OK, so among the many things I learned after I emigrated to Canada, was that were certain “rules” that were considered rather important by some people. Such as: It is SO not cool to wear white before 1st May and after 1st Sept. This seemed rather bizarre to me coming from a country where seasons were nowhere near as pronounced as in Canada. However, I was a newbie and keen not to rock the boat too much with my different African ways, so this stuck in my mind.
Where am I going with this? Well it is now well into September and so I feel it is quite safe to dare to mention the dreaded F word: Fall. Your leaves may be pretty colourful by now and some may even have fallen off trees? We are a bit behind other parts of Canada as we live in beautiful, mild Vancouver, but the crisp mornings & evenings tell me that my winter clothing will soon be used frequently.
I sewed this warm winter wrap robe during those stiflingly hot summer days in August. I dared not breathe a word to anyone that I was doing something so very silly. Just cutting the minkee fabric made me perspire. (……remember – ladies do NOT sweat!). However, I knew if I did not really get cracking during the summer months with sewing gifts & garments needed for winter and Christmas, it probably would not get done at all. So I poured another tall iced tea and soldiered on with sewing minkee in August!!
I bought this minkee fabric at my JANOME dealer in Prince George (Prince George Sewing Center) last year and made it up into a soft, cuddly blanket for my precious little grandbaby as a 2011 Christmas gift. Now that was a terribly difficult project?! ………….Cut the edges straight with a rotary cutter & ruler, turn over a hem of about 1/2 – 3/4 inch on all 4 sides and sew down with a suitable stretch stitch using a blending sewing thread colour in needle & bobbin. Probably took me no more than 30-4o minutes. If you want to be done even quicker, cut the edges with a curvy/scallop/pinking blade in the rotary cutter
and it becomes a NO-sew project! THIS is literally a 10 minute project. My little one loves her blankee & drags it around the house.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it is only little kids who love the soft, fuzzy feel of minkee! So I bought more of the same fabric from my Prince George dealer this year (I was so glad they had not sold out of this fabric) And it has now become a super warm & cuddy winter robe – just the thing for keeping warm and lounging around watching TV on a cold winter’s night.
I have 3 dressing gown/robe patterns in my collection at home. All are wrap style as I cannot be bothered with buttons or zippers on a robe. I have actually used them all at one time or another so I know they all work. Kwiksew #2029; Simplicity #7051 or McCalls 2022. (see below though I am not sure they are still current as I’ve owned them for quite a while – any similar pattern will probably work well)
I used the Simplicity pattern for the minkee winter robe and the Mccalls one for the summer african print robe (See blog post coming soon).
These robes are super quick & easy to make – they HAD to be as it was like a sauna in my sewing room! I threaded up my serger for 4 thread serged seams and simply serged the shoulder, side & sleeve seams about as quickly as it takes to pour another iced tea.
I will tell you that I did not worry with the band down the 2 front edges & around neck. I figured the robe was about comfort & not about couture finishing. I also did not make pockets as I don’t use them – just my luck and I will forget a kleenex in a pocket and then it will cause a real mess in the washing machine!
All I did was finish off the edge all the way around + sleeve/cuff openings with a 4 thread serged edge. This fabric does not unravel much but I nonetheless wanted a “sealed” edge as I did not want to turn over the edge twice due to the bulk of this fabric. The minkee was turned over to the reverse side after serging the edge and then stitched down with the elastic stitch & yellow sewing thread. The Elastic stitch is a suitable stretch stitch that sank down into the minkee and is barely visible. Plus it stretches so it won’t snap if the fabric gets pulled in the washer or when I try to reach to the top shelf in my kitchen – a straight stitch might snap.
Look for this stitch on your JANOME sewing machine: it looks like a zig-zag but is made up of little straight stitches. On the JANOME HORIZON MC12000 it is #11 & 12 in the Utility menu. On the JANOME HORIZON MC7700 IT IS #11 – also in the Utility menu.