Saturday, July 21, 2018

Remember the Japonesque?

I do. One memory I have is when I got on a hotel elevator wearing my version. The woman on the elevator said "Japonesque?" I affirmed this and asked if she'd made it. She said  "yes, several times, once as instructed, once with two right fronts and once with two left fronts!"

It is one of the old - maybe early 2000's - Sewing Workshop patterns designed in the spirit of Issey Miyake. Maybe more of an Issey Miyake one-off. It has dropped shoulders, deep armscyes, and runs large. It has a floating pocket on the back right hip.

The chocolate piece is all shades of brown, my favorite color!
I've been holding onto 3 special one-yard pieces of fabric from Christina Daily. They are Essex linen-cotton dyed by Christina in what I'd call free-form shibori. I am unfamiliar with her process. One yard was chocolate and the other two pieces were indigo blue. It's fairly beefy and so a good weight for a jacket.

Christina and I became acquainted on Instagram. I love her hand-dyed fabrics as well as the lovely ways she uses it. Check it out here. A few months ago, out of the blue, she offered to send me some of her fabrics to see what I'd make. I was amazed and delighted. This version of the Japonesque aims to showcase her fabric.

Initially I thought I'd place the pocket on one of the fronts but it really seems to belong on the back. It was a fun pocket to construct given that it floats, attached only at the top of the pocket.

It's a detail I like and will use again. A similar pocket is on another Sewing Workshop top - the Icon (it's on sale right now). That's another oldie I'd like to revisit.

I experimented with the tab closure that is part of the pattern. It is intended to be inserted in the left side and buttoned to the right side at hip level. This is not a part of my body to emphasize and so I omitted it.

I also experimented with closures and decided on a single button shown below. It can also hang open for a slightly different look.

Even though I made this pattern 15+ years ago, construction felt novel to me. I love puzzling through a new pattern and this was quite satisfying. Several construction details required reading and re-reading instructions. To me, that's fun.

That brown next to the indigo blue looks almost like suede, doesn't it?
As I recall, my first version of the Japonesque was intended to be a shirt, made in a rayon batik. I did not wear it much and I do not recall why. This time I shortened it about 2 inches in the back. I'll enjoy it as a fall jacket.


  1. Love your version of this pattern. Thanks for revisiting it. The fabric is scrumptious and makes the jacket such a great one of a kind piece. I have had this pattern on my to sew list for a couple of years, precisely because it could be a top or jacket. Having seen yours mine might rise to the top and actually be sewn.

  2. How fun! The whole process of receiving fabric from Christina to creating a garment you will love!

  3. Beautiful combination of fabric!

  4. This is a gorgeous piece of art...what an interesting way to develop a jacket--->being given the fabric by Christina. Thanks for the inspiration Martha!