Winter Dress/Nightgown

Introduction: Winter Dress/Nightgown

About: I love crafting and creating ... especially when it's simple, affordable, and useful.

Tired of sweatpants and PJs? Reluctant to go the Snuggie route? Like many women, I too want a winter garment to keep me warm without entirely sacrificing femininity and style.

Enter my Winter Nightgown/Dress!! The construction is simple. No curved edges, darts, or fancy fitting steps.

Choose the right material and accessorize appropriately, and you can even wear it out in public!

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Step 1: Materials

For the Pattern
Paper paper
Straight-edge ruler
Measuring tape

For the Garment
Winter weather fabric suitable for both outdoor use and sleepwear (e.g., fleece, sweatshirt material)--2 yards for petites and up to 4 yards for taller, curvier gals
Thread in color to match

For the Construction
Sewing machine, or needle for hand sewing

Step 2: Make the Pattern

1. Using the measuring tape, determine the widest part of your body (not including the shoulders). (In my case, the hips.)
2. Write down the measurent around this part in inches. Add 6. And divide the  sum by 4 to get Measurement 1.
3. Determine your height in inches and subtract 3 to get Measurement 2.
4. On pattern paper, draw a rectangle using Measurement 1 as the width and Measurement 2 as the length.
5. Cut out the rectangle.
6. On one end of the rectangle, determine the center point  along the width line (Measurement 1). Measure 1 1/2 inches left of the center point, mark with a pen, and label Point A. Repeat on the right side of the center point and label that Point B.
7. Staying on the same end of the rectangle, measure 10 inches down the length line (Measurent 2) on the left, mark with a pen, and label it Point C. Repeat on the right side and label it Point D.
8. Draw a line connecting Points A and C, and another line connecting Points B and D.
9. Cut along the two diagonal lines. (You've now added a shoulder strap to the pattern.)

Step 3: Lay Out Pattern and Cut the Fabric

1. Fold the fabric in half width-wise (so you "cut" the width in half while retaining the length of the fabric).
2. Once again, fold the fabric in half width-wise. The fabric should now be 4 layers thick.
3. Smooth the fabric so there are no wrinkles, and smooth out any bunches that may have formed in the bottom three layers. (You should be able to feel for these without unfolding the fabric.)
4. Position the pattern piece in the middle of the fabric so it is not touching any folds or edges.
5. Pin the pattern piece securely in place, making sure the pins go through all 4 layers and that no wrinkles or bunches are created on the fabric.
6. Cut around the four sides.

Step 4: Hem Along the Diagonal Sides on the Shoulder Straps

1. Fold one side of the diagonal shoulder strap toward the wrong side of the fabric 1/4 inch. Press (if fabric allows). Fold over again 1/4 inch and pin in place.
2. Stitch as closely to the top fold as possible.
3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 for all diagonal edges on all 4 pieces of fabric.

Step 5: Sew Fabric Pieces Together

Make the Front and Back Pieces
1. Take two fabric pieces and pin along the length of one side only, right sides together.
2. Using a 1/2 seam allowance, sew the pieces together.
3. If fabric allows, press the seam open using the iron.
4. Take the remaing two fabric pieces (the ones that haven't been sewn together) and repeat Steps 1 through 3.

Attach the Front and Back Pieces Together
1. Take the front and back pieces and pin along the two tops of the shoulder straps, right sides together.
2. Using a 1/2 seam allowance, sew along the two pinned areas.
3. If fabric allows, press the seams open using an iron.

Sew up the Sides
1. With right sides together, pin the side seams together.
2. Using a 1/2 seam allowance, sew along the pinned area.
3. If fabric allows, press the seams open using an iron.
4. Repeat on the other side seam. 

Step 6: Finishing Touches

Finish the Bottom Hem
1. Turn the nightgown inside out.
2. Fold the raw edge of the bottom hem toward the wrong side 1/4 inch and press (if fabric allows). Fold over again to your desired length and pin in place.
3. Sew as close to the top fold of the hem as possible.

Finish Edges
1. To protect the fabric from fraying in the wash, zig zag stitch along all raw edges. In this case, those raw edges would be located along the front, side, and shoulder seams. If you have a serger, more power to ya!

Adjust the Fit
1. To take the nightgown in for a more snug fit, simply create a larger seam allowance along the front and back seams. (Note: Whatever you do to the front should be done to the back.)
2. Do not adjust along the side seams. Doing so will make the armpit areas tight.
3. Be careful about making the fit too snug. It will make walking impossible and might require you to take the gown up to knee-length, if not more.

Step 7: Styling and Other Tips

For Daytime or "Out and About" Use
1. To give the gown some form, slap a belt around the smallest part of your waist.
2. Top off the look with a complementary coat or jacket.
3. Not comfortable with the amount of skin showing on the front, back, or sides? Wear a long-sleeve shirt or camisole underneath. A scarf would also help make the look more demure.

For Sleeping
1. Remove all accessories and sleep in your cozy cocoon of a nightgown!
2. For colder nights, wear a long sleeve shirt or turtleneck underneath.

For Summer
1. Keep the pattern and apply it to a light cotton or other summer-appropriate fabric. 
2. Take up the length to the knee or higher.

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