Monday, 8 July 2013

dressing gown

I made an earlier promise to my self to work through my stash with out buying new material, so I was very pleased with my self for using an old towel to make Grace a new hooded towel and to make Bean a new body. So pleased that I brought some more material. I couldn't resist Dunelm Mills sale. They had fab striped snuggle blanket for £7.99 and at 177cm x 228cm it seamed like a good deal for lovely fabric.

I thought it would make a great dressing gown for Grace, her current one barely covers her bum. I also thought I would use the old one as a template. I normally avoid making things with sleeves and I know there are a lot more complexities to making patterns than I have experience with so I am not sure why I thought this was a good idea.

To make the pattern I traced around her old gown, adding 2.5cm for seam allowance plus a bit growing room. It was all a bit hit and miss and I definitely needed to make a paper pattern rather than my normal trick of tracing directly on to fabric. I used some old tissue paper which was thin enough to see my cutting board lines through, which made tracing straight lines easy. It was a bit too thin though and didn't hold up to being pinned on to fabric very well.

I wasn't sure how easy it would be to work with the fabric so I started with the belt. I made the belt in two pieces that are sewn in to the side seams. That way she can't loose the belt. To make them I sewed a tube, turned it right sides out and top stitched. A slightly longer stitch than normal seamed to work best. You can't see the stitches of the top stitching, it leaves a dent.

As the fabric is so soft on both sides I didn't want to line the hood. That meant I needed a nicely finished seam for the centre. To do this I sewed the hood pieces right sides together with about 3cm seam allowance then trimmed one side down. The longer seam allowance is turned under once and pined in place so it covers the short seam allowance. As I couldn't iron it, it was all done pretty much by feel. Then I top stitched, from the wrong side, as close to the folded edge as I could.

This gives a nice flat, neatly finished seam. Inside hood is on the left.

Sleeves can be tricky enough at the best of times without making small versions for childrens clothes. The advantage of this fabric is that being a knit, it is stretchy so I didn't need to worry about puckers in the sleeve. I thought the easiest way to make them was to stitch the shoulder seam, then put the sleeve in. I pinned from the centre out, right sides together. Once that was done I sewed the the side seam (with the belt pinned in) all the way up to the armpit and along the sleeve.
It was at this point I realised that I had made the back far too wide.Even allowing for some growing room it was too much. I really didn't feel like unpicking the sleeves and cutting a new back so that meant taking the back in. Although the fabric didn't fray it did need zigzagging on the raw edges. I thought that was going to look terrible, instead of cutting I just made a big fold and stitched up both sides. It ended up looking like the inside of the hood. It is a bit bulky but at least the fabric is soft.

Next I sewed the hood on to the neck. I am happy with the side seams and arms being zigzagged but the back of the neck needed to look and feel more comfortable. I trimmed the seam allowance down and covered it with a nice soft piece of satin bias tape.

To finish the front I folded over a nice wide hem all the way round the front of the gown and the hood. The hem covered the ends of the bias tape. It took a bit of fiddling and trimming to get it right. I folded the same size hem around the bottom and stitched both with a double row of top stitching. Grace likes pockets so I made two large patch pockets on the front.

I'd love to have photos of Grace in her new gown, but she refuses point blank to wear it. Oh well, it's plenty big enough so I'm hoping she grow to like it at some point.

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