Hello there! Hands up who ate too much over Christmas and New Year…? Yup, me too. Which is why this latest make comes at the perfect moment for hiding my well-tended belly, which it does beautifully, I’m happy to report. You may have seen this robe on IG already, but now I’ve had a chance to snap a couple of on-body pics. Ignore the peely-wally legs please (good Scottish word; don’t say reading sewing blogs doesn’t teach you anything).
I feel like this pattern has been made in so many stunning versions before (including the ones from Swarm of Chickadees and Helen’s Closet to name but a couple) that everyone must be familiar with it by now. But if not, this is the Almada robe from Seamwork Magazine. It’s kimono-inspired in style and is a quick make, pegged at 3hrs of sew time. I would say that’s fair, although I may have taken slightly longer. If you make your own bias tape, add on an hour, I suppose.
Colette Patterns have taken a bit of flak over the last few months due to some unfortunate goings-on with their latest dress pattern, Rue. I read with interest, I must admit, since up until that point I had, on occasion, thought, “These sewing people seem almost too nice. Does nothing ever go wrong?? Do sewing people never get angry at anything??”. Well, it seems they do, and it’s a bit of a relief, frankly. Having said that, I did feel a tad sorry for Colette, to be honest, who appeared to be on the receiving end of a veritable flood of pent-up emotion that had finally burst its bias-bound seams. I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of it any more than that, since I can see merits in both sides of the argument and, in any case, I feel rather under-experienced to make a balanced judgment. I’ll simply say that so far I’ve personally been happy with my Colette and Seamwork patterns, that I’ve greatly enjoyed the help from their blog and magazine as a beginner – and that it’s great that I now know of a couple of patterns to avoid like the plague. Oh yes.
Anyway, this is not one of them. I made a size L and it is nice and roomy, as you can see. That is the intended style, so you can adjust the sizing depending on your liking for fit. I used a beautiful inky blue Cotton & Steel lawn for this and it is gorgeous. It’s from the Mesa collection and the metallic gold accents on such a rich background make my heart sing when I look at this fabric. The lawn is definitely lightweight but has the crispness to hold the shape and folds of this design perfectly. Swoon. It certainly produces a slightly stiffer and more angular robe, but that’s what I was after for some reason. I wanted it to feel like an enveloping man’s shirt, if you know what I mean, and it does.
According to the pattern, for a size L you need 3.5 to 4 yds of fabric, depending on the width. For my lawn, it was a 4-yd requirement and I only had 3yds. Eek. I toyed with making the ties and cuffs from something else, but in the end I squeaked out the pieces by going into the selvedges a little and losing a couple of inches from the ties. So it is possible if you only have 3yds of fabric (I think size L may be the limit though) and I think the ties are still long enough, but if you like longer ties or big fancy bows, it’s not going to happen.
Construction is straightforward. The back has a centre seam, so you join the two pieces and then stitch the two fronts onto the completed back. I used the regular machine for the seams, but then finished them with the serger. I was very annoyed when I caught a little of the seam allowance on the back seam with the serger in a couple of places, and in the end I picked the serger threads out. It was bugging me to death. There are tiny holes in the back, but I much prefer that to the wonky seam. Let’s be honest, nobody will ever notice.
The neckline (all the way down the front of the robe) is finished with bias binding. I considered a contrast, but in the end just finished it invisibly since I think the fabric needs nothing else. The cuffs are simply constructed in the same manner as on a t-shirt and sewn on flat.
It’s a sumptuous robe to wear and I’m rather interested in finding out what a thin knit would turn out like. Very differently, obviously, and I would certainly size down a little, but it could be interesting. I must confess that my husband is not overwhelmed with this make. He doesn’t dislike it and he says that it’s made nicely, but I guess it’s just too cocoon-shaped and angular for him. One of those items that women love and admire on each other, but leave men a little cold. A bit like the dress I’ll probably make next. Haha.
Overall, this garment was a true pleasure to make. If/when I make it again, I might go the whole hog and throw a few French seams in there. The instructions are very, very thorough, even by Colette’s standards, so this would also be a great beginner project. I have but one complaint about this pattern and that is the .pdf assembling. I can’t remember how many pages it ended up being, but it was a LOT and it was partly because of the large borders round every page. It seemed rather wasteful if I’m honest, and perhaps taking a look at the way Liesl & Co. arrange their patterns might be in order. Anyway, a small gripe, but otherwise the Almada robe is a winner, no doubt about it.