As soon as I found this pattern, I knew I had to try it. All my favourite things: a creative challenge, origami and sewing all in one project. This Alexander McQueen kimono-inspired jacket was the third in SHOWstudio’s design download series – designer patterns available free! – they were first published years ago, but I’ve only just found them.
A quick look at the pattern and the instructions led me to believe the jacket might prove a little too much of a challenge, but that just made me want to try it more. I did a bit of research and found the experiences of other bloggers a helpful start, particularly Blithe Stitches’ tutorial and Handmade by Carolyn‘s version. I chose a medium to heavy weight woven silk in navy as it held structure well and had a nice surface texture. The pattern itself was fairly easy to print off and stick together – everything was numbered and in order, but, it was time-consuming. Piecing together 50, yes 50, A4 sheets was never going to be quick. Cutting out the fabric was also straight forward, especially as my material was wide width. Then the most labour intensive part began – transferring all those fiddly markings – I used threads as I didn’t want to risk damaging the fabric, and it took ages.
The next step was to try and make sense of the instructions, I referred to Blithe’s tutorial and images from the SHOWstudio gallery for reference whenever I wasn’t sure. I’m fairly sure I followed the instructions pretty well, until I reached the final steps of the back and there seemed to be several steps missing to get from where mine was to what the pictures looked like, so I just winged it, and added a bit of hand stitching to the inside to keep some of the folds in place without removing too much of the fluidity. I also trimmed the right lapel because I though it looked more wearable that way and drew attention to the subtle stepping of the hemline.
Did it work? Well, it definitely isn’t perfect and there are things that really irritate me, like the fact that when I pressed it those pesky folds just wouldn’t stay symmetrical. Is it right? Well I know I made a mistake on the front but as to the back I really don’t know, but I found it really interesting that all the versions in the submissions gallery looked different, so perhaps the instructions are more of a starting point rather than an exact science.