Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Graceful Housecoats, from a by gone era.

Katcleland | Posted in General Discussion on

You ladies were so helpful with my question about strapless Bras that I wondered if any one could help me search out patterns for those amazing Housecoats of the old movies like Casablanca or White Christmas, you know the amazing satin gowns that buttoned not wrap tied ones.  They had graceful lines and lots of fabric.  I would love to make one for this coming fall and winter is a garnet velvet or Satin.  Any ideas on patterns for such amazing creations.  (Can you tell I am an old movie fan, granted the frilly aprons from State Fair are just too too on me.) Thanks for your help gals.




  1. user-51823 | | #1

    are you talking about the ones that are open in lower front and are worn with pants?
    i used to own a coral saitn vintage one. studying it, it appeared to be basically the same as most fitted dresses of that era that buttoned up the front. they seemed to favor large collars or lapels. i would just search the repro patterns in the main catalogs, and picture how they may be adapted. good luck and let us see your finished product!

    1. Katcleland | | #2

      Thanks for your reply, I was studying them as well and thinking now if I could find a button down the front long dress I would be halfway there.  I dug out an old Vogue Coat pattern and it has potential.  It needs about 8 inches added to make it sweeping to the floor.  So I shall keep my eyes open.  I did go to Eva dresses and there were several nightgowns but none of the cloaking covers.

      Thanks again


      1. solosmocker | | #3

        This is all sounding so incredibly elegant.

        1. Katcleland | | #4

          My hope is that it will be lovely and a pleasure to wear, and not feel frumpy in at all.  This will be one I shall not do my house work in as is often the case first thing in the morning while you are getting your head wrapped around what the day holds, so that is the hope elegance of a bygone time.

    1. Sancin | | #7

      I am as old as some of those movies you mentioned.  When I was a teenager the first very fine wool garment I made was a dressing gown such as you mentioned and I literally wore it out through university and later.  It was double breasted with two large self covered buttons at the waist so the cross over kept it closed - I still have the buttons in my button jar.  It also had a shawl collar and the skirt was cut on the bias - the waist seam made the button holes.  I have looked for a similar pattern lately with no luck and have thought to use a vest pattern for the top and simply make a semi circular skirt.  


      PS  it was tartan and my grandmother made me match every seam!!  Lesson well learned.

      1. ellalouise | | #8

        keep on the lookout for this these old fashions are comming back,try reto also

      2. Gloriasews | | #10

        Until you mentioned it, I had forgotten about the tartan housecoats/robes - thanks for the memory!  Yes, they lasted forever & were cosy.  Ours were made with Viyella wool plaid, which was machine washable - is that fabric still available?  I had made several skirts & slacks with it in the 50s when the fabric was very available - then it seemed to disappear as newer fabrics came to the fore.  (Same as the Dan River cottons - every older woman had Dan River housedresses then - they were plaid).  I was very surprised to find one bolt of Dan River plaid for a blouse recently in my fabric shop, so guess they are still in business.


  2. User avater
    Thimblefingers | | #9

    It's not a button-up but Kwik-Sew have a gorgeous housecoat with a shawl collar and a sash that comes from the side seams.  The bodice back is fitted with a v-shaped waist and the skirt is gathered on.  I believe the front is one piece.  the sleeves are beautiful billowy and either have a cuff or a shaped ruffle.  It reminds me of the old housecoats from movies which is why I bought it.  I made it out of a soft drapey satin and used a heavier satin for the shawl collar and the sash.  Then, just for fun, I cut the skirt with a bit of a train on it.  It is very elegant and beautiful.   

    1. Katcleland | | #11

      Thanks ever so much for the info.  You do not happen to know the number of that kwik sew pattern do you?  I was in their site and they do not seem to have a dressing gown section no lounge wear at all that I saw.  I have contacted as well Evadresses or something of that sort the lady who had submitted the article in recent threads mag.  She is working on drafting a pattern to put on her website as well, at least it is too warm to think of wearing them right now and I shall continue to make myself happy sewing Heirloom rompers for my two grandsons and neither are mobile yet so that means they will stay nice for a little while.

      I shall hope to find the pattern soon.

      Thanks for you time


      1. User avater
        Thimblefingers | | #12

        Sorry it took me so long to get back to you - I've been out of town. The Kwik-Sew pattern number for the robe is 2590. I sure hope it's still available, as it's a gorgeous one!

        1. Katcleland | | #13

          Thanks I shall go to the website and see what I can find.  Getting out of town is lovely in the summer especially if it was for pleasure.  We live on an Island on the east coast of Canada and it is full of tourist right now, but in 8 weeks we will have far less congestion again.

          Have a good day

          1. starzoe | | #14

            It appears we are twinned - I live on an island on the WEST coast of Canada! - we couldn't be further apart.

          2. Katcleland | | #15

            Very cool, Vancouver Island or one of the smaller one?

            I live on Prince Edward Island, it is a lovely tranquil place most of the time, but life gets as hectic here as in the bigger centers just we happen to live in a vacation destination for other folks and we have to work to live here.  I was born and raised in Toronto and Marrying Dale made the move here part of the where you go I go plan.  He is from here and we have a farm business for potatoes Link Brand Potatoes.  We ship all across Canada and into the states as well. 

            What started you to sewing?

          3. starzoe | | #16

            What started me sewing? Oh, I've been doing it for a long-long time, starting at six or so on a treadle machine. I'm old, old, old but still spend considerable time at the machine. I like my clothes to fit and have taught pattern design and sewing and the rtw stuff never looks good, although today I paid over $50 for a really nice flowing top - 'way too much. I told the saleswoman that I was going home to see how
            it was put together so I could copy it and she laughed, little does she know!I have two grandgirls 12 and 10 and they both sew. They spend two weeks here every summer and we swim and sew.I'm on the big island. It is also a tourist destination and really is a spectacular place to live. I have never been to PEI but have lived in Halifax and toured around the east but missed PEI which I know is very pretty and well worth seeing.

  3. cycler1729 | | #17

    When I was 16 (many, many years ago) my mother worked as an assistant buyer for lingerie/sleepware in a company that bought for many department stores and for my birthday that year her boss gave me a robe which was just what you described - it was magnificent - to the floor in quilted emerald, ruby and gold satiny material and I think that it might've been able to stand by itself!  I always felt like a movie star when I wore it but it was also wonderful for curling up in on a chilly afternoon.

    Thanks for giving me a great idea of what to sew when I've got some time!

    1. Katcleland | | #18

      I too would love to sew it but so far I am not having luck finding a pattern, the kwik sew pattern that some one suggested is not available in my searches.

      I am willing to hear any other suggestions

      Have a great weekend.

      1. user-51823 | | #19

        i looked for that pattern too, and was never even able to see a picture. curious what it looked like.it sounds like the pattern you mentioned in your second post would work great. there is absolutely no difficulty in adding length to any hem. what style is the bodice/ are you looking for something specifically different, or just hungry for more inspirations.

        1. SewistKitty | | #20

          The Kwik Sew pattern 2590 is no longer listed on the Kwik Sew pattern website which is too bad since it sounded perfect for the use that you described. HTH

          1. user-51823 | | #21

            still would have been nice for kwik sew to have had the picture posted, archived, so folks could see what it looked like.

      2. jgrue | | #22

        I think I know the style robe you want but they don't seem to exist anymore.What about using a coat pattern or jacket pattern. I have never tried to adapt a coat pattern to a robe or dressing gown--think you might be able to go down a size. Vogue has some beautiful styles that I think could be adapted.It's inspiring me to think about doing it. I made my son a navy blue velour robe with grey piping--about 25 years ago--he really loved it--had a notched collar--like pajamas.Good luck on your search.Jgrue

    2. SewistKitty | | #23

      You might also look on the vintage pattern sites or search ebay. I recently purchased two patterns from "So Vintage". It is one of the pricier sites but they do guarantee all of the pattern pieces are included. If you decide to look at ebay there are guidelines (free) on the left hand side of the vintage pattern area which give advice and warnings. Also you might start going to garage sales and estate sales to look for housecoat patterns. Consider telling your friends and relatives what you are looking for. They may haunt garage sales and be able to help you out or they may have housecoat patterns in their own collections. HTH

    1. Katcleland | | #26

      Wow thanks for the imput I am still on the look out, my son was working on my laptop so I am only just checking in after a couple of days away. I shall do my best to follow up some of the links that have been posted as well as look up my coat pattern it is either vogue or Burda. Can't remember right now. Some one asked about if I was looking for different bodice or just more inspiration, Maybe a bit of both the bodice on the coat is very plain the shawl collar sounds wonderful the flowing sleeves graceful but maybe not practical so I may have to add cuffs and buttons just so I can make tea and not become a walking fire hazard. Evedress was going to try to draft a pattern for me to look at so I shall keep an eye open to her sites as well. Meanwhile I shall sew for the little grandsons and a dress or two for me.

    2. fabricholic | | #27

      The grandma's house website is great. Does anyone remember the handkerchiefs that were available for little girls years ago? They had nursery rhyme characters on them. Marcy

  4. Ralphetta | | #25

    Have you looked at Vogue #8346, 8211, (coat patterns) or #8359, a coat-dress pattern?  They might not be what you want, but I think they would make lovely retro-ish dressing gowns.

  5. meme | | #28

    I am going to date myself here...but in the '70s I made a floorlength robe that buttoned down the front.  It had a really nice collar and neckline.  I have looked for a similar pattern but none seems to exists.  I think it was a McCall's pattern if anyone has a pattern stash that old.


    1. Katcleland | | #29

      Funny how all the fitted buttoned housecoats have gone by the wayside, too bad. I am still on the outlook for such a pattern, I am thinking next to Eva Dress maybe drafting one I shall be converting a coat pattern to suit my desire.


This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All


Shop the Store

View All
View More