Birch Floral Robe

Let’s just gloss over the fact that I haven’t used this blog in literally years, and get straight to the point.

This robe. It’s a bit special, as it’s an example of extremely rare (for me) selfless sewing. I made it for my little sister for Christmas– I’ve been promising to sew her something for ages– and she seemed really happy with it.

The pattern is M6659 from McCall’s Patterns, sewn up in lovely Rifle Paper Co rayon, printed by Cotton + Steel. The print is Birch Floral in Crimson, bought from fabric.com.

The fabric is everything I wanted it to be. Vivid color, lovely drape. Just perfect for a cool, summery robe. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy Cotton + Steel Rayon again, I can’t think how it could be any better. In fact, I’ve got three more cuts of the stuff in different prints, waiting to be turned into more robes.

The pattern was not everything I wanted it to be, although it got the job done.

I modified it to add ties instead of a belt (much less prone to slipping open), a loop at the back neck for hanging on a hook, and pockets. It drives me nuts how many patterns don’t include pockets– why on earth would anyone want to go without them! It seems so simple for the designers to just include them, and saves the person sewing the hassle of figuring out where to place them. I firmly believe pockets should just be standard. I love all three of these modifications, and will definitely make sure that any robe I sew has them.

I also made some minor fit alterations. My sister is B37.5″, W30.3, H41.5″. The size 16 size chart measurements are 38-30-40, so I went with that. She was closer to a size 18 (42″) in the hips, but due to the loose fit there, it was fine. The only alterations I made were sleeve length and hem length– the sleeves were ridiculously long, while the robe itself was excessively short. I took off 2″ at the sleeve hems, and added 2″ to the robe length. My sister is quite tall, so I imagine that most people would need to shorten the sleeves. As for length, well, if you want to lounge comfortably without putting on a show, a bit of extra length is definitely a good idea! I did make the shorter variation of the robe, the longer variation is probably about mid calf length. On the pattern the short version is shown being worn over pajama pants, but I prefer to wear robes on their own. My sister has been wearing hers over her swimsuit, by the pool.

The biggest point of dissatisfaction I have about this pattern is that the armholes/upper sleeves are a bit tight. Tighter than you’d want for a casual robe (are formal robes a thing?). My sister has relatively slim arms, so it’s still definitely wearable, but it’s still slightly tighter than I’d like. I read this in the reviews before making the pattern, so seems i’m not the only one who has found this issue. If you make this pattern for someone whose arms aren’t relatively slim, keep in mind that you may need to do some alterations there.

Another issue was that I was unable to fit all the pieces on my fabric. The pattern called for 4 3/8 yards of 45″ wide fabric, for both the robe and belt. I had 4 1/2 yards of 44″ wide fabric, and it wasn’t enough. I should have laid out the pieces according to the instructions, to see if that 1″ really made the difference– I kind of doubt it, but I didn’t check. The problem may have been that I lengthened the robe 2″, but I’m not sure. In the end, I had to cut each neck band in two pieces. The fanric is busy enough, fortunately, that the seam isn’t visible.

My next sewing project will be a robe for my mum. I’m worried about the sleeve/armhole fit, and I can’t be bothered to fuss with major alterations on something like this, so I’m planning to abandon ship on this pattern and try out the Suki Kimono pattern by Helen’s closet. It seems pretty popular, and I’m eager to compare. I think I’ll use that for a robe for myself, too– will post about how that goes.

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Moon Bunnies Hazel

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At the stream in Seoul

Another long overdue post! I’ve had so many visitors in the last few months (five since March), that my sewing time has taken a serious hit– since I finished this dress in early May, all I’ve made is one pair of pajama shorts. Hopefully after my visit to California at the end of this month, I’ll be able to get myself back into it– I still think about sewing (and stalk sewing blogs) as much as ever, so I should work harder to turn thought into action.

Yes, it’s another Colette Patterns Hazel. When I made this dress, I wanted something that wouldn’t give me headaches trying to figure out pattern adjustments, something that I could dive right into for a quick and satisfying result. So of course, Hazel. This is my fourth one! It really is such a perfect summer dress for me, with its comfortable and flattering fit-and-flare shape, pockets, and bare shoulders. Because I’ve made it before so many times, I’ll just refer you to my Manhattan Hazel, if you want more information on fitting (and you can see my third Hazel here).

To keep it brief, this dress was made up in size 16 (bodice and skirt– two of my versions used the size 18 skirt, but I’ve decided I like the less gathered, slimmer size 16 better), hemmed a bit shorter, and with 3 cm or so added on top to raise the neckline and cover my bra.

moon bunnies hazel

As for the fabric, the main one is Cotton & Steel Mochi Moon Bunnies in Navy, from fabric.com. There’s still more available here .I fell for this print as soon as I saw it, and just knew I had to get it on my body ASAP.  There’s still some in stock, if you’re interested. It’s a quilting cotton, which really is perfect for this dress!  Yet another reason I love the Hazel dress– it makes a great canvas for quilting cotton prints.

For the contrast panels and pockets, I used plain black quilting cotton. I didn’t consider doing contrast panels until I was actually cutting out the main fabric, when I suddenly realised that I’d have to think about print placement. I was worried that it might look a bit weird if I didn’t match the print, and was in no way inclined to make the effort of figuring out how to make that work with the triangular bodice panels. So I opted for black contrast panels, and then just matched the print along the back seam (and tried but made a silly mistake and failed to match it along the side seams). In the end, I think I prefer it with the black anyways, and I’m very happy with this product of laziness design feature.

The photos were taken during a day out in Seoul with a friend. The ones above are along Cheonggyecheon stream. Below are some action shots– a cheeky afternoon mojito cocktail bag in the Daehangno neighbourhood, and cycling around Yeouido on a different day.

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Lakeside Stampede

Finally got my little sister to cough up some pictures of the pajamas I made for her for Christmas! I should have remembered to take some pictures when I was in Australia, because here they are looking like she’s just rolled out of bed in them…. sigh. Oh well, they’re still pretty cute! And she does get bonus points for the cat in the background.

Grainline Studios Lakeside pajamas

Grainline Studios Lakeside pajamas

The Pattern: Lakeside Pajamas by Grainline Studios

The Fabric: August Stampede cotton lawn in teal. By Sarah Watts for Cotton & Steel, bought from Fabric.com, here. Looks like it’s on sale right now!

I love this fabric, it’s perfect for smooth cool summer pajamas. Very light but not too sheer, so it didn’t need a lining. Felt lovely to work with. I used a bubblegum pink bias tape (also from fabric.com) for the binding, the print has some pink in it and I think it goes perfectly.

This is a really great pattern, and came together very easily… well, except for one rough spot. I really struggled with the bias binding at the point where it overlaps and runs up the side seam on the shorts! There may be a tutorial somewhere on how to do this better, but I didn’t check it out… I kind of had to force it flat, and it’s a bit wonky in that one spot. Oh well, it’s those little defects which add the character that generic store bought clothing lacks.

Since I live in Korea, I didn’t get to try it on her beforehand, and was working off the measurements my mum sent me. If I made them for her again, I would size up, because they are a bit snug. Her measurements were in between size 8 and a 10, so I went with the 10, thinking that would leave enough room for a bit of the “freshman 15” when she goes off to college this fall. Next time, I’m definitely making the 12! However, I’m not sure whether the measurements my mum sent me were totally correct, so I’d hesitate to judge the pattern on this.

I made these pajamas for her, because I loved the look of the pattern but really doubted it would look good on someone plump and busty like me. Things like these are much better on her body type. However, when I was making them, I decided that I really do want some for myself, regardless of how flattering they’d be… I’ve now taped together and cut out another print of the pattern pdf in my size. It’s sprawled all over my couch, waiting for my attention. We’ll see how that goes.

I’ll leave you with a picture of the back, alas, looking even more rumpled than the front (but with just as much cat).

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