Monday, August 22, 2011

Vogue 9162 - A Dress Bathrobe

More pics

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.

Style #1

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.

Style #2

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.

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".


I 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. ;)

More Pictures

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. :)



  1. Love your new robe! FWIW, a wrap style robe opens up on anyone, regardless of waist-ness or bust-ness. I always add an inside tie and corresponding tie to the outer edge to keep the underlying half secure, so at worst it's half an oops-la-la.

  2. Great bathrobe Shams. i am very impressed!

  3. That's a bathrobe you could actually run to the store while wearing - it's so pretty!

  4. Oh yes! Definitely more flattering than the typical Turkish bathtowel. The fabric makes me think of petit point. Lovely, just lovely.

  5. Love! It! It's so perfect on you!

    I was actually looking long & hard at that fabric a while ago, but I'm so leery of ordering poly w/o feeling it up first....maybe I'll reconsider... Is it yummy soft like your old favorite bathrobe? Or sort of in between yummy soft & plastic-y soft? & does the inside feel as nice as the outside? I do love the pattern & the loopy weave......and I haven't placed an order this month, so maybe......

  6. I don't recall what it was like before I washed it, JillyBe, but it is soft now. I do think it softened up after washing.

    Thanks, everyone! :)

  7. What a cool robe! Clever use of selvedges. Definitely very flattering style on you.

  8. Just the kind of robe I'm looking for - cute, comfortable, and very stylish. I think I'll make a robe, instead of still looking. Thanks - it's beautiful.

  9. This is what I love about your sewing. You really think outside the box to get what you REALLY want as opposed to settling for whatis available. I don't like a wrap robe either. I feel swamped by it.

    Your robe fills the robe gap!
    Robin, alittlesewing

  10. Love the robe!
    Forgive me for asking, but I'm thinking of making a robe, but I can't figure out if I should do the FBA based on my "bra'ed" or "braless" measurements. What do you suggest?

  11. Oh its fab! I'm going to make me a classic wrap style fleece with rainbow cartoon cats on it. (Can you tell I live alone mwah hah hah?)

  12. I had no idea where you were going at first when you were still thinking about a better bath robe. Wow! What a fantastic job. I love the fabric you chose and it looks great on you. You are such an inspiration to me. Peggy

  13. That untied robe in lovely and the contrast with the wrap robe is quite obvious. I also know the horrors of a tie wrap robe w/o bra.

    BTW, your new robe is gorgeous!!


  14. Thanks, everyone! :)

    Birdmommy, I did my FBA based on my supported bustline. Yours is a good question, though. It would be too depressing to have the fullness located down by my bellybutton. Ack. Maybe you could lower it just a little bit. (But you are right, my robe is fitted to look best with a bra.)

  15. Love your bathrobe. Its so pretty it could pass for a coat! It's probably nice and warm for chilly mornings or evenings

  16. You are SO FUN TO READ! :) Thanks for sharing your sewing and clothing adventures!

  17. Dear Russian Princess,
    Thank you for your impassioned plea for greater choices in bathrobes. One can only hope both ready-to-wear and pattern powers-that-be hear and pay heed.
    Your lovely robe is prettier by far than any you could have purchased!
    Carol in Denver

  18. It looks great Shams. I love the pattern on the fabric. Now you need some jammies to match - pale blue checks don't cut the mustard :) Sorry maybe that's Aussie slang? I guess lots of us must have the same problem with bathrobes. I recently found one of the wrap variety made in a waffle stretch knit which is heaps more flattering (not so bunchy round the waist) and it seems to stay together round the top better. But I don't look like a Russian princess in it! I'm seeing your new jammies in some lovely murky paisley pattern.

  19. I agree, your jammies are now outclassed. I love your bathrobe. It makes me want a new one instantly. What a fabulous translation of the pattern.
    I have a well used wrap bathrobe, which feels good in real polar fleece, but is known locally as the star bellied sneetch costume, due not only to the physique, but my poor pocket with motif placement. I think wrap bathrobes effectively disguise any waist!

  20. Wow, Shams, that is one stunning robe! Great fabric, great print, great buttons and great style -- you do have an amazing knack for making things truly distinctive in all the most wonderful ways.

    Debbie's right; you could just about wear this out. It's got a very "smoking jacket" feel, in the sense that it looks very comfortable, but also manages to have an elegant flair as well.

  21. I didn't know that I needed or even wanted a bathrobe, but after reading your post I do. I need to find a pattern like this now!!! Thank you for the inspiration.

  22. Love it!! It looks so doggone snuggly and attractive too. Great job!

  23. Beautiful as usual Shams! Love the fabric and the style. It's so YOU!

  24. Oh geez, your post really opened up my eyes to what my poor neighbours must see every morning when the boys and my robed self are out on the porch to wave bye to my hubby.

    Your new robe is great, and looks SO soft and cuddly.

  25. For some reason "Lion in Winter" movie comes to mind. I think it is perfect as a robe.

  26. Very nice! I think it's quite flattering on you.

    I actually like my terrycloth bathrobe, but I basically wear it like a big snuggly towel when I get out of the shower. Not so much for lounging. Mine has a safety tie on the inside which makes a world of difference. Plus I bought it a size larger than I usually wear for extra wrapping power!

    Great job!

  27. I had also noticed the two type of bathrobe "style" patterns readily available. But I did a search on Etsy for bathrobe patterns and noticed the ones from the 1940's are similar to fitted dress patterns, and are very flattering. Needless to say, I have made a purchase or two. I have this pattern in my stash and was wowed to see it made into such a gorgeous robe.

  28. Love it! It's perfect on you! It looks so warm and snuggly, perfect for a winters night in front of the TV.

  29. Like you, I dislike most bathrobes. I almost always make one with a zipper or snaps in a 40s "housedress" type of pattern, but no tight waist. I don't like most pajamas or nightgowns either. So sew them I do!

  30. Oh my! A bathrobe par excellence!! You could wear it to the opera and still look chic-er than any other woman there!
    I'm really not sure this is too fabulous for a bathrobe, since you are indeed channelling a Russian princess!
    (btw, just for interest, in Australia, we call a "bathrobe" a dressing gown)

  31. Definitely a Russian Princess - very elaborate - love it!!

  32. Excellent! Love the ability to twirl with style, too. Great fabric! Thanks for the inspiration, too.

  33. What a great little creation you have here! The colouring is very similar to my Missoni Lara print dressing gown - despite it being a traditional wrap robe, its surprisingly secure!

  34. Totally Russian princess, you should be proud of yourself :-).
    Let me point out another alternative though, which was featured in a Burda of a couple years ago. Basically, you've got your comfy sweat pants, you've got your cute t-shirt, and you've got your boiled wool jacket/cardigan. This can be interpreted with flannel pj pants, still with cute homemade t-shirt, and a warm sweater. But the basic idea is no bathrobe. Of course this shouldn't be a dumping ground for ripped sweats, stained ts, or pilled sweaters, the point is not to dress if you were going to paint the basement. But it's warmer, it makes you look much more 'dressed' and can even be downright stylish, you can answer the door without qualms. I like that version much better..

  35. Cozy and chic, not two words that occur together very often but you did it. Love this robe and your creative take on pattern/fabric combination. I too hate those wrap robes, mostly for style reasons. They remind me of the terry towel version of oversized men's T shirts, large, unflattering, purely functional.

  36. That is fantastic, love it. Also, for the clumsy among us (me) a wrap bathrobe is a trip hazard, with my fuzzy slippers and pre-coffee brain, that belt thingy is just trying to snag me. I must make a new bathrobe for my mom, who still wears her collection of velour-ish bathrobes but they are getting a bit old. Most came from I.Magnins back in the day, so you know how long ago that was. Some have gold trims or other embellishments, so vital for that all important glamorous Christmas morning present-opening photo.

  37. That fabric is to die for--you do look like a Tsarina.

  38. Okay seriously you make me want to own a robe! That's right girly I don't own one never could find one I liked but this...this is A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!!

  39. What a wonderful adaptation of a pattern, and the fabric is beautiful!

  40. Girlfriend, you sure do crank out the garments! Wish I had as much sewing energy these days. Great pattern adaptation, love the selvage trim and the buttons. BTW, wooden buttons are often singed on the edges, to bring out the carved pattern and give some depth. So, no worries about grandma having a burned garment!

  41. wow you've struck gold you should market and sell these awesome robes.....I HATE BATH ROBES AND WILL BE MAKING MYSELF ONE OF THESE ASAP!!!

  42. Wow Shams you have really outdone yourself this time. I am so happy to see your styling eye applied to around the house clothes, which after all is where those who care about us most see us. Inspiration again!

  43. I love love love your bathrobe - it looks so stylish! Are you sure you're not someone rather famous lounging around at home in something ultra expensive for the photographer that just dropped in for that "at home" shoot... ?

  44. Great job on the robe, you can lounge in style you Shams, the russian princess.