I downloaded the Quince Day Robe pattern from Seamwork and set out, as I usually do, to sew three. My ultimate goal is to sew a casual woven jacket from a two-yard length of Italian wool in gray and white windowpane check that I got in Florence in 2001. Yes, you read that right, 2001. I was in my 30s and it was my first trip to Europe!
I want a casual jacket because I don’t wear formal jackets anymore, my ‘precious’ fabric is tropical weight wool, and I don’t wear dress pants any more, either. A jacket – albeit casual – is a perfect make for this wool.
I have three fabrics to make the Quince out of. My first is a free-to-me whiskey faux suede in a stable knit fabric. It stretches none in the lengthwise and only a tiny bit crosswise. I got it in a freecycle box and picked it up about 30 minutes away, on my way to a camping weekend with my kids in 2021. I actually didn’t even notice this fabric at all, intent on digging in the box for the second time since that camping weekend, looking for some rib knits I was sure I’d seen in there.
Free fabric is the best fabric to test out a garment! I take free fabric from friends for this purpose.
About the Quince Day Robe pattern
The Quince Day Robe is a kimono-style garment with dropped sleeves, wide cuffs, a loose fit with banded neckline, oversized patch pockets and an optional tie belt. The Robe can be made in a stable knit or a woven fabric. Yes, I know the whole Kimono and Haori usage is controversial (it ended the pattern design career of at least one designer, who has since removed their Haori from the market, and the designer has designed nothing since.) But this is a terminology that describes a shape or type of garment. We all wear robes – we’ve worn robes (French for “dress”) since they were dressing gowns or dressing robes.
My second will be a lightweight wool in the shorter version (I intend to make the gray one in a shorter version), to see how a woven, a lightweight wool and the shorter version look before I sew up the Florence wool.
I picked this fabric up at a large three-story fabric store in Florence (called Tessuto, but that’s just the name for fabric in Italian), along with a striped silk (wide leg pants, reviewed here, that I love and made years ago.) I’ve been saving this wool. I first thought I’d make a pair of dress pants – good thing I didn’t, because it’s been at least a decade since I wore dress pants with any regularity. I don’t intend to start now. But a casual jacket is just the ticket for my life now. And probably yours too! I only had room (and budget) for two lengths of fabric from Florence, and they came home in zip lock gallon bags in my 40 liter “going to Europe” Eagle Creek backpack. 40L is not very large when you’re traveling for three weeks and you ALSO took home many other souvenirs like ornaments, large stonewear steins among them.
Because I don’t have a lot of fabric, the narrower band collar is perfect. I also have the kimono shaped Unfolding Jacket from Wiksten, but it would take far too much fabric that I don’t have. I also have the Tremont Jacket, but again, with the clever angles, probably not enough fabric there either.
I chose a size 12 for my pattern – I could have gone up to a 14 but with a lot of ease, I thought this would be fine. I wouldn’t be able to wear a thick sweater under it, as the underarms / arms are surprisingly small-ish for a jacket/robe. If you want more room in this area, go up a size. I’ll compare the Unfolding to the Quince in this body area and share measurements.
When making this, you’ll note the entire thing, except the neckline, is rectangles! The dropped sleeves, wide cuffs, pockets – even the body of the robe itself is rectangular! This is interesting, as they’re looking to create a beginner level pattern and using rectangles certainly fits the bill.
I chose this to test out Seamwork patterns – I’d heard that some people had issues with the drafting of them, and wanted to see for myself. The instructions are clear and though this is a test of the pattern, I can say I was a little surprised by smallness of the sleeve/arm fit given the loose shape and oversized fit, it seems otherwise OK.
My review after sewing the pattern:
Honestly? Meh. Although I do like it a lot more the second day when I put it on with a coordinating tee and my camel Pietra pants skinny in cord. I got this pattern for free, so I don’t feel bad spending $5 to print it at PDF plotting, and investing free fabric to sew it. But if I’d have paid $16, spent $5 and used, say, a nicer purchased fabric for it, I might be a little more meh about it. I’ve only seen one other review and she was meh on hers too. It looked a little meh on her as well. For those that don’t know meh = so so. Just say it, “meh” and you’ll get the intent!
There are a few things you can see from the duster length in the pattern photo provided by Seamwork – the front panel curves open near the bottom. The bands want to fly open about midway down. This happened to me, too.
The back of the robe cups her shape a little at the bum and lifts up a little at the front hems. The line drawings give the appearance that there is some gradual shaping – there is not, it’s a straight rectangle. Now, this shape is very traditionally kimono and to that they stayed true. But I just didn’t love the fit or how the front band construction worked. There’s some bunchiness under the arms on all views they show – this holds true as well. I think it’s endemic of the kimono style, but I think it’s actually that this sleeve/arm combo is a little too sharp edged, and possibly too narrow. In my video, I show how I’d curve this underarm and how you should do that too.
The band might work better if interfaced – and this pattern did not call for it, but I would certainly do so if I make a future one. Also, band attachment: if you have a serger, finish the long open edge and use that instead of folding under 1/4″. If you don’t continue as the directions say, except interface the band first. I didn’t love their band finishing, and I’ll post an instruction on this in this blog at some point.
But this is NOT the pattern for my Italian wool. I have very little of it (just 2 yards) and I need a simple shorter jacket to make that happen.
I am going back to the drawing board on pattern selection for this fabric and see what else pattern-wise or garment-wise that will work for this. I do have the Tremont jacket from Sewing Workshop and that might work if I crop the length a little to save on fabric.
In short, would I sew this again? Yes, with the modifications in my video – curve the underarm seam for a better fit, add interfacing to the band, line the pockets first. Will I take off the band and re sew it? Maybe. If I add the pockets, belt loops and belt, I might feel that would add to the garment by finishing the band a little better. I hate picking out topstitching so I might just leave it.