Like most people (well, women) I am little self conscious of my figure, but I think that I’ve become way more relaxed about it over the past few years – there are definitely better things to spend my time thinking about. I would be throughly happy to let my ‘post-baby body’ take the time it needs to get itself sorted (because pyjamas all day in winter = happiness ) however… I want to sew! Pretty things ALL FOR MYSELF using my growing stash of beautiful fabric. I have attempted to go up a couple of sizes but it’s looking like I’m going to have a full-bust-adjustment situation on top of that, so the motivation part of my brain is all like ‘nuh-uh honey’.
Enter, stage right: the kimono jacket. AKA the garment of minimal fit.
I’ve attempted a couple of kimonos before from online tutorials but never liked the way they hung. I know there is not much too them, but if I can find something to be picky about, generally I will! The (3rd) Great British Sewing Bee book has a kimono pattern that I thought I may as well try. The design is basic and is more a modern interpretation of a kimono than traditional style, with variations for stretch or woven fabrics. There is no separate arm piece like some kimono patterns; The woven version includes a band that runs around the edge which can be made in a contrast fabric (however I used self fabric); and there is a small tuck on each front shoulder (which is totally disguised by the print).
I crudely traced it off the pattern sheet onto newspaper using a felt-tip one night, when I decided that I just couldn’t wait to compile more appropriate materials. After a number of traced garments in a row I am truly sick of them and am dying to cut into a sheet of pattern tissue or a pdf printout! I used a cheap fabric that feels very plastic-polyester, mainly because I didn’t have high hopes of the finished garment (after the previous failed attempts) and also because it was the least slippery of the drapey, lightweight fabrics I could find. It was really easy to cut out but my machine didn’t like to sew it much.
Apart from the tucks, I think I ended up overlocking all of the other seams except the sleeve hems. The instructions for those were to fold back a hem, but even with the narrow-est of hems it wasn’t sitting properly so I thought I’d try bias binding. You can just make out in the photos below how the binding causes the armhole to bell out – ohh well, no real drama there but I’d try to find a better solution if I made it again.
The band is interfaced, but it feels a bit stiff compared to the flowy fabric. I’m not sure whether it will soften in the wash. If not I think I would consider not interfacing next time. I think I’ve gotten to a point in my sewing where I’m ready to start using fancier interfacings, but I don’t know much about them. If you have any tips or know of any good links, let me know.
So what do I think? Well I can’t complain about the pattern – the finished garment looks very similar to the picture in the book and it was straightforward to make. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, it’s just that the cheap fabric lets it down. I suppose it was only intended to be a muslin (or ‘test run’ since it didn’t require fitting). Like my previous attempts, I think that this has a tendency to make me look wide because it fits so loosely over my waist. I’m on the fence about whether I will make another but I keep seeing awesome versions on Pinterest.. like a baby pink velvet one – that looks so much cooler than it sounds (probably way too cool for me to pull off!).
*erm, excuse the tired eyes in the close up – yikes!