I spent some time this morning playing with more design simulations, this time looking at what would happen if I put the fabric on the bias. I tried three configurations. The first was decidedly unsuccessful:
Why is this not working? Well, first, there are too many ideas. The color gradient does not coordinate with the flight of the phoenixes, and the progressive increases in size are a cool concept but confusing when mixed with the other two ideas. Second, the phoenix flight lines keep driving the eye out of the picture, which is visually confusing. Finally, the color gradients are uneven – they keep repeating from dark to light. Overall, this is a visual mess.
After a few more unsuccessful attempts at using multiple diagonals, I went back to having the birds flying straight up in the central panel. But this time I set the sleeves on the diagonal:
This was better – or at least somewhat harmonious. But the sleeve lines are still forcing the eye out of the garment, and as a result, there’s no clear focus.
So I swapped the pattern in the left and right sleeves:
This is the best of the three – the lines now converge at the top, drawing the focus to the wearer’s head, which is a natural focal point. When worn, it will make the phoenixes fly upward on the sleeves. And it feels more dynamic than the original:
The one difficulty with the diagonal sleeve pattern is that it may not be constructable, both because the bias fabric would drape differently and because I can only weave narrow fabrics. I’d have to piece the sleeves, and there’s no chance that the phoenixes will line up perfectly. I could make that a design element, but, well…more complications!
Also, I still don’t know how the garment would look on an actual person (as opposed to hung over a broomstick on the wall). I won’t know until I can do the muslin mockup, which will be after I visit Sharon, my sewing mentor. I need her help to get my measurements for the pattern.
Still, I think I’m making progress.
Are you planning on wearing or making an obi to wear with the kimono? If so, that might also affect your design…