A friend of mine brought me an old worn out house robe that belonged to her mother, who has passed away. She loved the way it fit and asked me if I could create a pattern from the old robe and make a new one exactly like it. She wanted the new robe to be an exact replica of her mother's favorite robe.
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Step 1: Disassembling the Old Robe
Starting with the back collar seam, begin by carefully taking the old robe apart at the seams, using a seam ripper and a utility blade. I had one back, two fronts, two collar pieces, two front facings, two sleeves, two cuffs, one belt, 3 ties/loops, and one pocket.
As you work, take pictures and notes to help you remember how the original garment was assembled.
Step 2: Drafting the Pattern
Lay out each piece on brown paper. Trace. Label and mark darts, ties, and loops. Cut out the pattern.
Step 3: Cutting the Fabric, Beginning to Sew Garment
Cut out all the pieces, right sides of the fabric together. I chose a cozy crushed red velvet fabric, with my friend's approval of course. This fabric is a washable knit that does not fray when cut, so it was a little easier to work with. It is also a little stretchy, which makes it comfortable to wear.
Start sewing by making two bust darts in the robe fronts. Mark the darts with a chalk pencil and sew a straight stitch from the outside to the point. Do not back stitch at the point. Leave the threads long and tie a double knot. The dart will lay smooth this way. Press seams away from the robe opening. Serge top edge and side seam edge of robe fronts and back. Sew fronts to back at shoulders, right sides together, using a 5/8" seam. Press seams open with warm steam iron.
Step 4: Attaching the Collar
Sew two collar pieces together. Stay stitch along the neck of the robe back. Match the center seam of the collar with the center of the robe back. Pin collar to robe. With right sides together, attach the collar to the robe.
Step 5: Attaching the Front Facings
Sew the two facing pieces together at the top edge. Match center seams to collar and pin in place. Right sides together, sew the facing to the robe, beginning at the back center and down to the front hem of the robe. Repeat, sewing the other side.
Fold the top edge of the facing down 1/2 inch and press in place. At the center back of the robe, fold the facing over and top stitch from one shoulder seam to the other with all the raw edges to the inside.
Step 6: Making the Ties, Loops, and Belt
Sew a 15 x1.5 inch long strip of fabric to make ties and loops right sides together. I did this using my serger for a strong and narrow seam. Using a turning tool, turn right side out. Finish one end of two of the ties using zig zag stitch using matching color thread.
I used the tail left by the serger to attach this piece to the turning tool. Worked great! Repeat this step 3 times to make 2 ties and 2 loops. The third piece is cut in half to make two 7.5" long loops.
Make a belt using the same technique, using the longer and wider strip of fabric.
Step 7: Attach the Loops and Ties
Find the dots you made to mark where the robe ties and loops are supposed to go and sew them in. You will need to open the seam in the front facing and the robe front to insert the tie that goes on the opening of the robe. Attach the other tie and the two loops with a straight stitch to the side seams. With right sides together, sew fronts to back at side seams and press seams open.
Step 8: Sleeves, Attaching the Cuff
Using the serger, attach the cuff to the sleeve with right sides together. Press seam toward down toward the cuff. Fold sleeve over and sew the underarm seam, using 5/8" seam allowance. Press seam open. Fold bottom edge of cuff up 1/2 inch and press. Fold cuff up and carefully top stitch down, with raw edges turned to the inside of the cuff. Repeat for the other sleeve.
Step 9: Attaching the Sleeves
Without back stitching, straight stitch along the curve of the top of the sleeve. This stitch line should be 1/4" from the edge of the fabric. Pull both threads to the same side. Pull on one of the threads to gently gather the edge of the top of the sleeve. Work the gathers evenly around the top edge of the sleeve. This step will make it much easier to ease the sleeve into the armhole of the robe.
Right sides together, match the underarm seams and pin sleeve to armhole of robe. Attach sleeve using a straight stitch with a 5/8" seam allowance. Turn garment right side out to check for mistakes. If all is good, then working on the inside of robe, use serger to finish shoulder seam.
Step 10: Finishing the New Robe
Hem the robe by serging off the bottom edge. Fold and press hem in place and top stitch. Add pocket to robe front. Serge edge of all four sides of the pocket. Finish the top edge of pocket by folding down one inch and top stitch in place. Press the other three sides of the pocket in 1/2" and top stitch to robe.
The reincarnation of this garment is now complete! My friend absolutely loves the comfort of her new robe and feels close to her mom every time she wears it. Sew warm for the body and the soul!