Friday, July 6, 2012

Rings-on-a-Tree Jacket

Like rings on a tree, this jacket will grow with the child. This is my idea to extend hexagon jackets, to increase the amount of wear you get out of this valuable garment, and to reduce the pile of small baby jackets that would otherwise accumulate if I made him a new jacket every winter. Perhaps one day it will get to be an adult sized cardigan?
18 month old Thomas wearing his extended jacket
The most time consuming part of this first extension was trying to unravel the original light blue jacket because when I made that I hadn't thought of the life-time jacket idea yet, so had not planned to unravel it. Next time it will be quicker! When I made the first blue jacket, I did the seams continuously from making the fabric of the garment, then continued to make some further extensions. Those extensions had to be unravelled before I could undo the seams for this dark blue extension. I then added the original extensions back onto the hexagons, leaving the seams undone. Then I changed to dark blue for a contrast. Like rings on a tree, you can see how the jacket grows with the child.
Thomas riding his musical rocker
I added the new dark blue extensions, also leaving the three seams undone, then sewed in all the ends with a yarn needle. Lastly, using a 3rd contrasting colour, I starting edging and joining the jacket. This way, if the contrasting trim is removed, the hexagons will come free and will be able to accept more extensions very easily. I started the white trim at one wrist then sewed one shoulder seam, I tied that with one simple knot and left the end to be woven in later. I then edged the other wrist and did the other shoulder seam the same way, using an invisible stitch with a yarn needle. The 3rd part of the white trim starts at the bottom middle of the back, edging the jacket in sc, working its way all around the inside and up to the collar. There I weave in the shoulder seam ends. I end up back at the middle of the bottom, so then I can cut enough to do the final invisible seam. The end is tied with a simple knot and woven in with a crochet hook so it can be found more easily when it comes time to undo it for the next extension. It is for this reason the contrasting yarn can be seen joining the seams.
contrasting white yarn can be seen in the seams, to make the next extension easier
I also made two ties from left over light blue wool, with 40 ch and sl st back and a 3 ch loop at the end. When I edged the inside of the jacket in white, I added these two ties the same length down the jacket as is allowed for the neck. This way, when the white trim is removed, the blue ties will come free and will be reused in the next extension. With infrequent gentle hand washes, it should wear quite well.
So that is how I make my Rings-on-a-Tree jacket! I hope to make many more extensions on this woollen garment as my son grows. I think that's far better than making a new jacket every winter, what will I do with all those too small baby jackets worn for just one season? Best to up-cycle it and keep on wearing it, I say! Especially if I look after this woollen hand-made jacket as well as I plan to. Better for the environment, better for my stash of wool ;)


  1. This is a great idea! Do you have a pattern to sell or share?

  2. hi there, Silberwulf! This jacket is based on the hexagon idea, but the rings-on-a-tree is my idea. I'll be sharing a pattern for free on my blog very soon <3


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