Before my holidays in September I’d popped into The Cloth Shop (which happens alarmingly regularly) and spotted a beautiful Lithuanian linen double gauze sitting there, doing what linen does best – looking rumpled and uber-stylish. One side was black, the other beige, with little stitches joining the two layers creating subtle spotty stripes. I stroked it and coveted it, but didn’t know what I’d do with it. Once on holidays I began obsessively binge planning my spring/summer wardrobe, and realised I had a definite gap for a neutral but stylish lightweight layer. The linen would be the perfect partner for a little kimono-style jacket. Overcome with FOMO I messaged Kim at TCS on Instagram and she put aside the last couple of metres for me. Seriously people – the benefits of shopping from, supporting and getting to know your local retailers cannot be underestimated. #shoplocal whenever possible!
Once I had my fabric safely reserved it then came down to pattern selection. This kimono, made on a whim a few years ago from a vintage dressing gown pattern, is still very much in regular rotation and has been worn a heap but I wanted to try something different, with narrower sleeves. I’d never been really tempted by the Tessuti Tokyo Jacket, but saw a cropped and pocketless version on Instagram and realised I really liked the proportions with those alterations. This jacket from Anthropologie had caught my eye on Pinterest, and just like that the deal was done.
After reading every review on the interwebs I decided to make a size S as the general consensus was the sizing runs large. I figured with a relaxed fit sticking with my prepreggo sizing would work fine and I was right. I agonised over pocket options. I didn’t really care for the pockets as drafted, and considered patch pockets, in seam pockets, and even an internal pocket, but decided in the end to stick with my inspiration version and keep things simple. The idea of matching those little dots on my delicious but rather wiggly linen filled me with horror.
Based on the length of my aforementioned kimono I knew I wanted a finished length of about 23 inches – hip length. The Tokyo hem is finished rather curiously – due to the pocket construction the front and back are finished separately, before the side seams are closed, and there are different seam allowances for the front and back hems. So before cutting a single thread I had to redraft the hem on my pattern, allowing for a nice generous hem all the way round. Apart from adding a hanging loop to the neckline this was the only pattern change I made. I kept the sleeve length and cuffs as drafted, and chose to handstitch the inside facing in place (my ditch stitching never pleases me).
I’m quite pleased with the fit but I find that it does fall back off my shoulders a little. I made no forward shoulder adjustment, mostly because I wasn’t sure how to do it in a magyar sleeve (thoughts on this most welcome!). So that may be part of the issue, or perhaps the giant belly displacing it may have something to do with it. It may just be that sleeve design though. If I was to make it again I’d add a dropped shoulder seam to be able to add a forward shoulder adjustment, then attach the sleeves separately. A similar sleeve can be found on the Oversized Kimono Jacket, featured in the latest edition of Making, and available for download here.
I’ve worn this an absolute heap in the last month or so – it’s great over tanks and the dropped armscye means that there’s very minimal armpittage contact so frequent washing is not required. I adore the fabric, and feel it’s rumpling is fabulously insouciant. And it’s hard to feel insouciant when you’re 36 weeks pregnant, I assure you.