Ah, there’s nothing that brings out the perfectionist streak in me like sewing for someone else. Unpick all the mistakes!!! It was my friend Sarah’s birthday recently, and I wanted to make her something silky and luxurious to get around the house in, so I decided to make her an Almada robe by Seamwork. I’ve made this pattern once before and it seemed like a good choice as a present since the casual fit and those large sleeves mean fitting is not an issue.
Now how to choose the fabric? Luckily, it’s very clear that Sarah has a thing for pink, so I settled on a pink printed satin with cute unicorns…I think it’s both adorable and sophisticated. The Almada pattern isn’t lined, but the back of the printed satin did not feel particularly luxurious so I decided to underline it with a plain satin so it would feel as nice on the inside as it does on the outside. I haven’t worked much with satin outside of costume making (when if you can’t see it from the audience it doesn’t matter how it’s constructed!) so this was a much higher challenge than I anticipated. Satin is, of course, so slippery and it was sliding all over the place while I was cutting and sewing. To try and combat this I pinned the satin to a towel while I was cutting it out, and used lots and lots and lots of pins during the sewing process. It certainly didn’t end up perfect, particular in the back centre seam (which in hindsight I could have just cut on the fold!) where there is some dragging.
The pattern includes a hidden bias facing but I wanted to add some contrast so I enclosed the centre front edges and hem with bias I made from the lining fabric and sewed this on by hand. I really enjoy hand sewing because I have done so much beading for costumes that it comes more naturally to me than using a machine. I had intended to also include the bias in the seam between the cuff and the sleeve as Vintage on Tap did, but I couldn’t get the satin to lie flat – it was constantly twisting and generally looked awful so after unpicking it three times I gave up and constructed the sleeves as per the pattern.
I used a few different ways to finish the seams. The shoulder and side seams are French seamed, the back centre seam is overlocked and pressed open, and for the cuffs I trimmed down the seam allowance of the 3 bottom layers of fabric and then hand stitched the last one (which was overlocked) over the top to keep it all enclosed.
Overall I am really happy with how this turned out and hope Sarah is too! She has already told me she feels like a glamorous lady of leisure when wearing it which is exactly what I was going for. I’m now working on a version of this for myself, in a cottony fabric (actually an old sheet!) which I think we will be perfect for when Summer really kicks off.
Happy birthday Sarah!