Yohji Yamamoto has been a hero of mine since I graduated from design school. I once saw him walking down the streets of Milan, Italy, not long after I started working in the New York garment district, and felt that I had made the big time. “Walking on the same street as Yohji Yamamoto?” I thought. It was a momentary highlight in my career that I remember like it was yesterday.
He is known as an avant garde Japanese designer and famous for his intricate designs and impeccable tailoring. He often experiments with different draping methods and varied fabric textures. Yamamoto is also known to integrate wabi sabi, an ever-changing state of beauty, simplicity, and asymmetry, combined with an appreciation for natural elements, into his design aesthetic.
The fashion website Showstudio launched Design Download – “a series demystifying the fashion process by offering prestigious designer garment patterns for download” – with a Yamamoto pattern for a jacket in classic Yamamoto style. He remained mysterious about the process, revealing very little, and challenging the maker to pay close attention to detail, shape, and technique. There is no “how-to,” like you would find with a traditional pattern. Design Download calls this piece a “mystery garment,” telling the reader that the “photographs of the piece hold the visual key to stitching together your own.”
Yamamoto says, “Now you have the original pattern of a certain garment. It is hard to see what it is just looking at it. The fabric should be some kind of wool… Then, you have the photo that tells you a little bit more. Take a close look at the symbols that are inscribed on the pattern. They are important leads to construct the garment. Now, spread your imagination and good luck!”
The jacket itself looks quite simple, but its beauty lies in the draping and contours of the fabric. We recommend printing the entire pattern and making sure the pattern pieces fit together in a way that makes sense before you begin cutting fabric. Once you piece together the pattern using the given keys, you will see that it is not as complex as the description might have you believe. We had to rotate our fabric (switching the grain lines) to make the pattern fit the fabric correctly. You can download and print the jacket pattern here, and see additional photos of the garment.
We decided to make a basic version of this jacket, focusing on the simplicity of the design and Yamamoto’s aesthetic. We constructed it using a double layer of our 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey.
Yohji Yamamoto jacket pattern from Design Download
2 yards of 60” wide 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
1 spool Button Craft thread
Basic sewing supplies: fabric scissors, pins, needles, ruler, rotary cutter and mat, Alabama Stitch Book, Alabama Studio Style, or Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: all three of these books contain the basic sewing techniques used to make this jacket.
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