Holiday Robe Sew-Along Badge

holiday robe sew-along: supplies

Join the Holiday Robe Sew-Along!

 Holiday Robe Sew-Along Badge

 

As promised, here is a bit of a supplies post for the Holiday Robe Sew-Along, starting on the 10th of this month.

So first, I absolutely love this robe. I generally throw it on after showering, putting my hair up, and donning my undergarments. The jersey is so cool, and the drape and volume give a very elegant but modest effect so I don’t mind, say, answering the door if someone knocks.

Holiday Robe Sew-Along

For this sew-along we only need our pattern, our fabrics (if sewing a floor-length for an adult, I wouldn’t order fewer than five yards), and optional interfacing for the belt (you’ll want a knit or tricot interfacing; I favor Fashion Sewing Supply‘s products).

Holiday Robe Sew-Along
And before I talk fabrics, I am well-aware that sew-along peeps usually bend the rules. 🙂

The pattern I am using for the robe SAL is a pattern suited for knits or wovens, and carries a lot of ease. A lighter-weight fabric is the best choice, due to the sheer volume of the robe – especially if you’re going floor-length. My fabric choices below will highlight lightweight knits in either cotton, modal, or rayon (or a combination) – with or without lycra. You want to make sure your fabric is not sheer (unless sheer is the look you want). But remember, you can make this robe out of a variety of fabrics so if you want to try something else, post in the comments and I will give you my advice.

Obvious choices for this robe are solids, yarn-dyed stripes, and florals.

Green Jersey Fabric

Stripe Jersey Fabric

Floral Jersey Fabric
In alphabetical order, a few shops I’ve used in the last year that I’ve enjoyed working with.

Cali Fabrics is a great, quick source for inexpensive, good knits. You can search their knits by colorway. Imagine a glamorous Christmas-evening robe in this gold-on-navy sparkle knit; a playful daytime robe in this wonderful apricot jersey; something dramatic like this rose-print black and red. (You may notice the robe I demonstrate for this sew-along was made from the floral-on-sage rayon knit in this shop.)

Fabric.com is one of my staple sites. Not fast shipping, but free shipping. And they have a huge catalog of knit fabrics. I often search with highest price first, because you can find quality yardage at good prices that way.

FashionFabricsClub is rumored to be in cahoots with Fabric.com (let me know if you know better than I). They have a real hit-and-miss reputation, but the last time I purchased from them their customer service was fabulous. You can do a search on jersey knit or rayon knit to get started.

Similar to Cali Fabrics in quality and price, Girl Charlee carries great knits, and they are fast and inexpensive. Start at their knit section and work from there; cotton jersey and cotton lycra are both great choices, with lycra sporting a springier feel.

If you are interested in a cotton solid, imagine gnats is a great shop and Rachel is a wonderful person to order from! Her knit collection holds several laguna solids, which are great (and gorgeous) all-purpose solids (note: prices are per half yard).

Mood Fabrics has some of the most gorgeous fabrics around. Start in their knit/jersey section and go from there (look at this eggplant with metallic stars!). Fast shipping, too! Their customer service “Chat” function is very disappointing. But otherwise, I’ve been very happy with Mood.

There’s always Nature’s Fabrics – one of my favorite shops, hands-down. They have a lovely selection of cotton jersey prints and stripes. Many of their fabrics are knits, so searching a few other fibers yields wonderful results (like this rayon slub).

So there you have it! More than enough to get you started. Remember, you can email me or comment here if you want any guidance!

See you on the 10th!

Classic Long Robe by Bootstrap

holiday robe sew-along: save the date!

Join the Holiday Robe Sew-Along!

 Holiday Robe Sew-Along Badge

 

Holiday Robe Sew-Along

Holiday Robe Sew-Along

Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful time with our Costume Workshop – or whatever it is you’ve been sewing and creating this fall season.

For my November sew-along, we’ll be making the “Classic Long Robe” from Bootstrap:

Classic Long Robe by BootstrapI will be adding a neckline facing (from each hem and along the shawl collar), and omitting the breast welt pocket. I will also walk you through how to add length – the robe is essentially tea length, and for the version shown here (a size 16 at 5’5″, modeled by my 5’5″ size 8 daughter) I wanted a floor-length robe with a gorgeous drape (achieved!). I will also be walking us through how to create invisible stitching for our facings and hems; and a quicker machine-stitched finish as well.

There are many robe patterns out there; and in fact, Bootstrap has several robe patterns that would work with a rayon knit. The version I selected has a lot of wearing ease, so making it in a traditional heavy terry or even flannel would result in a very cozy, very voluminous experience. This is why we’re using a light knit: making it in a light rayon (or bamboo, which is also a form of rayon) makes it just as cozy, but a lot lighter weight. Of course you can make your robe up in almost anything! Comment below if you have questions. I will be covering fabric suggestions a bit more in our next post.

[ Edit – for those of you who elect to print a Bootstrap pattern on 8 1/2″ by 11″ pages, sew-along participant Kristine has some helpful information as to assembly ]

I’ll put up a supply post in a couple days – and we’ll get started cutting and sewing on the 10th!

 

Holiday Robe Sew-Along

turtle sundae in rayon

Today I finished a rayon blouse for my mother, to her exact specifications (construction details in the Flickr tagset).

Rayon Blouse, For A Client

The rayon yardage was a bit spendy; it feels like a dream against the skin. Of course, it was rather tricky to work with and nearly impossible to iron (I did my best).

My mother bought the yardage at least a dozen years ago; I was with her, and I remember. The last decade she’d taken it out a few times and lovingly stroked it, and made plans, but then put it back in the closet. She recently asked me to make her a blouse from the yardage and I quoted her a price. Even though she’s my mother, she still gets my, 100% refund policy. It is important my clients are happy with my work!

Rayon Blouse, For A Client

Don’t even come at me about the pockets. They are not saggy but rather are built such the pockets drape properly over her bust – drafted to C/D cup. Women’s wear – especially for large or curvaceous women – definitely looks a lot better on a woman, than on a hanger!

So – she arrives home tomorrow and she will find it hanging in her armoire. I really hope she likes it – it has been my privilege to sew her a few garments that fit not only her personal sense of style, but her body. Which, and I thought this over quite a bit, is like a lovely lady badger-dowager with slender shoulders and careworn teats.

Buttons – cross-hatched coconut. Perfect buttonholes – created on my Singer 201-2 using stabilizer, sealed from the backside with Fray-check, then cut with a buttonhole chisel. BOOM

Rayon Blouse, For A Client

Collar:

Rayon Blouse, For A Client

The narrow hem (about 5/16″):

Rayon Blouse, For A Client

After she evaluates fit, I will make her another – this time, a gift. With a semi-sheer stretch silk – i.e. even more of a pain-in-the-ass fabric!

Ah, well.

green, green, my love is green

Two very different children. Two very different greens.

Good Morning!

Axolotl Dress

Axolotl Dress

Axolotl Dress

Yes, I made a dress based on an aoxlotl. Here are the external gills:

Axolotl Dress

Both garments are self-drafted! This means I designed these garments 100% from scratch, no Franken-patterning. Just a ruler, pencil, and tracing medium. I am feeling fabulous about it all.

My Little Guy

I drafted and sewed up Nels’ little PJ pants in about an hour or so last night. I’d like to get him a few more cozy cottons and I’d like to draft myself such nice, roomy, cotton PJs.

Little Dude, Little Toes

Axolotl Dress

is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment

I’ve spent so much of the last dozen years in near-constant company of children you’d think I find them quite unremarkable as companions; but in fact, they are a special type of experience to me, still. I often feel uncertain, and think I am supposed to be providing them more food, more cuddles, more baby-talk. However I have very little to offer on all these accounts – sometimes not much for my own little ones.

The girls visiting tonight are, as per usual, excited about our life and they explore it frankly. They are enamored of our home; they enjoy my mother’s property next door, with the witchy garden and koi pool and fire pit. They are excited our children do not go to school and they are enthusiastic about Nels’ lemonade stand (he spent all day out there; cheerfully greeting, pouring, mixing – and when alone, singing songs and saying, “I’m a winner!” to himself).

In the evening Ralph leaves for a meeting and the four children and I venture out to our favorite little walk along the harbor. Within a few moments the younger sister N. sits behind me on my bike, completely at-ease with a grownup she’s never met before. She has a wicked sense of humor, very dry – a lot like my daughter. She is pretty in a winsome, Scout-from-To-Kill-A-Mockingbird type of way. Her sister is a real beauty, clouded blue eyes and long lashes and dark hair falling across her clear brow. They are very composed little girls and quite game to shift bikes back and forth when we are joined by another child on foot, woefully protesting the unfairness of not owning a bike. Phoenix, for the first time, rides my X with Nels on the back while I carry N. I feel a sting of pride. A little later my daughter rounds a corner too fast and ditches the bike too, falls right over although she and Nels are very good at dumping bikes without being hurt. Phoenix gets up and dusts off. “It’s not a maiden voyage of an Xtracycle if you don’t fall,” I tell her cheerfully; she brightens up.

The children know where to look for animals hidden here and there in the hot, muggy wetland – we find all sorts of creatures, including many centipedes criss-crossing our path, a long-toed salamander (rare for our area of Washington), and a small nest of nubbly purple-pink rodents. The children entreat me to take photos with my phone although in the case of the little baby nest, I don’t want to get too close.

Long-Toed Salamander

Rodents Of Generally-Expected Size

***

Back at home the visiting girls stay until the last possible moment before they’ll be late getting home. They keep asking about my sewing and my sewing room. Finally it occurs to me they might like some of Phee’s hand-me-downs. I step into the closet and begin pulling out this and that, garments my daughter has grown out of that haven’t found a new child. I hand over a few things then start straightening the hangers, lost a bit in preoccupied tallying of my children’s clothing needs. A moment later I turn to find one of the girls still standing, expectant, hoping for more magic to be pulled out of this dark and dusty little closet. The girls try on the garments and one of them, the older one, brightens up considerably at Phee’s leopard-print-and-lilac-rose dress. She changes into the frock then skates into the kitchen and twirls; the dress suits her even more than it did my daughter.

Giving clothes to children is funny. The kids have to like the clothes and then who knows if the parents will let them wear them. And then there are the unintentionally-comic requests; a friend of my daughter asked me to make her a Justin Bieber t-shirt. As if you can’t find one of those for $5 at Walmart! Still, I am gratified to think these particular garments will find another happy home. All told, the girls left with the Blue Dragon Egg Jacket, the Bleeding Heart Dress, the Rayon Tiered Leopard Dress, and Blue Goth.

(A retrospective:)

Happy As A Clam
Supermodels
Up Close, Flowers, Leaves, Vine
Pensive At The Coffee Shop

angel in blue

My daughter loves this ensemble but personally I think it’s a tiny bit too matchy-matchy. For my taste, anyway. One won’t deny the teal is a lovely color for this time of year.

Friendly

Funny: as soon as I finished it (handsewing at the soccer practice last night) I knew my daughter would love the dress but be less enamored of the pinafore: and I was right!

Hood

Both she and I love the hood more than anything (the pattern for both pieces is Olivia from Farbenmix).

Grimms' Fairy Tales

The dress is a 100% cotton Michael Miller; the pinafore is made from one of my favorite current fabrics to work with, a linen/rayon blend.

Skirt

The linen/rayon looks better and better with age, too.

“It’s the pleats.”

Button, Flowers

Handsewn flowers via a tutorial by my lady Karen.

Laugh

Phoenix laughs, watching her dad play hackysack.

I’m offering either/or/both pieces in my little shop; you can also view more detail photos in the Flickr tagset or read my pattern review.

lovely in kelly green

I totally made this today (the garment, not the child; the latter I am only fortunate enough to have incubated and birthed):

Tennis Court Beauty

Sewing this up was a wonderful, wonderful way to start my day: first, a quick morning trip (By myself! Listening to loud music! Grabbing a croissant and a [decaf] espresso!) for sewing supplies. I was forced into Walmart for the poison-green thread for my sewing machine and serger; there’s no other place within thirty or fifty miles to find it. Still, I got home right-quick and because the kids slept in (and when they got up, fed and dressed themselves) I was able to complete the garment.

Phoenix In The Glen

Lovely Neckline; Lovely Neck

It’s from a Japanese pattern book and originally had a button-placket in the front. But rather than sew nine tiny buttonholes (puke!) I elected to do a hand-pricked lapped side-zipper.  Phoenix slides the tunic on and somehow that whole business reminded me of the early scene in The Virgin Spring, a linen lovely my daughter was so happy to wear.

Clowning

Installing Zipper

Check out that tiny, TINY little yellow-green dot at the lower mid-right of the above photo. The prick-stitch is amazing because it is subtle and lovely but so very strong! Plus I get to say “prick”! A lot! I only wish it was called the cock-stitch.

You can view many details and construction notes at my Flickr tagset.

“It’s the pleats.”

sneak peaks

Even in my slightly-lower energy state of an allergy diet and no frakkin’ coffee hells yes I’ve been sewing. A couple weeks ago I finished both the Brooklyn Shrug and the Insa Skirt for my daughter. Both were minor failures; both too small (patterns run small sometimes – it happens). Also: just as I sewed the last stitch of the skirt (which was a rather time-consuming venture) I thought to myself, This is so not Sophie’s style any more! Sure enough, when I presented her with the skirt two minutes later, she complimented it and then said, “Mom… I don’t want to offend you, but I kind of don’t like ruffly things any more.”

Well that makes two of us (I hate making ruffles).
RUFFLES I HATE THEM
Anyway, is she awesome or what? I’m proud of her for speaking up and I look forward to gifting the lovely to a friend’s child who is obsessed with skirts and ruffley stuff.

Funny, but Sophie’s stylings lately are distinctly tween and tween patterns are kind of difficult to find (Ottobre is awesome but I have yet to spring for a subscription). I’ve already moved on to sewing two new dresses for her, hopefully in a style she enjoys – a simple sleeveless square-necked number by Burda (she’s enjoyed her sleeveless bubble dresses very much and is now, a year later, growing out of them). I’m making the two frocks in some lovely, deep colors of linen/rayon I bought on sale at JoAnns:
Bodice, 2X
Let me tell you, this linen/rayon is a dream. You may recall (or you don’t, but I will remind you) that I used a similar blend for Sophie’s self-titled “Priest Dress” I made in the summer. That dress continues to receive heavy rotation on Sophie’s many extremely vigorous outdoor activities (remember, my kids don’t go to school: they mostly climb trees, ride bikes, and dig mud pits) and is still holding up well.

If I had any caveat on the linen/rayon it would be that the slim neckline facing pieces did not hold up at the edges; I couldn’t double-turn the far edge of the facing because of the curve and the bulk that would have resulted. I interfaced and serged the facings before applying them, but that wasn’t good enough. I might have done a very tight stitch at the base of the serge and that might have helped. As it is, this is the only part of the “Priest Dress” that is fraying and obviously, it’s not visible from the outside (my non-sewing and beginner-sewing friends reading are rolling their eyes at the “obviously”).

Learning my lessons in loose-weaves and facings, with these two dresses I instead lined/underlined the bodice with a crisp cotton. This also adds a more heirloom touch as all bodice seams will be fully enclosed. Funnily enough although I don’t have much of a fabric stash I did already own a bit of rust-color that worked to underline both dress bodices. I would have liked to underline the full skirt but I didn’t have proper yardage and I wanted to get sewing now (it happens). I’m considering buying some underlining fabrics on a bolt as it adds so much to most garments. I’d probably buy a batiste and maybe a light, stiff bull denim for some of my more structured items. I don’t know. I am kind of bush league when it comes to underlining, but my garments continue to improve.

Speaking of underlining, I’m also making a brown twill jacket for myself, Simplicity 4081 which is supposedly a forties-retro semi-fitted number. The shell is just about put together and I await via mail a silk twill for the lining. Here’s a peek at the pocket just before I turned it. At the far left you can see the black fusible interfacing I used to stabilize the edge of the pocket.
Chaqueta
Borrr-rring, I know. But, I’m not exactly a flamboyant dresser.

Incidentally, the shell fabric I’m using is a sturdy twill my brother sent me a few months ago. It was camel-colored (he’s even more boring than I am!) and I wanted a deep rust-brown. One morning while the kids slept I biked down to our local grocery store and picked up two separate brown shades of Rit dye, blending them with a scarlet packet I’d already owned (I’ve learned deep colors need lots of dye). Dying fabric is fun because it’s easy to do (at the level I’m doing it anyway – a rather mundane washing-machine batch) and it feels satisfying somehow. One of my favorite memories is an afternoon I spent with my then-pregnant friend Becca, stirring our cotton diapers up in deep, steaming vats of rich-colored dye, drinking coffee and eating lovelies and the windows and doors open to the sunshine.

Oh and finally – most exciting! I have been asked to (after my stalkery yielded the offer) pattern-test for my friend Karen and Shelley’s burgeoning pattern company, Patterns by Figgy’s. Tonight I received the email:

Hello my lovely pattern testers!

I will be sending over our “Tee for Two” pattern in the next few days for testing. Please review everything with hawk eyes. Pattern & booklet. Along with the pattern/booklet I will send you yardage needed for all sizes.Please test the size your child will wear so that we know it is a perfect fit. Please check the measurements in order to choose the correct size.

I will need you to test the pattern this week. Deadline 5/24. If you feel like you can’t commit NO PROBLEM I can keep you on the list for the next pattern.

you are testing for:
pattern size legend correct
markings in the correct places
fit
grammar
spelling
instructions in proper order
easy to follow instructions
instructions that make sense
we believe this is a beginner pattern and we want to make sure of this

Any questions please email me or Karen anytime. We appreciate all that you are doing for us and we hope you love the pattern.

Website live this week!!!

Shelly L. Figueroa
Creative Designer

This is only too exciting for me. I love getting things in the mail – and a kick-ass pattern and lovely yardage to sew it up with? Oh yes.