Completed: a new bathrobe, finally!

Knipmode december 2010 bathrobeYes, I actually finished the only item I listed as quite urgent in my wardrobe sewing plan. It’s probably been urgent for the last 5 years though. You won’t believe the state my old bathrobe is in, and I’m not going to show you because it would probably be held against me for the rest of my life.

I got my old bathrobe when I was 12 and it had previously belonged to one of the women I was named after. I believe I first started mending it (by hand!) about 10 years ago because the seams started to fall apart. Later it also developed holes. Why didn’t I get a new one earlier? I never really saw one I liked and I usually forgot to look for one anyway when I was in a store (that’s what happens when you don’t like shopping).

Yet, a bathrobe is an essential part of my wardrobe because our house gets cold in winter and I wear one in the morning when I’m having breakfast. I used pattern 5 from Knipmode December 2010, size 38 and a dark blue terrycloth that feels nice and soft against the skin. In Knipmode they used polar fleece but I think terrycloth is much more luxurious. Be prepared to get your house covered in fluff though when cutting this type of fabric… Seriously, it gets everywhere… My favourite part of this pattern is the raglan sleeve with a dart in the sleeve head. This dart cleverly turns into a shoulder seam.

Line drawing When you closely compare the line drawing of the pattern with my bathrobe you’ll probably notice that mine looks a bit different. For one, I really don’t like the bulky sleeve cuffs that the pattern features so I changed the sleeve pattern to get rid of those (really easy, just chop them off but remember to add a hem). I also shortened the sleeves because I don’t want them to get in the way when I am cooking. Cooking you say? Wearing a bathrobe? Yes, do you never cook eggs on lazy Sunday mornings while still wearing pyjamas and a bathrobe? Second, I wasn’t a big fan of the patch pockets. For about 1 millisecond I considered getting rid of the pockets altogether but pockets really are a necessity. If you’re going to remember only one thing from this post it should be this:

One day you might be home alone with the flu and decide to leave your bed to take some paracetamol. If you then almost faint in the bathroom and can’t get up anymore it is really convenient if you can reach your phone because you put it in a pocket. If you aren’t wearing anything with pockets you’ll probably have left yours on the nightstand and lie on the (cold) bathroom floor for hours until someone finds you…

Yes, this sort of happened to me a couple of years ago but luckily I was wearing something with pockets and could call my sister who quickly came to the rescue. I should probably also add that it is a good idea for someone to have a key to your house so they can rescue you without breaking down the door.

PocketSo, pockets. I sliced the front pattern piece at the height of the original pocket opening, drew a new pocket pattern piece and sewed it in between the new seam I added. I am relatively happy with how this turned out. It’s not perfect but will do fine and I think they look better than the original pockets. Perhaps I should have sewn stay tape around the opening to prevent stretching out over time?

DetailsI lengthened the tie because I found the original length a bit on the short side. I also accidently made the tie a bit narrower than the pattern dictates but I think this width is probably better anyway because it’s easier to knot. I also changed the construction. I first folded the tie in half lengthwise, sewed the long edge closed, leaving a gap in the centre for turning. Then folded the short ends so that the seam ended up in the centre and sewed the short ends closed. Then I turned the tie right side out, hand sewed the gap closed and sewed the polka dot ribbon on top of the seam. I think the ribbon adds a nice touch and I also used it to add a loop so I can hang the robe.

140629_collarThe upper collar and front facing are one pattern piece. You need to understitch this so it falls nicely when you are wearing the robe. The instructions only tell you to understitch the front facing but I understitched the upper collar part on the under collar and the front facing part on the front facing (leaving a small non understitched part in between, 5 cm or so) so that both parts fall to the correct side when I am wearing the robe. If you understitch the whole pattern piece on one side it will fall weird on either the collar or the front opening.

front facing and hemOn the inside I deviated quite a bit from the instructions. The instructions have you first stitch the front facing in place and then turn up the hem. I think the way I did it results in a much prettier finish (and I learned this method from another Knipmode pattern, so why don’t they use it here as well???). The way it works is that you first flip the facing right sides together with the front of the robe. Then stitch them together parallel to the hem at the desired hem depth. When you then flip the facing to the inside you get a very nice square corner.

I didn’t feel like finishing the inside exposed edges of the upper collar/facing with my overlocker and I also didn’t want to turn them under because that would become bulky. Instead I decided bind the edges with self-made bias tape (Notting Hill by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit ). After I attached it I felt some regret that I didn’t use this fabric on the outside as well instead of the polka dot ribbon because it looks so good against the dark blue of the robe.


I also didn’t feel like topstitching the collar/facing piece in place by machine but decided to invisibly hand stitch. I did question my sanity a bit after this decision because it took ages to do the 5-6 meters because I had to flip the fabric back and forth to check whether the stitches looked good (meaning: were invisible) on the outside of the robe. I do love the inside though…

Will I use this pattern again? Well, with my current bathrobe track record I guess I am already set for the next 20 years or so but if I need a new bathrobe by that time I might as well use this pattern again because I`m quite happy with how it turned out.


To conclude this already quite long post we also have a giveaway winner!


Congratulations Jilly, I’ve already send an e-mail to ask for her address and the Knipmode magazine will quickly be send on its way.


19 comments on “Completed: a new bathrobe, finally!

  1. katechiconi says:

    I couldn’t face working with terrycloth – too fluffy, too thick, too bulky. But you’ve done a beautiful job, it looks great.

    • Emmely says:

      I didn’t find sewing it too difficult really. I used both my overlocker and my regular sewing machine with a walking foot and it sewed quite smoothly. Grading the seams that needed understitching also helped reduce the bulk. I’m really happy with my new robe but I think my boyfriend is even happier because he really didn’t like my old one once it became so threadbare…

  2. Deborah says:

    What a great robe! It’s nice to see a post from you as well. Just the other day, I was thinking to myself, “I haven’t seen anything from Emmely in a while.” You’ll be happy (I think) to know, however, that I did not start stalking your blog. My patience has been rewarded. :-)

    • Emmely says:

      Yes, unfortunately I’ve been busy at work and as a result tired in the evenings so I didn’t get much done during the weekdays. Combine that with weekends with non-sewing related activities and productivity drops to an all time low. I’m hoping things will be better this week…

      • Deborah says:

        Yeah, it sucks when life gets in the way of the things that recharge our batteries. Good luck with this week. :-)

  3. Wanda Dotson says:

    I love bathrobes but I rarely put mine on, maybe because I don’t cook that much. Yours is wonderful. The color choice is great — I’m thinking of your post on choosing color.

    • Emmely says:

      I prefer having breakfast before showering so I really need something to keep me warm. I bought the fabric before I had the colour analysis done but I’m rather pleased with my choice.

  4. It is funny how long “new bathrobe” can sit on a shopping list. I like the ones that zip all the way up – do you think I can find them in the store! Your’s looks really comfy!

    • Emmely says:

      It is really comfy too! And warm, which is also important. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a bathrobe with a zipper. I do have a pattern in another magazine for one with buttons I think but that one looks really old fashioned.

  5. quiltify says:

    Nice job. And I also agree about the pockets!

  6. onedabbles says:

    The most important item in my wardrobe is my bathrobe/dressing gown! I, too, like to have breakfast before showering (when life permits!) and it’s a thrill after dinner to get changed and relax. My family sees me in mine more than not! My bathrobe is an old friend and VERY important. As for the Sunday morning breakfast – yes! Although, if I’m lucky, I’m not the one cooking!
    Your new robe looks just great – very snuggly and flattering and, as always, I love your attention to detail. Enjoy!

    • Emmely says:

      Thank you, fellow bathrobe enthusiast! I don’t really wear mine in the evenings but in the mornings it’s a definite must have.

  7. Carolyn says:

    This looks super comfortable, and so much nicer than anything you’d find in a store! I agree about the red binding – it really looks great against the blue background. I love the details you added on the tie and belt loops as well. I wish I could wrap myself in this robe right now, ha! :)

  8. Jilly says:

    My name in print! Wee hee!

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