I made a caftan type robe back in Nov 2015 with Burda 1992-05-112. That is the shape I want but I find it doesn’t want to slip on an off very easily. I’m not batting 100 with Burda patterns. Not only do I have fitting issues, but Burda likes to fit clothes much closer to the body than I like. That robe fits that category. I need more ease right under the bust and across the shoulders. Oh it looks nice. But it’s a pain to put on and take off. So reluctantly, I decided to make a classic robe using New Look A 6233:
I’m using a classic robe fabric too. It’s a dark-plum polyester with a napped surface almost like suede — but it’s not. It has a tricot backing like my Burda Caftan. The tricot backing didn’t help with my Burda Caftan, so I lined this new robe fully.
Ok part of the reason I fully lined the robe is because I had this lavender fabric in the stash. It’s been there for years. I keep thinking I’d like to make a blouse with it except that lavender is really not my color. Lavender makes me look washed out and slightly sick. Why do I have it even in my stash? I have problems telling lavender from periwinkle when I’m in the store. I do occasionally come home with lavender which is more red-purple than blue-purple. Periwinkle has a touch more blue. It’s easy to tell when the colors are side by side but not in the stores especially under their nefarious lighting.
This should be an easy-to-sew garment. Fitting is not an issue. You want in the Goldilocks range. Not too big — don’t need to be tripping. But not too small– don’t want to be restrained or uncovered. The real classic robe usually has a tricky shawl collar as well. This has a single band running up the front, around the neck and down the other front. Should be easy. I fought with it the whole time.
Firstly, the suede-like fabric was resistant to sewing. Yeah, I heard the needle going pop pop pop as it forced its way through the fiber. I thought to treat it as a knit because of the tricot backing. I started with a size 10 ball point needle as the fabric light weight. Changed to a 12 and then 12 microtek. At least the popping was not as loud. I used hair elastics for button and belt loops.
Yes I added buttons to this classic ‘wrap’ garment. No matter how hard I try or how wide the fronts are, they never stay overlapped for me. I’m always getting this cold draft. Plus I tend to lose the belts. They untie and crawl away. Ach!
I learned something about elastic hair ties. They can be too fat:
These were so attractive in the store. The perfect color. The two on the bottom even coordinate with my embroidery colors. They were fat and the ones on top very shiny. The sewing machine, my new Dream, protested but did baste them into place. The serger however bent needles and created knots around the finger. I had to cut the elastics out and replace them with the plain black skinny elastics as seen in the pics.
I cut the plum suede and the silky lining from the same pattern pieces (size large with 5/8″ added at the neck edge and 1.5″ added to the hem). Did not change a thing for the lining. I laid out the fabrics separately. I didn’t try to cut through 4 layers even though this was 3 easy large pieces (plus front band, belt and pockets). Somehow the lining was smaller at the hem. I added a gusset between hem and underarm which added 6″ ease at the hem. The sleeves, shoulders, chest all that was fine. I walked the seams of the two fabrics. Those areas matched. But at the hems there was not enough lining . How does that happen? I don’t know. By the time I found the issue the decision was either gusset or trash.
My hems were all very simple. I made the lining and fashion fabric separately like two garments. Trimmed the sleeve and bottom edge 1.25″ (my standard hem depth) and aligned the raw edge of the lining with the fold of the hem. Turned the hem up and pinned in place before top- stitching at the Dream. Ummm my straight stitch was the lightening stitch set at 5mm long and .5 wide, 1″ away from the folded edge. I still think of the plum fabric as knit. Also pinning was not that easy! I felt like I was forcing logs through this suede fabric. When I tried the fine silk pins, they bent and would not penetrate.
I used the bottom of the buttonhole stitch as my tailor tack to secure lining and shell together at the shoulder and underarm. The band is applied last, even after the hemming. I basted the lining and shell together. Basted the two edges of the band together. Then serged the band to the shell/lining. I did say I fought this fabric all the way? Despite the basting, at least two places were not secured and had to be ripped. Another two made little bubbles which I left. Who’s going to see this thing? Me. DH. The Dogs and occasionally UPS. I pressed the serged seam towards the inside of the garment and then top stitched at the Dream. I used its Muv-it foot for the first time on the hems and band top stitching. Almost wish I’d used it to baste all 4 layers (lining, shell, and two edges of band) together before stitching. The Muv-it definitely kept the layers from shifting and ripples developing in the hems. I know because I stitched the first 8 inches without the Muv-it. Ripped that out. Installed the Muv-it and finished the hems. The Muv-it device comes with 2 changeable feet. They promise more are being engineered. I don’t like having to unscrew the shank to change feet. There are times and this was one of them, when it’s worth while.
Lastly, yes I embroidered the heck out of this garment. How often do you get a this big of surface for embellishing:
This is from a set of embroideries I’ve had for so long they aren’t available on the internet anymore. I loved this guy’s designs and technique. This is one embroidery, one color. It stitched without any floats. None. Ruby trimmed the thread at the end so I had no stray threads. My clean up was spritzing with water to remove the water soluble stabilizer placed on top.
On the front are two embroideries that are combined and mirrored for the other side.
Each front has 8000+ stitches. Total is about 30,000 stitches, 3 hoopings– NO, ZERO, NONE, ZILCH jump stitches. The guy was a master.
Will I use this pattern again? Yes. Not in the near future but this is a classic garment and despite my objections to its tendency to fly-apart in front, it is easy to slip on and off with a moments notice. Which is about how long I have between the dogs barking and UPS ringing my door bell. I’m retired. Getting fully dressed in the morning is not a priority. This style is easily sized and shortened. I don’t expect to look like a movie star and generally no one else does either. At least, not in my family. I pressed its pages and put it carefully away for the time when I need another house coat/robe/smoking jacket etc.