Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tabula Rasa Jacket into Bathrobe

I am not really a fashion follower but sometimes fashion trends creep into my consciousness and I find myself up to date without even realizing it. (This happens about as often as a full moon total eclipse.)  So I noticed that one of my June sewing projects is actually very au courant per this New York Times article on the kimono resurgence this summer Kimonos Shift from Runways to Music Festivals
Tabula Rasa Jacket from Fit for Art a bathrobe
Yes, I'm fashionable just because I re-visited the Tabula Rasa jacket pattern from Fit for Art Patterns recently. Fit for Art Patterns I am fortunate enough to be friends and neighbors with Rae Cumbie and she had asked several sewing friends, amateur and professionals to help test the pattern and directions for her newest version, a tunic, t-shirt and blouse based on the same design lines. The new pattern and a terrific trunk show will be debuting in a few weeks at the national American Sewing Guild meeting in St. Louis, Missouri.  I won't be there this year but I encourage anyone who is attending to check out the latest version.  Rae is an artist with fabric and also understands how we want casual, comfortable designs with a flair.  
So after the test sewing day I was inspired to head home and work on another version of the Tabula Rasa jacket, this time lengthened so that I can wear it as a summer lightweight bathrobe.  I have had yards and yards of this Asian inspired design fabric which I think is a mid-weight rayon.  My camp shirt days are gone with the '90s but I love the feel of this fabric and the designs.  I lengthened the jacket pattern 15 inches, used the flared side panel and the original sleeve shortened to 3/4 length.  With some fitting advice from Rae I raised the back neckline and added shoulder darts so I could keep the fabric on the fold for center back.  I sewed a size S with the C/D front which has two small side darts in the woven version. 
The square armhole with almost invisible small side seam darts in the jacket body
I added flat piping from some denim tencel in my resource center and a belt trim with the same tencel.  I love it.  It is heavy enough that I can sit outside on our deck early on summer mornings without feeling overly exposed to the elements.  And gosh, if I attend on of those trendy summer music festivals in the Hamptons or Berkshires I guess I could also wear it as a kimono jacket.  And Mr. Lucky likes the print tremendously so won't he be surprised to see a Kwik Sew shirt for him in the future.  
Watch this space for some more woven and then knit versions coming this summer.  That test sewing day really helped restart some of my sewing mojo.
On a more personal note, I've been putting off writing this blog post for sad (not tragic, just sad) reasons of my own.  My blog is an informal way to communicate with my family members around the country and one my most loyal readers was my dear aunt and godmother who died just a month ago at age 84.  Mags lead a wonderful life and her death was not painful nor sudden, just sad for those of us mourning.  My aunt was an inspiration to me from an early age and I have so many wonderful memories.  She was truly a feminist who had it all....just didn't have it all at the same time.  She attended college and graduate school and taught abroad before marrying and starting a family.  She and my uncle had five children and they put together the most wonderful tributes to her at the funeral service. My two remaining uncles, aunts and cousins from all the families flew in for a joyous celebration. She was a woman of faith, humility and humor.  She was an avid reader and we often compared books over the phone or on my visits.  She had an amazing memory for all the people she had ever met and was always making connections and linkages.  On a cruise about twelve years ago she met Judy Barlup and was so pleased to tell her that she had a niece who loved to sew and wanted to know if perhaps we had ever met.  Sewing, however, was a foreign language to her and my cousins recall great family get togethers which always included outsiders that she would invite so they wouldn't be alone....but didn't include homemade cookies because she was just too busy.  She had an intellectual curiosity and open mind all her life.  When I left the church that I had been raised in, she wasn't critical, just wanted to know more about the quirky new to her religion that I had chosen....and wanted to make sure that my selected religion and I were involved in charitable activities and causes.  She wasn't afraid of the computer and kept up with grandchildren that way as well as read my blog and Facebook postings.  I miss her terribly already but am happy to have had so many great times with her.  Just wanted to share some fun pictures from the past:
My aunt's eigth grade graduation along with my mother looking the Bronx, NY
My aunt and godmother.  I don't seem to be enjoying the moment as much as she is.
With her first car.  Mags was definitely a modern woman.
Here's hoping you have happy memories of an important person in your life.


  1. I'm sorry for your loss. Your Aunt sounds like a real go-getter!!

  2. I've been meaning to thank you personally for something, but I don't see where I can email you directly, so I'm doing it here.
    A while back, my friend Gwen (the blogger All My Seams) won a give away from you. It was for the Jalie pleated cardigan pattern. I inherited the pattern after her untimely passing & wanted you to know how much I liked the pattern ( and for you to see what I've done with it. I've even kept the lovely card you sent Gwen with it. Sewing and blogging is making the world smaller!!

    1. I just checked out your lovely cardigan versions and they do you and Gwen proud. So glad that the pattern went to a good home. Yes, I love how our boundaries disappear when we get to share a love for sewing here on the internet.

  3. So sorry for your loss. It sounds like she had a very long and full life . I can also see you have a family of stylish ladies. Love your robe too. The fabric looks so soft and drapey. Your husband would look totally cool in a shirt from that.

    1. Thanks, Janine. I'll have to snap a photo of me in the robe since I am totally loving it and how it feels.

  4. Sorry for your loss, it does seem like you have many cherished memories to keep with you. I love reading your blog and your style is wonderful. You make beautiful clothes. How fun to live near such a talented sewer as Rae. I took a class from her when she was in Raleigh, NC last year at the expo.


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