Thursday 13 June 2019

free kimonos are coming

Next Tuesday June 18th I’ll be publishing the Sencha Kimono PDF pattern. It will be a free giveaway for the first 10 days then revert to being Aus$12. The first page of the pattern instructions outlines why I decided to change the name from Jorja Jacket to Sencha Kimono and gives links to the discussion I’ve had on this blog.

technical drawings for Sencha Kimono

It’s hard to know how much flak I’ll get, if any. Emily Ito, as the foremost advocate to propagate the issue that using the word kimono in a pattern name is an unacceptable cultural appropriation has blocked any way I can communicate with her and refused all invitations I’ve made for her to respond publicly to me on this blog or elsewhere of her choosing. In this feedback vacuum its impossible to know what might happen to me. I refer back to Aja Barbers comment “no one is listening to you” so hopefully my insignificant profile will mean no one notices or cares. Perhaps if everybody rejects my offer of the free pattern I can interpret that to be how strongly everybody agrees it is a bad thing to call it a kimono.

This week I’ve tried to contact the moderators and editors of the Curvy Sewing Collective, a group I’ve belonged to since it’s beginning over 5 years ago. They have promoted many of the patterns I’ve published. This is what I asked them

Hi, not sure if your mail is working for mail@curvysewingcollective as I've tried to contact you twice over 5 days. Hoping you'll answer my query....
Hi editors
I'm sure you've noticed the controversy in the making community these last few months in regard to some designers using the word kimono in the name of their pattern. As recently as November last year this was a non issue for CSC at the time you published the Kimono Edition of the pattern throw-down. Currently people are being polarised by having to adopt positions and take sides. So I'm writing to find out where the CSC will land on this.
By the end of this month I'll be publishing a new pattern to be called the Sencha Kimono, attached is a technical picture of the garment. For the first 10 days after publication I'll be giving away the PDF pattern for free. After that it will be Aus$12. So I'm wondering whether you'd reject it from being included in your next pattern round up issue, due to the name?

To date, the Curvy Sewing Collective has published numerous posts expressing their enthusiasm for kimono designs. This is some of the most recent

November 5, 2018, Pattern throwdown, kimono edition

November 19, 2018, Pattern Review: Designer Stitch Willow Kimono

December 24, 2018, Pattern Review: Helens Closet Suki Kimono.The Suki Kimono reviewed here has now become the Suki Robe

January 1 2019,  Curvy year of Sewing kimono and cardigans

Will the CSC feel it necessary to expunge these posts? I don’t know what their current position is on the ethics of using the word. So far they haven't replied to my 3 private messages seeking to find out what they think.

I have learned this about most women – Ladies! - it’s nice to be nice to the nice and don’t set my pink boa on fire or diss my tiara for being plastic (the dog is wearing the tiara).Translation – your personal is not my political so don’t mess with my beehive. 

No wonder patriarchy was able to colonise us for millennia, women have just been too polite to object.

I’m confused to be in this world where somebody comes out powerfully advocating a position and gets 4 designers to change their pattern names but totally refuses to acknowledge my existence. I have challenged her position repeatedly in the last few weeks. What kind of an advocate is that?

The activists clamouring to ring fence kimono aren’t even part of the sewist community. Unlike them I have skin in this game because I’m a clothing designer and pattern publisher. Ms Ito works in American schools as an educator. In her PomPom interview she says one of her proud achievements was consciousness raising 8-9 year kids about the wrongness of some kinds of Halloween costumes. It has raised my consciousness too - when the kids come around next Halloween I’ll lock the gate and leave a notice on it saying “Go away, Halloween cancelled. Please contact Emily Ito to be educated”.

Actually I thought Halloween came from the old English tradition of All Hallows Eve or Samhain? But I suppose to acknowledge that would be going into that tricky area of cultural appropriation?

I have this McCalls sewing pattern published in 2005 so perhaps it will have to be despatched to the shame file along with golliwogs and Famous Five books. Perhaps traded in a secret underground market of politically incorrect materials, like a piece of Nazi memorabilia?

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