My Blog » The Ultimate in Luxury

The Ultimate in Luxury

It’s time to play catch up again. I have so many projects to blog about, but I’ve been so focused on sewing them, I haven’t wanted to stop and write. My goal for February is to post at least once a week, twice if possible. It’s a short month so wish me luck!

I’ll start the posting off right with my new favorite project – an 18th century silk brocade dressing gown.

I fell in love with the brocade last fall, and despite the fact that I wasn’t supposed to be buying more fabric I couldn’t resist. My original vision was for a francaise, but 10+ yards just wasn’t in the budget, so I scaled back my idea and when for a dressing gown instead. I definitely needed something to lounge around in during my upcoming Williamsburg trip and what better than silk?

I based the robe off of this woman’s banyan from the V&A. I loved the cuffs, the fitted back, and the full skirt. I also looked at several extant men’s banyans, as well as the pattern in Fitting and Proper to understand how to construct it.

I started by cutting a t-shaped piece from one long piece of silk, and then cut the front piece in half. The robe is shaped with pleats on either side of the center front and two stacked pleats down the back. I also added a small rectangle of fabric to the center back neckline to form the shawl collar. Originally, I had added gores to the side seams, but it ended up being too much fabric. The robe looked like it was trying to swallow me whole. So I ripped out the gores and took in the sides and under arm to make it more fitted. Finally, I added a silk ribbon tie just above the waist to help keep it shut. Eventually I want to line it in completely inaccurate cotton flannel to make it extra snuggly, but that will have to wait until after I finish some more projects.


I have to say this is the most luxurious thing I’ve ever made! I’ve worn it around the house over my yoga pants and baggy sweaters and I still feel like a princess. I think it will be perfect not only for Williamsburg, but for Sunday Undies at Costume College, if I ever manage to get up that early. :)

Posted: 2/7/2013 11:28:53 AM by Aubry | with comments
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Project Details

Brocade Banyan