How to turn your Go Exploring Cardigan into a robe

Today I decided to modify the Go Exploring Cardigan (affiliate link) into a robe for my daughter. She has been asking for a robe and I wanted to see if I could make it happen with a pattern I already had. I decided to make the robe out of minky with a little bit of stretch so I knew that I would need to make changes to the pattern such as length, pocket placement, band length and these changes would not be exactly proportionate because the minky would not have the same stretch as something like French terry or cotton lycra.

In order to make the cardigan about ankle length I measured my daughter from where the normal length of the cardigan fell and determined how much length I would need to add. She wanted to have a straight bottom, rather than the curve that the pattern has, so I measured the length after folding this piece up. The length required ended up being an additional14”.

I had to also remember that this would also require adjustment to the length of the band as well. I measured the length of each side of the front and compared the stretch of the minky to determine how much length I would need to add to the band. I ended up adding 24” to the band.

I also needed to add the tie and the tie loops to the pattern, and winged the numbers on those based on measuring my daughter’s waist and tying a bow. She was such a good sport when I kept calling her back for more measurements and tests.

My daughter had already decided which fabric I needed to make her a robe out of, which of course meant that I didn’t have enough to do what she wanted without color blocking somewhat. But that’s what happens. So with the 14” I needed to add I also needed to add seam allowance into that for the additional seams, so it ended up being a total of 14.75” of length to add to the robe front and back pieces.

All in all, I used nearly 2 yards of minky fabric to make a size 8 ankle-length robe.

Now all the boring numbers are out of the way, I can cut and sew! In addition to the pieces needed for the pattern, I cut a robe tie, and tie loops to attach to the robe. The robe tie I cut as 6” x WOF and on this cut it was 60”. The loops were 5” x 2”, I cut three of them.

To start sewing, I first attached the color block pieces to both the front and the back pieces and topstitched them. My daughter is only 7 so it is very likely that this robe will be pulled in all sorts of directions before the week is over.

Next I sewed the pockets. Because I am not using the band to sew the bottom of the pockets closed, I sewed both the top and bottoms of the pockets while right sides were together then turned them right side out. This worked rather well for me. I also moved the pockets up 2” higher than the pattern calls for at my daughter’s request. 

From this point on, I followed the directions as written in the pattern until it came time to attach the robe tie and loops. For the loops, I folded them in right sides together to sew the long end and turned them. I then attached them to the robe by creating a loop and sewing the center across. I put one loop in the center of the back and the other two on the side seams. The single bobbin I had would days ago made it to this point just as I finished sewing. That was a beautiful thing, until I realized I still needed to sew the tie. For the tie, I folded it in half and sewed both short ends and most of the long (non-folded end), leaving a 4-5” opening to turn it. I hand stitched this opening since it was easier than winding another bobbin.

Now she was happy to show off the final result for me and absolutely had to wear it to bed tonight. Even though it’s only in the 40s tonight and she’s a warm sleeper. Silly kid.

Considering it was made from just under two yards of coordinating fabric and ended up needing to color block a bit, I think this turned out super cute. She did ask that the next one have a larger overlap for her, so that will be on my checklist next time. Now, I know as soon as her little brother sees the robe, he will be asking me for one too.

Happy sewing!

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