Before I start, let me explain that I have lots of free time these days as I'm on summer vacation. Hence the paper balloons and posed bathrobe photo shoot in the front yard.
My neighbors must think I'm crazy.
Anyway, here they are! I hinted a few weeks ago that I was working on drafting a baby item using Winifred Aldrich's Metric Pattern Cutting for Children's Wear and Babywear. I made it through all the metric conversions and sewed up several self-drafted baby kimono robes this week. Little baby housecoats, if you will.
Now I know these do look similar to the Simplicity baby robe pattern I sewed for a friend at the beginning of the year, but this pattern is different-- very much simplified. When I initially found that first pattern, I had gone to the store actually looking for a little robe pattern. I did like the pattern. I thought it had some neat features. But it wasn't perfect. For one, I wanted something quick and easy. And lately I've had this twinge where I want to make my own stuff. I've really wanted to try my hand at drafting something completely from scratch. (I actually drafted this pattern before my a-line skirt pattern, though I sewed up my skirts first) I thought this baby robe would be a good starting point because I would have something to compare it to when sewn and also have a self-drafted pattern to make for the numerous babies that are popping up around my group of friends.
Yes- babies, babies everywhere :)
These three little robes already have homes. And I have several more I need to make. I figure it's a practical but also super cute baby gift. Good for boys and girls.
I followed the instructions and drafted the flat woven overgarment block in Aldrich's book. I was generous with the sizing (after I converted it all to inches and pounds- yuck). I wanted it to fit for months, not just a short period of time. I'm estimating that this will fit a baby from 12 to 18 lbs-- maybe, we'll see. I'm borrowing a baby next week to test it out ;) Then, I modified the flat block to have a kimono sleeve. I wanted the robe to have as few pieces as possible. No sleeve to sew in, which seems silly on something so small and shapeless anyway. Aldrich's book is really great. Seriously, there is so much information packed in there it's unbelievable. I learned so much just by reading through the introduction and then trying it out.
Pattern pieces above. Start to finish, it takes me two hours to complete a robe. The hood is my favorite part. It's actually one piece- the top is cut on the fold. The back curved seam is sewn first and then the top is sewn like a box corner. Makes for a really cute shape to the hood. I could see some little bear ears put in that seam. I may have to try that on one.
Besides the simplified kimono shape and one piece hood, I mega-sized the pocket and added belt loops. The pockets will actually hold something, like a pacifier, and the belt loops keep the belt in place.
I did use the technique of inserting ric-rac (or in this case above, lace trim) in to the front seam from the Simplicity pattern. I think it adds so much to the final product. And I love ric-rac. Why is ric-rac mostly used on baby clothes anyway? It was fun to pick out fabrics and trim. I used quilting cotton for the shell and minky for the lining, which is the softest stuff evah! Hopefully the minky will get baby approval.
I'm tickled with the finished product. I found the technical aspect of drafting fascinating- which is surprising since I'm no huge fan of math. I'm looking forward to trying out other things. It will be fun to give these little robes as gifts- personalizing them for different friends.
And I have the satisfaction of knowing I made it from scratch.