First of all, wearing this dress is a very sensual experience. When I put it on, the lining is cool and smooth, but warms up almost instantly. It hangs perfectly... it's hard to explain how it's different from other clothes I've made; the best way I can explain it is that it feels expensive. I attribute this to a combination of the excellent kimono silk and the pattern being based off of my personal sloper. Neither factor is present in off-the-rack clothes or in my previous work. (Since my first try with a sloper is this successful, I will certainly use the sloper for future patterns!)
Second, the dress is very warm. Definitely a winter dress! I wore it on a comfortably cool day, but it was too hot and when I got home I took it off in the hallway on my way to my room, because I was sweating in it!
Third, it smells good when wet. Let me back up... right after I took the kimono apart and washed the silk, it released a scent that took me vividly back to my time in Japan. When I was in Japan and I smelled that scent, I thought it was the tatami mats, but I wasn't sure. I can best describe the scent as being like dried, sweet grass or moss, a very pleasant, natural scent. Anyway, intrigued, I went online and searched for "does silk have a smell". I found a lot of people claiming that silk smells fishy or funky, even when dry, but those people seem to be super-sniffers. I'm not a super-sniffer, so I can't smell silk all the time, but as soon as I got this stuff wet, I smelled the sweet grassy scent I mentioned earlier. So I don't know if silk smells good to me (but fishy to others), or if there's a special Japanese scent that clings to the kimono silk, or what!
Anyway, the first day I wore the dress, I got home all hot and sweaty, so I hand-washed the dress and hung it to dry, and my whole bathroom smelled like Japan. I like it; I'll be wearing it alot this fall, when the weather is cool, but not cold enough for a coat. (A coat would crush the stand-up colllar.)
CARE OF THE DRESS
I hand-wash the dress when needed, using silk/hosiery wash, which is designed to put the silk proteins and oils back into the silk. (I have also read and heard that you can add some hair conditioner to the rinse water, since silk is very similar to hair, but I haven't tried that yet.) Then I hang it to dry on a hanger. The silk crepe gets a little stiff and crinkly as it dries, but I hit it with some steam from the iron (I don't even press it with the iron, just the steam), and the creases relax right out.
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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