I may have been hiding under a rock all this time. No other explanation for (almost) missing this pattern, made all the more precious because the genius behind it is no longer. That genius was the late Lee Alexander McQueen, and the masterpiece I’ve unearthed is the pattern for his famous Kimono Jacket made available online by the gods at ShowStudio.com. Apparently, it has been there for all to see since 2005. It only took me 7 years to find it and I blame the rock.
If that piqued your interest, you may have clicked on that link, saw the photos, and totally forgot about this article. A perfectly understandable reaction in the face of such beauty. The Kimono, modelled by some impossibly skinny waif, looks divine. The oversized sleeves, that arrestingly minimalist front, those intriguing origami details at the back – my mouth was watering even as my mind was racing: Would I? Could I? Dare I? I was teetering on the brink of madness knowing that I, a lowly seamstress-in-training, actually have a shot at owning a piece of McQueen. And so, brimming with excitement, I downloaded the pattern, printed out 50 A4 pages, painstakingly cut and taped the drawings until I had 7 glorious pattern pieces lying on the floor, waiting for me to work my magic on them. Not one to dilly dally when something epic is about to happen, I printed out the Pattern Help that came with the pack. And right there and then, my hopes and dreams came crashing down.
Well, if you think L’Enfant Terrible will hand you his iconic design on a silver platter and spoon feed it to you, think again. The Kimono Jacket must have retailed at hundreds, nay thousands, of dollars when it first came out and there is no way you are going to copy it without shedding blood, sweat, and tears. As those brave souls before me who dared take on The Kimono would tell you, the Pattern Instructions were as vague as a politician running for office. It was more than vague – it was opaque. The instructions are in English but they may as well have been written in codes. After reading it 5 times, each time slower than the last, I finally gave up and decided I needed to sleep on this one. I, of course, dreamt of origami and threads.
I woke up the following day feeling a bit braver. So brave, in fact, that I decided I wouldn’t bother making a muslin – I can’t imagine devoting too much time and effort on something I wouldn’t be able to wear. So I plucked a folded fabric from my ‘special’ fabric stash – a polyester metallic blend called Hablon in black and gold, woven by the local weavers in my hometown of Iloilo. Fabrics from this stash are reserved for special projects and a McQueen Jacket is a very special one, indeed!
Perseverance, patience, research, and a little bloodshed paid off. After 23 solid hours of sewing, head scratching and cursing, a piece of McQueen is finally hanging in my closet!
Here are some snapshots of my very own Kimono Jacket.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to take on The Kimono, please check out the tutorial section in the next few days. I will try my best to make sense of everything I did and write a tutorial on it.
Update: Tutorial finished!
Thanks for visiting!