In April, Ann Williamson blogged about having just made a couple of “hitoe” jacket/blouses from her kimono silk stash. She calls them ‘hitoe’, the Japanese word for a silk, light weight, unlined kimono, because these jacket/blouses are unlined. By chance she discovered they look terrific layered, so often she shows them in pairs, like the two hitoe below (each with contrasting facing fabrics).
I love Ann’s work and the garments she creates. After my visit to her studio in Portland Oregon in 2013, I ordered some kimono silk myself from Ichiroya.com.
Kimono silk comes in 14″ wide bolts with anywhere from 10-12 yards of fabric – enough, I’ve discovered for a single jacket/blouse. The hitch is you have to piece the fabric to make it wide enough to create a garment. Or you can do what Ann does – cut the silk into small bits, piece it into a large swath of fabric from which to construct a garment.
In this case I decided rather than cutting my silk into bits and piecing it, I’d use a princess pattern – all the pieces would fit on the width of the kimono bolt.
It just so happens I have a princess-based pattern I could adapt to create a hitoe – McCall’s pattern M4394 (out of print but available online from eBay, for example, although I actually bought my copy from McCall’s some time last year). It’s a vintage classic coordinated collection. I’d bought it because of the simple lines and the fact that it actually had fit adjustment markings on each of the pattern pieces!
View “A” (shortened a bit) I thought would work for a hitoe like Ann’s. I selected the pieces I needed for the jacket, traced each, making size adjustments to the tracing. Cut out each pattern piece ready to work on the kimono silk.
This is where I should be making a “muslin” – trying out the garment using some inexpensive fabric first to make sure the fit works. I actually went so far as to prep some muslin from my stash, but thought – why not try the pattern using one of the kimono silk fabrics I’m not especially fond of – if it works (with adjustments, likely) I end up with a wearable garment, If not, I will have learned what I want to anyway before using silk I really like.
I selected the mauve silk with trees in the clouds. The bands of pattern are intended to embellish the kimono sleeves and hem area. I was able to match up the pattern for the front so the design crosses from high on the right shoulder to lower on the left hip, lining up across the center front.
I was able to match the center back but the side back pieces had to be solid mauve (no pattern left). One sleeve has an enlarged tree in the center of the upper arm.
So far, I’ve pieced the fronts and backs. Now I’m ready to piece the sleeves (these are two-piece sleeves which I needed in order to have them fit the fabric width – a single-piece sleeve would have been too wide for the fabric).
I thought about doing the facings in a contrasting fabric, but I’ve used the mauve for that purpose in order not to detract from the flowing design in the main fabric.
More to come as this garment develops.