A Grown-Up Robe (Sort Of)

I think there are robe people and non-robe people.  I’m the latter. In my house growing up we didn’t even use the word “robe”, rather, that article of clothing was a “housecoat”.  It didn’t matter.  I don’t remember ever owning one (although I’m pretty sure I must have).  I think we dutifully packed white terry robes when I went off to sleep-away camp every summer but I’m certain those never got worn.  I was completely baffled by scenes in television shows when bleary-eyed folks slipped on the robes sitting at the end of the bed (really, people do that?) before checking out a suspicious noise or tending to a crying baby.

For me, “loungewear”  usually means some comfy cotton slip-on pants and whatever tank top I shouldn’t be wearing in public any longer.  Well, this all works out fine until David and I have overnight guests, and we’ve had several of late.  Totally embarrassed to be seen in these get-ups over the morning coffee, I knew it was time to take action.  And for me that means, sew it up!   I remember being very impressed when my friend Nancy spent a night at our house and she emerged in the morning wearing a lovely kimono-type robe.  I was thinking about this when I planned and shopped for my next sewing project.  I chose this one:


This has that kimono vibe.  I’m not sure what’s up with those pants but I wasn’t planning on making any so it was all good.

When I went looking for fabric I knew I wanted a soft cotton knit rather than a stiff woven.  If I’m going to do the robe thing I may as well be comfy.  As I wandered around Joann’s I came across some fun “juvenile” prints.  Yes, that’s what they call them.  I think, in this case, “juvenile” means brightly colored, polka dots, flowers, etc.  Since I was not planning on leaving the house in my robe I settled on this bold “flower power” print:


Admittedly I can envision this fabric as cute PJ’s for a seven year old girl, and I had a fleeting “god I’m too old for this” moment, but then I thought “robe” not “evening gown”.  I was excited to get started today.  Turns out this was a one-day project and here it is:


Well, that’ll wake you up in the morning!

I will say right off the bat, that this is not my most stellar make technically but I get a real kick out of how it turned out.   Construction was actually very very simple but I had to change up some of the instructions because I was using knit fabric.  I serged most of the seams and used my twin needle to hem the sleeves and bottom:


My twin needle wasn’t loving this fabric hence the wavy and uneven stitches.

For this project I experimented with not using pins.  Very good sewists often skip pins because of their tendency to distort the seams and ruin the fabric.  Well, I’m not there yet but this fabric was heavy enough and I was impatient enough that I just kind of went for it.  This time I weighted down the pattern and  and just cut away:


Snip snip…very speedy.  I didn’t have quite enough fabric so I needed to shorten up the sleeves by a good three inches to make it work.   The sleeves still reach my wrists so unless you are an orangutan this is probably a necessary pattern change.  I do think the band around the neck is a nice finish:


This is actually a very good beginner’s project.  A bit of variety technique-wise, some set-in sleeves, minimal fitting and no pesky closures.

While my new robe doesn’t compare to the five-star hotel variety (I seldom wear those either!) with this in my closet I know I can avoid embarrassment in the future and maybe even bring a little zip to my mornings.


7 thoughts on “A Grown-Up Robe (Sort Of)

  1. I have a fleece purple “robe” that’s 10 years old and 2 sizes too big. But it’s definitely comfy and I live in it during the winter. And, yes, I’d be embarrassed to be seen wearing it around company.


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