Saturday, February 18, 2023

80s Bathrobes Scarred Me For Life

If you were a girl in the 80s, you might remember these robes.  My grandmother was a big fan of them and gave them to us several times as we were growing up.  I always wanted to like them, but they were polyester, they caught on my dry skin like today’s micro fiber towels do, and they weren’t at all absorbent. 

I always wanted to have a robe that I’d put on while I was still damp that would snuggle me in and keep me warm.  These robes had an itchy lining on the inside, like a mesh kind of thing, and they were not at all for post shower/bath snuggling.  We weren’t really a bathrobe family, so we didn’t go get out our pjs and robes to watch tv before bed or keep them at the foot of the bed to put on when we got up in the night.  We didn’t come for breakfast with our robes and slippers.  

I also remember trying to sleep in one once and almost burst into flames.  And speaking of flames, they were so polyester, that in the dry nights of winter, you could get some pretty amazing static electricity from these.  I vividly remember thinking I was going to catch on fire because there was static as I took it off once.  I was such an irrational thinker.

Once I went to college, I thought I’d need a robe for dorm showers and for the life of me, I can’t remember if I had one.  If I did, surely it wasn’t that quilted, itchy thing, but definitely made of terrycloth, like a normal robe.  I know that some time after college, I made myself a really nice terrycloth robe when Joann Fabrics still had it and I remember all of the mess I made sewing it together because it frayed so much.  But I also remember still never using it.  

I think my idea of the purpose of a robe was wrong. I thought you could just get out of the shower, put on the robe and the terrycloth would suck up all the water but somehow also be dry once it did that.  I figured I just always had the wrong kind of robe but even me 100% Cotten terry robe that I made didn’t do what I wanted.

Back in the early 2000s, we put in an outdoor shower. Never once did it occur to me that a robe might finally have a purpose.  Until this winter, I never really took showers in the winter but in early spring and late fall, a robe would have been a nice thought while walking back into the house.  Instead, I’ve always coming running, literally running if it’s cold, and coming into the house in a fit of rage that it’s so cold. 

Out of nowhere last month, the man said he always wanted a robe.  When I asked why, he said it would be nice for waking to and from the shower.  His birthday was coming up, so I immediately found one for such little money, I figured if he never wore it, it wouldn’t be much of a waste.  He’s been wildly in love with it and kept telling me how nice it is to have it on these cold nights when coming back inside.  He kept saying I should get one and I kept telling him how I’d never use it.

I’ve been taking showers outside most nights this winter because we have a new setup and it blocks the wind a little better than the old one.  When the temps are in the 30s, he runs down cellar and turns off the water so the pipes don’t freeze.  He is 100% diehard outdoor shower.  I am 65%.  Some nights, I just draw the line.

All of this to say, my new robe arrived today and I don’t know what I’ve been doing for the past 2 decades 😂. It’s no fur coat, but it made the walk back into the house something other than a shivering mad dash of swears. I was going to make one, but I couldn’t find what I wanted at Joann fabric and I’d don’t want to futz around with online companies because I wanted a nice thick robe and I wanted it ASAP.  I didn’t quite get the steal on this one that I did for the man but I definitely will use this every time I shower outside.  I still see no point  to it for inside showers and I don’t see myself wearing it while I get ready in the morning but for those cold outdoor shower nights, I’ve hit the jackpot!

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Nancy, Nancy Nancy!

woman wearing dress in snow
One of the first 5outof4 (affiliate link) patterns I made was the Nancy Raglan as a dress.  It had the cowl neck I was looking for and it was my first foray into sewing a sweater knit fabric.  It was also my first 5outof4 (affiliate link) pattern that wasn't an athletic wear piece and I was amazed at how many options come with it!  Cowl, plain neckband, hoodie- and then you can mash other 5outof4 (affiliate link) necklines with it and the options are even better!  A variety of sleeve lengths and a variety of lenthgs for top all the way to dress.

I find raglans to be extremely easy to put together because you don't have to fuss with the sleeve cap or anything else at the shoulder.  The neckband or cowl neck (I haven't made this hoodie but I've done hoods on other 5outof4 patterns (affiliate link) and they are easy) are also really easy to do.  

A lot of people like to do one fabric for sleeves and one for the main body but that's not really my style, so you'll see all of my examples showing one fabric.

woman and child sitting in chair
Just before Christmas this year (like the day before school got out) I realized I could use another red shirt to get into the spirit, so I timed myself making this one.  From getting the fabric out to cutting the fabric to sewing and hemming, this top took less than an hour to make.  I had enough fabric to make a dress but I was worried that this print in a dress might be horrible.  And I wanted to wear it year 'round, and I felt like a dress would scream Christmas, whereas a shirt would be more reasonable.

All of the knits I've used have been very supple and stretchy, except for this dress where I used a waffle knit.  The bodice of the dress is not the Nancy but the cowl is.  The cowl didn't quite do what I was hoping for on this be cause the waffle fabric is a little thick.  I should have used more of a funnel neck to get the look I wanted.  But, because this is a 5outof4 pattern (affiliate link), the Nancy cowl fit right onto the Easy Tee neckline, showing that these patterns really do work well together!

dress sewn incorrectly
The only issue I've ever had with this pattern is: because my arms are long and my torso is short, I often confuse the arms vs the body.  When I made this blue dress, the arms and the body were exactly the same length so I assumed I was putting the body together.  I had already made a couple by that point, but I can't tell you how horrified I was that the "body" was so small.  I couldn't imagine how I had put on so much weight in such a short time and it just looked ridiculous.  Nothing like my others.  

And then I realized I had sewn the sleeves together as the body.  I almost did this with the red shirt this year too but it's a shirt and not a dress so I was able to quickly catch myself.  See the correctly sew blue dress below.

If you're new to sewing knits and you want a stylish dress or top that is easy and has some options, Nancy is the way to go (affiliate link) .  Look at how many versions of this I've made!  I could also do a short sleeve but I just haven't gotten around to it.  There's also a nursing and maternity option, all in this one pattern!

Be sure to check out the Nancy Raglan and many, many  more on the 5outof4 website (affiliate link)!  
woman modeling red and white topwoman sitting

woman standingwoman modeling blue cowl neck top

woman modeling black and white top