Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Contemporary Kimono

I have long been enamored of the traditional kimono shape. I have made many, usually from the Folkwear pattern, Japanese Field Clothing. It is composed strictly of rectangles, a conventional Japanese kimono construction.

Recently I've seen a plethora of posts on Instagram for the Wiksten Kimono. I resisted ordering the pattern as long as I possibly could. After all, what could be so different in a kimono pattern?

Ultimately I fell under the Wiksten spell after seeing one image after another of this kimono on Instagram. There are a ga-zillion of them, all lovely, IMO.  Wiksten patterns are produced by a designer out of Oregon. She has a few patterns, but I am certain that nothing has sold like the Wiksten.

It took about 10 days to arrive. The Wiksten is nicely drafted, unconstrained by a need to rely on rectangles and so is different from a Japanese kimono. The front and backs are curved out at the armcyes. Also the shoulder line is sloped in a more natural fashion than a typical kimono. And the sleeve is slightly shaped to reduce the amount of bulk under the arm.

Fabric came from stash - a medium brown washed linen for the face fabric and a plaid linen for the lining. The Wiksten is intended to be fully lined. It is lined in a manner appropriate for a reversible garment though I'll not reverse mine.

The pattern has 3 suggested lengths. I chose the longest one which is about three-quarter length. I chose my size based on my hip measurement as that is the most crucial one for me.

Once I had the pattern pieces prepared, it was pretty straight-forward to cut out and make.

The lining is sewn to the face fabric on the lower hem first. It called for under-stitching to keep the lining from peeking out. I used the standard bag lining procedure for sewing the sleeve hems. The band was stitched to the remaining raw edges, then wrapped onto itself and slip-stitched in place.

When worn, the band/collar folds back on itself, creating 4 layers of fabric. The sleeves are long enough to create a fold-up cuff. Due to these 2 features, the lining is highlighted as trim.

At first I thought it was much too heavy. But that was simply because the weather has been so warm here. As soon as we got a cold snap, I was totally in love with this piece.

And it provided a nice canvas for sashiko, always a plus. I have a number of stencils for sashiko and chose the hemp leaf one. The brown linen was dark enough to use a white powder pounce to mark the pattern. It rubbed off as I sewed, sometimes before I wanted it gone.

I may add some more stitching. There is still space. I enjoy having a project to wear that is still a work-in-progress.

So, have you fallen under the Wiksten spell yet?


  1. I had looked at that pattern and one from Helen's Closet. I may fall under the spell of both! ;-) Yours is lovely. The sashiko is perfect for it.

  2. This looks fabulous and the Wiksten seems to has everything I've loved in the Florence from Sew Caroline. The only exception is that Florence is not lined, so I may have to look at Wiksten, too. I am obsessively kimonoing right now!

  3. Yours is one of the best I've seen, so I may fall under the spell since you recommend it. It looks like a piece that could be a workhorse in a wardrobe.

  4. Just lovely. Your Sashiko placement is perfect, too. You're making me think I *need* this pattern.

  5. I've never been a fan of shashiko but this is absolutely beautiful. You've changed my mind about it!