Before our son came along, I only had two RTW bathrobes, both many years old and ready to be retired. I knew I wanted a new bathrobe before the delivery and I had had plans to make the Suki Kimono by Helen’s Closet (available at Indiesew) for ages. Helen actually asked me to test the pattern, but I didn’t have the time. Shortly afterwards I purchased this fabulous woven viscose by Lady McElroy from Fabric Godmother – enough to make a full-length Suki Kimono. And then, as always, things came in my way and I didn’t get it done. But preparing for birth was the perfect motivation to finally get going!
The Suki Kimono is a pattern that comes with many great details: an outer tie that is anchored to the back, so you can’t lose it, an inner tie making sure your kimono doesn’t gape open, wide sleeves short enough not to get in your way and bands in the front and at the sleeves that are great for playing with contrasts. The Suki Kimono comes with in-seam pockets and in two different lengths (knee-length and mid-calf), too.
Shorter sleeves and mid-calf length, you wonder? Well, I got inspired by the regal looking fabric and started hacking a little bit! I lengthened the sleeves and added a wide cuff with two buttons on each side and lengthened the kimono to be as long as possible without getting into my way while walking. I also sewed the whole kimono using French Seams, although that’s not what the instructions tell you to do.
The viscose fabric I used is lightweight and drapey, with a tiny bit of stretch. It wasn’t hard to work with at all, unlike some other thin viscose crepes and similar fabrics I’ve been working with lately. It pressed beautifully and doesn’t wrinkle too much. The only thing I wish was different is the colour on the wrong side of the fabric. The white makes it so obvious that the pattern is digitally printed on! Wouldn’t it be lovely if the fabric base had been in this lovely teal/green colour you can see on the right side?
To add the cuffs to the Suki kimono I simply lengthened the sleeves, keeping the same width as the original sleeve all the way to the wrist. I also cut two wide rectangles to use as cuffs. In order to be able to open and close the cuffs I needed to add a slit to the sleeve. You could just add the slit along the seam, a rather simple solution, or you can cut a slit into the sleeve somewhere along the back of the sleeve. That’s what I did. I used the method Adrianna from Hey June describes when sewing the 3/4 sleeves from her Cheyenne Tunic (check out my version here). I didn’t add a visible tower placket, but rather opted to simply “bind” the slit with a long and thin rectangular piece of fabric.
To add the cuffs I gathered the sleeves until they had the same width as the cuffs and sewed one raw long edge of the cuff to the sleeve. Remember to sew the sleeve together along the side seam and to bind the slit before adding the cuff! Afterwards I folded the cuff in half, wrong sides together, and sewed the short side seams of the cuff. Since I didn’t add buttonholes but rather loops for the buttons, I had to place two loops in between the two layers of fabric on each cuff before sewing the short seam. In the end I folded the remaining raw edge of the cuff towards the wrong side of the fabric and topstitched the cuff in place. At the end I added two buttons to each cuff – done!
I have to say that I’m super happy with the length of my robe and with the cuffs. It would have been a beautiful robe anyway, but these cuffs and this fabric, reminding me of some kind of Downton Abbey tapestry, just make it so special.
There’s one little thing bothering me: While sewing I managed to sew the inner tie to the side seam on the left side of my robe instead of to the right side seam. Since I sewed the side seams with French Seams correcting the mistake wasn’t too easy and I decided to leave it like this and to add the other tie to the band on the right side of the robe. You might think that it doesn’t matter which side of the robe is on top of the other – but somehow folding the left side of the front over the right side just doesn’t feel as natural as it does the other way around. You know – like having buttonholes on (women’s) garments on the right side and the buttons on the left. We’re so used to this that it feels strange having a blouse where the left side of the placket goes on top of the right side! But hey – it’s such a little thing and it doesn’t prevent me from wearing the kimono and feeling awesome wearing it!
I actually took the robe with me to the hospital and when I was able to stand again without passing out (yep, my blood pressure wasn’t that great during the first day after giving birth!), I wore my robe when walking around the maternity ward. And it felt so good, compared to wearing those blue hospital robes!
– Being a part of the Indiesew Blogger Team I get compensated for this blog post. The pattern was given to me as a gift by Helen from Helen’s closet. However, all opinions are, as always, my own. –