Velour Housecoats

I have two cotton velour housecoats that I’ve had for close to 40 years. I haven’t replaced them because nobody has made much in velour for several years and because I couldn’t find a housecoat with a zipper front! Lots of fleece tie robes, but few that are long and with a front zipper. So I kept washing and rotating the two.

Last week I was in Fabricville – I needed some 9″ zippers to whip up some small zippered bags using the fabric from Peru – when I came across some velour! It’s polyester and stretchy but I though it would make a decent housecoat so I bought enough for two – some in a deep teal, some in a pale teal.

Here are the two finished housecoats! Just finished the pale one today.

Tricky fabric to work with – hard to keep seams even because of the stretch. The velour is also problematic – can’t press it on the right side! The dark one which I did first had to be recut – I’d got about half way through when I realized the whole garment, but particularly the neck, was too big. I didn’t want to buy more fabric so I actually cut the seams out, downsized the front and back yokes, cut off the zipper and reassembled the pieces.

Inserting side pockets was a challenge — not an easy thing to do using a serger. First I stitched the pocket pieces to fronts and back side seams with a straight stitch, then serged around the pocket, next I serged each side seam (being careful not to catch the front of the pocket in the serged seam.

Hemming the garment was also a challenge – I probably should have used a cover stitch but I didn’t have serger thread anywhere close to the garment colour so I elected to hem using a twin needle. Because the fabric is so stretchy, getting it to feed evenly under the foot took a lot of care (I’d pressed the hem to the desired width before stitching – that helped).

The second housecoat went together much more easily because I knew what I was doing. What I haven’t told you is my “pattern” is a very old Hawaiian muumuu pattern I’ve owned for years.

 I’ve made batiste embroidered nightgowns from it but had never adapted it for a heavy garment like these housecoats. Adapting it meant creating a front opening with an invisible zipper. I had no instruction sheet to direct me – I had to figure out a sewing order on my own. Like the front yokes had to be attached to the front skirts, the back yoke to the back skirt, the shoulders stitched together, the ribbed neck band sewn in place before I could tackle the invisible zipper! That’s because the zipper needed to come about half way up the ribbed neck band. I knew all of that when I started the second housecoat – I didn’t know it when I started sewing the first – lots of trial and error with that one. Good thing I’m a patient sewer – I had to take seams apart repeatedly until I got the garment assembled correctly.

The two old housecoats are now in the laundry. Once they’re clean they’re off to Value Village – they still have some life left in them.

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