September 2018 | Mismatched Buttons (A Monthly Journal)
After August’s vacation sewing madness I slowed down my sewing, which was really nice and very necessary. As our holiday was quite brief (a week on the ground in Canada, and a total of something like 30 hours of flying there and back) the jet lag was pretty intense: although I had grand plans of starting about six projects the first weekend that we were back, I ended up watching Outlander on the couch for two days instead and to my mind that was juuust fine. I think as well as jet lag, I had burnt up my sewjo a bit with that unthinking period of vacation sewing, so it was important for me to take the time out and have a bit of space from it.
You can read about my vacation sewing here, and also the holiday itself here. But as I reflect more and more on the clothes I made for it I think it’s very important for me to resist that sort of behaviour in future. It was … fun, in a sense, but it felt like it tipped over into the equivalent of that fast-fashion adrenaline rush of buying too many clothes at a sale, rather than what I want my sewing to be—slow, considered, with pieces that I’ve really thought about and taken time to sew as beautifully as possible. So I guess it was an interesting lesson, and I hope that in future I read this post before the red-mist descends and I fall into that vacation sewing mania again.
Now on to what I did manage to do in September, which wasn’t a lot but I’m still very proud of!
Mixy-Matchy Kochi Kimono: DONE
It came off the WIP pile and is now finished!
Continuing with my series of Papercut Pattern makes, I’m stoked to have finally finished my Kochi Kimono. I Frankensteined the shell fabric for this from some oddly-shaped remnants I picked up at the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s destash—an extremely sumptuous affair that happened earlier this year. All the way back in April, I took over the floor of Emma’s Atelier to put the fabric into some semblance of a rectangle that I could cut the pieces from, which was a great deal of fun!
The Kochi Kimono has three versions. Version one is unlined, and with a collar stand, ties and patch pockets; version two is much simpler aesthetic, without the collar or the ties, but is lined; and version three is unlined, but with a collar stand.
Wanting all the bells and whistles, I chose variation one, complete with two patch pockets and ties both inside and outside. But because the fabric was Frankensteined together quite roughly, I also wanted it to be lined so the internal finishing wasn’t an issue (see? AAALL the bells and whistles). I was pretty stoked with how I thought I’d hacked the pattern to make this work all by myself! …until I saw that Papercut Patterns has a full blog post on how to add lining to Variation 3 (see the post here). Ah well, I still think I did an alright job, and I also found a way to make the internal ties work with the lining, by making a small slit in each of the lining side seams, stitching around the outside of the slit and feeding the ties through.
To finish it, I decided to bias bind the edges of the shell and hand-sew the binding to the lining, and (continuing the theme of mixy-matchy) I plundered some of my patchwork cottons for the binding. I have a very beautiful collection of Japanese taupe fabrics, of which I used half-inch wide lengths, randomly put together into lengths to form the binding, and I think it gives a really beautiful finish, no? It was also very nice to reacquaint myself with my patchwork stash and see its potential for use in aspects of my garment sewing, and these taupe fabrics are going to be making a showing in another garment very soon.
Although I like the symmetry of the two pockets and four ties, I probably wouldn’t have them all in future. It does become a little weird, when you tie it closed, negotiating how the two pockets overlap.
So I’ll indulge in some asymmetry with a single pocket in future editions of this. I’d possibly also leave out the collar stand, meaning my next Kochi might be closer to a version two—no collar stand and lined, but with a single patch pocket.
I have very much enjoyed wearing this wee jacket, both as an extra layer beneath my Sapporo coat while the winter was still flexing its cold-weather muscles, and now, while spring starts to assert herself, as a light layer during the day. It’s a rare day or night in Wellington that doesn’t require a light layer, even in the height of summer—an unlined coat or jacket, a cardigan, or dainties like this—so I’m going to enjoy making a few of these Kochi’s (and other kimono jackets besides) to cater for this most changeable of climates.
A Dangerous Coat
On the cusp of September shifting into October, I also cut out my Kelly Anorak from Closet Case Patterns. This pattern has been on my list since I began sewing a few years ago, and I now feel ready to tackle what a number of people have described as a bit of an arse-kicker.
The shell of the jacket is a very deep teal cotton mix. It’s a workwear grade fabric and I hope its hard wearing qualities will mean this is a make that will withstand a lot of outdoor use in the future. To contrast this tough shell, I’m using a very delicately coloured viscose from Atelier Brunette’s range. Although I love the colour of this fabric, it’s not something that suits my colouring particularly, so I’ve been saving it to be used as a beautiful lining, something that I really like to do, and am fortunate enough to be able to choose to do.
Making this coat became an urgent need in my head while watching from afar the terrible treatment a woman when she tried to speak truth to power about historic sexual assault; at the same time, Sharon Owen’s beautiful poem, Dangerous Coats, came bobbing to the surface of my consciousness through social media as both a balm and a call-to-arms. I posted this on instagram at the time, and my very favourite comment from @sewingbyletters who replied, “Dangerous coats take us to cast dangerous votes! Never forget!”
This is going to be a very slow and deliberate make, as from everything I’ve read it is a tricky garment, but I do at least hope to finish it in the month of October. And thereafter I’ll be wearing it to do all my dangerous deeds, most importantly by casting votes for commonsense, fairness, kindness and equality.
To Be Continued and Works in Progress and Lists of To Do and Mending Pile
Tweak the fit of the Guise Pants | I’ve worn them so much there’s been no time to tweak the fit! Maybe they’ll have to stay as is until I make a second pair… So, I’m removing them, hereafter, from the WIP pile!
Tweak the fit of the Carrie Trousers | This has been quite low on the list … I think I’m just not enjoying wearing black at the moment so my excitement about working on them is a little low.
Tweak the fit of the Ogden Cami | The urgency to work on this will come, I think, once the weather is a little warmer, but at the moment they Ogden is still languishing on the WIP pile.
Keep working on my Ginger Jeans | Slow and steady wins the race!
Attach embroidered patch-pocket to my In The Folds Jumpsuit | It’s such a simple task! JUST DO IT, ALREADY! (I promise to myself that I will finish this in October…)
Further visible mending on my RTW cardigan | I’m going to pull this out of my wardrobe and put it on my knitting pile by my place on the couch, with all the necessary bits and bobs, and work to have this finished by November.
And in calm, quite moments, enjoy a quiet little bit of Sarah K. Benning embroidery.