10 Oct 2015
Last week, we looked at piecing together the Younger Son’s (YS) fleece robe from scraps. This week, we’ll finish it!
The shoulder seams and the seams where the collar and collar facings meet are the only seams I sewed in the traditional manner, and I did make sure to sew them with a 5/8-inch seam margin so where it mattered, the garment fit together the way Simplicity intended.
The facings are quite different from normal. Usually, you sew facings on, right sides together, and then clip, trim, and turn the facing right-side out, leaving the seam margin inside and concealed. I carefully laid out my paper pattern so that I could sew the facings onto the garment fronts wrong sides together, and still have the right side of the fashion fabric facing out for both sections. Facings come in a left and a right (mirror images of each other) so I had to be careful cutting them out so they went in the right direction in the finished robe.
I sewed the facings onto the garment fronts wrong sides together using a 5/8-inch seam, trimmed any unevenness and then overcast it. This gives a decorated edge all around. I spent a lot of time top stitching the facings, even adding a line of zigzag to the facing edge, the sleeve hems and the lower garment hem. As always, I pressed and pinned and sewed the facing down the entire length of the garment.
I did NOT interface the facings as with fleece and plenty of top stitching who needs to? I know I didn’t. Sewing the facings down ensures that they stay put through countless wearings and washings without having to be ironed. Since I don’t have a ladies maid to do these little jobs, I look for ways to subdue otherwise recalcitrant facings.
The collar seam got a neck loop which was not in the pattern. This is a distinct failing on the part of pattern companies. Everybody likes to hang jackets, coats, and robes on hooks yet pattern copies never seem to recognize this. Ready to wear does have neck loops conveniently placed so why don’t the pattern companies do this? Fix this problem by making another carrier loop, like you did for the belt loops, and pin and place so it gets sewn on when you do the collar seam. Remember to trim the seams before you close up the collar neck seam, and do plenty of top stitching to force all the layers to stay in place and then its on to the hems!
I evened up the sleeve hems and bottom hem, overcast them and then turned them WRONG SIDES TOGETHER to the outside of the garment. I wanted more of that Frankenstein stitching to show as it does so gladden the heart of YS. I turned over the hems about an inch, sewed them down, and added a zigzag trim.
I did the same thing on the bottom hem. Since I had made the facings of a different fabric from the garment fronts, turning the hem out wrong sides together, lets a rectangle of the facing show at the bottom front. A tiny detail, but it pleases me.The sash belt was made of seven separate rectangles, sewn wrong sides together, trimmed, overcast, and sewn down. I folded over the now very long rectangle, sewed it all the way around and overcast it all the way around. This was much easier than sewing it together in the conventional manner and turning and pressing and top-stitching the damn thing, and it’s less bulky at all the corners. When I chose the fabrics for the sash belt, I alternated colors and made sure that both ends were of the same fleece.
Younger Son’s new fleece bathrobe turned out really well. It’s soft and warm. It hangs well, remarkably so considering how many pieces of fleece I sewed together. It is utterly unique so no-one in the entire universe will ever have one even remotely similar. It fits him well, has room to move in, and he loves it. And it cost me nothing other than a 99 cent pattern and my time.
It is true that making tracings of patterns took time, time I could have saved if I had planned ahead better and spent another 99 cents. I should have done that and next time I will.
It certainly took more time to hunt through bins of scrap, match up sections, sew them together and cut out the garment sections than it would have to cut the garment out of a single piece of yard goods. But you don’t save money if you buy more material when you already have plenty of it at home. The point of thrifty sewing is to substitute your time for hard earned cash. This improves your skills: sewing, scrounging, repurposing, and seeing possibilities where other people see none. The difficult, challenging future bearing down on us will demand all of those things. A bathrobe is an easy way to get started.