Years ago, I managed to pick up a genuinely vintage robe on eBay. It was sold as 1950′s, but I suspect it’s earlier. It was sheer, made from rayon, with a pleated bust, twisted ribbon details, covered buttons fastenings, short, fluter sleeves, a truly staggeringly swooshy bias cut skirt, and the teeniest tiniest rolled hems and French seams you can possibly imagine.
We used it to shoot the original Van Doren knickers and suspender belts, and then I spent about a year fielding queries about whether anyone could borrow one/when would it be available.
Fast forward a few years, and Danielle, who makes our corsets, decides for various reasons to pack in her pattern cutting career in London and move to some tiny Island that seems to have tax issues an make things for people. Happily this is a godsend, as she makes a pattern for a robe that looks similar, but doesn’t include all the things that would make this incredibly expensive to produce (do not talk to me about things that aren’t overlocked. Or covered buttons.) Although she did have to do some very careful jiggling to make it remotely affordable fabric wise – each robe takes 2.5 metres of fabric to produce, which is about 6 times as much, if not more, as the average bit of even our lingerie (which tends towards the maximal).
Should you now be feeling horny, ours were kindly loaned by Liv Free Creations (and were spangly!).
Now, we’ve had about a million sizing queries about them, so here are all the things I’ve been asked for so far. We did update the sizing – the original was very very tiny! And the fastenings are now a velvet ribbon tie. Plus, it’s now polyester chiffon, which trust me, is way easier to wash than rayon.
If you are worried about your arms fitting in, here are the measurements for the outside edge of the sleeve:
Small – 37 cm – 14.6 inches
Medium – 38.2 cm – 15 inches
Large – 39.7 cm – 15.6 inches
Extra Large – 40 cm – 15.7 inches
Waist wise, here’s how it breakdown; its a high waist, as you can see in the images.
Small – 70 cm – 27.5 inches
Medium – 80 cm – 31.5
Large - 92 cm - 36.2 inches
Extra Large – 104 cm - 40.9 inches
You can get into it with a bigger waist – as it ties rather than needing buttons or hooks and eyes, but it won’t close shut at the waist if you are bigger than this.
The hips are free size – the skirt is HUGE, bias cut panels with acres of fabric in, so you don’t need to worry. the bust has a good deal of flexibility because of the pleats (which are permanent, by the way), but we haven’t been able to test it on anyone over about an E/F.
The length; on a mannequin stand, from neck to hem:
Extra Large 143
So thats about 55-56 inches. If you, like me, have a big bum, expect it to sit shorter than that!
When you get yours, do send us a video because judging by the samples, its at its most satisfying when you’re going swoosh around the place. And you can expect to see me wearing it at every opportunity!