In a climate where 8.5°C is the average annual temperature, a kimono seems sensible. I can foresee it getting worn precisely thrice. Who says I don’t get value for my time and effort?
This kimono was one of those makes that you have to keep coming back to in sessions. If I’m honest, it was down to my decision to hand roll the hems. I really don’t help myself do I? Especially when I kept cutting holes in it. Okay, so I cut one hole in it. Thankfully it was near the front hemline so a little trim down solved the problem.
I had a couple of reasons for wanting to hand roll the hems. Primarily it was dictated by the fabric choice. It’s a cheap polyester, with a blurred effect floral print, I picked up at Walthamstow Market when I was there in January. At the time I had thought to make a set of sexy pjs so I only got a 1.5m of it. I inevitably went off the idea, thinking it would be perfect for a dressing gown instead but alas, I didn’t have enough fabric to make it work.
Anyway, the fabric is a little sheer and doesn’t take well to having holes (of the intentional, stitch variety) being put through it, so I figured a hand stitched hem would be the best way to go. Especially given that I had planned to add fringing. More importantly though, I just wanted to try out hand stitching.
I found it quite therapeutic but it takes forever, and the thought of sitting down to do it was enough of a stymie to put off finishing it for about 3 months. Even then it took the course of three weeks to do the whole hem. I’m glad I stuck with it though because I’m super pleased with how it turned out.
I took my inspiration from the Topshop kimono pictured below. It stops about midway down the calf and I was itching to try out a silhouette that didn’t finish above the knee but again, my lack of fabric proved a hindrance.
I was keen to stay true to the straight lines of the kimono, so I used Butterick B6176, View A, in size XS. It’s a very quick and easy sew, and because it’s not fitted, you shouldn’t need to make many alterations. I used french seams, which took longer than I imagined they would. Other than that the only real changes for me were made at the lower hem. I took it up another inch or two, and even further at the two side seams. Maybe I just have narrow shoulders?
The fringing is from Craftswoman Fabrics in Carrickfergus. It was looped and I simply cut the loops in half after I’d stitched it on. For aesthetic’s sake instead of sewing the braided section of the fringe trim to the right side of the garment, I sewed it to the wrong side as I feel that it gives a cleaner, more professional finish. Also, I only attached it with one row of stitching rather than the recommended two.
However, this little minx of a kimono was hell bent on surprising me. She had clearly developed a taste for holes as during its final press, what did it have to go and do? Get burnt. Damn you cheap polyester. And me for having the iron on too high. Whoops.
The location these photos were taken in is really special to me. It’s a little bridge just down the road from where my Granda lived. The peddle-dash on the house has little shards of red and green bottle glass mixed through it, like gems hidden amongst the other lacklustre rocks. Mum would tell us stories about paddling in the stream that flows beneath, in hot(ish) summer days, when she was a little girl. Although, most puddles have more depth, so paddling might not be the most appropriate word.
You couldn’t paddle in it now. It’s got so overgrown that you would struggle to get down to it. Even though it’s only a few miles away from where I live, it was nice to visit it again. So much so that my brother was almost, dare I say, excited to be my photographer. It’s on one of those less-travelled country lanes that come complete with tufts of grass in the centre. You can even see the huge leaves of wild rhubarb growing on the edges. The cows were pretty bemused at the spectacle we made.
Sometimes it feels like such simple pastimes are completely lost to us now. I love technology but I can’t help but feel that my childhood was a little less rich because of it. How do you feel about it? Are such simple pleasures all but gone?