Déjà vu

After completing my “Classic French Jacket” and its coordinating sheath dress, I wanted something easy – and relatively quick – for my next project. I didn’t think it was going to be another bathrobe, but that’s what it has turned out to be, to my great surprise.

Because we had such a chilly Spring, I was wearing my newly constructed Winter bathrobe into June. But, suddenly, Summer arrived in the middle of that month, with its humidity and often beastly temperatures. It was then I pulled out my old, lightweight Summer robe – you know, the one with the missing button – and the small tear – and the tea stain which somehow became a permanent fixture. Not such a pretty sight.  Having become used to my new Winter robe which makes me happy whenever I put it on, I decided maybe it was time to replace my Summer robe, too.

I already had a three-yard length of “water-color-designed cotton lawn” from Britex Fabrics.

I forgot to get a photo of the fabric before I cut into it.  This is a partial view of the back of the robe.  I purchased this Italian-produced, fine cotton during one of the online sales at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco.

At 56” wide, I thought it would be enough to make a robe, using the same wonderful pattern I had used for my Winter robe.

This pattern from 1959 is so well engineered, with subtle details which give it a polished appearance.

My only reservation was that the fabric makes quite a statement. I wondered if perhaps it was going to be too, too much in an ankle length robe. Truthfully, though, how many people see me in my bathrobe? I figured I’d go for it.

Once again, laying out the pattern was quite the task, done entirely on the floor. Although the pattern matching didn’t have to be quite as precise as working with an orderly plaid, I did have to pay attention to the large squares and where they would end up in relation to each other and in relation to the dimensions of the front and back of the robe.

The front of the robe, sans its sash.

And a back view. Without lining up the “watercolor blocks” in some relation to each other, the effect would really have been chaos!

The fineness of the fabric is apparent if you look closely at the collar, where there is some fade-through of the design. (The interfacing is attached to the under section of the collar.)

I did not have enough fabric to “match” the designs on the sleeves, but I rather like them not exactly alike.  Also, I shortened the sleeves to below elbow length, more appropriate for a Summer robe, but also necessary to save fabric!

I used flat felled seams for the body of the robe.

After just barely managing to get the two fronts, one back, the sleeves and collar and front facings placed on the fabric, I knew I was not going to have enough fabric left to match the pockets to their underlaying design. I did, however, have two fabric blocks featuring those quirky little birds, enough to make two pockets. The birds could even face each other.

But I knew they would look a little “lost in space” unless I set them off somehow. That’s when I went to my tried and true solution for all kinds of sewing fixes – piping! Yellow seemed to delineate the pockets the best – beating out green, red, pink and purple, all of which I “auditioned.”

I quite like those little birds, looking cheery and chirpy on the front of my robe.


Ready for its debut!

The fabric is so lovely, almost diaphanous in its effect. And that bold, colorful pattern which had given me pause? It has an exotic flair to it, quite acceptable for a summer robe. I just hope it doesn’t panic the cat.


Filed under Bathrobes, Mid-Century style, piping, Uncategorized, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1950s

31 responses to “Déjà vu

  1. I love the block print for this vintage style robe. And, the piping around the pockets is genius — really sets those blocks off. In case your readers are interested, we have one of this same vintage Vogue Patterns in our listings at http://www.patternswithapast.etsy.com — so happy to see it as a finished piece. Looking forward to your next project!

  2. That’s just lovely! Well done, I love it!

  3. I think it screams summer in a very nice way! I love the bird pockets, excellent solution to the pocket dilemma. The whole thing made me think tropical paradise, a nice thought for summer time.

  4. Mary Lynn

    That’s a beautiful print and the piping is great! You’re amazing giving the same thoughtfulness to making a robe. I have one of those crazy colors Natori robes simply because they’re the only ones I can find that have a zipper and pockets and are light weight. I’m a night owl and I have occasionally had the security guard make the loop around our cul de sac
    when I walking the dog before bed. Yours would look lovely if you were on a midnight ramble!

    • I think I have a better chance of someone seeing me on an early, early morning ramble – like the paper delivery person or even the trash truck! Well, they won’t fail to see me if we do cross paths, that’s for sure! Glad you like the robe!

  5. Mery

    That is one happy robe. It is beautiful, from fabric, thru pattern and layout (especially the pink framing your face and on right sleeve). The birds look proud to grace your pockets and I don’t blame them. When everyone who sees you in it not only smiles but also chuckles be assured that it is a laughter of delight and not of derision. Happy Indepence Day!

  6. Beautiful. Hope the cat is okay.

    • Thank you! Yes, the cat has adjusted. She seemed fine once she knew that she would get fed, new robe or not! It probably helps that she can only see in shades of gray and white…

  7. So pretty! The little birdy pockets with piping are just the right touch. It looks really soft and comfy.

  8. Some cats are easily panicked. My son wore white socks and scared the cat! This is lovely – i wish i had one!

  9. What an exquisite robe! Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. Jaenice Palmer

    Ahhh! Love the pattern and the attention to detail!

  11. What a glorious fabric! The robe shows it off beautifully, and I love the bird pockets with their yellow piping.

  12. stephanieradion

    What a gorgeous fabric – it feels like summer just looking at it!

  13. Jackie Shepherd

    Fantastic fabric. I just love your robe.

  14. This is absolutely gorgeous!!

  15. I think this is one of the most beautiful things you have ever made. Wonderful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.