Thursday, January 31, 2013

#18: Silky Black Robe

Hello hello! I've got a new piece for you today. Drum roll please...

What's the new piece?


(my best version of a typed drum roll)


That's it. No, not the tank top, the black silky robe (probably gave it away in the post title). I found it on the dollar rack at a local thrift store a few months ago, and finally got to it in my big bag of projects waiting to be done. It had no sash, and the loops were cut off. That was just fine with me!

Before: Silky Black Robe

Before: From behind

It had thick lace around the sleeves and at the shoulders, and since I LOVE lace (remember my last lacy project?), I decided to add some more as I transformed this project.

I had an idea of what I wanted to turn this robe into, so I made my way on over to JoAnn's Fabric store with robe-in-hand to see if I could find some lace that matched the sleeves.

Rows and rows of fabric

Not only did I find some lace fabric that matched pretty well (slightly different than in the previous picture), they were having a 50% off buttons sale, so I snagged these:


I began by grabbing some black elastic from my box of sewing supplies and cutting 2 strips about 7 inches each.


I measured and pinned each strip of elastic to across the side seams on the inside of the robe at the waist with plenty of fabric in between. Then I sewed the ends of elastic down.

Elastic pinned at the ends

I stretched the elastic out by hand as far as it would go as I sewed along both long sides of the elastic.

Stretching the elastic

Once sewn on, the elastic contracted and looked like this on the outside:

Scrunched fabric

Next, I used a seam ripper to remove the thin lace trim from the robe.

Removing the lace trim

Next, I grabbed the lace fabric I bought and pinned it to the inside of the front of the robe, leaving a few inches of space down the front for the lace to show.

Floral Lace

Pinned to the front inside
I sewed the front panel of lace onto the robe, then I pinned and cut about a quarter of the way down the back from the collar.

Straight cut down the back

I opened the back up and tucked the cut sides in to create a "V". Then I pinned another panel of lace into the back V, overlapping it in the center, and sewed it to secure it on.

Pinned and ready to sew

I cut the lace I had folded over in the center of the V and sewed it down, as this would be the new panel for some buttons.

On the top layer, I sewed some button holes, and on the bottom I sewed on 4 of the plain buttons I got at JoAnn's.

Button holing

**Put a pin at the end of a button hole so you don't rip the thread!

Placing the buttons

The lace had an awesome wavy trim which I cut out and had planned to use as a high collar, but after sewing it on and removing it twice (it looked funny and was very scratchy on my neck), I scrapped the idea, so I'll skip that step. Instead, I just ended up folding in and sewing around the neck hole.

Next, I cut a bit of length from the bottom. Then I measured, pinned, and sewed a new hem around the bottom.

Hemming it up!

Once everything had been adjusted, I took the original thin lacy trim I had removed, and lined it facing outward around all of the edges and collar I had sewn, front and back. Then I sewed it on (great way to add some flare while covering awkward stitches!)

Re-pinned lace trim

To add a little more decoration, I took some of the shiny fabric I had cut from the bottom and sewed 2 strips from it.

Strip of fabric

With one of the strips I tucked one end into another, like a snake biting its tail. Then I took the second, flatter strip and tied it around the center of the looped first one. This made a simple, fluffy bow (Sorry. I forgot to take this picture. But you'll see it in the after photo). I hand-sewed the bow onto the front waist over the lace material.

Despite the elastic, I still had to take it in a little more on the sides and a little under the arms. 

Finally, I took the 3 special buttons I got and hand-sewed them directly onto the top lacy part on the front of the piece.


With all the details done, 2 days of scrupulous work, and paired with my lacy camisole, my new blouse is complete.

Whenever I see other blogs about clothing transformations, I always wish that they would put a before photo next to the after photo so I wouldn't have to scroll all the way back to the top to see the before photos. I'll try doing that from now on.

So remember how it looked before?

Before: Silky Black Robe

Before: From behind

And here's the after:

After: Silky Black Blouse

After: From behind

Up close detail with crazy lighting

I almost scrapped the project about half way through because it was giving me all kinds of problems, but instead I got a good night's sleep and had a renewed vision in the morning. Glad I persisted. I like how it turned out. It now looks like something I could actually wear during the daytime, not just as nightwear like the original robe. It might even look cooler with a different colored undershirt to show off the lace more.

Say Cheese!
I hope you liked this transformation! We'll see what I've got in store for the next go-around.

I'll leave you with some lyrics from the song I'm listening to right now:

"Well, it's alright to be little bitty
A little hometown or a big old city
Might as well share, might as well smile
Life goes on for a little bitty while."
~Little Bitty, Alan Jackson

Until next time, blessings.

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