A bed jacket is a garment designed to be worn over pajamas, either for more coverage around the house, or to keep warm in bed. In colder regions of the world, bed jackets are extremely popular. This is because wearing a bed jacket to bed can greatly reduce the heating bill, since the house does not need to be kept as warm. Bed jackets are also designed to go with lingerie sets, as light cover-up garments. Many department stores carry a selection of bed jackets, and they are also available through mail order catalogs.
In design, a bed jacket resembles a robe, except that it stops around the hips. This greatly reduces the bulk of the garment, and also makes it practical for sleeping in, as it will not entangle the legs of the sleeper. Typically, the bed jacket is loose, so that pajamas can be worn under it, and the sleeves are long, to cover the arms. The bed jacket can belt, button, snap, or zip, depending on the design, and can be made from a wide variety of fabrics. Popular choices are flannel, terrycloth, and quilted silk, lined with goose down or polyfill.
When a bed jacket is designed for warmth, it may be made from a heavy material, or lined with a warming insulating later. Some warming bed jackets have extra thick sleeves, so that the wearer can have his or her arms out from under the covers with a book. These bed jackets are very useful as cover-ups, and many invalids like to wear them to keep warm around the house. The bed jacket can be hung up before going to sleep, or worn to bed, depending on personal taste and how cold the night is.
More ornamental bed jackets are made from sheer materials, and are often cut with short sleeves or designed as cutoffs which end and tie below the breasts. This type of bed jacket is meant to be worn with lingerie as a light cover-up, and is designed more for form than function. It can be combined with other lingerie, or worn over a negligee or similar garment. Common fabrics for this type of bed jacket are silk, nylon, and lace.
A bed jacket can also be knitted, and numerous knitting patterns for bed jackets are available. A bed jacket is an excellent intermediate knitting project, as it is less form fitting and precise than a sweater, and the knitter can be creative with yarns and textures as well. Some beginning sewers also learn how to make bed jackets and robes, as the patterns are relatively simple and easy to make.