There's a popular saying "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." It's popularly (though falsely) attributed to Mark Twain, but the quote still accurately describes the climate here. Winter is coming. And so is the new season of Game of Thrones! I'm a big fan of the Game of Thrones series on HBO as well as the books the show is based on, so I decided to make a nice comfy robe to curl up with while I watch. In the game of robes you win or...well, everybody wins, I guess?
This robe could also be a quick costume for the Red Woman or Cersei Lannister or other characters depending on the color you use!
Step 1: Design and Fabric Selection
For your robe, I would recommend something machine washable and cozy. It also has the added benefit that it has a little bit of stretch, which makes it a very forgiving fabric to work with. Terry cloth (the material that towels are made out of) would also work well. I (clearly) wasn't going for an exact replica costume, but it's fun to make it fit your favorite family using different colors or designs (yellow for Baratheon, red for Lannister, grey for Stark, red and blue for Tully, etc).
I knew I wanted a long robe with a full skirt, dangly sleeves and a huge, dramatic hood, so I knew I would need a lot of fabric. I used polar fleece because it's warm, soft, fuzzy and I happened to have 6 yards of it in red, my favorite color. I tend to hoard fabric, which always comes in handy when I have a sudden urge to make random projects like this. You just never know when you're going to need 6+ yards of red polar fleece!
Step 2: Decide on Pattern and Cut Out Pieces
I have been sewing for most of my life and I am ver comfortable making my own clothes, but I know most people don't work this way. I worked without a pattern and used several different pieces of clothing I already had to make the pieces for the final robe, pretty much the same way I made this project. I'll describe my process, although it would be easier to use a pattern or modify a pattern.
I started with a shirt I made that I liked the fit of, a dress that I liked the length and a jacket with a hood. I started by folding my fabric in half the long way because I wanted a long robe so the pieces would be pretty long. By folding it in half, you can make sure all your pattern pieces are even and you only have to cut half as much!
I folded the shirt I was using for the pattern down the center and lined it up with the folded edge of the fabric, then did the same thing with the dress I was using to measure the length. I made a mark at the bottom of the hem of the dress on the folded edge. This will determine how long your finished robe will be. If you want to hem it, make you you leave extra room. I didn't hem mine because the fabric I was using doesn't unravel.
I wanted a very full skirt on my robe, so I used a tape measure to mark the same length from the waist of the shirt out to the far and of the fabric. I then used it to help me mark out an arc from the mark at the folded edge of the fabric. It's important to do it like this because if you just mark straight across from the folded edge of the fabric, the sides of your skirt will be longer than the front and the back! Of course, if that's the look you're going for, have at it. This piece will be the back piece.
To make the two front pieces, you can easily use your back piece to trace them out. Unfold the back piece and unfold the big piece of fabric. Lay the back piece over the fabric and make a diagonal fold from one side of the waist to the inner side of the opposite shoulder. You want each front piece to be as wide as the back because they need to be able to cross in front of you and overlap each other. Cut two front pieces, making sure to make them mirror images of each other if your fabric has a distinctive front and back. If it doesn't, then it doesn't matter.
To make the sleeves, I used a sleeve from another shirt I had and then sketched out the hanging part with a washable marker until I got a shape I liked. Arrange the top part of the sleeve along the folded edge of the fabric so you only have sew the underside together.
To make the hood, I started with the hood of a jacket to get a basic shape, then sketched around it to make it bigger and more dramatic as well as added a portion that would act as a collar and come down on each of the front pieces. If you can't tell from the pictures, I put the top of the hood along a folded edge so that there wouldn't be a seam visible from the front of the hood.
Your cat's help is crucial during this step, as demonstrated in the pictures.
To make the belt, I cut a long strip about 4.5 inches wide and long enough to wrap around my body about two times. I also cut a strip about two inches wide to make belt loops.
That's a lot of cutting! Here are the pieces you should have by the end of this step:
-1 back piece
-2 front pieces
-1 strip for beltloops
Step 3: Sewing the Belt and Belt Loops
First, I had a glass of wine to get into the spirit of this and I would suggest you do the same if you are of legal age, because you're about to sew approximately 5 million miles of straight boring lines. First, I folded the wider strip in half the long way and sewed it into a very long tube. Then I turned that tube right side out, so the seam was on the inside. This will take a while. I have found knitting needles helpful. Once it was right side out, I flattened it out so the seam fell on one of the folds then top stitched it about 1/4" from each side. For the short, open ends, I folded the ends inside and top stitched over them to keep them in place.
To make the belt loops, I took the thiner strip of fabric and folded one long side over about 1/2" and sewed it down, then I did the same thing for the other side. Then I folded the whole thing in half the long way so the raw edges were on the inside and sewed the whole thing. This might be hard because you will be sewing through 4 layers of fabric. Then take the whole length of your belt loop cord and cut it in half so you will have two belt loops.
See, I told you that was a lot of boring straight lines!
Step 4: Sewing the Front and Back Together
Now is the time to sew the main body of the robe. Start by pinning one of the front pieces to the back piece on the side starting from the base of the sleeve opening and working your way down to the bottom hem. it's ok if the bottom hem doesn't line up perfectly, you can always trim it afterwards.
Now, here's the trick for putting in the belt loops. find the waist of the robe and take one of the pieces of thin cord you made, pin one end up it so the end is even with the edge of the fabric and the rest of it is in between both pieces of fabric. Then take the other end, and pin it in in the seam a few inches away from the other end, leaving a loop on the other side. This is difficult to explain and I think it's easier to show using pictures. You can make the loop bigger or smaller depending on how much you pull it through. It's ok if you have extra long ends sticking up, you can always trim them later. After the belt loop is pinned securely, sew the side together. Repeat this for the other front piece and belt loop.
Next, sew the shoulders by lining up each shoulder part with it's corresponding piece on the back piece. With the right sides together, sew these together. At this point, you should have a thing that looks like a robe but with no sleeves.
Step 5: Sleeves and Hood
To sew the sleeves, sew the sleeve together so it starts looking like a sleeve. Then, with right sides together, pin it into the arm hole. To line it up, align the seam in the sleeve with the side seam of the robe. My sewing machine has a part that comes off so it's much easier to sew narrow tubes like sleeves. I think most sewing machines have this feature. Do this for both sleeves. You should now have a robe with sleeves!
If you are putting a hood on your robe, sew the back part of the hood together. To attach the hood to the robe, first, find the center of the back piece and mark it with a pin or some washable marker. Pin the center of the back of the hood to the center of the back piece that you had marked with a pin, right sides together. Pin the rest of the hood around the neck of the robe then sew it together.
Step 6: Rock It
Double check that all the pins are removed, turn everything right side out, thread the belt through the belt loops and you are done! I enjoy wearing it around my house and sweeping the skirt around dramatically as I run up and down the stairs. It's also perfect for getting comfy on the couch with some popcorn, watching your favorite show!