A shawl collar on a .. shawl??

Although you wouldn’t know it from the colourful ethnic prints I generally favour, I’m a big fan of English literary classics such as those by Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and the Brontes. Apart from the stories and the language used in them, the outfits worn by the characters are so evocative. Shawls in particular are so romantic, don’t you think? Throwing one over my shoulders makes me feel like I’m wandering around on the windswept misty moors among the heather instead of awkwardly trying to pose in the backyard with the cockies screeching a soundtrack.

Like capes, though, I find that shawls are not particularly practical. I’ve never worn this one which I bought years ago for a few hundred yen from Francoise Morechand, a Tokyo fashion legend who decided to clear out her wardrobe by selling it off at a pittance to some of us in the industry. I’ve never used it because I’ve been thinking of cutting it up and making it into a dress, but the beautiful painterly pattern always stops me in my tracks. I’ve finally found a solution though – leave it as it is, but put a shawl collar on it and wear it as a jacket.

Collars are tricksy things even for experienced seamstresses, but this one is super simple. There’s not even any sewing involved (there’s been a bit of that lately, hasn’t there?!). All I did was fold the square shawl in half diagonally a la the photo above, then rolled the folded edge over like this:

 After that, I just placed it over my shoulders ……

… belted the front, leaving the back hanging free…

… and adjusted the collar-y bits so that it sat comfortably.

Admittedly, it’s not so practical when you need to wave your arms around a lot, but I didn’t need to do that to catch Suki for a photo (she’s too old to run away from cuddles now, haha).

Shawls are very versatile, so if your neck gets cold from all those winds blowing across the moors, you can always wind the shawl around as a scarf instead. And use the cat as a heat pack, hehe. I’m sure that’s what all the great literary heroines did when they weren’t off chasing Heathcliff or something like that.