I’m not a sew-alonger. Apparently, it’s not in my nature to want to follow the crowd. I don’t always play well with others.
My mom tells a story of when I was about 4 or 5 years old. We were living in Pennsylvania, and there were a few neighborhood kids that I would play with every now and then. One day, I came home whimpering and crying. When my mom asked me what was wrong, I’m sure she expected to hear that I’d hurt myself or that someone had been mean to me. Nope. My answer? “I haven’t gotten to play by myself all day!”
It seems that I never grew out of that :)
So, while I hadn’t really intended to take part in the amazing Oonapalooza, and I can’t honestly say that I consciously made the following garment with that in mind, maybe, just maybe, a little bit of Oona wriggled her way into my subconscious and whispered “remember the mantis shrimp,” and I was suddenly filled with technicolor urges. Maybe that’s what happened. . .
Because, if you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been sewing lots of solids and simple geometric prints. There’s not a whole lot in the way of dazzling color in my budding, basic wardrobe. So, how else could you explain this?
Okay, maybe you could look at my Pinterest and see that I’ve been craving me some kimono. Or you could look at my closet door full of Post-its and see that I’ve even listed “floral kimono” as part of the outfit I wish I were wearing–more than once, in fact!
And maybe it’s my secret inner hipster that really wants everyone to know that I’ve been planning to sew a kimono for months. In fact, when I saw the tutorial on Elle Apparel, I wondered why no one else was sewing kimonos. But, as it happens, now that I’ve finally purchased fabric and sewed it up and taken pictures, I’ve already seen kimonos everywhere. Does it really matter? No. Not in the slightest.
I made a couple of changes to the tutorial. I added a neck band (two rectangles in front and a bias strip along the curve at the back of the neck because–I don’t know–it felt like the right thing to do) and fringe trim on the hem. The fringe serves the main purpose of covering up my original hem which was terrible.
But who cares about all that, just look at it. It doesn’t really rest on the body–it floats around it.
When I slip on this kimono jacket, I am instantly Glenn Close from Sunset Boulevard, maybe slightly less wacko. I don’t just walk, I glide–I swan. I also feel like I need to carry around a peacock feather to brandish in people’s faces when they’ve been talking too long and I would like them to kindly shut up and go away.
The fabric is rayon voile. The only discernible difference between rayon voile and rayon challis (to this ignorant eye) is that challis has a bit more “tooth” to it. Voile–you whisper, and it runs away. Literally attempts to escape you as you lay it out for cutting. I should have bathed it in gelatin, but I was too impatient.
I think I finally understand why people sew “impractical” maxi dresses and Cascade skirts. There’s something to be said for leaving a cloud of fabric behind you for a mili-second after you walk away, like a faint echo or a wisp of perfume.
To put it simply, this is the garment manifestation of my summer self. And if proudly displaying a little bit of your soul on your sleeve isn’t what Oonapalooza-ing is about, then I’m not sure what is.