Fabric Fear Overcome! aka The Tana Lawn Robe

Most people I know who sew or craft have some variation of fabric fear — the dread of messing up some rare, expensive, precious, irreplaceable fabric or craft material — either by making a mistake when working with it, or by making it into something substandard or dumb. This fear often contributes to stash accumulation as we add but refuse to actually sew the unicorn fabric.

I have my own herd of fabric unicorns and many of those take the form of Liberty Tana Lawn. Most of my Tana Lawn was given to me by my husband and because of this, it’s some of the most precious (and expensive) fabric I own. But recently, I conquered my fears and actually cut and sewed some of it! I also happen to be pleased with the result.

I’ve made Simplicity 8510 from 1969 twice before. (Previous versions here and here) I really love this robe in flannel but it’s useless in Atlanta heat. I had a fair quantity of the Mauvey print in Tana Lawn. Since I knew that I liked this pattern, and it turned out well, I decided a Liberty lawn version would be wonderful and luscious for summer and easy to pack for travel.

It was very scary making those cuts and actually, I found the lawn a little tougher to sew than expected due to its light hand. I definitely had a bit of learning curve with it so I am glad I wasn’t attempting something that wasn’t guaranteed success. Having already blogged about this pattern, there’s not much else to really cover so here’s the final product!


Oh, well I lied. There is one construction thing to cover. I used much smaller buttons than the pattern called for so I also used many more of them. I think the smaller buttons messed up my buttonhole placement. The buttonholes are too far from the edge in my opinion. I also sort of remember not liking that the last time I made this robe so now there is a note on the pattern to disregard the placement. Other than that, I’m thrilled with this. It’s such a lovely garment that I’d consider making another one. I also have a nice sized piece of the Mauvey left that could possibly be used for a blouse test run.

I put this robe on as soon as it was complete and I’ve been wearing it so much I’ve already pulled some of the stitches out of the pocket edge — whoops. I even tried to get this guy to love the robe but it probably isn’t as snuggly as the flannel version. Oh well!


Pattern Review: Linden Sweatshirt

I love to wear knits but I’m highly uncomfortable sewing with them. When I didn’t have a functional overlocker my reticence to work with knits made more sense. But now, why do knits give me the heebie jeebies? If I can make corsets and bustle dresses, really a knit shift should be within my technical reach. Last year I gave a 70s knit dress a try. It turned out ok, if large. It wasn’t super scary and I didn’t destroy really precious fabric. I decided one of my sewing goals for 2016 would be to experiment more knits and maybe to even get over my fear of them.

So my first big knit experiment of 2016 was with Grainline Studios Linden Sweatshirt. It seems to be a bit of an indie pattern superstar. I liked it because it has raglan sleeves and a short sleeve version that has a bit of a retro vibe. I got really lucky and found a piece of Liberty Linford Fleece at our local weirdo fabric outlet. $4 or 5 bucks for 1.5 yard (or so) of $35 a yard fabric. Yes, please! I had no idea what I would do with it at the time but I couldn’t pass it up. Since I didn’t have that much, I decided to use it to test this pattern. I had to buy some other fabric for the sleeves. After much local searching I finally found some navy sweatshirt fleece. It was crazy hard to find. Everything was polar fleece. Icky!


The Grainline patterns are nicely put together and packaged. I made View B. The instructions were clear except for one part. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to stretch the neckband to fit or ease it. I’m pretty sure I was supposed to stretch it but that’s not what I did. It left me with a few little gathers but I covered them up with topstitching. It went together really quickly. It probably took me 2.5 hours total including cutting it out.


While I’m pleased with how the Linden came out, and I wore it running errands today, there are some things I would change on the next make. First, generally, it’s too large. I’m not really sure how much smaller I would want to it or if I would feel differently if I was using a lighter, more drapey knit. The pattern assumes you will be using an overlocker so it only allows for a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Rather than cutting a smaller size, I think I would take a larger seam allowance. If that doesn’t get me the look I want, then I would go down a size. Second, I’d use a different topstitch / hem stitch. The zig zag I used looks a bit too homemade for my taste.

FullSizeRender.jpgOnce again, I was left with a decent sized, yet too small, piece of Liberty fabric. I decided to make a matching sweatshirt for my pup Uno because I’m that kind of goof! I used a free downloadable pattern from Mimi and Tara. They have several downloadable pdfs to cover a myriad of dog sizes. Being a dachshund, Uno is kind of tricky to fit. I opted for the size large which was the right length but too big. (A theme, I guess!) If I decide to make him another I’d probably download the medium and put the two sizes together.

IMG_9542I used my new Gingher appliqué scissors to trim down the hems. They worked great! I’m happy to have them in my arsenal.

IMG_9546Uno isn’t really a clothes pup but he does like a comfy sweater in the winter time. And now we match!