Week Three of #MeMadeMay15 .. and yes, I’m late with writing this *stares at shoes. Again. AS USUAL*
But one of this week’s items is a tad special; it’s the Alexander McQueen ShowStudio kimono jacket I made two summers’ ago!
Made as a wearable toile in a cotton sateen with a hint of a stretch (and a busy enough pattern to hide any sewing mishaps) and a dab of lightweight denim, it hangs in my wardrobe as a triumph of bloody-mindedness over incomprehensibility.
It’s a show-stopping piece which I’ve only worn a couple of times. While I know skinny jeans balance out its volume whole-outfit-wise, what top to wear UNDER it always leaves me a tad baffled. Plus, you know, those sleeves. They’re a bit drafty, and mean my coats don’t fit over it.
(No, I don’t have a cape. Yes, that’s a wardrobe gap that clearly needs remedying…)
Why has it taken me so long to blog about this here? Because .. it just has. Frankly, the amount of time it’s taken to blog about this is a mere blink of an eye in comparison to how long it took for me to get up the courage to SEW the damn thing. Have you even SEEN the pattern? I mean, especially the BACK piece??
If it wasn’t for an absolute heroine of the internet, I would never have even attempted it. So please, all hail Blithe of blithestitches.wordpress.com, whose Alexander McQueen Kimono Jacket Tutorial is a thing of beauty, nay, GENIUS.
A couple of things I noted, during its construction and now, during its subsequent wear (yep, it may well be the second anniversary of sewing it but, like any long drawn-out battle, the scars still remain, HA);
- There’s no indication of fit or seam allowance. I took a punt that a) it would fit a standard size 10 (judging from the photographs of other completed items) and b) a 1.5cm standard seam allowance would work. Both assumptions were pretty correct. But unfortunately, as I’m a size 6-8, it’s big on me. It fits my mum an absolute treat, though (yep, she’s borrowed it; true ageless style!).
- The sheer amount of fabric used in the back means that it feels unbalanced. I know, I know, it’s part of the genius design, but it still feels weird to wear. I’m considering adding drapery weights to the front edges to counterbalance the heaviness of the back, and tend to wear it tightly cinched with a self-fabric belt. Which takes me to my next point…
- It’s made for someone who’s at least 5’6″, probably a lot taller. And, as I’m barely over 5’2″ .. yeah. Again with the ‘cinching tightly with a belt and adjusting it a lot when wearing it’ thing. I added some bust darts to reduce the front length a tad (because adjusting it for a petite fit is beyond, I’d say even GOD’s, sewing abilities), but the fit’s still not right. I might add a couple of hooks, just to keep it closed.
- I left the front flanges off (YES IT HAS FLANGES), and made the front band finish at the same length on each side. Because there was enough going on, what with the print and the folds and pleats, quite frankly.
- I added a lining to the inside of the sleeves last summer, as there is such a contrast between the right and wrong side of the fabric, and it just jarred. Looks SO much better now.
You know what, it’s a maybe. I’d love to transfer the back detailing to a better-fitting jacket front, as I LOVE the pleated effect at the small of my back. And I think doing it in a plain fabric would show off the intricacy of the design more readily.
But even if it’s not perfect, I’m still tempted to wear it to Savage Beauty this summer. Because there’s beauty in its imperfections and, despite his tailoring background, I’d hope Alexander McQueen would agree.