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Knit a Beautiful Jacket

May 30, 2014

Knit jackets are one of my favorite things, and a knit kimono?—even better!

Re-Su Katabira by Vicki Square
The timeless shape of kimono is so beautiful and flattering, and designer Vicki Square is the master of kimono knitwear. One of my favorites of hers is the Re-Su Katabira.

The lacy pattern is so lovely and perfect for warm-weather wear. The garter-stitch edging adds structure and a nice design element on the sleeves. Here's Vicki's story about this versatile piece.

The Re-Su Katabira

Kimono in historical Japan had a stringent set of rules governing who could wear what colors in what fabric and at what time of year.

Contemporary Japan, along with the rest of the world, throws the doors wide open to include all colors for all people. Aside from the black for mourning and the no-white-after-Labor-Day rules for America, both of which have been tossed, I am grateful that we have no boundaries for our color expression except for our own color aesthetic.

Suo Amanuno
Under Kosode Shell
Shiro Shiriku
Feel free to choose a palette that enhances your own personal coloring so that your clothing accentuates your natural beauty.

The ocher of this katabira, a thin morning kimono, is a cross between kuchiba—a subdued tan—and yamabuki—a golden yellow reminiscent of the common freesia. The color emphasizes lightness and the openwork reveals under layers and interacts for an integrated color palette.

For a bold color scheme, pair this with the dark eggplant Suo Amanuno; dead-leaf yellow and purple are a color combination for May, according to a traditional Japanese calendar.

For a softer look, pair it with the natural white Shiro Shiriku, or the Under Kosode Shell.

I chose an undulating diamond lace pattern for the back and front panels and a checkerboard of lace and solid squares for the sleeves. Garter stitch stabilizes the fluidity of the open-work pattern at the neckband and cuffs.

—Vicki Square, kimono designer extraordinaire

The characteristic that I really like about the Re-Su Katabira is the beautiful drape.

A DK-weight yarn is used, knit on US 9 needles. The relatively large needles and small yarn start the draping process, and the finishing, well . . . finishes it!

Vicki recommends pressing the garment to relax the yarn and really intensify the drape.

I caution you though, about pressing. It works well with some yarns, but not with others. If your yarn has acrylic content, do NOT press it. The acrylic could melt and all your hard work will be ruined!

Be careful with silk, too. A good steam or wet block would probably be best with a silk yarn. I've used the pressing technique very successfully with 100% merino and other natural fiber blends.

When I press a knitted garment, I use a slightly damp pressing cloth (a clean, four-sack-type towel works well) and place it over the area that I'm pressing. I set the iron on a low setting and quickly and lightly run it over the pressing cloth and garment. If you feel that the iron isn't hot enough, turn it up just a little and see if that helps. A too-hot iron is not a good thing!

All of these patterns are available in the Knitting Daily Shop. Get the Re-Su Katabira and one of the tops to wear underneath!

Check out Vicki's other knit kimono patterns, too. They're all wonderful, wearable, and interesting to knit.


P.S. Have you knit one of Vicki's kimono patterns? Leave a comment and tell us which one!


Featured Products

Re-Su Katabira Pattern

Availability: In Stock
Price: $5.50


The ocher of this katabira, a thin morning kimono, is a cross between kuchiba-a subdued tan-and yamabuki-a golden yellow reminiscent of the common freesia.


Suo Amanuno Pattern

Availability: In Stock
Price: $5.50


Suo Amanuno will translate well into any color-it is a classy wardrobe basic that's better than the T-shirt!


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ddipsy wrote
on Jun 7, 2014 3:42 PM

I made two Re Su Katabria kimonos.  The pattern is easy to follow.  I prefer to wear a kimono style covering rather than a buttoned cardigan, especially on special occasions.  The sleeves with the Re Su lets one wash their hands (especially after using the toilet) without having to push up wrist length sleeves.  A co-worker asked me to make the Re Su for his wife's birthday.  He gave me color choices and was generous in covering the cost of both yarn and my knitting time.

Carol@83 wrote
on Jun 1, 2014 2:23 PM

I have knit the Fan Kimono and the long Waves kimono. I love them both and wear them often. I am a 2X and adjusted the sizes of both. Kimonos are easy to alter, since they are basically rectangles.

DeEtte W wrote
on May 31, 2014 10:29 PM

I found her book in a bookstore and fell in love with her designs. I knit the long coat but made it a vest without sleeves. It's fabulous. The only thing I would change next time - and I will knit it again - is to size it larger. I'm an XL and the pattern is a bit too snug. But I still love it.