Maddie: With fall here, you’re probably preoccupied with finding the perfect pair of boots or a super cozy sweater. I’m assuming you would overlook anything chiffon – I would – but I promise, paired with the right pieces, this sheer fabric can be worn when the temps dip and the leaves start to change. Scout’s honor.
This summer, I teamed up with Spoonflower, using their Sport Lycra and Cotton Spandex Jersey at my lingerie and bodysuit workshops (see photos here!). It’s a new season, so time for a new collab! This time around, I’ve sewn up a knee-length robe using their chiffon fabric and a coordinating bodysuit using one of my patterns with Simplicity, the 8435. Today, I’ll be sharing all the deets on the robe, including a tutorial below and then be sure to check out my bodysuit review here!
The outer layer of the robe is Spoonflower’s chiffon featuring Bohemian Solar Eclipse by Liz Sawyer. I’ve lined the robe with a beige poly chiffon, purchased from a local fabric store in Philadelphia – Fleishman Fabrics, so that it wouldn’t be so sheer and to help with the drape of the light chiffon fabric. I used 506 spray adhesive to fuse the two layers together prior to cutting and treated as one during sewing.
The lace is a navy blue guipure, also from Fleishman.
Note: I used the most basic construction techniques so that any level sewist could make this robe. If you’re more experienced and want to finish a different/better way, go ahead!
- Sew the front and back shoulder and underarm seams together – use a French seam or a serger (see tip below on using a serger on chiffon).
- Use a basting stitch to stabilize the neckline. Sew from center back of neck to center front of neck on left and right sides.
- Use a serger to finish the neckline, sleeve opening and front edge of the robe (see tip below on using a serger on chiffon).
- Turn back neckline ¼” and topstitch.
- Turn back sleeve opening and front edge of the robe ⅜”-½” and topstitch.
- Use a straight stitch and/or serger to sew the lace to the bottom edge. I finished the center front edge before attaching.
TIPS FOR WORKING WITH SPOONFLOWER’S CHIFFON:
Cutting: Line your cutting board with tissue paper and lay fabric on top. Also, use very sharp fabric scissors (make sure they’re sharpened) or a rotary cutter.
Pinning: Use fine or silk pins. If you’re worried about pin holes showing through, try using steam after you pin, but be sure to use the synthetic setting since it’s polyester. An alternative to pinning is using pattern weights.
Thread: Choose a high quality, FINE, polyester thread. Because the fabric is poly (and not silk), it’s important to make sure the thread is the same content as the fabric.
- Use a slightly smaller stitch length. On my PFAFF, that’s 2-2.5mm.
- Hold the ends of the top and bottom threads behind the needle as you start to sew the seams. This will prevent a “bird’s nest” from forming.
- Because your fabric is so sheer, if you want to use a 3 or 4 thread serger, I highly suggest using a stabilizer like I did in the tutorial above. A French seam is an alternative method.
- Change to 70/10, 65/9 or 60/8 size needle in your sewing machine.
- When hemming, go for a narrow or rolled hem.
One of my mottos in life is “perfection is overrated”. Chiffon is difficult to work with. PERIOD. You’re going to make mistakes and that’s completely okay. I do too! It’s acceptable to cut as you sew. That’s the beauty of handmade garments. Give yourself a break and enjoy the process.
Motivated for even more DIY projects? My DIY Bodysuit pattern has you covered!
Photography: Bekuh Browning
Maddie Flanigan is the lingerie designer and sewing teacher behind lingerie brand, Madalynne. Operating a studio out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maddie is a woman on a mission. As she puts it, “My overarching vision is to provide women with feminine lingerie that is equally beautiful as it is functional, whether that be through sewing their own or buying from the market.” With a new made-in-the-USA line of lingerie available through her site, Anthropologie and more, a pattern licensing deal with Simplicity, and bra-making workshops taught in her studio, Maddie is doing just that!