast that getting a bunch of swatches would cause you to lose out on ordering yardage. I almost always buy their merino during one of their sales, which are often 30% off.

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