Remember way back in January or February when I was working on the Super Secret Project for my Mom’s birthday present? Remember how disaster struck? It sat crumpled in a corner of my sewing room for months until I took it with me to Pattern Review Weekend in SF for my sewing sisters to help me figure out how to rescue it from the ashes. And boy, did they come through for me. Read the pattern review below to find out how all was lost and then won back through sheer determination and will. It’s a saga worthy of Homer. Ok, it’s not really, but it sure felt like an epic. I promise not to hold you down too long with the wordy words.
Pattern Description: Misses’ Robe, Slip, Camisole and Panties. I made the Robe with some modifications of course, because I love to make things difficult for myself.
Pattern Sizing: 6-14. I made a straight 10 for the muslin and found I didn’t need to make any changes. There was enough ease to comfortably raise arms up and forward with no restrictions.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes and no. The overall silhouette was the same, but I added contrasting hem bands to the bottom of the robe and to the sleeves for a little extra oomph and to complicate things for myself.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes and no. For the most part the instructions were adequate. However, for the following sections, the diagrams and instructions were woefully incomplete or incomprehensible:
- The diagrams and markings where the collar is attached to the robe were either incorrectly marked or I couldn’t understand the instructions. My finished collar does not look right where it meets the robe opening. There is extra fabric sticking out where the facing joins the front sections. Still not sure what I did wrong but I wasn’t going to unpick all that basting, stitching and topstitching to figure it out.
- The directions for inserting the pockets in the side french seams were absolutely incomprehensible and I ended up with half a pocket on the outside and the other half on the inside. This is where the project crashed and burned. I didn’t know how to recover from this debacle and lost my will to live at this point.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loved the look of the shawl collar and lines/shape of the robe. It seemed like it was roomy enough, but still elegant. Hated the complex pocket/french seams instructions and wonder if it was user error or poor pattern markings that bungled up my collar. I am betting it was user error. *sigh*
Fabric used: Floral silk charmeuse for the body of the robe from Yardage Town in Encinitas and solid silk charmeuse for the hem bands from Paron Fabrics in NYC. I pre-treated swatches of both silks with a hand wash, rolling them up in a towel to get the excess water out and then drying them in the dryer on low. There was very little loss in sheen or color, so I did the same for the entire yardage so that my mom wouldn’t have to dry-clean her robe. She will have to hand wash it though. Sorry Mom.
Pattern changes or design changes made: As noted above, I added hem bands to the bottom of the robe and to the sleeves. I thought they would weight the body of the robe nicely and add a little pizzazz. For the sleeve hem bands I just measured the length of the sleeve edge and cut an appropriate length of the solid silk. Then I sewed the side seam, pressed the seam allowances down, and sandwiched the sleeve in-between to topstitch them all together. For the hem of the robe, I just treated the hem band, after attaching it, as the regular hem of the robe before topstitching onto the robe. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. (I love that phrase, can’t stop saying it.)
Any problems encountered during construction? Oh my, where do I begin?
- The interfacing I chose to use on the collar was a little too stiff. Yes, I did samples. And yes, I still chose the wrong kind. I don’t know how. I don’t know why. I persevered on anyway.
- The collar insertion. I already talked about that though.
- The pockets. Oh the pockets. The bane of my existence. As I mentioned above, I somehow f-d up the pockets and didn’t know how to salvage the robe at this point. When I showed it to Sherril at PR Weekend, she asked me, “Does it need to have pockets? Why don’t you cut them off and redo the French seams? There should be enough ease in the robe to take a little out of the side seam.” Pure genius. And that’s precisely what I did. It’s a little bit of a hatchet job, but it’s done and secure and it’s French. And that’s all I’m going to say about that situation now.
Any new techniques learned? Why yes, now that you ask. I learned how to make a thread loop. Of course the Vogue instructions weren’t helpful, but I did find this helpful tutorial from Liesl Gibson at Oliver and S on the interwebs.
Any interesting design details in this pattern? Well, the thread loop was interesting. And the internal ties were a surprise, but both of these elements together go a long way to making this robe really function and drape well. They are construction details not to be skimped over or left out. You definitely need them all to have this robe close and hang/drape attractively. I had asked Claudine about the interior ties early into the construction and she said in no uncertain terms to add them. And now that I have tried on the robe several times, I tip my hat to Claudine and her infinite wisdom. Also the external ties were inserted into the back pleats. Genius!
Which sewing machine(s) did you use for construction? I know you will all be surprised to learn that I used my Viking Emerald 183 exclusively for this project. Why you ask? Well, for this fabric, silk charmeuse, I definitely needed my walking foot and it works on that machine only. Yes, my beloved Featherweight looked on longingly as I forsook her for the walking foot and the Husqvarna Emerald 183. *double sigh*
Time to complete construction? Eons. And more eons. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
Will you sew it again or recommend it to others? Not sure, but leaning towards no, I will not make it again. I don’t know if I could do better at the collar or figure out the pocket situation. I do know though that I do want a silk charmeuse robe for myself, so I might find another pattern to make one for myself. I just don’t have the strength in me to figure this one out again. I definitely don’t recommend this pattern to beginners. It’s a long project with tons of steps. Definitely intermediate to advanced sewers could probably figure out this pattern better than I did. But consider yourselves warned.
Conclusion: It’s hard to enjoy the beauty of this robe for me as it caused me such grief, but seeing it on my mom was a thrill. I know she will enjoy wearing it. And here she is modeling her new robe (she asked that I blur out her face as she wasn’t made up yet).
Happy Mother’s Day!!!
Folks, I finally hemmed the unintentional skirt for my sister so I can put it in the mail to her tomorrow.
And way back in the beginning of April, I made Thor, my nephew, a sword scabbard. I completely forgot to take it with me when I went to NYC then. But that means that I got to photograph it for you all to see. So I guess it was meant to be. So before I packed both of these up to mail, I took some quick pictures.
Thor’s scabbard is based on his sword’s measurements which were 2 x 7 inches. I decided to go with a belt instead of an over the shoulder carrier this time since Jack had problems with the over the shoulder carrier on his scabbard. It wouldn’t stay put where he wanted it. Going on memory here since I sewed this up in April, I used the same faux leather as Jack’s scabbard. The scabbard itself is smaller as Thor’s sword is smaller than Jack’s.
- I cut the scabbard 8 x 8 inches and sewed the side seam on the exterior using my walking foot.
- After I finished it, I decided that I needed a line of stitching down the other side as well to give it more structure.
- For the belt, I cut a strip 4 x 31 in long.
- And sewed it the same as the scabbard, except that I added velcro to it first for the closure.
- Then I cut slits into the back of the scabbard only so I could “thread” the belt through it. I made them diagonally so that the scabbard opening would tilt forward for easy sword removal.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Here’s Jack modeling it for scale.
And remember how I loved my yoga waistband skirt? I made another one on Sunday in like an hour from cutting to wearing for a party that day. I didn’t bother hemming it though. Pretty easy and fast when you don’t have to rethread a coverstitch machine and then hem it. I don’t have a picture of it on me, so a hanger shot will have to do. Sorry.
Ok enough show and tell, I gotta get a move on with my mom’s Mother’s Day gift. I’m super behind!
Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking Kyle around town to see the sewing sights of San Diego. When we were in SF for Pattern Review Weekend in April, she let me know she would be in town and asked if we could meet up. That was a no brainer, of course! Since she was staying in La Jolla, we met at Gwen Couture, a small fabric store/sewing class/dressmaker shop nearby. The fabric selection is small, but very well curated. I came away with a mesh like knit. I’m thinking a swingy tank top for a night out.
Kyle bought a few things there and had them shipped home.
Then we went to Discount Fabrics near Mission Bay. I haven’t been there since Susan took me there a year ago. Can’t believe it’s been that long. I found a stretch lace for a casual top and two coordinating gingham/seersucker fabrics for my niece’s birthday presents this year.
We had lunch at a nearby barbecue place and talked about sewing, independent pattern companies and our stable of machines. All in all, it was a fun day.
I am stealing the picture of us at Gwen Couture from Kyle’s Twitter account.
I am working on my mom’s Mother’s day present and my Gatsby dress this week. Wish me luck. I’m gonna need it!
So this time I made a skirt for myself and not my sister. As I mentioned yesterday, I needed to use my own measurements instead of the pdf pattern. Easy peasy lemon squeezy as Jack says. ;)
iCandy’s tutorial can be found here. Even using your own measurements, you might have some sizing issues as the knit you use and it’s stretchiness can change how this skirt fits dramatically. Basting is your friend here. Well worth the time before you serge everything.
Basically this is a very easy knit skirt with a waistband that is foldable. The waistband width is your waist measurement minus 3-5 inches (depending on your fabric) by 10 inches. The skirt pattern piece is your waist measurement divided by 2 with the hem being 10 inches wider than the waist measurement for the flare. You serge the waistband, fold it wrong sides together. Serge the side seams of the skirt. Put the waistband right side to the right side of the skirt. Pin in four places on each to ensure even distribution of the skirt to the waist band and then and serge it together. Then once the hem is done, your skirt is ready for primetime!
I used a knit from the stash. I bought it from Elliott Berman Textiles in NYC about a year or two ago. Love this knit. It’s so soft and comfy. And the print is to die for. The print placement was pure happenstance and I love how it turned out. It’s a very flattering style and easy to wear. I’ve already received a few unsolicitations at the school pick up line today. I could see making up tons of these and making this my go to uniform this summer.
Now go make one or twenty of these for yourself. So easy!
I didn’t mean to. I meant to make myself a skirt. It ended up being too small. *sigh*
I used this tutorial I found randomly on the web. I just used the PDF pattern hoping my knit would be forgiving. It wasn’t. I should have followed the instructions at the bottom which went by your measurements. I did not. *another sigh*
I will attempt this again in another knit tomorrow as the silhouette is cute and the waistband on the skirt is comfortable. Hope it works!