Monday, 14 August 2017

the very mild experimentation series: a chiffon kimono jacket

(I thought I'd scheduled this for last week, but apparently I didn't. Oops.)

Learning to work with chiffon has been on my mind since I started sewing. I actually bought a piece on one of my very first raids of the remnant bin, but got rid of it six months later when I realised I didn't know what the eff to do with it. Not in the sense of "oh God, I can't work with chiffon, I'm rubbish", more "oh God, why did I buy this print that would only look right on a Masonic wife tightly sipping a glass of sherry and glaring at anybody under 45" (I'm a Mason's daughter, just trust me on this). I didn't buy any more to replace it because by that point I'd stopped remnant bin raids and started looking for stuff I might actually wear, and that rarely includes chiffon.

But then June hit, and temperatures of up to 34 degrees were mentioned.

I bought this particular piece of chiffon from The Textile Centre at the end of last summer. I had grand visions of a flowing layered maxi dress, and only recently admitted to myself that a) I didn't have anywhere near enough fabric and b) the dress in my head would almost certainly require complicated underwear arrangements, meaning I just wouldn't wear it. Fuck strapless bras. The idea of the kimono came to me when I was trying to find something to throw over my shoulders that wouldn't also cause me to sweat to death, and I realised I had a gap in my wardrobe.

The pattern is the Sew Over It kimono jacket, which I've made several times before. I still have and get tons of wear out of one of the two I made for myself, and I've made several more as presents since. It seemed like a good first-chiffon project because it's just a bunch of straight lines. I wanted a little bit more flow to this one, so I cut it longer (I'm not sure how much longer, just as much as the fabric would allow). The insides are French-seamed, and the hems are scratty. Next on my to-do list: learn how to do a half-decent rolled hem.

(I call this the "holding arms out awkwardly" series.)

I had very definite ideas about how I wanted to position the flowers, and due to the way the flowers were laid out on the fabric it wasn't all possible. The most important thing for me was to get a large flower cluster slightly off-centre on my back, and the way I had to fold the fabric to do that meant there wasn't as much choice as I'd have liked for the rest. I wanted flowers on the front pieces, but not in identical layout, and a plain black collar piece, so I did that as best I could and then the sleeves just had to be cut from whatever was left. 

I think this is cute. However, I wasn't getting quite as much wear out of it as I'd hoped, so I bought a semi-acceptable black jersey from Fabric Land and made another V9199.

I really like the way this looks over an all-black outfit, and it's making me want to make some black shorts (which I'm not going to do unless it's a pair of tailored wool shorts to wear over tights in the winter, and there's no way on earth I'll be wearing chiffon in the winter). The dress is only a couple of weeks old, but I've worn it like this a couple of times when the weather allowed, i.e. when it wasn't pissing down with rain in the middle of bloody August WHY IS THIS A THING, and it's cool and breezy and stops my arms sticking to themselves, so it does the job. 

This is the dress on its own. I don't like it as much as my stripy one, mostly because the fabric isn't quite right. Also it's too big in the back, but I'll take that in next time I have black thread in my machine. I screwed up my first attempt at the neckband, so I just cut it out, meaning that the neckline is a little bit wider. It doesn't bother me at all, but I won't go out of my way to do it again. 

The dress is okay, and I will get some wear out of it. The kimono is also okay, but very much for hot days and holidays, so I probably won't wear it a huge amount, but will keep it for next summer. Chiffon was exactly as annoying to work with as everyone says it is, and I probably won't be using it again in a hurry. I will if I'm inspired to, but for something I'm not bouncing around with excitement about, I don't think it's worth the faff. 

Next week I'm doing my autumn sewing plan a little early, to give me time to give Mum her dresses and photograph them on her properly. I'm a bit nervous about the fit, but mostly I'm just happy I got them done with time to spare. 



  1. You need a cocktail in your hand to go with the floaty glamorous look!

    Yeah I have two pieces piece of chiffon in my stash bought for summery maxis that have never materialised. One day, one day...

    1. That's an excellent idea. I shall acquire myself a cocktail post haste!