Asaka Kimono

Asaka Kimono

No time like a wedding to bust out the silk, right?

A few weeks ago I posted the silk Belladone dress I made to wear to a wedding rehearsal dinner, and now this is the main event: the Wedding Guest Dress. As soon as I RSVPed I started plotting what I would wear… I wanted to make something fun and out of the ordinary, that I wouldn’t normally have a good excuse to make. What immediately came to mind was Named’s Asaka Kimono pattern – which I’d fallen in love with the minute I laid eyes on it – and this seemed like the perfect occasion to try it out!

Asaka Kimono

Asaka Kimono

Asaka Kimono

The fabric is a super-lovely silk crepe de chine which I won in last year’s Anima Pant Contest. I’m so glad I finally found the perfect project for it! It feels amaaazing to wear, and was surprisingly not too difficult to sew. I think the slightly raised texture of crepe de chine makes it the easiest type of silk to sew – it was certainly much less shifty than the silk twill I used for my Belladone dress.

The hardest part of making this kimono was cutting it out. I had about a 1/2 meter less fabric than was called for, so pattern piece placement was crucial. Silk’s not easy to cut out at the best of times, and with the added fabric shortage pressure the situation was a little stressful and time-consuming. I was just barely able to eke it out of the fabric I had, but the inner collar pieces and belt had to be pieced together, and there were only the tiniest of scraps left over.

Asaka Kimono

Asaka Kimono

Asaka Kimono

After the cutting drama thankfully the kimono itself came together pretty easily. The construction’s actually fairly simple. The instructions are thorough, and there really aren’t any tricky bits at all – not even a zipper or bias binding to deal with. It’s a loose fitting garment, so you don’t have to worry too much about fit. I didn’t want it to be too loose, so I sized down to a 32 from my usual 34, which seemed to work well. I didn’t make any other alterations.

If you want to wear the kimono as a dress, you’ll need to address the center front situation. A kimono’s basically a robe, so the collar will definitely gape open. I just stuck a pin through a couple layers of the collar, and it worked well for me. It’s not visible from the outside since you’re only sticking it through the under layer, and I didn’t have any issues with the pin poking me or falling out even after hours of dancing/eating/etc. A more elegant solution would be to tack the collar pieces together or maybe add a snap, but the pin works! The kimono overlaps enough at the bottom that I didn’t have any flashing issues there.

Asaka Kimono

Asaka Kimono

Asaka Kimono

I can 100% recommend wearing kimonos to weddings! With the adjustable belt you can eat as much cake as you want (I might have had three slices…) and the flowiness of the kimono makes it so fun to dance in! The sleeves are basically the best ever.

I’m not really sure when I’ll have an opportunity to wear this kimono again (it’s not exactly an everyday kind of garment) but I’m very glad I made it! And if you can think of any kimono-appropriate events other than summer weddings let me know!

<3 Lindsay

Mesa Dress

Mesa Dress

I’ve been all about summer dresses lately. And when I saw the latest pattern from Seamwork Magazine, the Mesa shift dress, I just couldn’t resist bumping it to the top of my sewing queue. It’s super quick – you can get it cut out and sewn within two hours. And I just so happened to have the perfect bamboo jersey in my stash!

I made an XS, and while my waist measurement is in that column, my bust and hips are about 1.5″ smaller. Funnily enough, I thought the fit was good in the bust and hips, but I had to take it in at the waist. I had a lot of fabric pooling at the low back (a common occurrence with shift dresses I think), so I took in the side seams 3/4″ at the waist on both sides as kind of a quick and dirty fix. It solved the problem pretty well, although I feel like there must be a better way to do it. There’s no center back seam, so a normal swayback adjustment won’t work. Any thoughts?

That’s the only alteration I made to the pattern. The sleeve length and hem length are unchanged, and I’m 5’4″, for reference.

Mesa Dress

Mesa Dress

Mesa Dress

I used this striped bamboo rayon knit from fabric.com and I love it. After my Lady Skater and now this dress, bamboo is quickly becoming my favorite knit fabric. It’s a bit more expensive that normal rayon, but I’ve found that it holds up much better. It’s super soft and the perfect medium-weight thickness that is substantial enough not to cling to every lump and bump, but still light enough to wear for a summer dress. After some recent failures with flimsy lightweight rayon that pills if you look at it the wrong way, I think I may be a permanent bamboo convert.

Mesa Dress

Mesa Dress

Mesa Dress

One quibble I have with Seamwork/Colette is that I wish they would be a bit more economical with their PDF patterns. This pattern took 33 pages, and all the other ones I’ve printed have seemed to take about 10 too many pages as well. The main problem is that their tiles are much too small and leave a lot of wasted space on the page. The pattern piece layouts aren’t the best either. If you’re cutting one of the smaller sizes you can take a look through the PDF before you print and omit pages that only have bits of sizes you don’t need on them – I can usually save at least 5 pages that way.

The instructions are great though! And overall I’m definitely a fan both of this pattern and the magazine in general. It’s really fun opening my e-mail to find two new patterns on the first of every month!

Mesa Dress

Mesa Dress

Mesa Dress

This is the most comfortable dress ever – it seriously just feels like wearing a t-shirt. It’s the perfect easy outfit for hot and humid days. I’ll be wearing this dress a lot this summer, and I’ll definitely be making a couple more as well! With tights and boots, I think this pattern will also transition really well into fall.

Are you a Seamwork subscriber? A shift dress fan? Do you know where I can buy all the bamboo? Let me know!

<3 Lindsay

Silk Belladone

Silk Belladone

Back to the beginning! Deer & Doe’s Belladone Dress was the first indie pattern I ever picked up, and I used it to make my wedding dress back in 2013. Ever since, it’s been in the back of my mind to use the pattern again to make a simpler daytime dress. So that was the idea when I pulled the pattern back out, but somehow it morphed into something a bit more silky and fancy than originally planned!

The thing was, I needed a dress for a wedding rehearsal dinner I was attending… aaaand I had this beautiful silk twill in my stash from my recent trip to Paris. Then I had the idea to add some contrast flat piping at the waistband and back cut-out, and this dress’s fate was sealed. I’ll get to you one day, casual Belladone!

Silk Belladone

Silk Belladone

Silk Belladone

I made the flat piping and bias binding from a bit of royal blue poly satin. Originally I had the bias binding showing around the neckline and armholes, but it looked kind of off. Too sporty or something. So I flipped it to the inside instead and tried stitching it down by machine. That didn’t look good either, so I unpicked it and stitched it down by hand instead. It took forever, but it definitely looks better this way, even if there is still a bit of puckering. This silk fabric is pretty unforgiving.

I made the same size as my last Belladone, 34 graded to 36 at the waist. I omitted the hem facing, and just did a small double turned hem instead. The only other change I made was to the upper back bodice. My last Belladone tended to gape a bit so I made the easy alteration detailed by Lauren here. Basically you just slash up the middle of the pattern piece and overlap by however much you need to take out – I did 1/4″.

Silk Belladone

Silk Belladone

Silk Belladone

This was my first experience sewing with 100% silk fabric. I was expecting it to be shifty and difficult, but it really wasn’t too bad. It’s actually a bit easier than sewing with rayon bemberg, which I’ve done quite a few times for linings. This is dangerous knowledge though, because now I’m going to want to make everything out of silk! It’s so lovely and floaty to wear. I at least need to make a few silk camisoles to help keep me cool in the summer humidity. Any pattern recommendations?

Silk Belladone

Silk Belladone

Silk Belladone

Silk Belladone

I’ve been on a bit of a dress-making kick – four in May and already two in June! It’s a fun change from the basics and separates I’ve been making a lot of lately. I do need some shorts pretty desperately though, so that’s next on my list!

<3 Lindsay