Sometimes, you just need to drop whatever you’re doing, like, immediately, and make a big, sweet, tropical bowl of icing for dinner. It’s the sewing equivalent of shaking up an Etch-A-Sketch; it pulls you out of your routine, clears your brain and creates a blank, fresh slate that reminds you how much fun it is to simply make stuff for your own selfish pleasure.
The Asaka Kimono is my latest sewing etch-a-sketch. I’ve been working on a lot of boring admin stuff and new pattern development and really needed a little mental break. I was quite taken with the spirit and general vibe of the new Named collection, and basically started panting like a dog in 100 degree heat when I saw this pattern. I was fairly lukewarm on the kimono DIY trend last summer, mostly because when I think “kimono” I think dramatic sleeves, and most of the patterns and tutorials I was seeing were basically just boxy jackets. But Asaka could be the star of a sleeve porno. These sleeves are obscene, and I can’t get enough. To be honest, it’s one of those designs that makes me a little mad I didn’t think of it first.
Thankfully, my buddies over at Globetex emailed me to let me know they had recieved a new shipment of rayon challis in stock last month. Did I run over there without even finishing the email, perhaps with hair still wet from the shower? I may have, dear readers. Did I buy almost 25 meters of aforementioned challis in 6 colours and patterns because it was only $3 a meter? Perhaps. Did I immediately spot this technicolour Golden Girls wallpaper print and yell out ASAKA KIMONO! to the surprised and confused bystanders in the fabric warehouse? I cannot confirm or deny that fact. What I can confirm is that I stinkin’ love this fabric and the resulting robe. My only regret is not getting a chance to photograph it in the Arizona desert this month, but alas. There were rattlesnakes and curious retirees in golf carts everywhere I looked. The white studio wall will have to suffice.
While I may have referred to this garment as “icing” in the top of my post, I think I’ll actually get a lot of wear out of it this spring and summer. Now that I’ve retired the velvet “winter” bathrobe for the season, I’m in need of something light and breathy to wear around the house after showers, and on those Sundays when putting on real clothes feels like too much commitment. As my Carolyn Pajamas can attest, I’m a big fan of luxurious lounge wear, and what’s more luxe than a drapey, soft kimono with obscene, useless but beautiful sleeves?
This was my first time sewing a Named design but I wasn’t surprised to discover it was only nested in two sizes; I’ve heard this is the norm with their layouts. I could see this being a problem with a more fitted design if you have to grade between 3 or 4 sizes, but since it’s a loose-fitting shape, it’s probably not as critical. The pieces were also overlapped, which I didn’t mind since I am a tracer and a non-overlapped pattern would have eaten up 50 pages or more. The one thing I did find annoying was seam allowances; while they were included, it was only for 3/8″ rather than the standard 5/8″. Fine if you’re serging your seams, but considering this pattern was designed for silky, drapey fabrics, I found it a little strange that the seam allowance wouldn’t permit french seams. Needless to say, I added a 1/4″ to my seams by roughly eye balling it while I was cutting out the fabric with my rotary cutter and then french-seamed all of the guts. The rest of the construction was pretty uneventful, although my fusible was a touch on the heavy side, so the belt and collar are probably a little too stiff. Since rayon is so wiggly, stitching in the ditch along the collar didn’t result in the most even stitching on the inside, but meh. No one sees there but me. And if I ever make this again, I’m definitely adding pockets.
All in all, I am in complete and utter sleeve lust with this make. I’d love to wear it as a dress but it would need a few mods to stay modest all day long. As is, it’s going to be my lazy glam houselook for the foreseeable future. Has anyone else made a pattern from the new Named collection? Would you wear this pattern as a dress or is it better left as an inside only type affair?