By Contributing Editor Kristina Strain
Learning how to make a robe is the perfect beginning sewing project. If you’ve never tried sewing something wearable before, this is a great place to start.
Picking up basic sewing skills, like the ones described in this tutorial, is a way to boost your self-sufficiency and decrease your reliance on consumer goods. Taking steps like these is guaranteed to be a big money-saver, as well.
About half an hour.
One cotton flannel sheet. A plaid or tartan sheet like I used will make cutting super easy!
Thread to match.
(Optional) Coordinating bias tape
First, iron your sheet and fold it in half the long way. Lay it out flat. Now, measure your “wingspan” (the distance from fingertip to fingertip with arms outstretched) and also decide how long you want your robe to be. It’s better to err on the side of caution than end up with a robe that’s too short to wear! Measuring in from the fold, mark at one half your wingspan measurement. Measure down the fold to your desired robe length. Cut a rectangle using these measurements, as shown in the picture.
Repeat the previous step, so you have two rectangles.
Lay your folded rectangles on top of each other (folds matching), and cut a wedge-shaped piece through all four layers of fabric. This is going to form your sleeves. *Be sure to make this cut on the edge opposite the fold. The beauty of sewing something floppy like a robe is it’s very forgiving. You’re free to estimate the shape and size of your finished robe.
You should now have two pieces of fabric that look like this when they’re folded.
Trim the top folded corner a little, as shown. This is going to be the neck hole.
Now, open out both of the folded pieces, and stack them one on top of the other. Feel free to trim the shape of the robe to make it more to your liking, as I’ve done.
Now, break out your sewing machine and thread it with coordinating thread. You’re going to sew four seams: two along the tops of the shoulders, and two down the bottoms of the sleeves and sides.
Now, you should more or less have what’s pictured above. Finish the ends of the sleeves, and the bottom hem, using the instructions found here. You also need to cut a straight line up the front of the robe, so you’re able to slip it on in a hurry. If you’re using tartan fabric, just follow the lines in the print. If not, use a measure and a straightedge to cut a nice even line. You can finish this edge using the instructions in the link, or give the final product a more finished look by using bias tape.
Now you have this. The last step is to make a belt, for what’s a robe without a belt? I picked up one of my scraps and cut a strip about 6″ wide by 36″ long. If you cut your piece along the finished edge of your original sheet, completing your belt will be really easy.
Here’s my belt-in-progress. As you can see, I borrowed a finished edge from the sheet. I folded the opposite edge up about 1/2″ and pressed it. To complete the belt, I folded the strip in half lengthwise and pressed again, then sewed a single seam down the unfolded edge of the belt. Ta-da!
Now, go enjoy your robe!
This project makes a terrific gift, but beyond that, it’s a great way to use up an orphaned sheet you might have hanging around. It takes minimal resources and time to complete this robe, and you’ll have the pride of saying you made it yourself!