4 Unique Styles from 1 Basic Kimono Pattern
4 unique styles from 1 basic kimono pattern. Does that sound impossible to you? I was skeptical at first but I’m so excited to share the four new kimonos I have added to my wardrobe all while using one simple pattern.
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I adore kimonos. They can be dressy or casual and are great for any occasion. You can layer them over tanks, t-shirts, sweaters or blouses. There are any number of ways to put them together with different fabrics and trims. You can use wovens such as chiffon, organza, cotton, linen, denim, georgette, challis, shirting or denim. Good knit choices are ponte, jersey, pique, jaquard or novelty knits. My kimonos were all made from wovens, since that’s what I had on hand in my fabric stash but you could use this pattern for knits too.
The kimono pattern I’m using for this fun project is Simplicity #S1318.
I adore the fact that this kimono pattern only uses about 2 yards of fabric even for the extra large size. If you are on a tight budget, or are a beginner sewer this is a great pattern choice since it is unfitted, and only has a few seams!
Look #1 : Lace Edge detail
For my first kimono, I used a blouse weight polyester woven fabric. It was a thrift store purchase for $.60. You can’t get much cheaper than that! The lace came from Walmart and was about $3.00 for two spools. Lace is easy to sew on in place of the self fabric band that goes down the front and around the sleeves. Simply use a zig-zag stitch close to the edge of the fabric to sew the lace on. It is not necessary to finish the fabric edge under the lace which will save you time. You can use a narrower lace for the back edge of the neck and eliminate the back neck facing too! Look for a lace that’s 3/8″ to 1/2″ wide for the back neck. The lace trim down the front is 2″ wide, and the laces are caught into the shoulder seam. This visual continuity will create a seamless look around the entire neckline and is deceptively simple to sew.
For the sleeves, eliminate the pattern sleeve band pieces. Stitch the lace with the decorative edge along the bottom edge of the sleeve, allowing the lace to hang loose over the edge of the fabric. You only have to overlap the lace and the fabric by 3/8″ and zig-zag it in place to finish. Wash your lace trimmed garments on a gentle cycle to keep them in good shape and line dry or tumble on low heat.
I paired this floral print kimono with a fun hat, casual western choker and a simple white t-shirt. Add your favorite jeans and a pair of heels for a fun way to wear your kimono for a date or girls night out!
Look #2 : Contrasting Colored Bands
My second kimono is made from yellow floral georgette. This fabric was originally intended for a skirt project that didn’t come together AT ALL. So, I cut the skirt apart and made a kimono instead. I just love the yellow floral, and the chambray cotton shirting on the sleeves provides the perfect finishing touch. For this kimono, I used self fabric bias binding to finish the back of the neck instead of a back neck facing. Sewing binding on a back neckline is easy and provides a clean finish, it’s also less bulky when you are wearing the garment. After the shoulder seams are sewn, cut the self fabric bias pieces 2 1/2″ wide the length of the neck plus 2″. With wrong sides together, fold bias lengthwise and stitch to the right side of the neck with raw edges even. Trim the neck to 1/4″, then turn the binding to the inside and top stitch close to the folded edge, then press.
A lace t-shirt and a simple necklace complete this outfit for an entirely different look than my first kimono.
Look #3 : Embroidered Silk Organza
I have had some incredibly luck recently at our local thrift shop! Imagine how thrilled I was to find this stunning silk organza sari for $.60! A sari is a traditional Indian garment that is 6 yards of fabric (usually silk or linen), that is wrapped around the body. This kimono is longer in length to take advantage of the beautiful fabric, plus it had an ombre green border that ran the length of the piece. Wow! The sleeve hem was placed on the border, and stitched with a tiny rolled hem.
The green band down the front is just self fabric binding made from the contrasting border of the fabric. I did not use any interfacing in this version of the kimono. The organza is plenty stiff and has lots of body on it’s own. The green colored border was so pretty I didn’t want to waste it! I also feel neck trim ties the colored border of the sleeve into the look. The organza is printed with silver metallic, and it feels very airy and elegant to wear. I can even imagine this over a satin gown with heels for a summer wedding or other formal occasion!
Look #4 : Flocked Chiffon with Contrasting Crepe Bands
In this version, I decided to use a beautiful flocked chiffon (another thrift store purchase) for the body of the garment. The contrasting bands were made from scraps of black crepe that I had in my scrap bag. The chiffon looks light and airy compared to the dark fabric bands. They make a striking pair! I can see this type of kimono over a strapless evening dress, a satin tank top paired with jeans, or even a pretty bra and panties for a boudior look. So many possibilities!
The black chiffon is very dramatic. I decided I liked the look of it against our rustic unfinished attic space. Someday I would love to make this huge unused space into my dream sewing studio.
This design is great for using scraps, I used pieces of leftover polyester crepe for the contrasting bands of this kimono. The sleeves take on new drama with the chiffon and remind me of a traditional Japanese kimono!
My necklace is a velvet ribbon that has leftover beads and gold tassels attached to it. I am allergic to metals, so ribbons work well for DIY jewelry projects. Velvet necklaces are also very on trend which is a plus!
Kimono Tips & Tricks
Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind while you sew your own kimonos:
The shoulder, side and sleeve seams in all of my kimonos got special treatment. Because the fabrics are sheer and the kimono design is rather open and flowing, I didn’t want the seam allowances to show. A french seam that encloses the seam allowances completely is the best way to finish them off. French seams are not hard to make, but it’s a little different process because you sew the WRONG sides together, then flip and sew the RIGHT sides together. Confused? Here’s a video of that technique:
The following video demonstrates how to sew a narrow rolled hem as used for look #3:
I had so much fun with this kimono pattern and I’ve already been getting so much use out of these beautiful pieces that are now part of my wardrobe! All four of these styles are sure to become staples in my everyday closet.
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