For the winter!
This project was a teensy bit challenging – but when has that stopped me? My friend wanted a princess-seamed vest in outerwear fabrics – not too shiny, with rainbow motifs and a vintage feel. For the shell I chose a water-resistant nylon packcloth from the lovely RockyWoods, and underlined with two layers – a polyfleece, and a high-loft winter underlining medium.
The collar has only a one underlining fabric in fleece, to keep bulk down. Facings around hem, neckline, and front placket.
Snaps! Size 24, metal. And you get a tiny peek at the very cool corduroy-style Malden Mills fleece lining. I chose it for the “vintage” effect of a wale fabric.
The rainbow section of the vest was first carefully pressed (pressing a nylon fabric isn’t super fun), then crackstitched to a muslin underlay, before applying to the rest of the garment. If I hadn’t put this underlay in, you’d be able to see some of the seam allowances too starkly.
I’m a big fan of an underlap. You can make it from something cute if you like – a contrast fabric or even a pieced rainbow placket. Whatever you like. Here, I chose the burgundy for underlap, inner collar, hem facings, and placket facings.
It is hard to believe it, but the sew-along is here. This is a simple project – perhaps the easiest in my year-long roster – but due to the large swatches of yardage, it still needs a little TLC. To that end – and given we’re using a somewhat intermediate pattern style – if you have any questions please contact me through comments, through email, or on Facebook!
So there’s no time like the present, to get started! Am I right?
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.
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).
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.
In alphabetical order, a few shops I’ve used in the last year that I’ve enjoyed working with.
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.
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).
The night before Halloween, my husband and a friend traveled south, went to a concert, and upon heading back north the car broke down in the middle of nowhere. Six hours and a $600 tow later (middle of the night Sunday), they were home safely and I was entirely wrung out like a flannel.
Worse than the hardship was my anger. The car hasn’t been right; it’s not reliable. That morning I’d asked, “Do you think it’s a good idea to go down there tonight?” He did. He was wrong.
It sucks. It doesn’t bear dwelling on. My mortgage payment is gone. For now. I’ll figure something out. Or something will come. I have come to rely on this.
Halloween itself, then, commenced a little off-kilter. Ralph slept during the day a bit. In the later part of the day I was up and roasting tomatoes and de-hulling chickpeas for a small gathering at our house. Despite a tightness in my chest, and a headache in my temples, the day soon began to ease for me. My son’s friend A. came in, intrigued by my cooking, by my costume. I asked for him to put out our luminaries, a series of jars festooned in colored tissue paper decoupage. More willing than my own children to help, his eager-to-please sweetness gave me something to focus on. His presence soothed my spirit.
Ralph came back home as I finished the bisque, and set out little pickles and olives and the like. We grabbed a few photos in the gloaming, a misty rain baptizing us. Autumn has always been a very special time of year for me, and no less so this year. There is an intimacy between the children and I that I have come to find so incredibly comforting.
As darkness fell Ralph and our friends, and all the children, went off through the neighborhood and as is my custom, I manned the door. Children knocked and I greeted them, a huge bowl of candy in my arms. “A queen!” a young boy beamed, delighted by my golden crown.
Next year we’ll need a well-lit walkway; I fear it was too dark for some of the Trick or Treat’ers to brave.
This year, I am happy to have spent it in festivities with my loved ones.
I 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.
One of the first intermediate garments I sewed, was a flannel shirt. Listen – I live in Aberdeen, Washington and while we didn’t invent the plaid flannel per se, we sure got it on the scene. In the early 90s – when I sewed my first shirt – the typical M.O. was to find them at thrift stores. I hadn’t filled out yet – I was still a relatively petite C-cup – so I’d buy what was available: the men’s flannels.
Of course, menswear doesn’t fit most women’s bodies in a comfortable or practical way. For me, the shoulders too broad and the arms were too long. The shirt hipline was too narrow yet the waist was baggy. I think that is what my fourteen year old self must have been chasing, when she purchased a lovely raspberry and green soft cotton flannel and embarked on the adventure.
I remember my mom and I squabbled every step of the way. A menswear-styled shirt isn’t exactly a beginner project: you have the cuff plackets and the front placket and fiddly collar and collarstand and pockets! Then there’s the narrow curved hem – ugh! We argued throughout the creation but
These days I pretty much take menswear shirting to #levels. I am constantly pursuing better craftsmanship and new methods. Plaids are amazing because while they take a little extra work to match – the . For this reason, I don’t both using any flannel that isn’t pretty decent quality. And flannel can be tricky that way. It can look great on the bolt – but once you’ve prewashed, turned to rubbish! The “Mammoth” line has been very satisfactory so far and I picture myself sticking with it until I’ve chomped my way through several more of their lovely colorways!
(SUUUUPER cheap plastic buttons because they were the best color in my stash!) –
And yes, those are bias-cut cuff plackets, and a bias-cut cuff. I interface the cuff, but not the placket. While interfacing a placket can be very helpful at times, in general you want to use a very, very light interfacing. The medium/heavy weight of the flannel meant interfacing the plackets was not wise. The cuffs, collar, and collarstand interfacing made for a very rugged-feeling shirt.
The entire shirt is french-seamed and I achieved a perfect curved armscye:
Curved baby hem – another potentially frustrating seam to pull off:
Here’s my noir photo of my shirt. Being all mysterious ‘n’ shit: Finally: I modified the Bootstrap shirt in only two ways – the sleeves, and to add breast pockets. I modified the sleeves for a cuff placket, and to narrow the sleeves. I wanted to be able to wear the plackets open, but have them not flop! Two pleats at the cuff as per tradition.
Now let’s move onto the jeans!
I’ve hosted two jean sew-alongs so it hardly seems like I should keep telling y’all how I make them. I will say this denim was just wonderful to work with. It was mid-to heavyweight, which feels good for a fall/winter jean. It also had a very firm hand. And the blue/black indigo colorway is drool-worthy, especially when coupled with the traditional goldenrod thread work:
Those who’ve been with me a while will remember my Miniature Giant Japanese Baby Bunting and the wonderful fabric I used. Well today I finally got to use the last little bit of this fabric! I used it for my pocketbags and waistband facing, and because I used a crossgrain facing and pieced this facing, I really did use the last bit of this fabric economically. SO SATISFYING!
While I am not totally averse to a curved waistband, steaming the curve into the crossgrain uses less fabric (therefore less bulk), and makes for a better performance and finish – IMO:
(Also note how fly my fly is!):
Some more fly action – belt carrier made from the selvedge:
Stitcwork meeting at the center back yoke: My own little pocket graphic. I accidentally sewed the pockets on the wrong side – usually the larger curved motif is at the outseam! Brass rivets, zipper, and snap:
Today? We are finishing and joining the costume. Our final post will be a little costume/tutorial workshop roundup, consisting of some helpful costuming resources (and please email me if there are any you’d like to share)!