Sewing Mojo

When I have a creative flow going, my mind works on the project du jour ALL THE TIME. I dream about it, and wake up with solutions to problems, or AH HAH ideas for improving things. A few days ago, I realized the bathrobe I was wearing (which I love) is over 10 years old, faded and stained. I have had a desire for a very long time for one of those glamorous 1940’s dressing gowns like you see women wearing in the old movies, with the shoulders and long,full skirt, but with certain modern conveniences, like not being made of silk georgette (not exactly something you’d want to wear while cooking bacon), but out of a practical cotton blend broadcloth, and not so fitted that I couldn’t wear it on Fat Days, with perhaps elastic in certain areas, instead of stitched down pleats.

So yesterday I went in search of such a pattern, and found one…a vintage vogue pattern from 1951, very nice…and $75. Um. No. However! Hobby Lobby has a sale right now on McCalls Patterns, which tend to have plenty of classic styles, for just 99 cents! Considering they’re usually $10…Jackpot, eh! SO, because Terry understands fashion, having worked for many years at Vanity Fair with the designers there, I discussed options, alterations and possibilities with him. And we came up with A Plan.

I found some lovely fabric, a calico in blues and white, very classic. Some flat lace to trim the edge of the shawl collar. I’m going to take a dress pattern that has princess seams (very flattering to a not so wonderful figure) and size it up to make it loose. The front panels will be widened so I can overlap them to make a wrap robe. The back will have a bit of wide elastic sewn in, so it will gather close in to my back, but still be flexible, and a wide sash of the same fabric. The skirt will have a bit of width added at the hem, so the fitted part of the body will be maintained but with a nice wide sweep at the bottom. Possibly, in the interest of not having to buy 10 yards of fabric and having a ton of waste, I may put in a seam at the waist and sew in the skirt, but no gathers. Long sleeves, gathered a bit at the shoulders with very deep somewhat fitted cuffs. Not as full and fitted as Victorian or Edwardian Leg-o-Mutton sleeves, but more like a modern interpretation. I still need to be able to cook bacon without making a mess or catching on fire.

All this came to me in the middle of the night. I was having a dream that I was a spy, gathering evidence at Home Depot about some sort of espionage. While I was in my hotel room with papers spread everywhere, drinking coffee and tapping on my computer, I stood up and picked this robe up off the bed to put on, and it was as described above. Ahah! I woke up and committed it to memory. After running it by Terry and getting his input (it’s great to be married to someone who understands terms like Leg O Mutton and princess seams, just like he enjoys being married to someone who knows what a mortis-and-tenon is, or why you don’t make a table leg cross-grain), I’m ready to start laying out the cloth and drawing on it with chalk.

Hears a question for y’all out there: Would you want to wear a styled dressing gown type robe, as opposed to the boxy kimono (and I agree they’re very comfortable) that seems to be all you can find these days? I’ve looked all over, from cheap Walmart to La Perla, and cannot find a fitted sort of dressing gown


About rootietoot

I do what I can.
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3 Responses to Sewing Mojo

  1. Jo says:

    I usually just wear PJs and if I’m cold when I get up, I put on a hoodie. (I know, wholly unglamorous!) So, I doubt I would wear one, but I certainly do appreciate that style of dressing gown. It’s beautiful. I’ve seen vintage ones (like in your link) for sale online, but really pricey (not surprising).

    I didn’t know Terry knew sewing/fashion stuff! He really is a Renaissance man, isn’t he.

    I once had a dream of a beautiful outfit: a full skirt and a fitted jacket with dozens of little buttons up the front. Wholly impractical, so I never tried to actually make it.

    • rootietoot says:

      I’m trying to come up with a style that is both practical (washable, comfortable) with a vintage or antique vibe, like you just can’t find in the store. I don’t believe in owning things that are Just For Show- I have precious little jewelry- but see no reason why something useful can’t also have flair.

  2. I can barely sew on a button…I’m so envious that you can even THINK of doing this, let alone do it. A-mazing!

    I wear a cotton waffle fabric spa robe. It wraps to fit whatever size I am, and lately that means I have to wrap it till it’s about half its size (not sure why I’m losing weight without trying?) But a fitted dressing gown would be cool. You must make pics for us when it’s done.

    Go you!

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