Kiomi dress #2! I liked the first one so much that I made it twice! This is my second project from the sewing book, Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style. And as I’ve already proclaimed, it is likely that I will eventually make most, if not all, of the projects in the book. I should be adventurous and move on to another pattern, but the Kiomi dress really is the ideal garment for the 112 degree Fahrenheit weather (or as I like to call it, “F*** It Weather”) we’re having right now. It’s sleeveless with a roomie, A-line silhouette. Structured, yet breezy. It’s so ridiculously humid outside, this is about all I can wear.
For version #2, I made the Kiomi dress at maxi length. I continued my love affair with Marimekko fabrics, making this one in the signature Marimekko print, Unikko (Finnish for “poppy”). Making this dress was, again, quick and easy, and ideal for a beginner’s project. However, I did make note of some differences I faced in sewing this version versus the mid-length Kiomi dress in 100% linen.
The Marimekko fabric I used for the maxi dress is a mid-weight cotton or quilting cotton, as it is often called. It’s ideal of home decor projects and accessories, but can also be used for some apparel. Quilting cotton is quite stiff and doesn’t drape as well as lighter weight cotton fabrics, such as voile or lawn. You must consider the drape of the apparel pattern you are making before deciding on a fabric of this weight. On the other hand, I think the stiffness of quilting cottons make them great for vintage-inspired looks with A-line skirts and structured bodices.
This is precisely why I chose to pair the Marimekko Unikko fabric with the Kiomi maxi dress. The Marimekko Unikko pattern, designed by Maija Isola in 1964, is, quite literally, vintage and this uber-abstract floral will impart a Sixties vibe to anything it touches. Big, bold prints like Unikko look best on simple garments. The less darts and folds, the better. Your body is basically a canvas to showcase this graphic wonder. Longer dresses are great too, because you get to see more of the uninterrupted pattern. So the simplicity of the Kiomi maxi dress is a perfect match.
While both linen and quilting cotton are easy to sew, I think I had an easier time sewing the neckline and armholes in linen. However, I was able to execute the gathers at the neckline better in the quilting cotton. Incidentally, I actually prefer the look of the neckline on the linen version, where I didn’t exactly nail the gathers. As for comfort, I also prefer the feel of linen to the quilting cotton. I like the overall look of the quilting cotton as I think it helps to achieve the vintage look I wanted. However, I’m not crazy about the feeling of sitting around in such stiff cotton, at least not in this weather. I’m sure that will be less of a bother in the cooler months. I prewashed the cotton, as I did the linen, but it only made a minimal difference.
Comparisons notwithstanding, I am happy with the results. I love vintage Marimekko dresses, more so than their current designs. I wanted this dress to be a nod to that and I think I pulled that off. The first photo really gives me a late-sixties, Valley of the Dolls vibe. I never saw the movie (read the book), but it also makes me think of Joan Didion’s Play it As it Lays. I even used a filter to play up the late-sixties, early-seventies California aesthetic. I just recently, finally, finished the last season of Mad Men. Perhaps that’s still lingering in my head. Here’s to Don. Here’s to Peggy.