It is interesting to read how people are inspired to make things. Some people who sew are definitely artists, and seem to be inspired quite laterally. My mind does not work that way.
I am not a sewist.
For this project, I was not inspired by beautiful fabric, I was not inspired by a fabulous, fascinating pattern, a photograph of a garment, nor by anything more abstract.
I was inspired by getting up at 1am, and realizing that my dressing gown was not rated for below 5 degrees Celcius.
I chose this fabric because it is very warm, and I had 4 metres of it. Unfortunately it was one of those internet purchases where you think you are buying grey polar fleece for boring man-and-boy sewing and you end up with an unflattering pale lavender colour reminiscent of your Nanna instead.
I chose this pattern because I own it.
I did not think this project would make a very interesting post, and was not planning to write about it. Thinking of trying to keep a good impression in the minds of my readers no doubt.
Then I gave myself a strict talking to.
I have revealed yoga pants, highly amusing jeans, underwear and backyard clothes on this blog, any illusions that my sewing journal is about beautiful fabric, patterns and eventually clothing are entirely in my imagination (and the un-used silk pile in my stash). The people who are kind enough to read this blog and give me great pleasure by leaving comments can presumably cope with prosaic sewing (although maybe not too much of it).
I admit that I am essentially a practical person.
I sew mainly very useful clothing, and there is very little in my wardrobe that I do not wear frequently (although my stash is unbalanced - see above confession about silk).
This has required years of self training (and years of impractical silk purchases). I am (intermittently) proud of my craftmanship (when it works), not the artistic, fashionista eye that I do not possess. I read other people's blogs for that.(Some people actually sew with their silk, how amazing!)
Usually when I make something not-very-interesting, I take shortcuts. This time, with the wisdom of Barbara Eumondi somehow lurking in my brain " You should spend no more time sewing than you do wearing the garment" (I paraphrase, but have read this philosphy in many an Australian Stitches article) I decided to slow down a bit. I am not really sure that she means you should spend hours and hours on a dressing gown that will be worn for a while every day, more that you shouldn't spend 3 weeks on a party dress that is worn once, but I like to be contrary (and quite like spending 3 weeks on a party dress, should I feel so inclined :) ) What I have taken from Barbara's articles, in addition to plenty of amusement, is that frequently worn clothing deserves effort.
I made samples!! Something that has annoyed me about polar fleece dressing gowns from this pattern that I have made in the past are the edges of the cuffs, and the facing.
In the past I have tried:
1. Turning under the raw edges and topstitching, as per the pattern - difficult to catch the bulky polar fleece consistently
2. Hand sewing the inner edge, again folded under - takes a VERY long time, and after the 98th wash , tends to come undone, polar fleece being a little abrasive to thread, and my fondness for hand sewing polar fleece being minimal, and leaning toward sloppiness),
3. Topstitching by machine without folding over ( I hate the raw edge, even though it doesn't ravel)
This time I used a very wiggly decorative stitch on my machine (Janome 6600, stitch number 62 )to oversew the raw edge.
I lined up the foot so that the stitch width covered the raw inside edge of the fabric at the collar and front facing, cuffs and lower hems.
It worked like a dream - no raw edge appearance on the inside
- a decorative line of stitching on the outside,
There is even a little stretch built into the seam. I used the walking foot, and 5 x100m reels of thread, but I felt the thread hog behavior of this stitch was worthwhile for the benefits.
I left out the side pockets, previously finding them a completely useless shape, and added a front patch pocket with the now ubiquitous free machine embroidery. Unfortunately the placement of the patch pocket when the dressing gown is overlapped recalls not my skinny Nanna, but Star bellied Sneetches. It is fortunate that I was not after glamour.
I like my Nanna-ish ugly dressing gown. Do you admire her flattering profile?
Everyone in my family wants one too, (In fact the first comment I received concerning it was "Why didn't you make a blue one for me?) but they can stay cold and jealous. This one is MINE.
I plan to pet the silk in my stash this weekend. I need some more fantasty in my sewing life ;).