Hello everyone - it’s April from Agate & Ayre and welcome to my guest post for the Wattle & Slate blog! I’ll be showing you how to make your very own (almost) zero waste dressing gown using my latest print in collaboration with W&S - Agate Alignment.
When designing this print - I immediately got to work thinking how I could sew it up utilising every single inch of the double border print. One because I’m a stingy Scotswoman that hates wasting fabric/money and two because I’m all about reducing my textile waste wherever possible - it’s one of the core brand values of Agate & Ayre. That’s when I had a lightbulb moment and realised that a dressing gown would be perfect - especially since this is the festive round!
I’m going to show you how to draft a very simple pattern utilising the full width (153cm to be exact) of the Squish base which is the absolute plushest, softest fabric - perfect for a cuddly dressing gown. If you’ve never sewn without a pattern before then don’t worry - it’s super easy and this particular sew is mostly made of rectangles so a great place to start.
Tips for sewing with squish. Take! your! time! Make sure you aren’t stretching the squish as you sew otherwise it will warp your seams. You can never use too many pins or clips! Also, if using a sewing machine then use a stretch needle.
This pattern is unisex, and the size I’ve drafted to be zero waste would be suitable for most because it’s oversized and belted. I’m a UK size 20 for reference but I’ve also tried this on a UK size 8 and it looks fab on either of us. I’m 5”6 and the robe is just above knee length on me. If you want to make the gown bigger or smaller all you need to do is make rectangles 1 and 2 narrower or wider however you may lose the zero waste element by doing this. Seam allowances are 1cm.
WHAT YOU NEED:
1.6m of Agate Alignment Wattle & Slate squish
You don’t need fancy pattern paper for this. Wrapping paper does the job, any sheets of paper if you tape them together. Whatever you can get your hands on!
Pens or pencils, paper scissors
All your usual sewing bits, scissors, pins (you’ll want ALL the pins or clips for sewing with squish)
If you’re feeling dangerous - you can actually skip drawing out the pattern pieces altogether and use a fabric pen to draw directly onto the reverse side of the fabric. I was not feeling dangerous when I made mine.
HERE WE GO:
1: Draw the following sized pieces out on paper. Dont cut them out just yet.
Rectangle 1 (back piece) : 95x62cm
Rectangle 2 (front piece) : 95x35cm
Rectangle 3 (sleeves) : You have two options here depending on whether you’d like a cuff on the sleeve or whether you’re happy to hem it. I have cuffs on mine but they do make for a more difficult sew. Either draw one rectangle measuring 66x45cm for the hemmed sleeve OR one measuring 66x30cm which will be the main sleeve and one 66x15cm which will be the band
Rectangle 4 (belt) : 160cm x 13cm
Rectangle 5 (neckband) : 110x14cm
2: Rectangles 1 and 2 need a wee bit of extra work at this point. Follow the diagrams below to draw in the shoulder seams on both plus the neckhole on the back piece. Make sure to include the notches at the sides of rectangle 1 and 2 as these will be your guides for inserting the sleeves.
3: Now you can cut all of your paper pieces out! Pin these to your lovely squish using my diagram below to really use every inch of that fabric.
You’ll need to cut out the following:
1 x Rectangle 1
2 x Rectangle 2 (these should be a mirror image pair)
2 x Rectangle 3
1 x Rectangle 4
2 x Rectangle 5
4. Time to start sewing! Take Rectangle 1 and both Rectangle 2’s and pin these right sides together at the shoulder seams. Sew or overlock. Fold up and pin a 4cm hem on the two front pieces but don’t sew these just yet, it’s just so we can attach the neckband and create a clean finish.
5. Take both of your neckband pieces and place these right sides together. Sew or overlock ONE of the shortest sides to create one long neckband piece. Once you have this long piece, fold over your band in half lengthways, right sides together, and stitch along the short edges to create a corner at both ends. Clip the corners to remove the bulk and poke these the right way out. Take your time at the next bit as it can be tricky with the fabric sliding about, and use all the pins or clips you need, to pin your neckband piece...
6. Find the centre back neck and mark with a pin. Match the band seam to the centre back neck and the two ends 4cm above the unhemmed edge as the hem is 4cm in total. Pin the remainder of the band around the opening, don’t rush this step, the more careful you are, and the more pins you use the better your end result will be. Stitch or overlock in place. I personally like to stitch first using a long straight stitch then overlock after just so I can make sure all three layers are caught in my stitching as you have more control with your sewing machine.
7. Open out your dressing gown, with the right sides facing you. Find and mark the centre top of the sleeves with a pin then match and pin these points to the shoulder seam. Position and pin the sleeves along the outside edges of the gown with right sides facing - this is where your notches come into play as these should be where the sleeves end. Stitch or overlock each sleeve in place, starting and finishing the seam line 1cm from the edges of the seam leaving a small gap at the bottom of the sleeve - this will make the next step easier.
8. Open out your robe then lay the back and front pieces together, right sides facing. Match and pin the side seams and the underarms of the sleeves together. Stitch from the ends of the sleeves to the hem of the gown. The small gap you left before will allow the underarm and side seam to run smoothly as squish can be quite bulky and prone to gathering.
9. It’s beginning to look more like a dressing gown now! If you’ve gone for the sleeve band option at this point attach it like you would ribbing on the edge of a cuff. If you’ve gone for the hem option then pin and hem the sleeve as long as you’d like it to be.
10. Finally - it’s time to create your belt! Fold and pin along the longest length, right sides together, and sew or overlock. I like to finish the belt using a knife edge so at this point sew one side into a triangle and trim your excess. Turn inside out then cut your open end into a point, fold the raw edges under and sew to close.
11. You can add belt loops if you like - made from the tiny scraps of fabric you’ll have leftover!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and it’s given you some inspiration on how to make the most of this double border design. I’m so delighted with how much you love this print and I’m SO excited to see what you all make with it!