Japanese Dressing Gown

Okay, so when working at Hancock my first desire was to get some cotton to create something similar to this:



Kimono dressing gown
c. 1885
Gift of Anonymous Donor
80.40.1

Beginning in the late 19th century, Asian decorative arts, and those of Japan in particular, had a tremendous impact on Western culture. Many Americans and Europeans traveled to Japan, often returning with textiles and garments that were soon converted to familiar Western garments. This blue dressing gown began as a Japanese furisode, or "swinging sleeves" kimono, a type worn only by young unmarried women. It is a particularly creative example of how Japanese dress could be transformed into fashionable Western dress. Through the addition of princess seams, lace undersleeves and inserts of pale-blue taffeta at front and back, the furisode kimono became a stylish Western dressing gown, complete with bustle. Regardless of these Western elements, the dressing gown is strongly evocative of Japan, particularly in its retention of the crimson lining often found in women's kimonos.
( http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/2009/12/kimono-dressing-gown.html)

I knew I wanted cotton because I like its breath-ability and versatility. Its a very nice kind of fabric which is really good for a nice stiffer drape then the silks they had available. I also wanted something a little less fussy. I found a very cool fabric, a dun grey background with tall black trees which run the length of the fabric like stripes, and tiny random blood red cardinals perched there.I know that a lot of time the kimonos had an undergarment of vermillion red and so got some matching red cotton for the additions.


(The Trees and Birds with the red cotton underneath)

I first was going to make the dress as a single pattern, as if the dressing gown was merely inspired by Japanese fashion, but a few things stopped me. Firstly, my own cowardice. See, making an entire pattern just by viewing two shots of a piece is difficult enough, but for a novice like me it seems Mt Everest. During a blizzard. With abominable snow men. So I put it aside and didn't think about it for a while.

Then, while perusing my patterns I found this:

And I thought to myself, the dressing-gown is not a single gown. Its a gown they created by tearing apart a kimono, and piecing it together in such a way as to compliment their own fashion at the time. Ha! So my idea is to use the pattern pieces from Simplicity's 4080, then set them up in such a way as to create the dressing gown. I'll have to add some bits here and there but as long as I keep the integrity of the kimono sound then the end result should be okay. Or so I tell myself.




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