Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Nativity robes quick, with a tutorial.

One of my friends asked me to "whip up" some robes for our church Christmas party.  Which is this Saturday.  I got the fabric on Friday.  Yes, apparently I AM Superwoman!  Not really, but with only a week to make "as many as you can", I had to find a quick and dirty way to make a bunch of robes that would still look nice.  Hayley didn't have any parameters for me, so I got to use my creative license.
I went through a few prototypes before I found a design that was both easy and looked good, with easy being the highest priority.
Here is my favorite.

Not real figure flattering, but it does the job.

I love the big sleeves!

Since this is the season for last minute Christmas pageants, I thought I'd share what I've learned.

For your own easy peasy Nativity robe, you will need:
A length of fabric equal to twice the length of the robe you want to make.  If it is 60 wide, you will end up with long sleeves, 45 wide fabric will get you elbow length sleeves.  Choose something with a selvage that you like and that doesn't have a "wrong" side, since both sides will be visible in the final product.
Some way to finish the edges.  I used bias tape, but you could trim them with ribbon, ric rac, whatever.  Fringe might be cool.  You could even just hem them.

Step one - Cut out your robe.
Fold your length of fabric in half on the crossgrain (so, the opposite of the way that it was folded on the bolt). You should have the raw edges together and opposite the fold.  Even up your raw edges if you need to.  Here is how you will cut it.

Cut out 2 large rectangles out of either side, with the long edges of the rectangle on the selvage edges and lower edge on the raw edges (the bottom of your robe!)  I used a loose fitting tee shirt to decide how wide I wanted my body to be and cut out my rectangles around that.  Make your sleeves pretty generous.  Then, cut out a T shape (the blue lines in the picture above) at center front in one layer of fabric only, with the top of the T on the fold, and the base of the T at center front all the way from the raw edges to the fold.  The top of the T should measure about 12 inches (so six inches on either side of the cut at CF).  Here is how the top of the T looks once it is cut.

See how it folds out like a collar?  That's the secret!
Now you are ready to sew.  The first thing I did was to finish the edges of the T, that is the collar and front of my robe.  I just bound the edges with bias tape.  If you have a binding foot for your sewing machine this is super fast.  If not, you could finish them any way you like.  If you choose to hem them, just remember that the wrong side shows on the collar, so make your hem a pretty, double fold hem.  You could also just let it fringe.  That'd be super easy!!
After you have finished your edges, sew the sides and sleeves in one seam, pivoting at the underarm, then clip the seam allowance at the corner.

The red lines are where you need to sew.
If you want, you can hem it.  If not, you're done!

I also made a couple of kid-sized tunics by the same method.

The only difference is that I didn't cut it all the way down center front, and I used the selvage edge for the hem, so I had to finish the sleeves.  I bound this one with ribbon instead of bias tape.


Julia said...

I had to make lots of nativity costumes a couple of years ago. We had a huge live nativity and no costumes. I used real patterns and spent lots of time on them.I made all but about 2 or 3. In all about 25? Maybe? Last year I made more kind of like the ones you have made, but not as nice. I should have seen your tutorial before I made them. I was asked to help this year and I said no. They don't need anymore anyway and we're going to be out of town that night.

Beangirl said...

Very clever how they are one size fits all, too!

gwensews said...

You ARE Superwoman! I've done Christmas pagent sewing, and it is daunting! Have to keep reminding myself it's for the glory of HIM, otherwise, I'd probably ditch the whole project!

Pippi creates said...

Very clever indeed! Well done for 'whipping up' such a great design and sharing it with us! Hope your Christmas party goes well.

Kristin said...

I've made more daunting ones in the past, but wanted to make some more for my kids this year...I'll be doing this way for sure!!!!