Kimono Jacket | Wiksten
My latest sewing addiction has to be the Wiksten Kimono Jacket. It is such a good straight forward sew, it makes sewing such a joy!!! (Because yes, sewing is not ALWAYS fun, it sucks whenever your thread jams, your sewing machine starts making a funny sound, when the pattern is so confusing you don’t even know where to start…the list is endless!).
I’ve always been attracted to Japanese fashion, and no - I’m not talking about the Harajuku style - instead, I’m referring to the simple shapes, oversized and boxy outfits. Take a look at these examples:
Michiyo Ito - MayMe Japanese brand
Natsuno Hiraiwa - Instagram Account
Machiko Kayaki - Simple Chic fashion
General search on Google Images - Japanese Fashion
It’s no wonder when I saw the word “kimono” on the pattern name, I was immediately drawn to it. “Oh My! Am I really looking at a jacket pattern?” I thought to myself. So far, I’ve only made simple tops and a couple pairs of slouchy pants. Can I really make this jacket? It didn’t look intimidating, but I sure was nervous about picking up this pattern just because it’s a jacket! When I think of jackets, I think - tons of fabrics, hardware, and complexity with the collar and lining. Adds up to too complicated!
But look at this jacket, how can you not like it and want to own one? When I searched online for similar jackets, they were going for $150+! In my earlier days, I would have totally spent that money for a jacket, but these days, I try to be more conscious about what and where I buy, plus I like to challenge myself by saying “I could make that”. So one day, I gathered up the courage and went to the fabric store (Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley) with this pattern in mind. I picked up the pattern and started searching endlessly for the perfect fabric that would go well for this jacket. In my head, I had this vision of what it would look like and then I saw it. I saw that geometric double sided fabric, med-heavyweight, it was perfect exactly what I had in mind!
I was so giggly when driving home, it was like I had just opened my Christmas gift on the day! Once I got home, I immediately put the fabric in the washer and waited for it anxiously to dry while I cut the pattern. I decided to go with the Medium size at Medium Length. Then I started thinking, what if I do horribly with this project and waste all that nice fabric? This is the first time making a jacket, so surely I should test it out first, right? But darn it! that means I will have to wait until I find test fabric before I can get to trying this project!!! But I didn’t want to risk it…so I had to wait.
Next day, I decided to visit FabrixSF on Clement St. - known for having overstock fabric at very discounted prices. I figured their prices are so reasonable I could definitely find fabric to use for testing patterns (toile or muslin in sewing lingo) for the jacket. Sure enough, I found a quilted polyester blend fabric in charcoal that I thought would do the job. Besides, I’ve never seen quilted fabric! and also I just pictured a blanket as a jacket. Why the heck not! Something similar can be found on Fabric.com but not for $3.99/yard like I did at FabrixSF!
first “muslin” jacket
Using the quilted fabric, I traced the Medium size Medium Length pattern for the Wiksten Kimono Jacket. I chose to make the unlined version since my “real” jacket with the double face fabric would also be unlined. I cut all the outer layer pieces plus the collar linings (making it 4 collar pieces total) all using this quilted fabric. For the pockets, I cut the outer layer pieces in quilted fabric plus the lining pieces using a Cotton and Steel black/white tulips fabric. Now that all the pieces were cut… here goes the sewing!!!
I followed the instructions for the outer layer as directed by the pattern manual. But here are some changes I made:
Sewing seam allowance changed to 1/2 inches instead of 3/8.
Flat fell seam used for all seam finishes (This is why I increased the seam allowance).
At the bottom of the jacket, I just did a normal double fold hem at 1/2 inches. I did this before I attached the collars.
This last step I learned to do from reading Made-by-Rae’s Reversible Wiksten Kimono blogpost. Check it out, her jacket is super cute and looks oh-so-cozy in that fancy flannel!!!
Moved pockets up by 1.5 inches because my fabric was not long enough for the full medium length (it was about 1 inch short) so I just moved up the pockets a bit to account for this shortage.
I didn’t add an inside pocket because I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, and adding the inside pocket would mean I would need to have mad skills lining up both pockets at the right angle and sewing them very precisely once.
When I stared at the finished garment, all I could say was - I don’t know why I was so scared about making a jacket. This pattern was so easy to follow, easy to sew, and I had a smile every step of the way! I didn’t have any hiccups, any issues, any thread crazes, anything! It was smoooooth sailing all the way! Either I was really lucky, or this pattern is just really awesome. I say the latter since I never have any luck with anything. HA!
Here’s the finished look. What do you think? Is it cozy enough? :)
SECOND “REAL” JACKET
After how successful the toile version went, I was so eager to start with the nice fabric. I cut up the Medium size but this time I did the Long Length version. Followed instructions as above, with the additional exceptions:
Changed seam allowance to 5/8 inches to give myself even more room to turn the fabric for the flat fell seams.
I didn’t change the fabric amount cut, still used the cut lines as original, the jacket is so large that it doesn’t make much difference when I increased the seam allowance.
Added inside and outside pockets. This time, I tried really hard and sewed really slowly to make sure that both pockets were placed perfectly in place while I sew them with a single stitch. It was actually not that hard to accomplish! One trick I use is when sewing, I poke the fabric to touch the underneath piece and make sure I can feel the fabric edge through the top layer. I don’t have a video of this, but if you think this is useful, let me know - I can take a video and post it. Another thing a sewists fellow showed me (thank you @roxystitches!) is to use a stitch foot. It definitely helps keeping lines straight.
The final result, to my surprise, was not as I expected. The fabric was a little too stiff for my liking. It’s still cool, but I would have fell in love with it if it was “drapier”. And I think because of the stiffer fabric, I could have gone one size down. And the long length…not sure how I feel about that… See below and judge for yourself. I still wear it, but it’s not as cozy as my toile, which I find myself wearing more often. But this version definitely looks cooler!
I like this pattern so much that I have purchased more fabric to make more of these jackets! I have an off-white medium weight cotton that I plan on making as the outer layer with a bird rayon in black and white for the lining. So, stay tuned for updates!