Friday, March 22, 2013

Karate Kid: The Kimono

Today I decided I needed a "fit model." I brought "Cathy," a new girl into the house who will serve as both the dress form and our fit model, upon which all clothes will be draped, fitted and finished. In real life, fit models and the "show girls" are usually different sets of models. All of the models have roughly the same measurements, so the designer will only need a full time girl or two in his atelier.

In between fittings, the girls slip into robes. So, based on my own bath robe, I decided to make Cathy one as well. For this exercise, I raided my father's stash of rags....all of which originate from his underwear drawer. In this case, the cream colored, waffle textured fabric which used to be his long-johns, is a near replica of the fabric used for my robe.

Start out with the jacket pattern. I wanted a V-neck in the front (which is about 2-inches down from the shoulder point). Decide how low you want the neckline then place your ruler on the point where the neck meets the shoulder and draw a diagonal line to the end point of the neckline (#1 see red line in Fig. a). Now take your sleeve sloper (#2) and place the midpoint at the tip of the shoulder (upper red circle) and the bottom of it should touch the jacket bodice (second red circle). Measure down 1" from the armhole of the bodice and 1" from the under arm of the sleeve. Draw a line (see green line) to connect these two points (#3). At the center of this line, measure 1/8". Now draw a curve where the arc falls on the 1/8 inch mark. To create the front panels of the kimono, trace off (#4-see the blue lines).

Take the jacket back and again, measure 1-inch down from the underarm point. Go back to the front and trace off that little triangle that formed under the arm. Be sure to indicate which side touches the sleeve and the bodice as you see in the Fig b. Flip this triangle over (horizontally). You will use this as a guide.

Fig b
Place the sleeve sloper so that its midpoint lines up with the tip of the shoulder (#5). Place the guide on the side of the bodice (the bottom tip should touch the 1-inch mark on the side-#6). Now, slant the sleeve sloper so that the it rests against the top diagonal of the guide. Trace the pattern (#7 refer to blue lines).

Add 1/4-inch seam allowance to your pattern which should look like the picture below. Okay, so your question to me is, why not make a T shape without all of the measuring? It is a matter of fit. Your shoulders (and the doll's) have a natural slope. By using the sleeve sloper, we can ensure the sleeve will fall properly and not ride up at the top. Using the underarm guide ensures the curve will be the same from front to back.

This is not the only garment you can create with this pattern. Think of daywear jackets over jeans. Think of luxury lingerie or evening coats in patterned silk, brocade or satin.

The silk robe pictured below (worn over a matching slip dress) was cut from the exact same pattern. Inspired by the Fall/Winter 2013 collection Marc Jacobs created for Louis Vuitton. We used peach silk and trimmed it with black lace (stitched by hand).

All Photos & Text property of  © Fashion Doll Stylist 2013. Please do not reproduce without prior permission.

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