How to make a dressing gown/bathrobe from two towels

which is also pretty much how to make a lightwieght jacket from a nice shawl.

This post brought to you courtesy of the fact that M and S were having a sale on beach towels.

from thisto this

You will need to measure how long you want the garment, and the circumference of your upper arm, as well as judging how long you want the sleeves to be.

The aim of this is to not hem anything, instead you use the selvedges and already finished edges of your towels.

Therefore the first step is to cut a strip about four inches wide along the long edge of your first towel – this will become your collar strip.

Next measure how long you want the garment to be and cut a piece from the middle. Remember to keep the bottom of the towel as your finished hem. This will be the back of the garment.

Now you’re going to concentrate on the smaller square. The larger square is about 20 inches across and will be one of the sleeves, again with the hem as cuff (unfortunately due to the pattern on this towel the sleeve cacti will be upside down). For a dressing gown you don’t normally want full length sleeves, it’s best if they come to mid-forearm.

The smaller square will be one of the pockets, and the scraps will be saved in case we need them later.

So that’s the layout of the first towel – two collar strips, the back panel, one sleeve, one pocket, and some emergency bits.

Cut across the second towel to make a square the same lenght as the back you already cut from towel one.

Fold this in half lengthways and cut up the middle. This will make the front panels.

Whilst the two pieces are folded cut a small triangle from the top inner edge to allow for your neck. I’ve cut a bit about four inches by ten – this is on the conservative side, because it’s best to cut smaller than you need and adjust later if needs be.

Then from the remaining part of towel two cut another sleeve and pocket to match the first, and cut the remainder into four inch strips. Remember to use the hems.

This is the layout of towel two.

If you cut the hems off the two small triangles from the neck you can save them to use as belt loops.

First step is to place the pockets. You’ll need to measure roughly where the ends of your arms are, then place the pocket in the middle of the width of fabric. The hem of the towel becomes the top edge of the pocket.

This is the only bit you sew with a striaght stitch. For the rest of the garmet you need to use either a zigzag or that stitch that looks like two rows of straight with a zigzag in between (I have no idea what it’s called but I know where it is on my bernina)

Next sew the shoulder seams and take a good look at the remaining neck gap. Mine ended up being only three inches, which was far too narrow, so I trimmed it out to about six before proceeding.

Next sew on the collar.

Start at the bottom hem. Place the strip so the wrong side of the strip fabric is on the right side of the body fabric – you want it to flip over and make a collar so it needs to be wrong side/right side. THe hem of your strip should be the outer edge.

Note that I’m sewing a flat overlap seam rather than a folded one.

Sew to the centre back of the neck, then stop.

Trim any excess overlap.

If you’ve done it right it should fold over to show the right side with a built in hem.

Repeat with the second strip so they meet at the back of the neck.


Overlap and sew.

Nice collar. Or nice enough for a dressing gown, at least. I mean, I wouldn’t wear it to a formal dinner or anything, but it’s nice enough to slob around watching what passes for the morning news and drinking tea.

Someone really ought to tell Naga Munchetty that a few men who didn’t get the right GCSEs to work at Sainbury’s kicking a ball around isn’t actaully news, and that they have special channels for that sort of thing these days.

Sew on both sleeves. Again remember to make the hem of the towel the hem of the sleeve, so you’re sewing cut edges at this point.

Sew the sides and sleeves together. (remember to sew your belt loops in about four to six inches below the armpit.)

Don’t sew the whole thing in one go though. Start by sewing from the bottom hem up to about an inch from the armpit, then switch round and sew the sleeves from the hem to about an inch from the armpit – this will ensure that all the integral hems line up, and if there are minor discrepancies you can sort of fudge the resulting armpit hole and make it fit.

You have two choices for the belt. You can either buy a piece of satin upholstery rope and make an old fashioned tassel ended belt, or you can sew the leftover bits into a strip.

When I was a kid I always found the satin rope option on bought dressing gowns quite annoying, so I go for the self made strip option. It’s best to make a three fold with a seam down the centre, rather than an edge fold because an edge fold means you end up trying to sew through four thicknesses of towelling (the centre fold is only three) which is just that little bit too much for most domestic machines to handle – trust me I’ve tried it.

Towelling is extraordinarily messy stuff, so this really is one project where you want to remember to clean your machine after each garment.


And tasteful Orange and pink with heffalumps

~ by opusanglicanum on July 31, 2018.

5 Responses to “How to make a dressing gown/bathrobe from two towels”

  1. Noice, as one says in a broad Australian accent. I hope Gareth is properly aware that he is one of the luckiest men in Christendom.

  2. I sewed two beach towels together and called them shower tunics. We use them at reenactment events. This way you don’t have to carry clean clothes or a towel to and from the showers you wear it. Mind you, I did that because I am not talented to do what you did.

    • I do this mainly because real cotton dressing gowns seem to have disappeared from the high street, and niether Gareth nor myself can stnad the horrible synthetic ones they’ve been replaced with

  3. A great success! (Actually, two great successes!)

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