Let's talk for a moment about bathrobes.
It seems that the bathrobes of the world fall into two styles. Style #1 (by far the most common design) is the infamous wrap robe. It's ubiquitous.
It's a great style if you are a women with a waist (and modest boobage), or have a fairly straight up-and-down figure, such as that of a trim man, or a child.
But what if it doesn't suit your shape? What if you don't have a nicely defined waist, or you have a large bust, or both, and it requires constant fiddling to stay closed, resulting in a completely unsatisfying garment? And what if it looks awful on you, making you feel like a complete schlumpadinka (ie. frump) for the short duration that you endure it?
Fresh out of the shower. It might appear to be securely cinched, but I assure you, the slightest movement and all is revealed. Not the sort of "oh la la" I am going for.
Style #2 is the "housecoat" sort of robe. The type of robe that Marie Barrone (Everybody Loves Raymond), or maybe your grandmother, wears. Generally they are fairly shapeless, zipped to the neck, and pretty much shroud the body with little-to-no fit. Functional, yes, though some might say that wearing one is tantamount to declaring that you have "given up." As practical as this style of robe may be, I don't think you can say that it makes you feel pretty, or sexy, while wearing it.
So, what if you want something else? Something that is cute, covers you, makes you feel pretty/sexy/glamorous, but doesn't rely on unfeasible dynamics in order to stay closed? Unless I have missed something, the world of RTW has overlooked this need. They are myopic in their definition of the bathrobe. Thus, we have a "bathrobe gap."
A sorry state of affairs, indeed.
I've been thinking about what type of garment would satisfy my robing needs. After much thought, I decided that I wanted a princess seamed robe with a flare at the hem. To achieve this goal, I decided that a princess seamed dress pattern could be adapted with minimal fuss.
The search began.
After combing through current pattern offerings, out of print patterns, independent offeringss, you name it, I came up with Vogue 9162.
This particular pattern is out of print, but I found it on ebay. It had the features I wanted, including an attractive yet simple neckline, and it was available in my size. Vogue pretty much always has a dress similar to this in its catalog, but the design details vary. There were a couple versions I liked even more, but they weren't available in my size.
I collected a few fabrics that would work for a robe. I wanted a cozy robe, so no silks this time. I am not a fan of polyester fleece, in general. There are exceptions, of course, such as authentic Polar fleece, but many of the copycat synthetic fleeces feel awful and "plastic-y" to me and I hate to touch them. I also dislike Minky fabrics which, while soft, are not absorbent and make me hot.
FabricMart had a poly Berber Fleece in stock that looked promising - I liked the design of the print and the colors. I ordered some, hoping to use it for a jacket, but when it arrived, it definitely felt like robe fabric to me. The fabric content is poly/lycra content, but it has a better hand than some fleece fabrics and I decided that it was tolerable. I had to order a couple more yards, as this pattern burns up yardage. (As of this writing, they have 34 yards left.)
- Poly Berber fleece (poly/lycra blend) from FabricMart
- Black 1mm elastic (for button loops)
- 5 "used" carved wooden buttons from my grandmother's button box. My grandmother didn't sew, but she cut buttons off of clothing and saved them. Most of her buttons are sad and not really usable. In this case, she rescued 5 carved wooden buttons. It appears that the original garment was well used - several buttons still had tired, original thread attached and they almost look singed around the edges, which I assume was intentional. I'd hate to think that Gramma was cutting buttons off of burned clothing. :)
Alteration and Construction Notes:
- I made a size 18, view B - the longer version.
- I did a fairly large Princess Seam FBA. It went awry, however, and I had to do some darting to fix it. Luckily for me, it doesn't show in this fabric. If I make this again, I'll have to fix the FBA.
- Narrowed the shoulder seam by 1".
- Used the fabric selvedge as trim for the front opening and the sleeve hems.
- Narrowed the front facings.
- Drafted a back neck facing.
- Added in-seam pockets.
- Eliminated the collar (as much as I liked it, I decided to forego it in favor of the self trim.
- Used 5 large (1-1/4") buttons with elastic button loops. I had planned to use 3 large buttons, but found these in the button box and decided to keep them all together.
- Shortened the sleeves about 1-1/2".
ConclusionI like it! This is warm, snuggly, and I don't fall out of it when I sit down or bend over to pick something up. And I feel a bit like a Russian princess when wearing it. ;)
Oops, a couple motifs are on the bust. No worries, when I wear this without a bra, which is how I will almost always be wearing it, it's not quite so bad. ;)
I've covered all the bases. In both of these pics, I am not wearing a bra. I hope you agree that the new robe is more flattering. :)