November 6, 2019. Halloween is over. We are now 6 weeks and 1 day from the Thursday night preview of The Rise of Skywalker. That night my brother and I intend on arriving in grand Republic-era style, and all I have to show for it is 12 meters of brown wool and a possibly dangerous overconfidence in my own ability. It’s time to start cutting some fabric.
I decided to lay the whole thing out on the floor and cut it that way, since it was the only space large enough for me to lay the whole pattern flat. Side note: My mother later pointed out that her giant coffee table was big enough to accommodate the fabric width and you better believe that’s where I went for the rest of my fabric-cutting needs.
One problem I had with the pattern, which was fortunately an easy fix: I’m 6’0″, my brother is 6’5″ and the patterns were cut for people who are decidedly not….that.
I measured the pattern against my height and his and added some length to the hem of the robe and to the sleeves. The result was a robe that was definitely long enough, but also so…much…fabric. Seriously, who needs arm day at the gym when you’re lugging that much wool from room to room?
Once I had all the pieces I needed, it was time to start actually sticking them together, this time without a kindly grandmother talking me through the whole thing. So of course, my machine has to go and start doing shit like this:
Once it was fixed (still don’t know what the problem was, my mom fiddled with it for a second then everything started working just fine), I began the process of sticking each individual piece together.
The basic “frame” of the robe was fairly simple to assemble. But once I had to stitch up the sides and close the sleeves I was basically wrestling with large amounts of fabric that I couldn’t hold or pin in any tidy way, starting to understand why people use dress forms. But because I don’t have one, I chose to use the next best thing: my little brother
Assembling the rough robe and adding the hood, despite the challenges I just mentioned, actually wound up being the easiest part of the whole process.
I was actually surprised at how seamless (hah) a process it was to sew the long portions of the robe together. I was fully expecting to have to undo and redo large chunks of it, but that never happened.
“Well”, I think to myself. “If putting the big parts together was that easy, how hard could the finishing touches be?”
I can hear experienced sewers laughing from here.
I mean, sure the little stuff, like hiding the raw edge on the sleeves went fine.
The hemming tape I wanted to use didn’t work out for my fabric, but stitching the hem was actually more straightforward, so I didn’t mind that.
Adding the neck binding to the hood came with the unexpected side effect of poking myself in the fingers with pins so many times that trying to peel a clementine later that day resulted in some mild screaming and many tears.
But the biggest complication/problem came when I shattered the needle on my machine not once, but twice.
It could have been worse, I spent about 20 minutes thinking the entire machine was broken and that I would have to buy a new one.
Apparently 6 layers of wool is simply too thick to stitch through with a machine.
Also it apparently takes 2 shattered needles for me to realize this.
The final product is far from perfect. The inside has a lot of dangling threads and little bits of wool poking around where they shouldn’t. But you know what? It’s a start, I made it with very little help and I’m pretty damn proud of the end result: