Hello Sewcialists! My name is Carolanne and I blog at SweetCarolanne.com. This is my first post on the Sewcialists blog and I am very excited to share my Buchanan dressing gown with you! When Gillian announced that July was going to be lingerie sewing month and that this category included robes or PJs, I knew it was time to get started on the Buchanan dressing gown and I asked if I could write up a pattern review!
When I have told friends and family about this project they seem baffled by what a dressing gown is so if you find yourself asking the same question I have a few alternative names for you: kimono, short robe and my favorite, sexy bathrobe! I also did a little research and have a brief history of the dressing gown to share.
A dressing gown is a loose, open-front gown that is closed with a fabric belt. It is most frequently worn over pajamas or under garments while you are getting ready for the day or preparing to go to bed. Prior to the 19th century, dressing gowns were mainly worn by men as a less confining clothing option and during informal social gatherings. For women, the dressing gown offered a break from corsets and petticoats. Typically a woman would wear her dressing gown while doing all of her day-to-day activities, from eating breakfast to sewing!
Historically cotton, silk and wool are the fabrics used to create dressing gowns and the ladies at Gather Kits suggest light to medium weight fabric with drape for the Buchanan. I chose fabrics from two manufacturers that looked really well together. My main fabric is Anna Maria Horner Cotton Voile in Mind’s Eye Tambourine and my contrast fabric is Cambridge Cotton Lawn by Robert Kaufman in Maize.
This pattern is ranked for an ambitious beginner and I would say ambitious beginner is right on the money. All of the techniques used are fairly straight forward, but some are a bit fiddly if you aren’t used to it. For example, the first few steps are a lot of prep work: stay stitching, serging unsewn edges and pressing and edge stitching little pieces. None of which is difficult, but it is time consuming and important to the finished garment.
Gather Kits patterns are printed on a heavier form of tracing pattern so they are nice and durable. I cut out the size large without tracing it off. If I make this dressing gown for anyone thinner I can still trace the smaller sizes. It’s not meant to be body hugging so even though there are ambitious techniques used the loose style makes this a great pattern for a beginner while also being a very satisfying make for someone with more experience.
I initially wanted to deviate from the original instructions and use French seams, but for the sake of reviewing the directions I decided against it. The directions were very well written and the only step that confused me was how to insert the belt loops, but after a few tries I got there. I have a few small changes that I would make next time. If I make a version with patch pockets I will go ahead and use French seams because I love the look of them. I did make one change which was to add a third belt loop to cover the belt seam as you can see above. This was by no means necessary, but was a very satisfying addition for me.
I didn’t have enough of my main Anna Maria Horner fabric to cut both of the sleeves on the fold so instead I added a little bit of a seam allowance along what should be the fold line and made the sleeves from two pieces. If you are going to make this pattern I would strongly recommend ordering a little bit more fabric than the pattern suggests. Perhaps I needed more because my fabric wasn’t very wide and I made the largest size, but I made the best of it. I even did my best to pattern match and think I did a good job.
The instructions were very well written and I really enjoyed making this pattern. My favorite part was how the cuffs and neckband were added on and enclosed the seam with topstitching. It was very satisfying to see such a neat finish on the inside. I’ve already gotten a lot of wear out of my dressing gown while hanging around in my bathing suit. The pockets are perfect for my cell phone and sunscreen which leaves my hands free to carry a cold drink and a good book. I also had a thought that this pattern would make a great gift for bridesmaids! If I had thought of it sooner I would have made them for the bridal party in my sister’s wedding that is this month. Overall, the Buchanan is a very versatile pattern that I’m sure to make again!
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