Kabuki Tee name change

What's in a name? For me - a lot of significance. 
I’m heading into 2021 with a name change for what was my very first pattern - the Kabuki Tee.
The Kabuki Tee has now been renamed the “Block Tee” 
There have also been some small changes to improve the fit of the sizes 20-28.


I originally named the Kabuki tee back in 2016. The inspiration for the name is Japanese in origin and was chosen by myself after viewing an exhibition of Kabuki costumes. If you’re not familiar with Kabuki, it is a form of classical theater in Japan known for its elaborate costumes and dynamic acting. The pattern I was working on at the time naturally shifted and changed into something else through the course of its development but I wanted to nod my respect to my initial source of inspiration by naming the t-shirt the “Kabuki Tee” 

However, in the four or five years since naming the t-shirt, my understanding of cultural appropriation vs appreciation has shifted considerably and I am now aware the name is no longer appropriate. As I have no Japanese heritage myself I will not use Japanese words to name my patterns. Sure, I could just chalk it up to past naivety and leave it as is, but I think it’s important to publicly acknowledge our mistakes and our learning processes. I believe that part of ethical making means being thoughtful about your impact on not just the planet, but also your impact on others and the use of their culture. Japanese culture has been mined by Western fashion for decades now. The impact of using Japanese words to signify any old type of wide sleeve is lazy and reductive and it adds to the erasure of how important an actual Kimono is to Japanese culture.

There are many resources available for learning about the nuances of Cultural Appropriation, and I would say one of the best (particularly in respect to the appropriation of Japanese culture) is by following the work of Emi Ito (@littlekotoscloset on instagram) and supporting her on Patron. I would highly recommend reading her blog and in particular a post titled  “An Open Letter to White Makers & Designers Who Are Inspired by the Kimono & Japanese Culture” I would personally like to thank Emi for taking the time to speak to me about the renaming of the Block Tee.

The other change to the pattern has been a small update in the grading to improve the fit on sizes 20 - 28. I had some feedback that the shoulders were a bit wide on the larger sizes so I have spoken with my graders and had the pattern adjusted slightly for sizes 20 - 28. It's not a significant change and the style still remains the same but I hope it fits just that much better now for more people as is possible. It certainly looks good on the testers I had trying out the new grade recently. There is a diagram below to illustrate the change as I think that's the easiest way to understand the difference. There are no changes with sizes 6 - 18 other than the new name. 

changes in grading for Block tee

So going forward, the Kabuki tee will now be referred to as the “Block Tee” 

The name change is live on my website and I have sent the updated files to the two other online retailers who stock my patterns. I would love it if you would add the hashtag #blocktee to your previous hashtags on instagram where you have posted pictures of your Kabuki’s so that new sewists are still able to easily find and be inspired by your previous makes.

 Shop the Block Tee Here

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