Saturday, July 9, 2011

dressing gown ... housecoat


My first major project is done... I still can't quite believe it.
I bought this fabric back in October, so its taken a long time! I found this lovely Liberty print (claire aude tana lawn) on Ebay in order to make a dressing gown. I thought I would invent a pattern - how hard could it be I thought, but ended up buying a 1970s pattern for 99p on Ebay as well. Instead of using a pattern, a good idea a friend suggested would be to use an actual garment (maybe something you find in a charity shop) in order to take it apart to use as a template.

As this was my first attempt at anything other than a straightforward square cushion I made a trial run using cheap sheeting fabric, but it didn't really work properly and there was a piece (the back neck fitting) that I couldn't figure out how to attach. The pattern was really difficult to decipher and I had to run back and forth between my sewing machine and my laptop doing research at every stage before I felt ready to actually stitch.

Because the fabric is so beautiful it took me a long time to get up the nerve to cut into it. The most important thing I learnt was about fabric grain (something that doesn't really matter with cushions). The pattern called for the pieces to be cut along the long grain (the grain that goes along the adjustable length of the fabric). However, I only had 2.5m of fabric and the pattern called for around 4m if cut on that grain. I read online that you can also cut on the cross grain (the grain along the fabric from top to bottom that doesn't change length). Because the fabric is so busy I don't really think you can tell if there is a 'correct' way round on the pattern itself, but I did manage to cut the lapels on the long grain. I think its turned out really well, but if it all goes wrong when I wash it for the first time I'll let you know.
Its been my introduction to finishing seams, darts, interlining, hems and just about everything else. Its not perfect, but its pretty good and as a beginner I'm so pleased with it.

I improvised on buying a matching colour plain fabric for the detailing on the belt, cuffs and hem which wasn't on the original pattern. Without those I think it would be too much for the eye ... in hindsight I would add a plain strip along the lapels as well.

I managed to attach the back neck facing, but I didn't understand the pattern instructions no matter how long I kept reading them and googling so its definitely wrong, but no-one sees that bit when its on, so I'm going to live with that. However, I'm planning to make another one as a gift so I'll need to figure this out at some point.

So, I now feel more glamorous for my bleary 5.30 daily wake up call with A. However, I concede I may look like an extra from Coronation Street as it looks quite like a 1950s housecoat!

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