Before there was "one size fits most" — The 1958 Men’s Robe

I’ve been in need of a new summer bathrobe for years.  The one I have is disgusting.  A gray and tan seersucker (how depressing), hopelessly stained from a self tanning experiment gone terribly wrong.  I found this great vintage pattern on Etsy.  McCall’s #4816 circa 1958 in size 38-40.  I was totally sucked in by both the notched collar detail on the blue version and the pipe!  
I was lucky to be in NYC in early June and dropped by what has become my “go to store” in the garment district, H&M Fabrics on W. 35th St.  They had bolt after bolt of cotton / lycra seersucker for a ridiculous $2 / yd.  I picked up both a  lavender and white stripe, and an aqua and multi color stripe.  Throw in a spool of thread and you have a new bathrobe for about $10.   
I won’t go into a lot of the construction details.  Coming off the tailored “wedding jacket” this was a refreshingly simple project.  The curved patch pockets were pressed into shape using a template cut from an empty Cheez-its box.  
This pattern pre-dates fusible interfacings and calls for cambric.  I have absolutely no idea what cambric is, so I interfaced the collar and facings with white cotton from a Goodwill king sized sheet.  I’ve learned that thrift store sheets are an inexpensive source for muslins.  My king sized sheet was only $2.99.  It was perfect for interfacing a summer robe.  
The notched collar was marked out with chalk on the interfaced collar.  
 And here it is stitched.  The notch is then slashed up to the point before turning the collar.  Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the finished lavender robe.  You’ll have to trust me that the notched collar came out great.  The pattern calls for all the seams to be flat felled.  I did the felled seams at the shoulders but serged the rest of the seams.  I sewed the bottom hem by machine and hand stitched the facings in place.  Then it was on to the aqua robe.  

2 thoughts on “Before there was "one size fits most" — The 1958 Men’s Robe

  1. Wow, I am envious of the seersucker find! It is not common here (usually in extremely kiddie colours) and definitely not that cheap. /sigh.

    Congratulations on your new robe! 🙂


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