I have three weddings to attend in the space of a month starting mid-July, so I’m getting ahead on making some pretty dresses to wear to them! This one is the Wardrobe By Me Akinori kimono dress, and in pleasing synergy I bought the fabric on my recent trip to Tokyo, Japan.
Danish indie pattern company Wardrobe By Me were a new find to me. I can’t even remember where I first saw this pattern but the PDF got snapped up as soon as I clocked the line drawing. I love the wrapover front with soft pleats, cut-on sleeves and integrated tie belt.
Sewing it up was crazy fun, and very fast. It’s not nearly as complicated as it looks, with just four main pattern pieces plus the ties and facings. The pattern has some clever construction details, like a cut-on facing for the front neckline which simply gets folded inwards and connected to a separate back neck facing to make an elegant topstitch-free finish. It was also fun to sew up the semicircular waist detail at the front, cleverly constructed in a such a way that all raw edges are concealed inside.
The PDF is a manageable 23 pages, with instructions to self-draft the ties rather than needlessly print a large piece, a detail I always appreciate. The instructions are great too; I would say geared towards non-complete beginners as only the trickier aspects include illustrations. The only thing I thought was missing was a direction to finish the raw facing edge, which I did early on before basting to the semicircle panel.
I made a straight size 8 with no adjustments and the fit is perfect. Just a note that the given final hip measurement in the pattern booklet is wrong; as written it appears as if it has negative ease but actually there is about 10″ ease in the hips. 2.7m of fabric is recommended but I squeezed it into 2m with a few liberties taken where grainlines were concerned. (If you look closely, my inset waist panel has flowers growing sideways – whoops…)
The fabric is a polyester that’s doing a pretty damn good job of imitating sandwashed silk. At least I don’t think it’s real silk by the price I paid for it in the Okadaya fabric store in Shinjuku; it wasn’t more than £6 a metre. Not all polys are created equal; this one is slinky and drapey yet was remarkably well-behaved to work with. The sandwash effect gave some grippiness and it pressed well with no melting or plastic smells.
The ties can also be omitted, which gives a really nice loose but still shapely fit, and are long enough to wrap around to the front to tie there too.
I’m thrilled with this dress; it was such a nice sew and perfect for a summer wedding. I’m plotting a daytime version of the Akinori now, perhaps in an ikat cotton or chambray without the ties.