Named Asaka Kimono

To be perfectly fair, I only have myself to blame for the fury that I felt when preparing to sew this pattern. I’m usually more than happy taping together PDF’s but on this occasion I decided to treat myself to the paper copy. I should have read the online product description better, but I didn’t. I read blog reviews that recommended shelling out for the paper copy rather than the PDF, the catch being that those bloggers didn’t sew from the paper copy. They sewed from the PDF. They probably had no idea that the paper pattern is overlapped on one piece of paper (like a Japanese sewing pattern) and has no seam allowances either.

So my paper copy arrived by mail and I put it aside in great excitement, only to open it up on the night I wanted to get started. If I’d wanted to spend an evening on my hands and knees tracing lines and measuring allowances, I would have drafted the pattern myself or modified an existing pattern that I already owned. I already have a good number of patterns and rarely buy a new one. The whole point of buying a new pattern on this occasion (and a paper copy at that) was to be lazy.

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It was an easy sew in the end. The pattern is rated average. I’d venture to call it “easy” if you make it in a woven cotton. Silk would up the ante a little. And my Asaka kimono did turn out to be pretty awesome. The fit is spot on. I lengthened the body by one inch but didn’t change the sleeves. I had just enough fabric to make this work. My waist tie has about 16 separate seams because I was a little short on fabric, but I’m not bothered. The collar on it is lovely too.

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As gorgeous as it is, this robe will be a morning cover up for me, to wear after showers and while sipping my tea. The fabric is a very lightweight cotton which is soft and washable. The sleeve design is fabulous and functional. The front slit means that those long hems won’t be dripping into my tea. It is exactly what I needed in my wardrobe.

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I really do love the overall design of this robe. I can see myself using it again in the future to make a silk version for a formal occasion, but with a longer waist tie that can be looped into a bow. And after all the ranting, I’d still recommend it.

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At the end of the day, I’m glad that I made it. Am I glad that I purchased the paper pattern? No. Would I have bought it knowing what I know today? No. Would I recommend purchasing the PDF version? Yes!

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NEW PATTERN ALERT: The Sea Change top + discount code

I’m so excited to announce a that a new pattern is available in my shop today. It’s the Sea Change top, an easy fitting, kimono style top that is just perfect for high waist jeans and skirts. And in honour of this exciting day, I’m also discounting the pattern (and everything else in my shop, including the Twirl to Me dress pattern) for the next seven days. Use code: SEACHANGE15

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I’ve already been getting a lot of wear out of my versions, and I have a few more planned for Summer.  It’s such an easy and versatile top. Check out the pattern yourself here.

The Sea Change top is tester ready!

This is the kind of easy fitting top that works well in both a knit or a woven. My striped version was made up in a knit, so I thought I’d trial this one in a woven. My fabric of choice is a special length of silk CDC from Tessuti Fabrics. I don’t buy much fabric on whim anymore, but this one just jumped in my shopping cart without any project in mind. I’m glad it did.

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I’m very pleased with the way this top turned out. I love the contrast panels and I especially love the opportunity they provide for mixing fabrics and prints for different looks on the same simple top.

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My blog has been a bit unpredictable over the past week while I’ve been getting it set up properly, so I started my call out for testers on Instagram for this pattern. I’ve had an overwhelming response for some sizes, but I’m still looking for testers in the following sizes: L (14-16) and XXL (20). If you think this might be you and you have the time and energy to trial this very simple top, please let me know. Once again, I have no interest if you blog or shout out to the masses through social media (although if you do, that’s fine by me too). I’m simply interested in your honest feedback.

Sign up form.

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Refashioned: butterfly kimono jacket

I’ve made more than my fair share of kimono style jackets this year (here, here, and here). The style is just so versatile, especially at this time of year when I’m trying to prolong the wear of my Summer gear by layering them upon everything.

 
 
 
 
 

Once again I used B5409 and modified it in the same way as earlier versions. My butterfly silk CDC lived an earlier life as a floaty maxi dress. It was lovely. I loved it, but then I moved on, and there was just too much beautiful fabric in that dress to lay dormant in my cupboard.

 
 

This time round, I used goose biot feathers to fringe the kimono for a fancy, ‘festival’ look.  Google defines fringed kimonos as festival. Who am I to argue with Google. I’ve paired it with my leather shorts and floral bustier for the photos. And if I was headed into Summer, I might have even taken this outfit out for a spin. In real life, we are headed into cooler days, so I want this kimono jacket to wear over my matching, Chanel-inspired dress and pants. I’ll be unpicking those glorious feathers because I don’t think they will fare so well on the school run. But you know me. I’ll use them again for something else.

Dressing gown for Miss Six

So after a little bit of wardrobe shuffling in preparation for Autumn, it became apparent that Miss Six needed a new dressing gown. I must have been particularly kind at the time because I promised to make her one, and that she could even choose the fabric herself. I’d seen a good range of novelty fleece at Jo-ann so we headed there together and came home with turquoise butterflies. It’s not really my cup of tea, but a shade better than the psychadellic tie dye she locked her eyes on first.

 

I used B4322 and made it up in a size 7. My only change was to cut a good 4″ off the arm length. I should also mention that I ignored the construction details as soon as they started to insist upon slipstitching every inside nook and cranny. Seriously! I’m certainly not averse to a bit of handstitching but you won’t catch me handsewing a kid’s dressing gown, especially the entire length of the facing in that long collar! The finished robe is long on Miss Six and quite roomy, but not uncomfortably so. She’s very happy with it and I’m happy knowing that she will be warm and cosy when the weather eventually cools off. 

Layered pant Chanel style

So a little while back, I made an amazing Anna dress. And it really was a fantastic dress. It was my second Anna (my first was a wearable muslin), so the fit was great, the style indisputably pretty, and the fabric, beyond amazing. I’d even drafted a full lining attached to the facing, handstitched some of it’s innards, and took more care than usual in it’s construction. I ended up wearing it three times, to date nights and the like. I got compliments from strangers who noticed the pretty style, or the stunning fabric, or the way the modern graphics of the print were slightly at odds with the feminine style of dress, but at the same time so perfectly matched. But each time I wore it, I always felt like I was wearing someone else’s dress.

I had inklings of this when I was making the dress in the first place. I remember observing, as I was cutting the large portions of fabric required for the gathered skirt, that I could relax because they would be large, undamaged panels that I could cut off and re-use later. My head was telling me that the fabric deserved an Anna, but my heart was telling me to do something a little more uncharted, something a little more me.

Well, it’s the best of both worlds for this most special of special crepe de chines from Colette of Tessuti Fabrics. It lived a wonderful, yet short life as an Anna. And now I’ve had the double pleasure of remaking it into something a little more exciting (twice in fact, if you saw my first remake of layered trackie dacks on Instagram).

So this story needs an intermission now, with a few inspiration shots from the Chanel 2014/15 Cruise collection *swoon*. Let’s call this the triple P collection. It had me Panting, Pinning (Pinterest), and Planning knock offs. There was layering and blending of beautiful fabrics and prints that quite simply left me breathless. Skirts layering pants, culottes layering pants, beautifully shaped 3/4 length sleeves, and all in gorgeous colours and shapes. Here is a taste of my inspiration. Be still my beating heart…

Chanel | Cruise/Resort 2015 Collection via Karl Lagerfeld | Modeled by Magda Laguinge | May 13, 2014; Dubai | Style.com
I love that every look in this collection is a skirt over pants!  my favorite silhouette lately.
Ready-to-wear - CRUISE 2014/15 - Look 56 - CHANEL
Ready-to-wear - CRUISE 2014/15 - Look 50 - CHANEL


 The dress I made is a simple, slip-over-the-head affair. It is self-drafted, mainly because I had a very limited length of fabric to work with and no patterns on hand to match what I wanted. It is unlined, un-faced, and beautifully light to wear. I didn’t have enough fabric to make a facing or create bias binding so I fused bias stay tape to the neck and armscye edges and then turned them back as narrow hems. It worked beautifully. I also wasn’t sure whether to add the waist elastic or not, but I’m glad that I did in the end. This is now a beautiful summer frock that I can see myself wearing a LOT.

 

 

But wait, there’s more! Thanks to Mr Lagerfield, I was also now desperately in need of a pair of matching fancy pant trackie dacks to layer with the dress. So that I did. Once again I used Vogue 8909 (you’ve seen my other versions here and here). But this time I eliminated the yoke, faux fly, and pockets to create a more simple, streamlined pant that could be worn better for layering.


I love the way pants look layered with a simple dress and I also love both items as separates. I’m wondering if I can pass them off as a bit of matchy matchy for Ada Spragg’s Two Piece Set-acular. But before I finish up on this style, I borrowed that kimono for one last go at some print mixing a la Chanel.


Butterfly kimono robe


I am desperately in love with kimono jackets at the moment. This is the third one I’ve made. I used B5409 again. My other versions are here and here. I made the same modifications to the pattern as before, but simply added a contrast panel and straight hemline this time.

 
 

 
 

 

The fabric in the body of the kimono is a stunning cotton/silk from Tessuti. I picked it up as a remnant many, many moons ago. Oh how I miss my favourite remnant table in Surry Hills! I used up my last little bit of butterfly silk (seen also here and here) to add a little bit of contrast and weight to the robe. The colours match beautifully.

In my photos, I paired it with my white man-shirt and a very sneaky RTW purchase of high waist flares. I see so many pairs of fabulous jeans out there in blog-land, but I just don’t feel motivated to go down that road myself yet. I won’t say never though. I never thought I’d sew myself underwear either, but I changed my tune on that a few weeks ago. Proof of my knicker sewing is on Instagram and will remain exclusively there until my six year old develops more arty and discrete photography skills

I actually made this kimono robe as a surprise for somebody special. I won’t mention her by name in case she ends up reading this post. I styled the robe as a jacket for outerwear in my photos, but it can also be worn as a featherweight dressing gown, to be slipped over pyjamas on cool Spring mornings (or nights feeding bub). I’ll always remember the pretty pair of pyjama pants my best girlfriend gave me after the birth of my peep number three. I love baby clothes as much as the next mum, but it was so nice to be given something beautiful that was just for me. Besides, the thought of sewing a baby onesie right now makes me want to poke needles in my eyes. But let’s just go with the first reasoning. It makes me sound so much nicer!

Kimono jacket in gauzy silk

I warned you all that another kimono jacket would be on it’s way soon. It all happened a little quicker than anticipated because I remembered this beautiful silk remnant from Tessuti that I had in my stash. It was such a beautiful length of silk, nearly 2m of it in total. It’s another of those fabrics that photos just cannot do justice. It’s beautifully light and gauzy like chiffon. There are also shiny charmeuse bits through the chiffon that add surface texture, but it is difficult to see this in the photos. The fabric is super sheer, as you can see when I hold it against a window.

  
But enough on this beautiful fabric. I’m guessing you’d like to see what I made with it? Remember my yellow kimono? I used the same pattern, but eliminated the cuffs and facing. I also shortened it to fit the length of fabric I was using.

 

 
 
 

The sheerness of this fabric demands French seams, so I used them throughout. I finished all the edges (including the neckline) with a narrow hem. It’s such a simple pattern but I think it suits the fabric perfectly. Anything more in terms of design would simply be lost on it.

I’m pretty happy with my new kimono. It makes the perfect cover up for a hot summer evening, and it’s already on hot rotation in my wardrobe. I love that it adds a splash of colour to my white jumpsuit.