In Progress

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).

double-hitoe

A double hitoe

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.

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Two bolts of kimono silk

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.

Sharon-trench

Pieced trench coat (using silk from four different bolts)

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!

jacket pattern

Hitoe-like jacket – View A

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.

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Partially constructed fronts

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.

 

 

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More from Ann Williamson

I subscribe to Ann Williamson’s blog so once a week I get an email with photos showcasing what she’s working on. Ann, if you’ll recall, is this wonderful designer of custom apparel made from pieced kimono silk. I met her on the Portland trip. And since then I’ve ordered some kimono silk myself and am trying to create a bit of time to decide what to make from it – I read Ann’s blog with interest:

http://annwilliamson.com/handmade-designer-womens-apparel/

This week, Ann’s working on a third pieced silk skirt to go with a jacket she made in the spring. Skirt #1 & 2 have sold, so to have a complete outfit, she’s making a third skirt. fragments-3

You can see the detailed work she does from these three gored pieces for the skirt. I love her sense of colour and her work is meticulous. I really must get out my silk and think about making something!

Kimono Silk I

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Two of the three “bolts” of kimono silk I ordered from Ichiroya in Japan arrived this morning. Now I’m just going to have to look at them for a while before I have any idea what to make from the silk. I ordered the silk after the visit to Ann Williamson’s studio in Portland. I will make some kind of pieced jacket like one of Ann’s. The bolt still to come is in navy which should go with either the brick or the pale blue.

Designers’ Studios +

We began the day with a visit to an estate sale where the woman had been a collector of fabrics and sewing supplies – turned out to be the wrong day – not until tomorrow! The house did have an interesting feature though: an espalier of some kind of evergreen along the roof edge – I’ve never seen anything like it:20130621-183910.jpg
After a stop for coffee we made our way to Ann Williamson’s design studio. Her silk jackets are exquisite:20130621-184134.jpg
The detail is very fine, her choice of fabrics amazing. Since 2003 she’s been using mainly kimono silk, from kimonos she’s taken apart as well as new kimono silk from Japan. She has a large stash of 14″ bolts of kimono silk:20130621-184515.jpg
We spent more than an hour with her, talking about technique, and seeing samples of her work.

Next stop – Josephine’s Fabrics. She specializes in “fine” fabrics – and although the selection isn’t large I came away with a Liberty cotton print for a shirt as well as some lovely reversible grey and off-white woolen fabric which I can see making into a pieced reversible jacket of some kind.

Then lunch at the Portland lunch carts: 20130621-185254.jpg
There’s a big choice of food, and after you’ve purchased what you want to eat there’s a small square nearby where you can sit and eat:20130621-185454.jpg

Our next stop was the Button Emporium. I was too busy looking for buttons to go with the purple fabric I bought Wednesday to remember to take photos of the wall of buttons! I also picked up three bits of lace and entredeux for heirloom sewing (not much of a selection in Halifax).

Around the corner we visited a designers’ consignment shop – lots of interesting ideas there.

One last stop at another small fabric outlet where I thought I might find more swimsuit fabric but they had little in the way of interesting lycra prints.

Finally back to the hotel, something to eat, and now for a quiet evening.