How do you say…

Kimono-inspired Lady Grey

Lady Grey in Japanese?

The kimono-styled Lady Grey is finished (for a given value of finished, anyway). And it is warm and cozy, for a given value of cozy.

I was up half the night with a vomiting Syo, followed by home with the same recovering child today, which does not make for a glamorous day. Therefore you will have to deal with headless, as well as grainy and dark, photos. Sorry.

This was overall a fairly quick ‘n dirty effort. There are no facings, no lining, I narrow-hemmed the front opening and bottom, did a wider but not particularly tidy hem on the sleeves (I’m not convinced they’re perfectly the same length, either >_< ), and one shoulder is stubbornly pleating despite my redoing it. However, there are a couple of features that are worthy of mention:

I drafted a shawl collar!

I am particularly proud of how this worked out. Probably it would not work in a neater, less slouchy fabric, but the result is exactly what I was going for. I measured the length from my back neck to the bottom of the collar, and drafted out the following pattern piece:

Shawl collar pattern piece; cut two on fold

The long straight side is the collar length; the short straight side is the fold at the back of the neck. I sewed the two layers together, turned right side out and pressed, and stitched it to the collar, then graded the seam-allowance and top-stitched it down so that it wouldn’t flip out, since there’s no facing. This seems to be working better than I would have thought.

The collar, waiting to be turned right-side in and sewn on

I also topstitched both sleeve seams.

Yes, look at that (if you can see it):

Sleeve, showing both topstitched seams

This required a little bit of sneaky sewing I’d read about but never attempted before. I don’t think I’d want to do it on anything much longer or narrower than these rather wide, short sleeves, however it actually wasn’t too tricky and worked out fine.

Topstitching inside the tube

You turn the sleeve inside out, and basically sew down the inside of the tube. Yes, everything ends up bunched around the needle, and you can only sew about two inches at a time before you need to re-arrange your bunches.

Finally, there was the “obi”

This is lifted generally from the Kimono-Style Bunnyhug, although hers was

actually attached to one side of the front. Mine is not, because I have fantasies of making other, coloured versions to spice up the plain black. In some of my fantasies about this sweater, I actually sewed the buttons on to the front of the sweater (so it could close without the sash, too), but then the buttons would have had to go through not only the coat front, but two layers of “obi”. And I would’ve had to sew twelve buttonholes instead of four. So I didn’t. We’ll see if I come to regret that or not. Also I was worried that the front of the coat wouldn’t be stable enough—the sash itself is double-layered and I put a bit of knit interfacing at each end, beneath the buttons and the buttonholes, whereas the coat fronts are a single layer with a narrow hem along the edge. And yes, as in the photo above, the buttons are very slightly green. This may have compromised my attempt to make a neutral sweater I can wear with anything. We’ll see.

Back view

Here’s the back view, highlighting the unevenness of the peplum (this is the part where the S-curve of the swayback actually takes up more fabric length than my comparatively straight front, shortening the back). There’s some funkiness in the upper back, I think having to do with my seams stretching somewhat as I sewed, but again I’m not overly broken up about it, and it may even smooth out in the wash.

The sash nicely takes care of all that pesky lower-back fitting, too. πŸ™‚

Front view

And here’s the front version. Unglamorous, as most straight-on shots of my front are. I don’t do cinching well, but I’m theorizing that if I cinch from right below my bust down to my natural waist (as here) it may actually work. What do you think?

The shoulders are a tiny bit wide, but that’s probably just because there are no shoulder pads in this version.

Did I mention how much I love that collar?

And just so you can trace the evolution from concept to reality, here’s the line drawing again:

Fantasy jacket, side view

front view



Filed under Sewing

38 responses to “How do you say…

  1. First off – what a gorgeous piece – I can tell it is just your style and the drape is great!
    Secondly, so sorry to hear about your night – a vomiting child is a special kind of torment – worrying and gross. I hope everyone is well soon.

  2. Dianne

    I can’t quite believe how you do it! I am in awe! And also impressed. It is almost enough to tempt me to dig out my machine (except that I would have to clean off the dining-room table to set it up, and you know how that will (not) go.

  3. Wow! Beautiful job. I love the obi sash. I’m kind of overwhelmed by how much you did here…
    Again, wow.

  4. You’ve made such a great version of the lady grey! I love the wide obi inspired belt with buttons, it looks so good, perfect proportions! I missed the sew-along (since it is summer here in Western Australia) but I’ll be picking the pattern back up in June (I already have fabric) I think I’ll have enough extra fabric to try making a second belt like yours, then I’ll have two different looks to wear πŸ™‚

  5. PetitePear

    Wow! It looks great! Exactly like your sketch. Except the slight rouching effect of the sash because you’re not as nearly cylindrical as you always make it seem. I quite like the effect, actually. Very well done!

  6. i think you’ve nailed it completely, the jacket looks like a perfect real world copy of the fantasy drawing…congratulations, it looks so cozy!!

  7. Your jacket is totally beautiful!

  8. I think that you r vision really sees in the end result. I love the collar and the obi-belt, especially with the buttons.
    On the other side, you have written about a few issues. Ok, you see them if you really pay attention. On the other hand, the global shape is great and your eyes directly go to the belt, the pretty sleeves and the collar.
    Have fun wearing it!

  9. That would be グレー貴婦人 (goo ray key foo jean) or “raydee gooray” …
    Any other Japanese speakers out there will undoubtedly get a chuckle as this is not standard romanization or proper phonetic transcription, BUT I’m going for the easiest way for you, as an English speaker, to be able to read and then pronounce. Cheap translations aside, you did it!! This looks insanely comfy AND stylin’, what a coup! I suspect you’ll get a lot of wear out of this. What type of fabric did you end up using?

    • It’s made of your standard sweat-shirt fabric. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the translation! What is the standard transliteration? (Since I’m more likely to be typing it than saying it, lol!)

      • ha ha-
        gurei kifujin for the first
        redi gurei for the second

        Japanese love to Japanify many English words and the language is such that a lot of foreign words end up with a lot of extra syllables. So one syllable “grey” becomes two in “gurei” . The classic example is McDonald’s, or makkudonarudo. It gets lots o’ laughs on both sides!

  10. Oh, are you a French immersion teacher? Didn’t mean to offend.

    • LMAO! No offense, don’t worry! πŸ™‚ it was meant to be a humorous anecdote about French in our lives. My children are enrolled in the French Immersion school system here. I was, too, back in the day. Now, almost twenty years later, it has left me with enough French to help them with their homework and thoroughly mangle any attempt to actually speak the language. Bring on the Franglais! πŸ™‚

  11. Joy

    Wow, this turned out really beautiful. Nice work!

  12. Nice rendition of your fantasy! It looks quite cozy.

  13. Lovely swingy flirty kimono style top. I love it. Especially the obi-belt.

  14. You are one amazingly talented lady! I love your ability to draw your designs! Wish I could even attempt that! And what a fantastic take on this coat. I didn’t join the sew-along because I wasn’t sold on the design, particularly after reading various posts on muslins of the darn thing. But your tweaking has definitely made this thing a work of beauty! Well done!

  15. Just saw you on Burdastyle and stopped by to sign up to your blog. What a fabulous jacket and thanks for all your sewing info tips! Your sketches are bang on! Sorry to hear about your child, been there too!!

  16. I hope your darling is all healed! I’m truly impressed by how similar your lovely jacket look like your drawing. (Lovely line drawing btw, I wouldn’t be able to do that:P) Love the Obi belt and the collar is perfect!

  17. Wow, that is such a fabulous jacket! I’m in awe that you made sweatshirt fleece look so good. The belt makes it, and I love that the back is higher.

    Thanks for such a nice comment on my blog. I really appreciate it πŸ™‚

  18. Thanks so much everyone for all these fabulous replies! You make my day all warm and fuzzy. πŸ™‚

  19. Corinne

    Catching up here, what a great interpretation. I passed on Lady Grey because the collar/lapel would have overwhelmed me. (I had considered drafting a thinner version,of the collar, but don’t really have the time right now) Your shawl collar interpretation really makes the design very different while still maintaining the side and back lines of the pattern. The Obi-sash is you, totally, artistic and stylish! Sick babies are the worst, hope all is well now and the rest of the family have not shared the germ.

  20. Fantastic! It’s so you. I love your interpretation and yay for drafting your own collar!! And the obi-belt is awesome and I can totally see all kinds of possibilities for alternate belt ideas. Great job!

  21. Me likey lots – espesh the belt :)!

  22. That coat/sweater looks decidedly fabulous! What a neat idea to alter the Lady Grey pattern for it! And I love the sash and collar…

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