Monday, April 4, 2016

Asaka Kimono in Paradise

I recently returned from an epic vacation to Vietnam including four tropical nights in the Gulf of Thailand.   Phu Quoc Island is known for its white sand beaches, crystal blue waters, and red dirt roads roaming with cattle and wild ridgeback dogs.  Freedomland -- our aptly named jungle resort -- was a little piece of heaven!  

Sunset on Ong Lang Beach

What better occasion to sew a special garment than Freedomland's famous communal dinners in the jungle!

Yes, I took this picture!  Amazing 4 course dinners every night at Freedomland.

I decided to go big and bold with the Asaka Kimono by Named Pattern Company.  There was no turning back when I saw Closet Case Files' beautiful cotton version!

I am pretty happy with how mine turned out!

In our thatch room bungalow at Freedomland

The silk charmeuse is from Chic Fabrics.  Chic has a great selection of colorful prints at $15/yard.  Highly recommend when in the NYC Garment District.

Cutting this out was challenging.  With previous silk projects I laboriously hand basted the fabric to medical paper to ensure a precise cut.  At Sonja's suggestion, I tried the new-to-me method of laying the silk out in a single layer on muslin before cutting.  Presto!  The muslin adhered to the silk and the cut pieces were more or less precise. Because of the slippery fabric, I sewed with a microtex needle and my walking foot.

The slits at the juncture of the open sleeves were a little bit tricky to hem because they met at a french seam, but I figured it out by clipping at the juncture of the french seam and slit.

In lieu of the iron-on interfacing recommended by the pattern, I used silk organza to interface the collar.  Next time I will try self-fabric for the collar interfacing.  I chose not to interface the belt.



The sleeves are set in the round and I had to run some gathering stitches to get the sleeve to fit into the shoulder. This probably wasn't the fault of the pattern drafting.  I think the fabric probably stretched since I forgot to staystitch the curves.

Since indie patterns are more expensive than the Big 4, I had higher expectations of the overall experience. This pattern should have been drafted for french seams. Period.  The seam allowance was only 3/8",   so I took the extra time to add 1/4"  so that I could make french seams. Also,  the instructions  were quite minimal and the cutting layout was only for 60".  I had a scant 4 yards of 45" fabric and spent a head scratching hour maneuvering the 14 individual pattern pieces into a workable layout for 45".

I do wish that I could get the hem to fall evenly and keep the skirt from riding up in every which direction and clinging.  I have a hunch that a lot of these problems would be solved if I used a cotton.

Pesky imperfections aside, this make was a real confidence builder.  Working at a steady rhythm, I completed the garment over about 6 days.  Each day I had a new goal and for the most part I accomplished everything on the day that I set out to do it. Maybe my good sewing juju has finally arrived?


  1. So glad your trip was enjoyable! I really, really love the silk you choose for this--gorgeous vibrant colors! Also, much appreciated on the heads-up re: the 60" layout and adding fabric for French seams. These are the kinds of things that really trip me up. Enjoy your gorgeous kimono!

    1. Hey Sara! Yea, the layout and seam allowance stuff really trips me up too. I always buy minimum amounts of fabric and have a silly attitude of "hey, I'm petite! They can't possibly mean I need that much!" And then I'm scrambling for more fabric.....😀

  2. I always enjoy vacation pictures! I'm sure you'll enjoy remembering your trip when you wear this. I've never sewn a Named pattern before. I always appreciate more information from a company as opposed to less. Its a great and unique piece!

    1. Thanks Andrea. I love vacation photos too. Im always dreaming about the next trip! I love this make so much, but I don't think I will ever buy another pattern from Named. It was so much extra work to prepare the pdf, trace it, add the additional seam allowance...just not worth the high price IMHO.

  3. This is SO glamorous!!! So, so glamorous!!!

  4. Do you remember what size you cut?