Handmade Christmas – Suki x2

Review of Christmas presents: Mum and Mhairi, please don’t read!

After making my own Suki Kimono, I wrote about how my mum deserved one. She has borrowed my Dad’s dressing gown after her bath for as long as I can remember, but I know she’d really enjoy having one for herself. I can’t quite remember how it came about that I offered to make one for my middle sister, but it was at some point in the summer. (In the name of fairness, let me also explain that I offered to make one for my eldest sister too, but she said no thanks!).

This fantastic pattern is from Helen’s Closet, a pattern company that has some really exciting patterns. I made these Suki’s in the same size as my own – large – as the recipients were able to try on my version. Despite knowing a while ago what I was making for Christmas it took a while to find fabric, and even longer to get started!!

The fabric is divine double linen from Mandors, Glasgow. I didn’t even know fabric like this existed, but after looking for (what felt like) months online, I had suddenly found the perfect stuff for both my mum and my sister.

Suki kimono double linen mandors
Finished blue cuffs

The fabric was on an end-of-summer sale, which means that I could actually afford it. It feels luxurious and natural and I am really, very impressed with it. I just wish there had been a third colourway for me to buy for myself! I will definitely be looking out for more of this this summer.

The fabric is very soft, lightly crumpled on the top, with an underlayer of roughly woven linen strands. Despite the rather coarse sounding description, even that under layer is extra-ordinarily soft and I think it will feel lovely on the skin after showering and bathing.

Suki kimono double linen mandors
Wobbly stitching and underside of the fabric
I topstitched around the ties as I think the fabric would have lost its shape really quickly. Hopefully this enable the ties to keep their shape.

The fabric was interesting to work with, namely because it was very bouncy. That meant that it didn’t really hold a press (or pins) very precisely, and it was also very fray-y. I French-seamed the whole thing (including the pockets) again. The fabric is maybe slightly too bulky for this, but I don’t have an overlocker, and I didn’t think a zig-zag would be sufficient. I’m pleased with the finish so I think I made the right decision 🧵

As last time, I made the decision to do invisible stitching around the neckline and arm cuffs, but knew as soon as I’d done the blue that if I had had more time I would have finished these bits with hand stitching. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I was just too pushed for time to take it apart and handstitch.

Hand basting again came in very useful and enabled me to get a better result than pins would have allowed. Careful use of hand techniques in this way is becoming a more important part of my sewing, as I slow down and practice more patience.

Suki kimono double linen mandors

The pattern was super easy again. I really enjoy putting these together. I completed the blue one first, just to make sure I was doing it correctly, and then worked on the pink. The only change I made was to adjust the way the waist loops are sewn in. I find it clumsy, with the loops facing in the opposite direction to where the waist ties come from, especially in this thick fabric, so I turned it round as shown.

Once the blue version was completed, the pink came together in no time at all, and I did find the time for hand-stitching by completing all the machine sewn parts prior to my ferry trip home. This was a perfect excuse to sit and chat and finish off the hand-sewing in order to create a truly lovely finish.

Inside of the cuffs on the pink version

I do wish I had done the same with the blue, but hopefully no comparison will ever be made. The other advantage to having it along on the early morning ferry trip, was for it to provide me with a pillow as I caught up on my sleep! This is getting to be a habit…

I used ribbon for the internal ties on the pink, and did half the pockets in a habotai that I had in the stash. This was partly due to discovering how bulky the fabric was while making the first, and partly selfish: I would really like to make something with the leftovers!!

I put the request for the recipients not to read this post at the top, as if they read, they will look closer and see the imperfections that I’ve mentioned, and may make comparisons between the two kimonos. I don’t want that to happen, so hopefully they won’t read this. I also hope that in the name of love, no one will be examining these for any mistakes, as they are definitely not perfect.

By the point that they were all wrapped up and ready to go, I could hardly wait for them to unwrap them on Christmas morning! The response upon opening was really positive and made the effort that was put into them more than worthwhile. Mum has been wearing hers after her bath and hopefully Mhairi will get into wearing hers as well.

Sadly I never managed to get photos of the kimonos on bodies, but the pink ended up going to mum and the blue to Mhairi. I wrapped them the same and didn’t label so that it would be a surprise who got which one, as I couldn’t decide which would suit which best. They say they’re pleased with their individual colours so I think everything worked out fine.

I very much doubt this will be the last time I use this pattern as I can’t get a particular cosy idea out of my head!!! I’ll leave you in suspense at the moment until I get the idea pulled together a bit more 😉

I hope you all had a wonderful festive season and are looking forward to 2019 with good cheer.

Photos of (one of) the finished articles can now be found here.

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