It came to me in a dream the other night! I figured out how to fix the Storm-grey kimono and save it from being a total loss. The ties were not lined up. Oh, two ties were lined up and and the other two ties were lined up but it becomes painfully obvious that all four ties need to line up together. I didn’t think I could ever move the one pair, but then it came to me that I could lengthen the collar band with some leftover scraps and re-attach the ties there. It worked and now the kimono looks like a true Frankenstein with all of the ripped out stitches and re-stitching. I’m hoping it will work as a backup garment. Time and a fitting session with the client will tell.
The client approved of another piece of fabric that I purchased with the kimono in mind. It is an amazing batik that reminds me of ocean waves, both blue as water and sky should be and grey with detail and “grunge” that goes along with ocean water. I opted to reproduce the treasured original garment rather than struggle with the ties and neck fit of the traditional one. I laid the treasured kimono down on the ocean batik and traced the garment pieces using a white chalk marker and a bar of soap. I added seam allowances as I went. Being able to reproduce a favorite RTW garment is an acquired talent. I have finally mastered it, I think. Time, and fitting, will tell in that situation as well.
Introducing, the Ocean-blue kimono.
I was asked by a co-worker at the day job if I could recreate a favorite garment. It seems the co-worker’s significant other had purchased him a casual kimono while on a trip to Japan. The garment had become a treasured item and has been worn almost daily. He wondered if I could make him some more exactly like it with a few minor adjustments. I always like a challenge and have an interest in Japanese garments so I agreed. Sure, I thought, I should be able to do it. My research led me to this book, Make Your Own Japanese Clothes: Patterns and Ideas for Modern Wear. I borrowed this book from my library and found it to be an invaluable resource. Unfortunately, the publisher has closed their doors. On mentioning the book, the client agreed to purchase the book for me as a down payment. Happily, I agreed and received the book a few days later. The client brought me the beloved kimono, gave me precise instruction on fit, and suggested preferred fabric colors and weight.
After careful study, I found that the kimono is in fact styled in a very Americanized manor, not like traditional Japanese garments. It has shoulder seams, a narrower collar width, and shaping more akin to American menswear. “Frankenpatterning” was my best idea at the time. I used traditional Japanese methods of patterndrafting from the book but used the client’s measurements. The book is excellent for assisting with patterndrafting but it lacks the construction detail that I am accustomed to seeing in sewing patterns, in particular location and construction of the self-fabric ties. Considering myself an intermediate sewist, I constructed the new kimono in a storm-grey cotton.
The resulting kimono was beautiful on a clothes hanger. The client was pleased with the color and the fabric weight. It was after the client tried it on that my mistakes became horribly obvious. Two of the four self-ties did not match up resulting in a front that gapped and was unwearable. I could not in good conscience let anything that looked that bad leave my studio. Another co-worker agreed the fit was indeed “horrible”. So I’m going back to the studio with the original garment in hand and the intentions of drafting a pattern based solely on the treasured kimono while planning on another pattern mashup adventure in the near future.