I’m no Phryne Fisher but here’s my new robe

 

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I’m one among many captivated by the luxurious loungewear on Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. I’ve seen several mentions of that particular “Fisher effect” online: sewists becoming obsessed with luxurious robes, slips, and pj’s. With good reason, I think.

I’ve often wondered why we tend to think of the home as a site of accidents and wear and tear — drinks spilling, knees and other spots getting visibly worn as we sit around, cat hair everywhere. Not that these things aren’t true, but they’re equally menacing outside the home when you’re in your “good clothes.”

And if you add up the time spent in the old clothes that you wouldn’t wear out but end up wearing at home… it’s a lot of time in clothes that you don’t particularly like.

I’ve seen some interesting answers to this dilemma cropping up online, from glammed up sweatpants to silk robes. They’re all fine, of course, depending on what your budget considerations are on the one hand and, on the other, what fits your life.

I guess for me it’s neither silk nor sweatpants. But I can’t pretend I had a plan.

What really happened was the February issue of Seamwork came out, I saw the Almada robe, and after a few days of looking at the pattern photos and line drawing I realized I was becoming pretty obsessed.

The simple cocoon-like shape was the selling point for me:

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Image from Seamwork

Below, my brief review of the pattern. That simple shape seems to have raised a lot of questions from sewists about the comfort and wearability of the robe, so maybe my brief overview could be helpful if you’re trying to decide whether to give the Almada a go.

Pattern description: kimono-inspired robe of a very simple shape; pattern includes both a body measurements chart and a finished measurements chart so you get a good idea of the intended fit

Instructions: very clear and easy to follow as I find all Colette/Seamwork patterns tend to be — detailed enough for beginners to follow.

One distinguishing feature of Seamwork instructions is that the techniques they describe are meant to make the project a fast one. The Almada is supposed to require a mere 2 hours at the machine. If speed is your priority, that’s perfect, but I think  it’s sometimes worth opting for more time-consuming finishes. That’s what I did.

Adjustments/departures from the pattern: My fabric was a lightweight rayon and it frayed quite intensely, so I decided to do French seams instead of the seam finish from the pattern. I also opted for a different cuff finish: I attached only the outer layer of the cuff to the sleeve. I folded and pressed the inside cuff by 1 cm and and sewed it in by hand, encasing the seam allowance inside the cuff.

The pattern has a central back seam. I kept wondering about how essential it was. The width of my fabric allowed me to cut out the back on the fold in one piece, so that’s what I did (I eliminated the CB seam allowance).

I did not use the marked placement of the ties. I saw many complaints about it online — people were worrying about the ease of movement. I treated it as a suggestion for placement. I did mark it with tailor’s tacks but after basting in the ties I decided I would like them further away from the sleeves and somewhat higher. I really recommend giving yourself a little bit of extra time to baste or pin the ties in to find where you like them most.

What I particularly liked about the pattern: I usually have to do a forward shoulder adjustment on Colette Patterns but it wasn’t necessary here, which made me very pleased. Apart from that the shape, the fit, the ease of construction. Oh, and I love the sew-on snap — great invisible closure for the robe!

Dislikes: I think you can only talk about dislikes if you expect to follow the pattern to the letter. You really don’t have to attach the ties as marked or finish the seams as described. As suggestions, these features of the pattern are fine but they didn’t work for me.

Recommend? Oh yes! I really enjoyed sewing this robe and I love wearing it.

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