Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Crafting: Kimono in the Making

I could go into great detail as to why I haven't written anything for a couple of weeks. I could say that I haven't had time to properly dress, but that wouldn't be true. I simply haven't had a chance to photograph any of my more recent outings, and it's very difficult to talk about style and ensemble without visual reference.

Even when I'm not in kimono, I still find myself thinking of wearing them, and deporting myself with the same calm and grace as I hope that I manage when dressed. It is a gentle reminder for more stressful or aggravating times. I sat down earlier this week to try to write on this theme but found myself distracted. More to the point, I had a sewing project that I wanted to be working on that was far more relevant to this blog than my idle musings and I realized that I wasn't going to be able to write anything worth sharing until I'd done something about it.

Snow Bunnies, uncut
This is a roll or tan of yukata fabric. It is a fairly lightweight cotton and has a wonderful feel. The pattern, is quite charming and will be a wonderful, cooling reminder when worn in summer. I took this photograph a couple of weeks ago, after I finished ironing it.

Snow bunnies, cut. The sleeves are at the bottom left of the frame and you can see that I gave them a girlishly young, rounded corner. For my age, I should have perhaps gone with something a little more squared off, but the pattern is so fun and whimsical that I couldn't resist.

The cut yukata from another angle. This is the wrong side of the fabric.
I took these photos after finally cutting the pieces for the yukata. I use the Folkwear Japanese Kimono Pattern (#113) and I plan to do a more in-depth photo essay in the future as I make another kimono. I can't recommend this pattern highly enough as the instructions are quite clear and straightforward and Folkwear is very good about adding cultural details and information along with the pattern instructions. I did not get any more photos of my assembly process this time around, but I can assure you that this yukata is now complete and that I will be sharing photos of it as I go out in the near future.

This particular length of fabric has been waiting a very long time to be made into a garment. It was originally purchased for my roommate, Ann, and she had hoped to make a yukata for herself. To that end, she had purchased some additional burgundy cotton that she felt she might need to augment the original fabric so that she could have a garment that fit. (I used this fabric to face the sleeve openings at wrist and near the body.)

Through one thing and another, the fabric was never cut and eventually she handed it off to me as I was more likely to actually make a yukata. Even then, it sat in my fabric stash for quite some time until the kimono bug really took hold on me and we decided that not only was this a color that I could wear, but that such an adorable print really needed to be made so it could be worn and shared.

Part of my delay was also concern for not showing proper respect for the fabric. I was afraid that I would miscut something and render it unusable  After all, this was a unique tan-- it wasn't like I could go out to our nearest fabric store and buy more. It was also fabric that had been given to me, and I wanted very much to show my respect and appreciation for that. Of course, the best way to show that was to actually use the fabric for its intended purpose and with that in mind, I continued with care, laying out my pattern several times to ensure I could get all of the pieces I needed before finally cutting.

Because of the nature of the pattern, I feel more comfortable treating this garment as a hitoe (unlined) cotton kimono rather than a yukata, and plan on wearing it for the upcoming holiday season, as well as for Obon next summer. It really is the pattern that makes it so versatile-- I simply can't bring myself to wear my other yukata at this time of year; their patterning is simply too 'summery.'

I have other fabrics waiting to become lovely garments, and now that I have had some success with this one, I feel that I can move with more confidence onto these other treasures that are simply waiting to be brought into the light.

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