Helen’s Closet – Silk Suki Robe

I’ve wanted a silk robe for a number of years. The vision I had for it originally was grey but then a local woman was de-stashing her decades-long collection of silks last fall (for less than $10/m) and this beautiful, heavy-weight, sage-green silk and coordinating silk brocade were just too good to pass up. I love how the sparkly brocade compliments the matte finish of the main silk. Yellow is not my colour but the combo was too much to resist – and I think it works for this project.

Suki Robe in silk

Once I had the fabric in my possession, I lost my nerve, so I put this project on my Make Nine 2020 list and spent the first few months of the year gathering my motivation. Then the pandemic hit, we all found ourselves spending more time at home, and the weather began to heat up here in the Pacific Northwest. Suddenly it was the perfect time for a luxurious silk robe. This make was a pain in the butt but it was totally worth it. Silk feels so amazing to wear… having a robe made out of it feels incredible.

I used the Helen’s Closet Suki Robe pattern and cut a size 4/6. This size was a bit smaller than my measurements so I added a centimetre of extra width at the arm hole edge on each side of the upper back. The fit ended up perfect and that was the only change I made to the pattern.

The finish was a struggle but turned out very well in the end.

The challenge of this make was the silk brocade. It’s a very light brocade and was shifty from the beginning until the end. I could not get it to stay on grain and ended up just cutting it and hoping for the best. It took a lot of pressing, even more pressing, pinning and patience to get it to behave (and cutting one of the short panels out more than once). It also shed thin, iridescent silk fibres that static clung to everything – my ironing board, my machine, my carpet, my husband, myself. But oh, it is so gorgeous with little heart-shaped leaves that perfectly match the main piece of silk.

The main silk is lovely. It’s very dense and was difficult to pin, which gives it a nice weight. It feels quite substantial and the weight keeps it down where it belongs, even when I’m blow drying my hair and static kicks in.

I debated not doing it because I was so over working with the silk brocade already, but I went for the method two (clean finish) for the sleeve cuffs and neck banding. It isn’t much more difficult, it just takes a bit longer and I think it was worth the extra effort. I don’t have any photos of the back. I decided not to sew the waist tie to the back and attached them together instead. The side loops are pretty small so the belt doesn’t slip out easily. After my silk brocade struggles, I decided to just use a piece of grosgrain ribbon for the inside ties.

The brocade had some colour differences from what was probably improper storage, which you can see in the two sides of the shorts.

The shorts are self-drafted with my pants block and sewn out of the silk brocade. They were sure a challenge to keep on grain! I don’t know how practical they will end up being but there was summer shorts gap in my sleepwear wardrobe so I hope they hold up. I was able to use the border of the silk brocade for the side of one of the shorts panels and the insides of the sleeve cuffs and neck band, which makes me really happy for some reason :)

The only thing I’m disappointed with on this make is the interfacing on the inside corners where the contrasting band meets the main fabric. Had I thought ahead, I would have realized this interfacing would show on the finished garment, detracting from the otherwise clean finish on the inside. I recommend considerably reduced the amount of interfacing and adding only enough to just cover the stitch line. Also, use an appropriate colour. All I had was black and I regret it. Hopefully it loosens after some washes so I can eventually remove it.

I’m glad this project is finished. I had intended to make a cami to complete this set but, thankfully, ran out of fabric. It turned out really well in the end but it’ll be a long time until I choose to work with silk brocade again, that’s for sure. This is another completed project from my Make Nine 2020 and I’m really happy I found the motivation to go through with it because now I have a lovely silk robe! Thanks for stopping by :)

~ Lindsay

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