Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Suki Robe: Mrs. Roper's Technicolor Dreamcoat


Hello! Feels like forever since I last blogged. Hope all is well in your world right now.  

Glad I'm finally getting around to documenting my Suki robe, by Helen's Closet, because I'm particularly proud of it. Also, isn't loungewear perfect for the current state of the world? Not only because we're all staying home all the time, but also because wearing a lovely robe feels like an act of self-care--like giving yourself a facial or lighting candles. 

I love an opportunity to combine fabrics, but it can be tricky to pair the right ones. You have to consider color, obviously, but also substrate, weight, and proportion. I've had some disappointing results, but THIS I truly love. And since it's a robe, how fortunate that I get to wear it every day!

Let's talk about the fabric first: The multi-colored fabric is a very fine quality linen from Britex, and the striped fabric is a lovely linen gauze from Britex (oops, I meant Blackbird Fabrics for the striped gauze). Finally, the black waist tie, neck, and sleeve bands are the last of my linen/cotton crinkled fabric leftover from a pair of Emersons I made for a 2018 vacation in France. I bought the fancy linen around five years ago, and I think it's still one of the priciest pieces of fabric I've bought--maybe around fifty dollars a yard, I can't remember exactly. Usual story: I had a gift certificate and it just jumped out at me. How could it not? It's got a bazillion colors! But since it was so pricey, I only bought a yard, which doesn't yield a whole lot of options. I'm glad that I waited and didn't make a simple short-sleeve top like the Seamwork Bo or CCP Pietra because then it would have been just everyday clothes, not special. The striped linen is like its soul mate; they go so well together with the stripes operating like a neutral to combat all the stylized floral, patterned craziness, the Mrs. Roper caftan look. 

Okay, now can we talk more about mixing prints? I was nervous about cutting into my fancy linen and then getting it terribly wrong, so I opted to keep it simple. I also looked at sewists who do a lot of patchwork like this amazing designer @aluma_handmade and tried to analyze what I thought was effective. Finally, since I love sketching project ideas with Procreate, I traced over the illustration from the pattern packet to see where I wanted the prints to fall. 

Because I had had some large pieces of both prints, I didn't break up the pattern pieces too much. I knew I wanted the bodice fabric/pattern to stay intact and extend past my waist to my low hip--kind of like a vintage bathing suit. I also knew I wanted to extend the bodice pattern past the shoulder to the top part of the sleeves, which was easy enough. Just fold back to where you want and add the 1/2 inch seam allowance. I thought this would lend more of an elegant sweep to the sleeve. The pattern is so crazy, I never worried about pattern matching. I just tried to avoid "flower boob" in my placement, which you can see a bit of but thankfully only on one side. 

Okay, here are just a few more details, and then I promise to stop gushing about my robe. :)
  • Size: the largest, I think XXL. I did not have the resized/curvy version. I don't know if that's available to folks who purchased before the update, but I don't have access to printing out patterns now that I'm WFH anyway. I made up version B--AKA, the shorter version--but it ended up a wee bit longer because I added a section. So now it's more like version A. 
  • Fit: While there is full coverage, it's not a super voluminous robe. Of course, the fit might have been different had I sewn up the curvy reboot. 
  • This robe has lots of nice, practical details like the hanging loop, the inner tie for modesty, and the waist ties stitched into the back. Speaking of waist ties, I did lengthen them by a whopping 8 inches both for the look of a long tie and because I'm thick waisted. 
  • Every single join is french seamed. Even the inline pockets! I used this tutorial from the Foldline.
  • I preferred the look of the collar extended to the bottom instead of squaring off. There's a tutorial on Helen's website for this. 
  • Linen is really just the most magical fabric. I'm used to thick terry robes, so I was worried this wouldn't hold up getting out of the shower, but it's plenty absorbent. And, bonus, unlike my terry robe, I can fit this in my suitcase...whenever I can take an actual trip somewhere...
So that's all I can think of to say about my Suki robe. So glad I finally got around to making this fun pattern and sewing up this pretty fabric. 

Finally, since I never got around to posting my Top/Bottom Five, 2020 being what it was, I chose my Top Nine on Instagram. Here, in no particular order, are my favorite 2020 makes. 

Quilted Pillow cover for my bed; a linen Wiksten; an improv quilt top; pottery apron from old jeans; a brown linen Zadie jumpsuit; pinched ceramic dishes; a wall quilt to remind me of Lake Tahoe, one of my favorite places in the world; some hand-formed ceramic vases; my favorite hand formed bowl (AKA, my popcorn bowl)

Here's another pic of my Tahoe quilt that shows the whole thing. It's made entirely of scraps from my garment sewing projects, including a knit (albeit a very stable one) for the night sky. I'm definitely committed to more scrappy projects like this for 2021.

Well, like so many, I'm pretty happy to see the back end of 2020. Here's hoping that 2021 will bring us all much-needed healing and hope. Take care and stay healthy, fellow makers!


  1. Your robe is absolutely wonderful; I want one too! You are accomplished in a number of different areas, a useful trait during Covid-19.