Victorian Viola Robe



Cheyenne Miler


Outline the story …

I have always been interested in the gowns of the Italian Renaissance. When I saw a painting from the Italian Renaissance that depicted a sleeveless outer gown of pink floral brocade, I was in love. I also loved the idea of the tea gowns from the 1870s. I wanted a robe that merged the two together. Therefore, I took elements from each era; the multiple long narrow panels from the Middle Ages, the sleeves from the 1800s, and the idea of the robe itself from the 1800s. The robe consists of 10 long narrow panels that flare out dramatically. The sleeves are a 2-piece sleeve taken from “The "Keystone" Jacket and Dress Cutter: An 1895 Guide to Women's Tailoring”. I have also been recently inspired by the new House of the Dragon show, and wanted to have a garment that would be able to fit into that universe. In general, I have been inspired by so many things, and I wanted to create something that was a mashup of all my inspirations. The design of deep rich purple with floral embroidery was a rendition of the gown I had seen depicted in the Italian Renaissance painting. However pink was not my color. I was inspired more by açaí berries and blueberries, as that is my guinea pig’s favorite fruits. Additionally he is crazy for flowers. I wanted to incorporate my love for my guinea pig Chuck by being inspired by his favorite fruits and flowers.

Outline the construction…

My robe lining is made from cotton voile and cotton broadcloth, the outer part is made from cotton velveteen. The robe consists of 10 narrow panels that span from the shoulders to the floor and flare out dramatically. This robe is my first entirely self-drafted garment. I have been sewing for only 2 years and have stuck to commercial patterns, so this aspect was challenging. I had no intention of drafting the sleeves, but when I tried to use a commercial pattern the look was not what I desired. This robe is entirely machine stitched, because I needed to improve my machine stitching. Prior to this, I mainly hand stitched, I thought that a sewing machine was hard to control. One huge obstacle I had was the lack of fabric, both the lining and velvet were discontinued. My lining fabric was only 4 yards, not nearly enough for the robe. I had to get creative with piecing the fabric together, but even that was not enough. I ended up needing to use a different cotton fabric that I had on hand as I could not afford a closer fabric match. This made me very nervous for the velvet, as it is one directional unlike the lining, and I only had 6 yards of that. I ended up having just enough fabric, which was a major relief. I added some bias tape around the neckline of the robe to provide additional structure, as I did not want the neckline to stretch.




  1. Avatar Steffi Wee on May 10, 2023 at 10:39 am

    What beautiful construction! Congratulations on your first self-drafted garment – it turned out wonderful!

  2. Avatar Jenny jenny b on May 22, 2023 at 12:48 pm

    This is incredible! The colour and silhouette are so dramatic – congratulations!!

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