This is pretty momentous! We're almost exactly one year from the official opening ceremonies of Sofiona Designs and one of our first patterns was the Arctic Fox Housecoat. Here we are at the start of our second year and with a new beginning we have the Miss Arctic Fox for you in our brand new size range.
With a focus on the girls that are getting to the end of the smaller size charts we wanted to start up with some patterns that they can grow into. And as a side benefit, this means it qualifies as a ladies' size pattern as well so we've been enjoying this too.
While I really didn't want to take a full year to start adding extended sizes to our shop, that's just how long it took! We don't know what the future exactly holds for this new range, but we know we're excited about whatever we CAN do. I feel like my brain is almost bursting with the idea of somehow being able to bring you patterns in this new range and still not neglect our smaller size range. We shall see how this works! I can guarantee that no matter what, it won't be as much as I have in my head! I can't keep up with myself.
Let's chat quick about the pattern details and then further below find some tips re: using thick fabric, fabric with vertical stretch, and a warm climate hack.
- Long length (about halfway between knee and ankle).
- Short length (just above the knee).
- Pockets. Or none.
- Bias binding to cover the raw edges along the facing (providing a perfect place for a pop of colour.)
- An oversized hood.
As far as actual pattern details go:
- Our first (not last) A0 file! Comes in coloured, dashed lines for both colour or B&W printing and includes layers. The 3rd page of the file includes the cut chart pieces so save the $$$ on printing that page and just use the cut chart, if you prefer.
- Shorten/lengthen lines as this pattern is drafted for 5'5".
- Hyperlinked picture tutorial.
- Quick instructions page.
- And more I'm forgetting, I'm sure.
This IS the robe that is grabbed along with a hot chocolate and a movie while it storms outside. It's also going to be the robe that you want to give as a Christmas present. Our testers have been quite vocal on how much they are loving their robes and I can personally attest to the fact that it is really hard to want to get dressed into the "real" clothes each morning.
We didn't change much for the Miss Arctic Fox. The construction and shape stayed mostly this same. I did remove the ears. I know. Some of you are disappointed in me. But grab the Arctic Bundle and use the ears from the girls' version. Construction will be the same but you might want to make them slightly larger. Up to you. :)
One thing that we did decide to do for this one is to introduce some more fabric options and I give our tester, Janine, full credit for that. With just the right comment about a robe in the enviable Luxe knit from The Fabric Snob and my mind was opened to something that made total sense, but I hadn't even considered it! She made this beautiful red robe and used a floral knit as the binding adding the perfect touch.
Now we're trying the Fox out in lighter knits like cotton lycra, french terry or even wovens like satin or flannel! This robe just became something for more seasons than the ones with snow and I love it.
We invited a few new testers into the party and Marieke was another one who was bringing ideas to my mind. She agreed to test out a satin version and as a side #Sofionahack she went further to make this cover-up for warmer climates.
By chopping the sleeves off and shortening the length, it's now a lightweight option for what was originally a very cozy, thick robe. I was so excited with how this opens up the pattern for so many more people with the simplest change. And I really like that hood on there even though that's not really typical for satin lounge robes.
Thick fabric! This is a sherpa lined flannel. Not for the faint of heart! Erica took this on with a vengeance and concluded that it was worth it, but people should be aware that it requires additional patience AND a wider binding with to get around that thicker seam allowance. She also cut a wider loop piece to be able to turn it.
One final thing I want to point out. Trish and I LOVE our minky robes. Trish found her fabric from Fabric Snob and I bought mine a whole year ago from Prairie Love Knits. (That's how long I've been planning this robe.) But the one thing that we noticed, and we feel you should be aware of, is fabric like this comes with vertical stretch. And that can be a problem if you're not careful.
These custom fabrics called minky, thicc, bliss and other special names are INCREDIBLY soft and surprisingly breathable. My kids pet me, which is annoying, but I can hardly blame them. I can see that this will be a popular choice for people who want the cozy robes. But here's the thing, these fabrics are made with a good amount of vertical stretch and that means extra care is a MUST when attaching the binding around the facing. Lots of pins were used and I made sure to test my machine setting to make sure I wasn't inadvertently stretching out the seam as I was sewing and causing unsightly waves all the way down the front. Even with all that care, we still needed to press out a few waves that occurred in the seam. They are not noticeable now, but I'm glad I stopped to take the time because the fabric and finish are SO worth it.
Now, who wants a little story?
Why, you ask, is Trish cry-laughing? In the snow? With a robe and mouse slippers? And an empty coffee cup that proves we were faking the hot chocolate?
Well, we don't like indoor pictures. And I don't like doing pictures ANYWHERE close to where someone might watch a photo shoot. I need complete privacy. So, after church one day we put on our robes, drove across town and grabbed this lovely bench out of someone's front yard. We stuck it in my car and headed out into the bush on a road that was recently decommissioned as a main road and is rarely used. We set up our lovely bench (well, I guess it wasn't actually "ours"......