The Buchanan dressing gown

The Fall Essentials Sew Along has certainly got me back on the sewing wagon as I have another finished make to talk about. I’ve wanted a new dressing gown for the mornings for some time. I have a lovely fluffy fleece one for mid winter but it is too warm for autumn. I was deliberating about the kimono in the Liberty sewing book but then Gather released the Buchanan. It looked perfect, and I wouldn’t have to draft the pattern - a bonus when you’re feeling a little lazy. 

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Another bonus is this gown cost only my time. I was lucky enough to win the pattern in the SewBrum raffle, got the main fabric in the SewBrum swap and the black satin is left over from my magpie outfits. The main fabric is from Merry May Fabrics but I can’t find the fabric’s name. Victoria brought along two meters and it was the perfect amount for this project. I was drawn to the colours and print, which has a mystical, moody feel and reminds me of the Andes and my time travelling in Ecuador. It might be stretching it but there’s a black shape against the, um, not really sure what the object is, that reminds me of a condor. I’m not sure what bird the one against the sun is though. You can see both of these across my shoulder blades in the photo below. 

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This was a quick make as it is mostly long, reasonably straight lines. As I wanted a clean finish throughout, and to stop the fraying edges escaping, I used French seams. Unfortunately not all of the seams were completed this way. I did remember to switch the sides to get a clean finish on the cuffs but completely forgot to do this for the neckband and only realised once I had trimmed the seam allowance. Never mind, overlocker to the rescue! Slip stitching the black satin belt closed was a little difficult in the evening light. Note to self, only sew black in natural daylight where possible. Unsurprisingly I chose to leave out the pockets. I’ve never used them on previous dressing gowns and didn’t see the point in the extra cutting and stitching. 

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The Buchanan is described as a relaxed dressing gown and I would have to agree. I’ve worn this for most mornings and I love it. The poly fabrics are just the right weight and drape for a dressing gown. It is warm enough for these reasonably warm autumnal mornings without any heating (plus I’m a stickler for holding out as long as possible without putting the heating on. Generally early November). The front wrap is big enough to ensure you’re fully covered without the feeling of drowning in fabric. The gown doesn’t have any inside ties and closes on the outside with the belt. I haven’t had a problem with unintentional revealing which has been a problem with RTW ones in the past. I didn’t make any alternations to the pattern, mainly because it is a loose fit, and it is designed for someone my height. It hits a little above my knee which is fine. I might add a little extra if I was to make this again and I’m tempted to make another but floor length as it would be quite easy to extend.

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Have you made a dressing gown before? And how long do you leave it before the heating goes on?

A fight just before Christmas

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a good evening saying goodbye to 2013 and welcoming 2014. We had a lovely relaxed evening in Derby with some friends, just what was needed after a pretty busy year. I wanted to share the other two Christmas presents that I made. I hope you don't mind seeing late makes from last year - there are a couple of posts still to come!

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First is a dressing gown that my Mum asked for. It came with a few requests - must be made out of cotton (this is a summer dressing gown), long and lilac. Lilac was very important. I chose Kiwi Sew 3644 for the pattern. It is a classic dressing gown with a few options for customising. After a few hours of looking online for the perfect fabric I decided to make most of the gown in Kona solid lilac and Petite Flowers by Petite Street, which is light grey and has different coloured flowers. 

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There isn't much to say about the construction, it was rather simple to complete. I made an minor alteration to the front as the sizes were slightly off - either too big or too small. Cutting out took a while as the pieces are sooooo long! Once I got past that the whole thing came together without a hitch in less than hour as it mostly just long single lines for the seams. The most involved part was adding the cuffs and the pockets. Mum was very happy with the fabric choices and tried it on Christmas Eve - it fitted perfectly. Now we just need the warmer weather so it can come out of the wardrobe. 

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Dad travels a lot and I decided to make him this fabric garment bag that I spotted on Pinterest. The tale of this make is in stark contrast to the dressing gown!

First, there are a lot of pieces. You need to cut almost the same number in the outer fabric, inner fabric and batting. You also need to measure out every piece. I wanted this bag to be waterproof and found some great waterproof backed PU fabric from Remnant House. To give it added interest (and because I don't do plain linings) I chose a white cotton with blue circles for the inner fabric.  

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If you are planning to make something like this, I recommend that you read the tutorial thoroughly before starting. I did but still got a little lost midway through as it calls for you to place all the pieces together so you can neaten the edges to the same size. What it didn't say was to then separate them. I got completely confused! I would also think very carefully about your fabric choice. I knew this bag would be thick in places but I didn't anticipate it becoming a monster! It was an absolutely nightmare to sew the entire thing together. It took about 30 minutes for one side and the same again for the other. I had to use a slow speed to prevent skipped stitches and there were moments where I was worried my poor little machine wouldn't be able to cope. Luckily we both survived without any broken needles but my hands still have the many scratch marks from all of the pins needed. This is the reason why my corners aren't as neat as they should be but the thought of unpicking and then pushing my machine to sew that lot again just wasn't an option. 

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The tutorial states for batting to be included in the handles. I skipped this part. I tried to make them but I just couldn't get them to turn out right and as I was literally burning the midnight oil I thought it was best for everyone if I left out the batting. The handles seem very sturdy without it. You also need separating zips, which took a while to track down. I'm pleased I used them but I think you can use other heavy weight zips if you can't find them. 

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As with my brother's bag I was a little worried about how this would be received. I don't know why as Dad absolutely loved it and showed it to everyone who came round to visit over Christmas. 

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I was lucky enough to get sewing related gifts - the Robson coat and Bellatrix blazer patterns, Fit for Real People and a couple of Craftsy courses. I was very excited about all of them and then my brother gave me a belated present. Meet Jessica! I can't wait to test a few items on her. 

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