Sewing

Simplicity 1108 Robe Pattern Review

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Woman in black with her hands spread holding her peach fringed robe open. She is smiling down at the ground.

I’ve owned the beginner-friendly sewing pattern Simplicity 1108 for a few years now. In fact, remember the Bat Dress (Simplicity 8091)? I bought them at the same time, way back in 2017!

What both of these Simplicity patterns have in common is that they are listed as Misses’ Kimonos.

L’sigh. Yes, this is an easy “kimono” pattern.

But a kimono is a specific Japanese form of dress that is not what these garments are intended to be:

The kimono (きもの/着物) (lit., “thing to wear” – from the verb ki ((着)), “to wear (on the shoulders)” and the noun mono ((物)), “thing”)[1] is a traditional Japanese garment and the national dress of Japan. The kimono is a T-shaped, wrapped-front garment with square sleeves and a rectangular body, and is worn with the left side wrapped over the right side, unless the wearer is deceased.[2] The kimono is traditionally worn with an obi, and is commonly worn with accessories such as zōri sandals and tabi socks.

From Wikipedia

So while the rectangular style of the pattern pieces can be called kimono-inspired, it’s disingenuous to call this a kimono pattern. A cover-up, robe, or simply a topper is fine.

I’ll be calling this a robe. In fact, I’ve been calling it my Blanche Deve-robe. More on that later.

I made version B, which is a banded short robe that’s an all-in-one front and sleeve (or back and sleeve). It’s a batwing robe!

Simplicity 1108 Description & Cost

Cover photo for Simplicity 1108 sewing pattern. It features 5 line drawings of the kimono-style robe versions, as well as 2 photos of the same long haired white woman. In the top photo she is standing with am arm on her hip while wearing a long blue version of the open robe. In the second photo she is looking off to the right side while holding her hand up to a hat. This version of the robe is shorter in a black and white pattern with a red band around the edge.

Simplicity 1108 is a paper pattern currently available on both the Simplicity site and Amazon.

At the time of publishing this, it’s $13.27 plus shipping on Simplicity.com. But it’s also backordered.

Amazon has it for about the same price with free one-day Prime delivery.

The description from the website is:

Misses’ kimono pattern features styles for every occasion. Pattern includes draped kimono in short, or long with contrast bands, straight floor length kimono, and short kimono with or without trim. 

From Simplicity.com

So we’ve already established this isn’t an actual Japanese kimono. It’s an open-faced robe. So if you want to tie this closed, you’ll have to hack it.

Simplicity 1108 comes in 4 different versions, or views. Views A and B are kind of circular with a high-low hem and have a band around the collar and hem. View A goes down to the knees in the back while B stops just below the butt.

Incidentally neither of those look anything like a traditional kimono. Meanwhile, views C and D are more square in the kimono style—but they’re still just open robes.

Simplicity 1108 Size Chart

Instead of using size numbers for this pattern, Simplicity uses XXS-XXL on the envelope front to size it out. On the envelope back, this roughly equates to US sizes 4-26 or European sizes 30-52. Given how poorly the Big 4* patterns size up their patterns, you can safely estimate that there is a TON of ease in this pattern, especially in the larger sizes.

Here’s the actual size chart, which encompasses bust sizes from 29.5″ to 48″ (75-122 cm)

Black text on white background describing Simplicity 1108 as Misses' Kimonos with length and fabric variations. It lists the fabric types for each version or view, notions needed, body measurements, and pattern sizes in both US and European size ranges. The pattern encompasses a bust size of 29.5" to 48"

An XXL corresponds to a 48″ bust. That’s about what I have right now. Instead, I made a size Large because I know from previous experience with these patterns that an XXL would’ve been HUGE on my shoulders.

For good measure, I always size down 2 sizes on Big 4 patterns, at least in the shoulders, and go from there. So that’s why I landed on this size.

*Big 4 colloquially refers to the commercial paper pattern companies, of which there used to be four. Now there’s a few more and include McCall’s, Butterick, Kwik Sew, Vogue, Burda (not the magazine), Simplicity, and New Look.

Recommended Fabric

The size chart above also lists the recommended fabrics, but that tiny text is hard on over-40s eyes, so:

Challis, crepe back satin, crepe de chine, double georgette, lightweight linen types, silky types, jersey. C and D also in lace, novelty sheer.

I’m not sure why it doesn’t recommend using novelty sheer for A or B, since that’s what’s actually modeled on the envelope. But regardless, you want fabric with fluidity.

I used a lightweight peach jacquard with a black paisley print. Then I finished it with black fringe instead of using a band.

Look at how almost perfectly I patterned-matched that back seam!

Simplicity 1108 Instructions & Tips

The instructions for Simplicity 1108 are typical of the Big 4 patterns. The line drawings overlap the directions and can sometimes be confusing.

However, there are only a few pattern pieces for views A and B. In fact, the collar is made up in 3 parts, otherwise there are only the front and back. Views C and D don’t have collar parts but they do have sleeves so there are 3 pieces for those versions.

Here are some tips for Views A and B:

  1. Per usual, the seam allowance is a beefy 5/8″ (1.5 cm).
  2. The back is cut in two pieces, probably because it’s too wide to fit on a single folded piece of fabric. This works out really well if you have to do a swayback adjustment.
  3. Make sure to mark the back neckline properly because you will need to gather the center back a few inches.
  4. When I first started using these commerical patterns, the instructions with collars/bands and facings always confused me. That’s because you cut 2 copies of the collar (or in this case, the band), and one set becomes the facing. So when the instructions refer to the “facing” they mean the duplicate set of collar/band pieces.
  5. In this pattern, the “bands” are interfaced while the facings are not (usually it’s the other way around).
  6. As you are attaching the band, make sure not to stretch the fabric too much. Because so much of these areas of the fabric are on the bias, you’ll end up with wavy edges if you’re not careful.** I highly recommend a walking foot for this project.
  7. The instructions have you attach the band to the body of the robe, then the facings to the band, and finally topstitch the facings over the seam connecting the band to the robe to hide it. It’s how waistbands are usually attached to trousers.
  8. You can cheat a little here if you don’t mind that seam being visible. Sew the facing to the band first, then attach the entire thing to the robe in one pass. You’ll have to finish this seam somehow, but it’s a quick and dirty way to skip a few steps!
  9. I suggest using French seams for the recommended fabrics. It’s a beautiful finish and there’s no worry about fraying!

**I learned the hard way that the edges were prone to stretching (see below), and that’s why my fringe is on the outside of the robe, not the inside!

Zoomed in view of a peach fabric with a black paisley print on top of a green ruled cutting mat. It highlights the ripples along the stretched out edge of Simplicity 1108.

Pattern Notions

For Views A and B, the outside half of the band needs to be interfaced. This will help keep the band a bit structured, so it doesn’t flop around (especially in the collar area).

Use a lightweight interfacing like tricot.

Pattern Adjustments

For once, I was able to ignore most of my standard adjustments. Because this is a loose-fitting boxy robe, there was no need for a full bust adjustment. I didn’t even bother shortening it.

All I did was a 2″ (5 cm) swayback adjustment and a 5/8″ (1.5 cm) high round back adjustment.

Pattern Difficulty Rating

If you’ve worked with Big 4 patterns before and are used to how they draw things, this shouldn’t be that difficult. This pattern is pretty simple and there aren’t many adjustments to worry about.

The fabric choice is what will impact this pattern’s difficulty the most. A confident beginner who has worked with silky fabric should do okay.

I’d rate this 2/5 for a confident beginner.

Final Thoughts

Paulette looking up to the left wearing a black hat and sunglasses with her arms out like a bird. She is in a black shirt and pants with a peach paisley version of Simplicity 1108 over the top.

This is my entry into #SewGoldenGirls Instagram challenge open to all, and the annual ASG Anyone Can Win contest (open only to members).

I always knew this fabric was going to be a cover-up of some sort. In fact, I intended to make something to take to Puerto Rico with me last year.

So when these two challenges coincided with one another, I knew it would be fate! I also knew I really wanted to have fringe on it. Which meant I didn’t have to sew on the 3-piece band—yay!!

Paulette is leaning against a beige stucco wall smiling at the camera. She is wearing all black t-shirt and pants ensemble, with a peach and black paisley robe over top.

How is this Golden Girls inspired? Why do I call it my Blanche Deverobe?

I watch that show every morning as I’m having my morning tea latte. It’s a lovely way to start the day, with the nostalgia of some old friends, on a show where almost everything is resolved within the 23-minute episode.

I was one of my favorites as a kid. It aired from my elementary school age into my tween years. Of course I didn’t understand half the jokes. But I remember being very fond of it.

And there are days when I actually have to pause the tv to grab a snapshot of some outrageous outfit that I’d love to recreate. The fashion from the late 80s into the 90s is sometimes cringy, but it can also be pretty damn fabulous!

Rue McClanahan‘s character Blanche Devereaux usually wore colorful outfits that included a fluid blazer or robe-like topper. In the ubiquitous cheesecake-at-the-table scenes, she’s often seen in a floral rainbow house robe like below.

Check out the huge sleeves on that robe!

Of course, the colors of the day were much brighter, not like my pastel peach version. But I still think she would approve of an open-faced fringed paisley robe with big batwing sleeves. Fringe done right is sexy, and sex appeal was Blanche’s forte.

The rest of the Golden Girls also had their own unique styles.

Bea Arthur‘s statuesque Dorothy dressed in a layered lagenlook, and her mom’s character Sophia (played by the diminutive Estelle Getty) had a demure style replete with a handbag she rarely put down.

I’m also a fan of the many shirt dresses worn by Betty White‘s character, the naive Rose Nylund. I might make myself one or two in the future.

As for this little Simplicity robe, it’s gotten a hell of a lot of use. The fringe sheds a little, but that’s okay. I love it for feeling like the lady of the house (I mean, I am the only one who lives here, but the robe gives me extra superpowers). It’s so flowy but not so overwhelming that it gets caught on door knobs.

Paulette is smiling at the camera wearing red glasses and an all black outfit with a peach and black Simplicity 1108 robe over top. She is leaning a hand against a pink velvet chair.

Simplicity 1108 is perfect to wear over a t-shirt or cami. It makes a casual outfit just a little shinier, sexier. And maybe when I can get out to a pool or tropical vacation again, it’ll serve as a real bathing suit cover-up.

Till then I’m just going to continue to lounge in it here at home.

Have you made a robe like Simplicity 1108? What do you think of it? Tell me below!

And bookmark this for later on Pinterest.

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Ellen Best
Oct 3, 2020 6:11 am

I like it especially you modelling in the hat. I am not a cutty sewy type I am just a wordy bird, liking to write. But if you were in Englands green and pleasant land I would beg you to make it for me.