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Monday, 27 February 2017

Making a Harry Potter Robe

When I first started sewing, most of the things I made were either for my children, or, for other people's children. The balance of what I sew has shifted away from that, because I now get a lot of enjoyment from making clothes for myself. But, from time to time, I indulge my children and sew them something they have asked for. It is generally quite gratifying to do this (if you ignore the times when they change the design brief half way through me making it). Part of me hopes that directing my sewing super powers at them makes some amends for my super shouting ability that I direct at them on a regular basis. Time will tell!

When I made my 8 year old a Harry Potter robe for Christmas, it was so admired by my 10 year old, that I promised her I'd make her one too. Give the girl her due, she knows me well, and has been patient about waiting for me to come good on the robe. During that time, she and her sister have sort of bonded over all things Potter. This, I should say, has been a welcome change to normal. They usually drive me to distraction with their capacity for arguing and winding each other up by looking at each other the wrong way, or making stupid noises that are aimed at annoying the other one into an eruption resulting in trouble. Thank you JK Rowling - you seem to have caused a cease fire in this household. World Book day this Thursday seemed like a reasonable deadline for my eldest Harry Potter fan to be able to wear her long awaited robe.

 The robe came together in under a couple of hours - I am sure I could have made it a bit more perfect (such as including a hood), but, well, I take a `good enough' approach when it comes to sewing things like this. There are limits to my devotion.

One addition I made second time round, at the request of the 8 year old, was a wand pocket. She thought it should be on the left hand inside part of the robe, and so I duly obeyed. Adding her one after the robe was finished has meant it is literally just a patch pocket, and the stitching shows through on the right side, but, meh - since having the new pocket, she has been too busy grabbing her wand and thrusting it in her sisters' faces whilst yelling something in Latin to care about those details.

If you have a young Harry Potter fan in your life, that you feel inclined to indulge with a robe, it may be useful to know you can buy the house badges very easily from Ebay. I am hoping the postman will deliver my Ravenclaw one in time for the biggest girl's robe to be completed for Thursday.

Here is a rough outline of how I made the robes:

1. Start with 1.5 metres of 150 cm wide black drill, and also, the same amount of lining in whatever colour cotton is appropriate for the house you are making.
2. Cut across the width a length that is 110 cm (or whatever height you decide - I was making this for a 10 year old girl).
3. From that piece, cut two long strips each 40 cm for the fronts.
4. Pin them onto the remaining back piece, to make very basic shoulders.
5. Drape this over the shoulders of your Harry Potter fan, and start pinning the whole thing into pleats, until you are left with something that fits.

6. Shape the shoulders at angles, so they are less boxy.

7. With the remaining piece of fabric, make your sleeves. First measure how long they need to be, double over your fabric, and cut shapes that are angled into wizard like sleeves (see below).

8. Assemble the robe. The lining (if you decide to do one) is made by treating the outer and the lining as one, until you get to the point of inserting sleeves and doing side seams. So, pin the lining pleats with the outer ones. Baste them all into place, sew the shoulder seams, and then get on and insert the sleeves. I use a very simple method of inserting the sleeves as you would a t-shirt - sew the shoulder section and then sew the under arms. Once the sleeves are in, flap the lining back, and sew the sleeve under arm seams and go right down to the side seams. Then pull back the lining, and stitch those side seams, so that all the raw edges are hidden.

9. Finish all the edges! If you are putting in a wand pocket (and let's face it, the girls really like this part of their robes), it will look neater to put this in before folding the vertical outer front hems over the lining - hopefully that makes sense. Most of my edges are just finished a bit like curtains. I must admit, I machine stitched the second robe, as I couldn't be bothered to hand stitch everything second time round.

10. A hood? I have had requests for a hood, and may try and add this on. Not sure about the exact shape to get the right look, but I will share this method with you if I do it. The general impression is there without the hood, so perhaps I won't worry about it too much if I don't get round to it!

I hope that all made sense. Do you sew dressing up things for children? I'd love to hear about them.


  1. These look fab! I bet they will be the envy of their friends on Thursday!

  2. I had the marvellous experience of making both my kids Nativity costumes last year. My son wore his unblogged pyjamas and my daughter her Chinese child's costume http://www.sewsmart.co.uk/blog/2016/12/26/the-great-chinese-sewing-bee/
    Nothing as yet for book day though!

  3. These are fantastic... hours of fun will follow I'm sure! The owners of a lovely local diner insisted Patch borrow their daughter's official robe for his quidditch party... which I then replaced with one made from an oversized black tee cut up the front when we returned the far superior official one! You are now putting me to shame...