Sunday, 7 September 2014

Mint robe - Vintage Butterick 7056

Hello readers, I hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend wherever you are. If you haven't done so already, you still have one week to enter the Blogiversary GIVEAWAY! What are you waiting for?

It's been a while since I shared a sewing project with you, but I finally have one all ready -- sewn, pressed and photographed :)

It's a "tailored robe", made from a vintage pattern, Butterick 7056. It's fabulous. The copy of the pattern I had (in bust size 30) isn't in "mint" condition (get it?), as the envelope has disintegrated on all 4 edges, but given that it's survived all the way from 1950s, I was pretty happy to just be able to get my hands on it. 


There were a couple of pieces missing, including the front piece, but thankfully the front lining piece was included, which helped a lot. I made view A, the short version, and didn't bother with the pockets. 

I made this in a mint polka dot viscose (or rayon, for those of you across the pond), a purchase from my NYC trip in June, from a store called Fabric for Less in the Garment District, at $5 a yard. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it -- I loved the pastel colours, which are very calming to look at. And as you probably know already, I always have a super soft spot for a super soft viscose. I knew straight away that it would make the perfect robe.   


As much as I love 1) vintage sewing patterns and 2) viscose, I had some trouble with this project. Viscose isn't the most stable fabric, and with the long lines of stitches for the top to bottom front and back pieces, as well as the super long facing at the front, as well as the tie, the fabric moved a lot with the ordinary presser foot, and more specifically, the top layer of my fabric kept creeping forward, wanting to be long! I realise that it is not the first time I'm having this problem, and I did encounter this when making the Giant Baby Blanket, but usually after a few times unpicking and sewing again, I can smooth it out.

But not this time. Not with viscose, or a facing piece that's almost 3 metres long (ok that's an exaggeration, but you get the idea). After painstakingly unpicking, sewing, unpicking, sewing, and unpicking again, I decided that enough was enough, and it's time to invest in a walking foot. And boy, what a difference it makes! I took off the presser foot, the shank, and attached the walking foot, and off I went. All sorted in one go, with no fabric creepage. It was so easy. 

If you haven't discovered or invested in a walking foot yourself, I found this helpful post which describes it well. My advice? Get one now, and it will come in handy some day. I had to wait for mine to come in the post, but it did give me a bit of breathing space to get over my frustration with the facing. 

The other issue with viscose is that it wrinkled really really easily. When I sewed everything up, the end product didn't look very appealing at all. But after a careful press, didn't it sharpen up nicely! Crisp lines, and a beautiful drape, and let's not forget just how wonderfully soft and luxurious it is. No wonder it is also known as the artificial silk. 

So there you have it, my new robe, for wrapping me up in the mornings, or on a lazy day (until it gets too cold!). Look, I even have a bra to make it a matching outfit! 


It's a bit of a departure from my usual makes, as I have only made clothes that are designed to be worn outside of the home. But this project, which I have no intention of wearing outside of the house, has brought me a wonderful sense of satisfaction. What will be next? Pyjamas? Underwear? Only time will tell ;)

How about you? Have you made items that will not been "shown off" to the general public? And do you enjoy making them all the same?

10 comments:

  1. It's a beautiful robe! Indoor clothes for me have HUGE importance - home and slothing around. I like the touch of glam while getting ready too. As for the walking foot - the built-in walking foot is why I bought my Edith Pfaff machine. I'm a new sewer and I haven't sewn that much but it seemed prudent!

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    1. Thank you! I really love how it's turned out, too :) Thank you for sharing your experience - I am certainly starting to feel the importance of indoor clothing :)

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  2. This turned out so well (despite being a difficult fabric to sew). I love the colour and the shape. I make all my own pjs and have a selection of handmade aprons, too...they get so much wear, they are almost more satisfying than my other handmades, even if no-one else sees them :)

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    1. Thank you Philippa! I looooove the colour, and feel so lucky to get my hands on this lovely fabric. Great to hear about the pjs and aprons -- thanks for sharing :D

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  3. Oh my gosh, this is so cute! I really, really like it! I may have to troll eBay for this pattern... my current bathrobe was a gift from my then-boyfriend, now-husband when I was heading off to college... yikes, 13 years ago! It's ragged and filled with holes.

    PS- I'm so glad you had a good find at Fabrics for Less! I know some people are turned off because it's small, not fancy, and crowded with bolts, but I always find something nice and inexpensive when I go!

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    1. Thank you Sonja! On the pattern front, have you seen Vogue 8888? That could be a nice alternative (I actually bought that first, before discovering this vintage pattern). Might be worth checking out.

      Haha re your bathrobe -- I think it might be time.... to.... let that one go, as much sentimental value as it has...

      Are you kidding?? I LOVED the stuff at Fabrics for Less. The service could be better, of course, but when you could get beautiful rayon at $5 a yard, you won't hear me complaining :)

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  4. So cute! You've inspired me to make a bathrobe...and to purchase a walking foot!

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    1. Oh that's great :D I should be on commission.... :p

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  5. That is so pretty. I love mint, it has that cool calm and relaxed quality to it.

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    1. Thank you! I didn't know how I felt about it to start with, but with the polka dots, I'm completely smitten.

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