I’ve managed about a half hour a day, sometimes 45 minutes, for the past week or so. Yay! This was enough time for me to knock out the sewing on a simple fleece robe, one that I cut out in early February and then promptly ignored. I have one other robe cut from that same cutting session. It could get lucky next!
But for this one, I needed something warm, big, and fluffy, and I had a length of cheap white fleece from JoAnn’s that is the last, final, absolute end of the fleece in my stash. This makes me so happy, I can’t even tell you. I wanted to sew up a lot of “around the house” junky little things from this cheap fleece, and I did, and now I can move on to something worthy of being worn in public.
The pattern for this one is McCall’s 5248, which has the distinction of NOT being unisex pajamas. So I figured it would fit me pretty well straight out of the gate with little alteration. I cut a standard size medium, and didn’t alter it one bit. In fact, I didn’t even measure the pattern tissue pieces, which is usually an automatic step in the process around here.
I figured, heck, it’s a robe. How bad can it be?
No makeup, uncombed hair and a huge knee brace under my sleep pants — sexy!!
Meh. Not great, not bad. If you look closely, you can see that the shoulder seams are a little far down the arms, but it’s like that in the pattern line drawings, too. The arms are big, the sleeves are long, and it’s really bulky around the waist. And I’ll still wear this thing plenty, I’m sure, because it will fit over even my roomiest sweatshirt. If I make it again (and I might — the collar detailing is super clever — we’ll get to that in a mo), I would make a size small with FBA and maybe a little tweaking to the sleeves. But this giant white one will serve its purpose handily.
The best part about this pattern is the way it uses darts to shape the shawl collar. If you’re a knitter, you know that shaping a shawl collar can be a bit tricky. The inner part of the collar (closest to the skin) should be smaller than the outer part of the collar in order for the entire thing to roll properly. In knitting, we make it happen with short row shaping, but in sewing, this usually means shaped collar pieces that are sewn separately to the body of the garment.
Not in this case, though. This pattern inserts darts in both the front piece and the facing piece to create a roll line for that collar. It’s very clever and easy, and it yielded a terrific result. Take a look.
The row of stitching at the top is the shoulder seam, and the sleeve is to the right. The collar is folded back to show the dart that creates the roll line. If you look very closely, you will see that this dart stops about 3/8″ away from the shoulder seam. It’s this placement, plus the depth and shape of the dart, that give this collar its beautiful automatic roll. I want to sew this again, maybe in a really good flannel, just to watch this magic happen again. It’s fun in that weird way sewing can be fun — you drop the needle, press the foot lever, and see the fabric become 3-dimensional right before your eyes.
So I’d rate this one a solid B — an A for that cool collar detail, but only a C for fit, averaging out to a B. Not a bad way to return to the sewing room after such an absence.
The second robe will be made from a really tricky printed silk. I’m looking forward to the challenge! There’s something deeply satisfying about handling a quality silk and acclimating to its temperamental nature after all the endless yards of fleece lately. But the fleece sewing has been absolutely worth it. I have a stack of warm, stay-at-home garments that cost next to nothing to make — this robe, for example, tallied up to a whopping nine bucks, pattern included. The silk robe will be slightly more than that. Ahem.
Do you ever tackle a category of fabrics (all the fleece, all the printed cottons, all the whatevers) just to try to clear them out of the stash? I used to do this with yarn sometimes, too — I once knit nothing but socks from Regia until every bit of Regia was gone from my stash. Or do you prefer to rotate different kinds of materials and projects?