Sew Over It Sylvia Robes

I’m still catching up on blogging everything I sewed and knitted over the past few months. Today I’m sharing a couple of Sew Over It Sylvia Robes,* sewn in print rayon I bought on sale at Spotlight. These jackets have been one of the most frequently worn additions to my closet I think I’ve ever made.

A woman stands in front of a garden fence. She wears a pink crane print kimono jacket, pink skirt, tights and gold glitter shoes with a headscarf.

You might recall I’ve been on the hunt for stylish ways to avoid the sun for a while now, culminating in my atrocious polka dot Simplicity 1873 sun jacket I made last year. That jacket ended up being more like Maggie Smith’s terrible 80s inspired turn in Evil Under the Sun than an elegant 30s piece. I’m happy to report these SOI robes were far closer to my inspiration!

See caption.
Maggie Smith and Jane Birkin in Evil Under the Sun (1982). I’m just one massive hat and a good pair of rayon pants away from living the Poirot dream.

The pattern itself was quite simple, so I actually (SHOCK) employed some fancy construction techniques to protect the rayon and make it look good, inside and out. Both jackets are constructed with French seams, and I even took the effort to carefully slip stitch the inner portion of the neck band down. The body and sleeves were narrow hemmed, which I feel is a sturdy and elegant finish on a fine fabric. This also added more length, which was needed despite adding 1.5cm to the body and 6cm to the sleeves.

A woman stands in front of a garden fence. She wears a neutral print kimono jacket, wide sunhat, white tee and rayon fern print pants.
These photos are a bit washed out but the neutral print is lovely in person.

As the neutral print version was my prototype, I made a few small changes for the pink crane print jacket – changing my careful angled forward head adjustment to simply moving the shoulder seam forward 2.5cm and narrowing the hems to 6mm double turned instead of 1cm. (I usually shift the shoulder seams of my garments forward at least 12mm to stop them falling back on my body.)

A woman stands in front of a garden fence. She wears a pink crane print kimono jacket, pink skirt, tights and gold glitter shoes with a headscarf.
You know, this outfit reminds me of someone….
Professor Trelawney from Harry Potter.

I’ve read criticism of Sew Over It instructions before and felt there were one or two issues with this pattern. In the section “Finishing Touches”, the reader is instructed to simply fold over and slip stitch the bottom of the neckband down after stitching to the body, when a much neater and easier finish could be accomplished by machine. The sleeve had the grainline running across its width, which I found unusual, so I changed it to align with the length. If there is a reason for this (besides fabric economy), please let me know as I’ve never seen it before.

A woman stands in front of a garden fence. She wears a neutral print kimono jacket, wide sunhat, white tee and rayon fern print pants.

Finally, I found the neckband in no way matched the length of the jacket, which was good for me as I forgot to cut it longer! Despite adding 5cm+ to the body length, the band still had a few cm’s of length to trim off. Perhaps I didn’t ease it in enough, though there was no direction to do so.

I think this jacket is the kind of pattern that Sew Over It does well – they are elegant, easy to sew and practical. I’ve styled it in loose-fitting outfits, but they work equally well with a pair of skinny jeans and a tee. It is also a massive relief to me that I can actually wear these jackets. I seem to grab one every time I’m headed out of the house! I’d definitely recommend this pattern if you’re looking for a lightweight, easy-to-sew jacket that can be dressed up or down.

Sew Over It Kimono Jackets

Close up of slipstitched neck bands.
That slipstitching took me HOURS.

The deets:
Pattern: Sew Over It Sylvia Robe
Pattern details: “Update your handmade wardrobe with the Sylvia Robe, the perfect piece for layering in style! Stylish, flattering and comfortable, Sylvia adds a touch of effortless charm to any outfit.
With its 1920’s elegance, the long version exudes Gatsby glamour, while the shorter version makes a perfect pairing with skinny jeans and a simple t-shirt, taking an everyday look from blah to bewitching.” Sizes XS-XL (bust 33-43″).
Fabric: Two lots of 2m x 135cm wide printed rayon, both from Spotlight on sale.
Mods: Size M (12-14)
– Changed sleeve grain to run down length instead of across width
– Sewed bottom band finish by machine before slip stitching down length (instructions dictate afterthought slip stitching)
– Lengthened body pattern 1.5cm
– Lengthened sleeve pattern 6cm for full or bracelet length
Neutral print version:
– Added an extra 3cm to body and sleeve length by sewing narrow 1cm hems
– Forward head adjustment, evenly through to shoulder (which was only a short distance on the bodice), going to nothing at sleeve
Pink crane print version:
– Added an extra 3.8cm to body and sleeve length by sewing narrow 6mm hems
– Straight 2.5cm forward head adjustment across whole shoulder seam, with sleeve cap moved forward 2.5cm

*Edit 19/03/21: I previously made a note about the original name of these robe (Kimono jackets), being inaccurate and culturally appropriative. I’m glad that Sew Over It has since changed the name to the Sylvia Robe. I’ve edited my post slightly to reflect the name change.

Author: Siobhan S

20 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic disability advocate.

20 thoughts on “Sew Over It Sylvia Robes”

  1. Very nice :o) I’m envious. I can’t wear jackets, I can’t wear long sleeves! People with MS overheat so easily. I can’t wear a jacket. If my husband insists on heating the van up to 80 degrees, I have to remove my coat while we drive. ugh!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fab jacket–and did you make the skirt too? I love the way you put it all together. What great style you have– Alessandro Michele would put you on his runway!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I love Agatha Christie too! She’s one of my all time favourite authors, if not my number one favourite. ❤
        I should have clarified at the time, though, I was talking about the designer Paul Poiret ( ), but your kimonos are definitely reminiscent of fashions in Poirot! The combination of comfort, colour and style in particular remind me of one of my favourite Christie characters – Ariadne Oliver, with her more bohemian style of dressing in Poirot!! (I actually did a post some months back about how much I love that character's style in Poirot! You can check it out here if you haven't seen it! )

        So the kimonos are the best of both Poirot and Poiret!! 😀 Beautiful work!!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh gosh now I feel silly! I must have had Poirot on the mind. Ariadne Oliver is one of my favourites! I missed your post originally and just had a read now, it’s fantastic. That velvet gown is lush.
          Poiret’s designs are absolutely beautiful and I clearly need to brush up on my fashion history!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Don’t feel silly at all!! There’s absolutely no reason too – I usually have Poirot on my mind too! 😉 And I could sing Ariadne Oliver’s praises for days! I absolutely LOVE that character. I love the majority of Agatha’s female characters, actually. They are some of my favourite female literary characters. 🙂

            I’ve been meaning to do a post on Paul Poiret for months and actually had a folder of info and photos for the post on my old laptop ready to go right before it ended up becoming an expensive doorstop last year. Ugh. All that work gone in the blink of an eye. I love that man’s use of colour and some of his clothing from the 1920’s reminds me of women in Edward Gorey’s artwork – and Ariadne! 😉

            Liked by 2 people

  3. These are both fantastic. Thanks for detailing your modifications. I bought Simplicity 1813 over a year ago, but now am swooning over the Kochi Kimono. Yours are both inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

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