Sewing and the Trivium

Learning to Create

Join me as I use the tools of learning to delve into the world of needlecraft.

 
  • Jenni Beth

Rebecca Page Relaxation Robes

Typically for Christmas Eve, I make PJs for my whole family to open on Christmas Eve, so they will all be wearing cute (sometimes the same) PJs for pictures on Christmas morning. This year, I elected to make robes for everyone instead. And I chose the Relaxation Robe by Rebecca Page, which I had tested a year or so ago, to make them with.

The Grammar:

Dropped Shoulder - a dropped shoulder garment is one in which the shoulder line extends beyond the top of the arm. On the relaxation robe, the shoulder seam is a little way down the arm, which makes it an easy pattern to make as a gift, even if you don't have your recipient's exact measurements.

Pattern Grading - To grade a pattern is to adjust for size differences in-between the different measurements. I graded the camouflage robe between a number of sizes, as my son is skinnier than he is tall. This is especially easy to do on kids' sizing (and on this pattern in particular), because they don't have as many curves as adults. I also graded my robe out to the next size at the hips per the pattern instructions, as my hips are wider than my bust.

Adjusting for Height - comparing the height of the model to the height the pattern is designed for, and adjusting accordingly. Since the unisex adult version of this pattern is designed for someone 5'8", I adjusted both mine and my husband's robes so they would better match how tall we are. My husband is 6'1", so I added 3" to the bottom of his robe, while I am only 5'3.5" (don't forget that half-inch!), so I removed 2" from mine. This allowed both robes to reach close to our knees, which is how the pattern is designed to be worn.

The Logic:

Other Hacks - I mostly made this pattern according to the tutorial, but there were a couple things I did to make it easier for me to sew so many of them. I skipped the ironing on the fleece of the kids' robes, since fleece doesn't iron super-well anyway. I also skipped the belt loops (an option in the pattern), instead sewing the tie onto the middle of the back. This makes it so much easier to keep the belts with the robes, which is more of an issue with six kiddos than you might think. (It has the added benefit of allowing the kids to pretend they are horses with "reins" coming out their backs for a sibling to hold onto :) ) Finally, I serged down the edges of the belt loops, belts, and hanging loops of the adult robes with the fabric folded right-sides-facing and then turned them inside-out. This was faster than ironing and stitching down the sides like the pattern suggests.

The Rebecca Page Relaxation Robe was a super-quick sew. (It would have to be for me to sew that many, right?!). It works for both knits and wovens. The kids' robes were made from fleece from JoAnn Fabrics, and the adult robes were made from a thicker cotton flannel from Hobby Lobby. It worked equally-well for both, although the flannel required more ironing and pinning :) I absolutely loved this one, although it might be a while before I make another garment for everyone in the family at once!


















This post contains various affiliate links. Purchasing patterns using these links does not cost my readers more, but the designer does provide me with a small commission from any sales. The commission helps to fund my fabric costs, and is very appreciated.

 

My Favorite Designers and Fabric Stores

Disclosure: I am an affiliate and promoter for these two designers, and I will make a small amount of money if you make a purchase after clicking on my link. The cost to you will not change. These are designers whose patterns I love, and that I would sew up for myself whether I was an affiliate or not. The fabric stores are just ones that I love. I do not earn any money if you purchase from them :)

 
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Why "Sewing and the Trivium"

The Story

Classical educators like to divide education into developmental stages called the Trivium. These are called "Grammar," "Logic," and "Rhetoric." Grammar refers to the first steps of learning anything: learning the vocabulary of the subject being studied and memorizing facts about that vocabulary. Classically speaking, this corresponds to the elementary years of learning - years when students never seem to grow tired of astounding the adults around them with fact after fact about things they are interested in. Have you experienced talking to a six year old who is really into dinosaurs? enough said...

Adults also begin learning with the grammar of a subject. Each subject has its own unique terminology and facts that need to be mastered before one can explore the more complicated applications of that subject. Sewing is no different. What is a french seam? What kinds of knit fabrics are better for different applications? What is a dolman sleeve or a raglan top? These are grammar queries.

In classical education, logic refers to the action of logically processing the grammar facts students have learned, or are learning. The student who is particularly suited to this type of thought is the middle-school scholar - the student who wants to argue his or her way through the world and "be right" about all the things. This pattern of thought includes bringing different ideas together, comparing and contrasting them, analyzing what an authority figure says about an argument, and deciding whether different arguments are consistent with each other. In the sewing world, logical questions include things like, "How is knit fabric different than woven fabric?" and "Why does this pattern ask for a particular fabric type?" as well as tasks such as mashing two patterns together or changing the sleeve/length/placket from how the pattern was designed.

The final part of the classical trivium, rhetoric, is when a student makes an argument of his or her own by developing a "thesis" or main point and then laying it out for someone else in writing or speech. Typically, students are ready for formal rhetoric in their high school years - years that they are very concerned about what they look like to other people and gain an interest in learning to craft a message in a way that will be most effective for their purposes. Examples of rhetoric in sewing would be fully-formed tutorials or sew-alongs - or even the writing of a blog post itself. Anything that is explaining previously thought-out/tried-out projects can count as rhetoric. 

My goal on this blog is to lay out my sews and thoughts using this framework. And that is why I chose this title.

 

"Blessed is the man...whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does he prospers"

Psalm 1: 2-3

Tree Leaves
 

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