Bathrobe

I’ve been wearing a velour bathrobe I made at least 20 years ago. I started thinking about a new robe and kept an eye open for velour or terrycloth or fleece of some kind but didn’t come across anything I wanted to work with.

Then the purple corduroy (polyester) I’d ordered online arrived – I’d intended to use it for a pair of pants but I hadn’t realized I was ordering polyester instead of cotton, the colour wasn’t intense enough, the fabric too soft, and it was cut off grain so I was going to lose quite a bit of length at both ends. No pants.

Also, a few weeks back I placed an order with Spoonflower – they print any fabric design you choose from their collection of designer images, or that you create yourself, on a range of fabric types and you can order as much as you need for your project. They print not only fabric, but wall paper, and home decor items like pillowcases or duvet covers! I chose two designer images and ordered a single yard of each – one on lawn, the second on fleece.

I thought the prints were lovely when they arrived but can’t do a whole lot with a single yard so I decided to pair the fleece with the corduroy to make myself a new bathrobe.

I had enough length of the purple corduroy for the body (front and back) as well as the three yoke pieces. I cut the sleeves and yoke facings from the fleece.

The pattern is a very old one for a Hawaiian muu muu I bought in Honolulu a gazillion years ago and have used to make nightgowns and bathrobes for years.

I improvised with a size M (after I cut out the corduroy I suspected the garment was going to be too small – I carried on anyway to see how it might turn out). I split the front and inserted a medium length of zipper so I could step into the robe. I faced the front and back yoke pieces with fleece. Inserted the sleeves, serged the sleeve and side seams, finished off with a coverstitch on the sleeve edges and the bottom hem.

It’s not my best sewing – from the start I was sure this effort would be tossed out so I wasn’t as precise as I usually try to be when constructing a new garment. My neck edge isn’t perfectly matched. The top edge of the zipper should have been tucked under the facing, I tacked it down by hand instead. Small technical decisions I didn’t bother with because I was, after all, just sewing to see how the project would turn out before discarding it.

I was pleasantly surprised when I tried the bathrobe on over my nightgown – it actually fit – is the right length (just to my ankles) and rests comfortably on my shoulders. I thought about pockets but I don’t use the pockets in my old bathrobe so I left them out. If I decide I could use pockets I have a few scraps of corduroy leftover I could use to add patch pockets to the front.

The old velour housecoat is now in my trash bin.

Delft #2 – Finished

Finished this quilt last evening.

Delft #2 – Quilt Top
Delft #2 – Quilt Back

The photos don’t do it justice – the colours are more vibrant, the relationships among the elements on the quilt top are much clearer.

I finished with a hidden binding – I didn’t think the quilt front wanted another edge element. Besides, I didn’t have ay more “petunia” fabric and used the darker blue stonehenge to finish the edge on the back.

The quilting turned out well. I chose to quilt the blocks excluding the sashing – in part because I’d have been left with an unattached row of sashing either at the top or the bottom. It was simpler to just quilt the blocks themselves. I stitched-in-the-ditch along all sashing edges, then quilted the outer border with a modification of the block design to fit the border width.

That’s it for quilts at the moment. I’m now picking up the Kantha bedspread and making another jacket – this time, the back without any flare. I need buttons – will go looking for some this afternoon.

Kantha Jacket – A Small Fix

Inside Patch

As I explained earlier, I had to patch the inside of the right front panel of the jacket in order to keep the quilt stitching ends from pulling out. As far as I was concerned that relegated the jacket to “demonstration garment” status – not a wearable muslin. But Saturday at class one of the gals suggested I put a pocket over the patch.

Good idea.

Here’s what I did:

Right Front With Pocket “Patch” Added

It’s not a beautiful fix – I couldn’t cut down the size of the sewer’s dream patch because of where the thread ends were located. I partially closed the top edge leaving a hand-size opening in the middle. Probably not a pocket I need to use – the two outside pockets are more than deep enough to hold keys, even my phone.

For now, the jacket feels “finished’.

I haven’t decided yet whether to remove the flare I put in when cutting the fabric – it’s not a complicated fix – just open hem finishing at the side seams, then open the binding on the sides, trim the sides sort of straight, rebind the sides and resize and restitch the hem finish. I want to wear the jacket with heavier clothing to see what that does to the flare when the jacket is on.

It’s never too late to make that adjustment.

Delft #2 Quilt Top Completed

Once again, it’s a “blue” quilt. The borders change the colour focus from “white” to blue. Adding the borders has resulted in a somewhat large throw quilt (55″ x 73″)!

Now I have to piece the backing – the insert strip needs borders which I will do now; I just have to make sure the panel with borders is wider than 13″.

That’s it. Nothing more to say about this project right now. I’ll do a hidden binding (maybe in the black dots fabric – don’t know yet).

Delft #2 – Top Almost Complete

Blocks and Sashing Complete

I just finished adding the sashing/corners to the blocks and now have a completed panel. I find it interesting how much the sashing overpowers the blocks. Were I to leave the top as is, it would be a predominantly “white” quilt. To offset that, I plan on adding three borders: a narrow inner border using the dark blue/black stonehenge fabric (at the bottom of the photo), another even narrower border using the black dots/pepper fabric I used for the sashing corners (that’s on the way from Newfoundland – hope it arrives late this week/early next), and finally a wider outer border using the blue/green petunias at the bottom of the photo. Those borders will turn it back into a blue quilt, and downgrade the intensity of the white sashing.

The back will use the petunias with the strip I created on the weekend, also bordered with a narrow piece of stonehenge and maybe also the dots/pepper fabric as well.

Pieced Strip for Quilt Backing

In order to carry on, I have to go back to Mahone Bay to pick up another metre of the petunias! I ordered 2 yards which would have been enough for the backing but isn’t enough to do the borders on the front as well. I’m not going to cut the 2 yard piece I have, I will cut the front border pieces from the new piece I have to buy! Besides, I’m having to wait for the black/white fabric to arrive from Newfoundland!

In the meantime, I’ll go back to the purple poppies wall piece I was working on several weeks ago. This will give me time to work on thread painting the poppies.

Purple Poppies

Delft #2 – Laid Out

Now I have to spend some time looking at the blocks and their position in the array! There are three variables in play – the fabrics of the inner square, the fabrics of the first triangle, the fabrics of the second triangle. I’m trying to keep them all different so there are no two centre fabrics in a row or column; then I’m trying to have not two same fabrics touching. I’ve almost got it – I see three spots where the inner and outer triangles are the same fabric and I may not be able to move anything more to alleviate that. There are also some adjacent diagonals (which I’ve decided to ignore). More important is whether I have the colour distributed broadly around the array – it’s not bad – I will have to look at the blocks tomorrow to see if I still feel that way.

The issue is at this point I have almost no degrees of freedom – the only way I can gain more is the make the seven blocks for the quilt back and see if those combination accommodate some swaps. It’s probably a good idea to do that before I attach the sashing because once the sashing is attached I’m not going to be able to do any moving around!

The quilt is going to be colourful, for sure.

PS: I’ve been asked about measurements for the block. If you’re interested in constructing a quilt top like this, click here for information/measurements for creating/setting up the blocks. If you decide to try it, be sure to make a couple of test blocks using scrap fabric.

Delft #2 – Update

35 Blocks Partially Assembled

This is where I got to yesterday – all 35 blocks partially assembled with a triangle border on each. Today I began adding the second triangles to each block – I have 14 blocks done.

Then I was up early this morning going through my stash looking for something to use as sashing. I found a white fabric with black dots I thought would work but I didn’t have enough to do all the sashing, so after aquafit I went shopping for sashing fabric. I found one very close to the one I’d dug out of the stash. I also had a very small amount of a complementary white with larger black dots and had my fingers crossed there’d be enough in that piece to cut the 48 small squares I needed (I was lucky and there was!).

So here is what the setup is starting to look like:

Block Layout

I’m planning to alternate blocks with dark triangles with blocks with light triangles. That gives me alternating rotation as well since I cut all the light blocks in the same direction, all the dark on the second diagonal.

The sashing will be a wee bit narrower than the placement in the photo and will look fine once I have all the blocks completed and laid out.

So enough for today – back at it tomorrow. I expect the quilt top will be finished sometime on the weekend.

And then I have to start planning for a course I’m teaching in a couple of weeks – Industrial Techniques for the Home Sewer. My plan is to help people work their way through a relatively simple garment of their choosing while showing them some of the technique I’ve acquired over the years from various people I’ve taken classes with as well as other short-cuts I’ve figured out for myself.

I’m going to make myself a jacket from some kantha fabric I bought from Marcie Tilton a couple of years ago.

Kantha Fabric with Binding Fabric

I drafted a pattern from a jacket I bought at Gumps in San Francisco (looks like they’ve dropped the interesting clothing they had in the store) and made it from a kantha bedspread I bought online. I’m not sure whether I will line the jacket or not – quite likely not, but in that case I do need to bind all seams (I did pick up some faux suede to do just that). It’ll be a good example to illustrate details not in a pattern that make a garment more interesting and professional looking.

Delft #2

In the responses I got yesterday there was some confusion about how I cut the triangles for the second Delft quilt. For the inner triangles the rectangles are 8 1/4″ x 2 1/4″ – half cut on the diagonal in one direction, half cut on the opposite.

Inner Triangles – Half in one direction / half in the other

When you lay the two sets of triangles from the same fabric on top of one another they have the 90° angle in the same place. However, as you can see, were you to lay the dark set on the light set the 90° angle is on the opposite corner.

Here is the first set of triangles cut and placed upon the centre square (5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″) – they’re ready to be sewn. I’ve tentatively laid out the squares as they will appear in the quilt top – once the first triangles are attached I won’t have a lot of freedom to move these blocks around because I want adjacent blocks to be offset 90° from each other – the triangles determine that arrangement. In this array, I’ve cut all the light triangles to go in one direction, all the dark in the other.

Squares with Inner Triangles

When I have these assembled and trimmed to 7″ I will add the second triangle to each block – using a dark triangle against a light one, and a light triangle against a dark one.

Here are the rectangles cut for the second set of triangles – 9 1/2″ x 2 1/4″ – I haven’t cut them yet because I figured I’d mix up the inner and outer triangles which are very similar in size; they won’t be cut until the inner triangles are all attached. I’ve laid the rectangles out with the light fabrics face down – both sets of fabrics will be cut the same on the cutting board but because the light rectangles are face down, the diagonal cut will be 90° offset from the diagonal on the darks.

I have to think about this carefully before making these cuts because the light/dark cuts have to be opposite to the light/dark cuts for the first triangles! I think this presentation is correct for making that cut.

Rectangles For Outer Triangles

Now it’s time to begin sewing. If I’m organized about it, I should be able to chain piece the rows by adding one triangle to each square, then the second, etc.

Gathering No Moss – Finished

Gathering No Moss – Quilt Top

I finished hand stitching the binding to the back of the quilt last evening. Usually, I would stitch the binding to the back, fold it to the front, pin, then use a decorative stitch to attach it to the front. But this time I wanted a 5/8″ binding but to use just 1/4″ of the sashing so it would balance on the outside with the rest of the quilt which meant when I trimmed the batting/backing, I left 3/8″ beyond the quilt top. To make sure I captured 1/4″ of the top under the binding, I had to align the sashing on the front, stitch 1/4″ from the top edge, then fold the binding to the back over the extended batting/backing. Even though I was careful pinning it in place, I knew top stitching on the back wasn’t going to give me a perfect stitching on the front, so I hand stitched the binding in place (not my favourite job).

Finished Quilt BackTes

With this quilt now finished, I started playing with the leftover fabric:

I used scraps to construct two offset squares by attaching a double set of triangles to each side – the triangles in two sets – cut from rectangles on opposite diagonals. When attached this rotates the square to the left or to the right.

In these test blocks I was trying to sort out a couple of things – I wanted to see what placing the shark’s teeth as both the inside and the outside triangle would look like (I don’t like either and may not use that fabric in the block construction, maybe instead as a narrow sashing); I was also playing with the dimensions of the triangles which I haven’t quite worked out yet (I need the triangle to be cropped leaving 1/4″ in the finished square so the next seam brings it to a point. Mine aren’t yet quite long enough – I have to redraft the triangles and try another pair of test blocks.

I have laid out my fabric leftovers in three piles – light/medium/dark. I intend making a 5 x 7 block array which means I will need 35 centre squares. Gathering No Moss used the medium fabrics for the centres and I may do the same here which will free up the lights/darks for the inner and outer triangles (17 blocks rotating to the right, 18 blocks rotating to the left). I still have to decide whether all left rotating blocks will be dark inner/light outer triangles, all right rotating light inner/dark outer, or if I will distribute lights and darks more or less randomly!

Lots of decisions.

Gathering No Moss – Sashing

I finished quilting the 30 blocks; next the sashing. I figured I had two options: edge stitching or stitching-in-the-ditch. I did a bit of both knowing I was going to have to take out whichever one I didn’t like.

On the left is the edge stitching (on the vertical sashing), on the right stitching-in-the ditch. The difference is subtle but I prefer the stitching-in-the-ditch. So I started taking out the edge stitching. Thank goodness I only did one horizontal row and a bit of the end sashing. That’s a job for working in front of the TV tonight.

I’m quitting for now but I will carry on quilting the sashing tomorrow.