The “Deco Echo Blouse”
Fabric: Scraps of silk crepe from the bottom lining of a very damaged vintage 1930s kimono
Pattern: Self made
Year: 2012 does 1932 via Japan with 1930s materials.
Time to complete: 2 hours (not counting ripping apart and washing the kimono)
First worn: All day Saturday at Napier’s Art Deco Weekend 2012
Wear again? As often as the weather permits! Sadly, in Wellington that isn’t often.
Total price: $5 (though I still have all the outer kimono silk to play with, so really, $1.50 or so)
Weekend before last I went to Art Deco Weekend in Napier. Planning my wardrobe for it I looked ahead at the Sew Weekly challenges to see if I could make any of them overlap. Make Do, Make Anew seemed like an impossibility. I almost never buy things to remake. In fact, I have a rule – If I have to redo it, I’m not allowed to buy it! I’ve bought far too many things meaning to remake them, and have just never done it.
So I went ahead with my wardrobe, and top of my list was a pair or beach pajama pants made from fantastic Art Deco inspired fabric. Problem. The fabric is maroon and dark teal on white. And maroon and dark teal are not colours I usually buy – it’s just so hard to find fabrics in them that don’t look cheap (why is that that some colours always look cheap in most fabrics?). I don’t own any maroon and dark teal fabrics! What on earth was I going to do for a top? I completely turned over my stash, to no avail. Nothing.
And then…a miracle! I remembered a very damaged (torn and missing a sleeve and most of the lining) 1930s kimono that I had picked up for $5 at a local shop because the lower lining (the susomawashi) was such a glorious shade of dark teal. The silk lining matched perfectly, but I only had a tiny amount of it – a long thin rectangle piece, and three rectangles each approximately 13″ x 15″ inches. I pulled apart the kimono, washed it, pinned the pieces to Isabella the dressform, and figured I could make a blouse from them.
Sadly, I didn’t take a photo of the kimono I pulled apart, but here is a similar one:
I had one of the long panels you can see at the front, and then the three rectangles that go around the hem.
The blouse was super quick. After all, it’s just a series of rectangles. Two of the hem rectangles for front and back, the long narrow one divided in half for each side, and the third rectangle cut into thirds and sewn together end to end to form the piece that goes around the waist and ties in front.
I finished all the edges (including the interior ones) with rolled hems, made a turned back collar in front, and the same in back, with a slit in the CB to form a back V-neck with a split collar – very 1930s.
I wore the blouse all Saturday with my beach pajama trousers. It was lovely and cool and comfortable, and great for running around on the beach and taking photos and generally having a good time.
I’m not sure that everyone ‘got’ that it was a reasonably accurate 1930s outfit, but at least this Air Force Officer looks pleased to be posing with me and another beach belle:
I love that this remake looks just like a 1930s garment, but also manages to honour its origins by using the exact shapes of the kimono it started as. The symmetry of a 1930s kimono having its own life, going into a rag pile, being pulled apart in 2012, and becoming a 1930s style blouse makes my heart happy.
The blouse was so easy to make that I’d make it a dozen times more if I thought the weather would support that kind of wardrobe. Alas, as that isn’t the case I’ll be posting a tutorial on how to make the top on my blog in just a few days, so that at least other people can try it!