Well, in addition to rambling on about my hair, I’ve actually been doing some sewing! And I think I need to take Sandra Betzina to lunch. Her patterns are so interesting, a little challenging, and a bit like doing a puzzle. Absolutely perfect for chilly weather that invites staying inside and making a mess in the loft.
I almost didn’t get this pattern – the envelope pics are awful! and don’t do the pattern justice at all. Because the lines and details are great. I read every review I could find (I love my fellow sewists at Pattern Review), and just after Christmas I picked it up from BMV’s Vogue sale. I decided that even if I didn’t like the pattern, I could use some of the details (that back is beautiful).
Some sewing notes – no major changes!
- I love this rayon crepe fabric from Confetti Fabrics, purchased from Fabric Mart. It’s a 4.7oz fabric, perfect for a topper. And yes, it frays, shifts, goes off grain, grows… Using a walking foot for sewing, and steam to reshape pattern pieces, really makes crepe a more pleasant fabric 🙂
- The patterns sizing method is not my favorite: Sizes A through J (as on all her patterns). One has to cruise the body measurements, find something, and work back up to a letter size. My goodness, what a lot of fuss…I sewed Size C, which has a finished bustline of 40″, View A.
- When I bought the pattern, I knew I wouldn’t use the mandarin collar or front zipper. I just can’t wear zippers and fabric up my neck. After studying the pattern, and checking out what other sewists had done, I decided to seam the front where the zipper would have gone and redraft a simple round neckline. I used the Grainline Studio Willow Top to redraw the neckline, since I’ve made it and know it works for me.
- It’s impossible to see the center front seam in this print! But it’s there. I opened the seam and topstitched the allowances so they wouldn’t wave around on the inside and drive me crazy. The pattern has lots of topstitched finishing, so this new seam just fits right in.
- I also made a small change to the back hemline. It’s meant to be higher than the front, but I thought it was a little too high. So I added 1″ at center back and trued it out to the sides. I also dropped the four hemline darts to the new hemline.
- I didn’t add the pockets – I thought they would get lost in the front folds anyway. Plus I don’t use pockets in tunics and dresses. I do like to work with them as design details if they’re visible.
- And I didn’t add the notch detail to the sleeve edge (shown on the line art above, just a smallish vee). This crepe fabric has so much mechanical stretch that I was leery of trying it. I think it would be a nice touch in a linen or other sturdier fabric.
And a tip – use those dozens of marks and tracings from the pattern tissue. You’ll need them all!
Parting shot: My fellas in their Christmas flannel robes. I used McCalls 6236, which is for men and boys. It’s a great pattern – fast, easy, and with nice sizing from boys XS through mens XL. They both liked the length and the not-in-my-cocoa sleeves.