We’ve had a cold winter in Atlanta (yes, freezing temperatures!). In my closet there are 2 cold-weather robes – one leopard print, the other Hello Kitty – and both have been worn to death. Time for something a bit more adultish.
Since I’ve committed to not buy any ready-to-wear clothing in 2018, I couldn’t just run out and pick up something new. In my closet there was some chenille and a pattern for a shawl collar robe, and I figured I’d just whip that up in a couple of days. As usual, when I ordered the fabric I didn’t plan so had just 2 yards, and the robe pattern called for 3 1/2.
Then I remembered a duster my mother used to wear in the 1970s. It was velour with embroidery around the neckline and zipped up so was perfect for wearing around the house. Something like this would be doable with a couple of yards of fabric.
(The pattern pictured is very similar to Mom’s robe, and is currently available on Amazon.)
I have made Vogue 8897 twice before. It’s a very loose fitting, pull-over dress with pockets. There are options for 3/4 sleeves, and stand collar.
My first attempt was an early project when I started sewing again in 2015. I used a satin from much-missed Hancock’s, and have worn that dress several times on hot summer days. I didn’t bother to match the pattern on the front seam, but still like the dress.
The second version was made of stretch lace, and I wear it as a bathing suit coverup.
So when I saw this pattern in my drawer I knew it would be perfect for a duster/dressing gown/robe, it’s generous enough to throw over the head, and it has pockets!
10-ounce chenille from Fabric.com in a very light blue colour. The fabric was disappointing, scratchy and flat until a trip through the washer and dryer. It produced about a gallon of lint, but feels just like a lovely old bedspread now.
For the collar, facing, pockets and cuffs I used a white fabric called “Soft & Comfy” from JoAnn. It has a very small amount of 2-way stretch and I had no issues combining it with the chenille. The name is accurate – it’s very soft.
I knew the fit so all adjustments were just ‘design features’:
- Lengthened sleeves by 4″ so they are wrist length
- Sewed the front facings ‘inside out.’ The pattern directs to turn the facings to the inside; only the topstitching is visible on the right side of the garment. I flipped the facings so they are on the right side of the garment. This was a simple adjustment, but to be sure I had my engineering right, I hand basted the facing in place first.
The pattern is very straightforward. I used a new 90/14 needle and walking foot on my regular machine to sew the seams and topstitch on the front facing.
The pattern has bust darts, and these were sewn as usual, but to eliminate bulk I then I snipped off the excess fabric and zigzagged the edges.
The pockets were sewn with the white fabric for two reasons, to again eliminate bulk, but also to keep my hands warm.
Seams were finished with my serger. Possibly the most important skill I learned in 2017 was threading my serger. It only took me 15 years, and thanks to everyone who posted YouTube videos that I watched over and over again. Now I can use interesting things like variegated thread!
I used my new cover stitch on the sleeve cuffs and the hem.
In November I attended an embroidery class/seminar and of course I was bewitched by the thousands of designs available and wound up buying a one-year embroidery file subscription for John Deer’s Ultimate Stash designs. I found these beautiful birds that look Scandinavian and are elegant in their simplicity. I stitched one onto a piece of the white fabric and intended to add it as a pocket, but that didn’t look right. Instead I trimmed the fabric close to the design and stitched it on the front by the neck band. There are 3 different designs in this same style and I will absolutely use these on a blouse or jacket for this Spring.
- 1 1/2 hours – cutting
- 4 hours – sewing
When I began the project I was planning to add a zipper to the deep opening, but I realized that this will be worn over something – maybe nightclothes or a camisole so left that off. At some point I may add a closure of some sort, maybe a frog.
What did I learn? Don’t be afraid to be creative with fabrics or doing things like flipping facings. And play around with embroidery. Perhaps this isn’t the perfect place for my embellishment, but I love the little bird and will get to see it every morning.
This pattern is so versatile, and it was fun to hack it a bit to suit my needs. I suspect this robe will get a lot of wear over the next few months. While it may not be as elegant as mom’s velour robe, it will be just as useful. Wonder if the Vogue designers ever thought this would be a dressing gown?