Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Save a Seal, Skin a Wookiee!

Shag Jacket from Woman’s Day Knit & Stitch Number 9, 1973

I suppose you’d have to fringe up jackets just for fun, as I can’t imagine anyone paying you to do it. Although, knotting ten billion pieces of fringe onto a jacket doesn’t sound like much fun.

Sure, nowadays it would be a hoot to show up at your local Star Wars convention and claim you skinned Peter Mayhew. But this jacket’s from 1973, during the Dark Ages before Star Wars. This was a bleak time in history when kids beat each other up with sticks without light saber sound effects. And instead of playing the cool Chewbacca in Star Wars re-enactments, dressing up as a walking shag carpet in 1973 meant you were the stupid salt sucking monster from Star Trek.

Even in a time without womp rats to bulls-eye while flying your T-16, there were a lot more fun things to do than pretend to be Dr. McCoy’s shape shifting ex-girlfriend. Like pretending you were paper-mâché Spock’s girlfriend!


For the complete pattern (and more snark!):


SIZES: Misses’ 8 (10-12-14-16). Garment width around underarms, about 36” (37”-39”-42”-43¼”). Back length about 23” (23¼”-24”-25”-25”-25¾”).
According to Wookieepedia, the average Wookiee is just over two metres tall. So, if you need to make eight shag jackets in a hurry, you’d only have to hunt down and skin one adult Wookiee.

Of course, you could end up with your arms pulled out of their sockets, but DIY Wookiee-wear isn’t for sissies.
MATERIALS: Bernat Cuddlespun, 29 (29-30-34-36) ozs. color A, 9 (9-9-11-11) ozs. color B. Bernat Venetian Bouclé, 7 ozs. color C, 7 ozs. colour D. Crochet Hook size H, or size required to crochet to gauge. Five Buttons.
Feel free to substitute any bouclé yarn for Bernat Venetian Bouclé. Bernat Cuddlespun also no longer exists, but that’s probably for the best. Cuddlespun sounds more like a yarn for Ewoks than Wookiees.

GAUGE: 17 sts and 6½ rows=4”. (Pat st).

PATTERN STITCH: Row 1: * Ch 1, sk 1, dc in next st, repeat from * across, ch 3, turn.
Row 2 and All Further Rows: Sk first dc, work 1 dc in each dc, ch above ch across row, end 1 dc in turning ch of previous row.
To Inc 1 Dc: Work 2 dc in 1 st. On next row, work ch 1 before inc’d dc.
To Bind Off: At beg of row: sl st in each st to be bound off. at end of row: leave unworked sts to be bound off, turn.
BTW, this is a crocheted jacket. But I’m sure you could tell just by looking at it.

FRONT AND BACK: With A, ch 156 (160-168-180-188). Dc in 4th ch from hook and complete Row 1 of pat—76 (79-83-88-93) ch-1 spaces. Work even in pat until 15½” (15½”-15¾”-16¼”-16½”) from beg. Fasten off.

BACK: Sk 42 sts, attach yarn to next dc, continue across next 67 (69-73-79-83) center sts only.

Shape Armholes: In Row 2, bind off 3 (3-3-4-4) sts each edge. Bind off 2 (2-3-2-3) sts each edge of next 2 (2-1-3-1) rows. 0 (0-2-0-2) sts each edge of next 0 (0-1-0-2) rows—53 (55-57-59-61) sts.
It is essential that you crochet your 0 sts for 0 rows to gauge.
Work even until 6 ¾” (7¼”-7½”-8”-8¼”) above beg of armhole shaping.

Shape Shoulders and Neck: Mark center 23 (23-23-25-27) sts and leave them unworked. Work each side separately. Bind off for shoulder 6 sts at armhole edge in next 2 rows. 3 (4-5-5-5) sts at armhole edge in next row. Attach yarn at neck and work other side to correspond reverse shapings.

FRONT: Sk 10 sts each side of back and finish each front 33 (34-36-39-41) sts separately.

Shape Armhole: Shape as for back. Work front edge even until 3½” (4”-4½”-4¾”-5¼”) above beg of armhole shaping.

Shape Neck: Bind off 12 (12-13-16-18) sts at front edge, then 2 sts at front edge in the next 3 rows. Work even until 6¾” (7¼”-7½”-8”-8¼”) above beg of armhole shaping. Shape shoulder as on back.
Of course, you’re going to shape the armhole and neck of the front exactly the same as the back. You already know that the most beautiful fashions of the 1970s looked the same coming and going.

Granted, you may find it a bit confusing when it’s time to put your new coat on.

SLEEVES: With A, ch 38 (40-40-44-46).
Look at the small pile of Colours B, C, and D beside you with a puzzled expression. Wonder why you haven’t been asked to use any of them yet. Surely, you didn’t carefully label these separate skeins for no good reason.
Dc in 4th ch from hook, complete Row 1 in pat—17 (18-18-20-21) ch-1 spaces. Work 1 row even.
Row 3: (Inc Row): Inc 1 dc after first and before last dc. Repeat Inc Row every 2 rows 8 times, working inc sts in pat. Work even until 17¼” (17¼”-17¼”-18¼”-18¼”) from beg.
Foolishly, you tell yourself that it wouldn’t matter if you only worked evenly until 17 inches. Surely, you think, a ¼” here or there wouldn’t show. Well, you’re WRONG! This entire pattern is riddled with these essential ¼” and it’s much too late to stop now.

Although, you really should stop calling yourself Shirley.
Shape Cap: Bind off 4 sts each edge of next row, 3 sts each edge of further rows until cap is 4 ½” (4 ½”-4 ¾”-4 ¾”-5¼”), fasten off.
That’s shaping the cap of the shoulder, not the kicky beret worn by the Woman’s Day model. However, if you really want a headpiece that goes with your shaggy jacket, I suggest you wig out.

FINISHING: Steam-press pieces. Sew shoulder seams.
Row 1: Right side facing, with A, sc across front edges and around neck. Working 2 sc in each row, sk every 4th st, work 3 sc in each corner.
Row 2: Work even in sc, working 3 sc in each corner st, work 5 buttonholes in right front border, upper buttonhole just before corner last buttonhole about 2¼” from lower edge, and remaining buttonholes evenly spaced between.
For heaven’s sake, do ensure that the last buttonhole is 2¼” and not 2” from the lower edge. The Woman’s Day resident crocheter didn’t bother, and her uneven buttonhole spacing ruined the entire look!

Work buttonholes as follows: Ch 2, sk 2 sts.
Row 3: Work in sc, working 3 sc in each corner st and 2 sc in ch-2 space.

Fringe: Beg in Row 5 of back and front, know a 3½” strand of each color in every other chain. In next row, knot in every other chain between knots of previous row. Continue in this manner, skipping 1 row between knots.
Be sure to pause every ten minutes, and ask yourself loudly if you’re having fun yet.
At armholes, leave the 3 end sts free. Make same fringe on sleeves. Sew in sleeves. Check entire garment and fill in fringes where crochet pat is visible. Sew on buttons.
Realize that you’ve reached the bottom of the pattern and not once were you asked to differentiate between colours B, C, or D. But don’t let this heartbreaking betrayal distract you from the important task you have ahead of you.

Pimping your ride so it matches your new jacket!

Click here for the printable pattern.


  1. What I said and missed spelled. was}
    Girl, "you crack me up", yep, a 70's saying. Sometimes you are just to funny for words. I like your way of bloggin'.
    til next time

  2. This pattern probably started out as a Big Bird costume (gone wrong).

  3. Connie - Thanks! I'm so glad you're enjoying my blog.

    Speckled Hen - actually, I was thinking of Mr. Snuffleupagus. Poor Snuffy got skinned!