A quick update: The winner of the book is Kim Hood from Kimthemateriallady. Congratulations Kim!
Several months ago I was contacted by Liz Haywood to let me know that she was releasing a new book, Zero Waste Sewing, in March and would I like to try a pattern or two and participate in a blog tour? Well, I think we all know the answer to that question!
The book duly arrived and I spent a happy hour or two reading it from cover to cover and then choosing what I might make for this blog post. I settled on the bathrobe for a number of reasons, one of which was that both Mark and I needed new bathrobes. [please note: Mark’s is going to be a winter one and I haven’t made it yet!]
My first one was destined for our holiday place and is made from some purple silky fabric sent to me by Pips Desplat https://www.instagram.com/magdalenesmuse/. It was the perfect fabric to try my hand at this pattern as she sent me a big piece and the pattern requires more fabric than I usually buy. I love the purple with orange warp!
This is just the perfect bathrobe to wear as I wander around in the bush. The fabric is light, I have plenty of wrap around and there is even a hood!
My next version was for home. I found this double gauze in my stash in this rather unlikely colour. No idea why I had bought it, but it’s lovely for hanging out at home. There are a few marks made, a couple of cuts, and hey presto! there is a bathrobe. With a hood!
Due to the bubbly nature of the fabric, I found pressing it a bit of a trial.
As you can see, the bathrobe is wrapped and belted (my favourite kind), it has big pockets, and a hood. What more could I desire?
Length is actually determined by the width of the fabric. My purple fabric was 150cm wide and you can see that it’s a longer bathrobe than this one, which was 144cms wide.
The hood is rather enormous on my pin head though!
My next version was from some rather lovely silk I bought on a trip to India in 2015, and which had lingered in my stash because it gave me pattern matching nightmares! I decided that this bathrobe would be the perfect pairing of pattern and fabric!
There is a bit of topstitching on this and I chose to do mine in white and used a laundry marker to colour in the stitches on the black sections. I needed to go over it twice and the top stitching is now basically invisible.
This bathrobe is my travelling version. It is light and folds to almost nothing. I duly took it to Broome, but only got a couple of very bad photos of it, I think because it didn’t sit right somehow.
When I got it home I had a good look at it and realised that when I was sewing on the belt loops I had caught a tiny bit of the sleeve into the stitching. I am so lucky I didn’t tear it! It took a minute to release the stitching and all is now well.
I have a fourth bathrobe which I made as I tried to push the boundaries of the fabric requirements and get it out of a thrifted tablecloth that was considerably smaller than what was stated; it measured 136cm square, as against the 150×198 stated in the book. As I mentioned earlier, narrower fabric results in a shorter bathrobe, so I figured that 136 would be above the knee and I was ok with that.
I cut it out and realised that I needed to cut a line down the lower back and use part of the belt to expand the section so it fitted the top cut. I used another small amount of the belt to make a pocket (essential) and then made a short band which I sewed to the back. Can I just say that pattern matching became absolutely impossible at this point, I suspect because the tablecloth may have warped through use, and I decided that I had to live with it!
The sleeves are very odd, but I quite like them. The only other thing I did was to thread some cotton rope through the band so that I could tie the robe at the front. It looks a bit bulky so I may take one of the strands out.
It is perfect to wear whilst sewing as it makes trying on new makes extremely easy. Due to the smaller fabric dimensions, the wrap around isn’t as big as the other bathrobes.
The armholes are quite open at the bottom and the sleeves themselves are short and pointy. I am finding it fascinating to see how different this smaller piece of fabric has turned out.
I think the hood is also a little smaller. I sewed the band at the back a bit low down so the ties are more at hip level, making me look even more rectangular. Still very comfortable though.
A few words on the book: it is a very timely publication as the interest in zero waste is growing as we all try to be more sustainable in our sewing. It is well written with a variety of patterns, which can be made to accommodate most sizes. There are no “patterns” to trace; it’s all about measuring, drawing lines on the fabric and making sure you cut where you’re supposed to (ask me why I mention this!!). It takes a little bit of concentration but no real problem solving (unless your fabric is completely the wrong size). There is a nice introduction talking about the concept of zero waste and it’s written from a professional’s point of view, which is always interesting. There are five tops, three dresses, five coats, the hooded robe, a playsuit, a skirt, a pair of interesting trousers and a moebius scarf.
I made the wrap skirt from newspaper for my Sew Unconventional challenge and can see that this would make a lovely addition to my wardrobe when I find just the right fabric for it. I rather like the playsuit too, and this might go on to my list for next summer. There are a couple of interesting tops and some fascinating trousers which I would like to make just to see how they are all constructed. I do note that, as is usual with zero waste, the fabric requirements are very specific. If you have even a few centimetres extra it will be wasted, although you always need an offcut to check stitches and buttonholes, so perhaps that’s ok.
You might like to read this review of the book from Wild Magazine in the UK.
There are several other people blogging about their makes from this book, and we’ve all done something different so please make sure you go and check them out:
Jane Milburn of Textile Beat, Jane writes really interesting blog posts and has done one on supporting local farmers, which is a topic close to my heart.
Taylor McVay I’ve made a few of Taylor’s patterns and you may know her as Blueprints for Sewing.
Tracy Henwood from Knit Spin Weave, I enjoy her instagram posts greatly.
Fiona and Jane from The Drapery in Adelaide, which is much beloved by Australian sewists.
Liz is doing a couple of blog posts too, so make sure you check out her blog as she’s done posts on several of the items in the book.
The book goes live on 14 March, so stay tuned for that!
I also need to mention that many of the models are more mature than the norm, and therefore this book fits into the #so50visible movement going on over on Instagram under the auspices of @sewover50. This is all about promoting older makers and trying to get pattern makers to realise that over 50s have a higher disposable income and perhaps more time so are more likely to buy their patterns and should therefore be represented in the advertising. It is wonderful to look at the photos in this book and see a diversity of models.
Thank you for reading this far. Liz has kindly offered a book to each blogger as a giveaway, so if you would like to be in the running, simply leave a comment on this post and I shall be selecting a winner using a random generator. This is open to international visitors too, so don’t be shy. Giveaway ends at midnight WST on 18 March, 2020.
I’d like to thank Liz for giving me the opportunity to test patterns from her book, and I can’t wait to show you a few more of them.