Tag: jackets

4 Unique Styles from 1 Basic Kimono Pattern

4 Unique Styles from 1 Basic Kimono Pattern


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.

4 Unique Styles from 1 Basic Kimono Pattern | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

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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.

4 Unique Styles from 1 Basic Kimono Pattern | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

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.

4 Unique Styles from 1 Basic Kimono Pattern | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

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.

4 Unique Styles from 1 Basic Kimono Pattern | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

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

4 Unique Styles from 1 Basic Kimono Pattern | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

4 Unique Styles from 1 Basic Kimono Pattern | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

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

4 Unique Styles from 1 Basic Kimono Pattern | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

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.

4 Unique Styles from 1 Basic Kimono Pattern | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

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!

4 Unique Styles from 1 Basic Kimono Pattern | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

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.

4 Unique Styles from 1 Basic Kimono Pattern | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

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!

4 Unique Styles from 1 Basic Kimono Pattern | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

4 Unique Styles from 1 Basic Kimono Pattern | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

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.


More Inspiration

Looking for more design inspiration? Here are some other posts you will love:

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt: 7 Secrets to Sewing it Right

Easy Denim Hack to Make Your Old Jeans Fit Again

Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity

#YogaLife T-Shirt with Cricut


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How to Sew a Sunny Raincoat

This raincoat will make you feel cheery on any rainy day! Here’s my top tips for making a waterproof coat!


I feel in love with this yellow Gortex fabric the minute I saw it. Something about a bright yellow coat is so happy on a rainy day. This was my first attempt at sewing rain wear, and I learned so much from it. High tech fabrics such as Gortex are a completely different animal, here’s how to get the best results from your rainwear project. For this coat, I used pdf pattern #1030 the Waver Jacket from Paper Cut Patterns. Overall it was fairly easy to assemble, but read on for the one thing that the designer could have done better!

How to Sew a Sunny Raincoat|Chambraybluesblog|www.chambrayblue.com

Waterproof Fabric Tips

1. Water proof fabrics require special care when cutting. You can’t use pins because they put holes in the fabric. Also, Gortex in particular has a rubber backing that is very thick and pins won’t poke through it. You will need to use pattern weights, and lots of them when laying out the pattern to cut.

2. Fusible interfacing doesn’t work with this type of fabric. I tried ironing some on at low heat (so the fabric doesn’t melt), and though it seemed like it was working the glue did not hold in the long run. Use a sew in interfacing instead for this project.

3. A walking foot is essential for sewing this “sticky” fabric. One side of the fabric is slick, the other sticks like glue to everything. It gets stuck under the presser foot and doesn’t move as you are sewing. If you don’t have a walking foot, you could try using a piece of freezer paper under the presser foot to help it slide under the presser foot.

4. A sharp needle is a must. I used a size 14 all purpose needle for this project.

5. Good quality thread makes a huge difference, Gutterman thread was recommended by the fabric supplier and that’s what I used. Fabric was purchased from Seattle Fabrics.com.

6. Making buttonholes was challenging. The pattern had buttons and snaps as options, I decided on buttons because they were easy to find. I think snaps would have worked better because the button holer kept sticking to the fabric as I mentioned above and was very cumbersome to use. I made several mistakes with my buttonholes, and I just have to live with how they turned out.

7. You can’t rip out stitches with this type of fabric because it leaves holes. You only get one chance to do it right, and for the same reasons Gortex is just difficult to work with.

Waver Jacket Pattern Review

I have not sewn with many pdf patterns, as I usually just stick with one of the name brands. This pdf was overall well designed, but I spotted a couple of things that could have made this project turn out so much better.

1. The Center front wasn’t cut on the straight grain: This may seem like a small detail, but this one change could have made this coat so much better. Grain line placement makes a huge difference in how the finished coat hangs. As you can see from my photos, the coat appears to have too much fullness at center front, and hides the buttons when hanging. This is because the marked grain line was at an angle to the center front, generally a no-no in the design world. Particularly with center front button plackets, the front grain must be cut on the straight grain for the best result. I knew I should have changed it when I cut it, but for some reason I didn’t. Live and learn from my mistake!

2. Pocket placement could be better: The pockets are way to close to the center front. I did alter the pattern and added extra fullness at the side seam. The pockets should have been moved at least 2″ closer to the side seam.

3. Lining hem could be longer: Most quality coats have what is called a jump hem. That is, a hem that has 1/2″ or more extra length in the lining so that when you move your arms and shoulders the extra length keeps the hem hanging straight and doesn’t pull up as you move. This coat was not designed this way and I discovered too late that the hem pulls up in an unattractive manor when moving about. If I make it again, I will add extra 1″ of length to the lining. For now, I stitched the hem of the lining independently from the jacket, allowing the extra movement that is needed.

Overall this was a challenging project. The fabric I chose was not easy to work with, but I am still pleased with it. My purpose in making this jacket was to have something to wear for walking outside and working in the yard on wet days. The jacket serves it’s purpose even though it isn’t as perfect as I would like. The color alone makes me happy every time I put it on.

I have plans to try sewing a couple of other rain coats in the future, so stay tuned for more!

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How to Restyle a Boring Denim Jacket

How to Restyle a Boring Denim Jacket

We all have clothes in our closet we no longer wear, here are some tips on restyling and updating a boring denim jacket!

Re-Style Your Denim jacket, easy sewing project|Chambrayblues|chambrayblues.com
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Re-Style Your Boring Denim Jacket

I have had this denim jacket in my closet for a few years. Most of the time, I rarely wear it. The jacket is too short in the sleeves and body for me, and too small around the middle. I bought this denim jacket on a whim when I was at a blog conference and I needed a jacket while sitting in a cool room listening to the conference speakers. If I had thought about it longer, I wouldn’t have bought it in the first place because it didn’t really fit. Sometimes you do funny things when you are cold!

I didn’t want to give the jacket away since it is practically new, and I decided the best thing to do would be to restyle it so it suits me better. I added wide lace to the sleeves and hem to make the jacket longer so it fits me. Then I was able to add 2″ to the center front by removing the old button placket and adding wide pleated trim. The jacket now fits better around the midriff where I need it. It doesn’t button closed, but that’s okay since I never buttoned it up anyway. Here’s how I made all the adjustments.

Re-Style an Old Boring Denim Jacket|ChambrayBlues|chambrayblues.com
Change up your old jacket for a new look with bits of vintage lace and trims.

Supplies Needed:

• 3 yards of 4″ wide lace

• 2 yards rosebud trim (sold in the lace section at the fabric store)

• 1 spool 1/2″ wide edge lace

• 1/2 yard vintage lace for yoke (I used an old skirt)

• the legs from 1 pair old pair of denim jeans, cut into 2 1/2″ strips

• matching thread, scissors, sewing machine

Re-Style a Boring Denim Jacket|Chambrayblues|Chambrayblues.com
Use vintage lace to cover the front and back yoke.

Yoke Directions:

1. Lay your jacket on a table and pin seams together along the front and back yoke, neck and sleeve. Trace the front yoke shape onto a piece of craft paper. Add seam allowance and cut out. Repeat for the back yoke (this should be on the fold)

2. Place the pattern pieces on top of your vintage lace. I used the bottom hem of an old skirt that had a beige lining. Line up the bottom of the yoke of the pattern with the hem of the skirt or other finished edge of lace. Trace around the seams, adding 1/2″ seam allowance for the shoulder seam. Be sure pieces line up from the front to back shoulder. Cut out the front pattern piece. Repeat for the back yoke, using your first pattern piece as a guide to match the neck and seam edges. Cut the pattern out of your vintage lace.

I kept the existing skirt lining intact with my lace since I liked the light color behind the lace. You could also just let the denim show through the lace if you don’t have a lining.

Re-Style your Boring Denim Jacket|Chambrayblues|Chambrayblues.com

3. Stitch the front and back shoulders of the lace yoke together. Add 1/2″ narrow lace trim to finish armhole edge using a 2.5 zig-zag stitch setting. Fold under lace trim ends and secure.

4. Place the lace yoke on top of the right side of denim yoke. Pin in place. Zig-zag stitch in place with a narrow stitch (2.5) along neck edge, center front, bottom of yoke and armhole. Repeat for back yoke.

Re-Style a Boring Denim Jacket|Chambrayblues|Chambrayblues.com
Use vintage lace to cover the front and back yoke.

Updating the Center Front

1. Cut off front button placket from both sides of the jacket, leaving collar intact. Reserve extra pieces for another project.

2. Make pleated trim for jacket front. Cut off the legs from an old pair of jeans. Cut 6 strips of denim 2 1/2″ wide.

3. Pleat the denim strips by making 1″ folds in the denim with a salad fork as you sew. It’s a bit awkward at first, but you will soon see how easy it is to make even pleats. I love this method and will definitely use it again soon! Don’t worry about the raw edges, the fraying of the denim is part of this vintage charm!

4. Attach the pleated trim down the jacket front from collar to hem with a single needle stitch 3.0 setting. Overlap the pleated trim and center front edge by 1/2″ , pin in place. Top stitch 1″ away from first line of stitching on the right side. Be sure to catch any loose pockets in the seam, my jacket had pockets that were sewn into the original placket and I needed to anchor them in place to keep them from flopping about.

5. Cut a row of lace flowerettes and apply them down the center front on top of the pleated trim. Zig-zag stitch in place. You can use a different lace trim about 1″ wide instead if your lace is an allover pattern and doesn’t have rows.

6. Cut one row of flowers from the flower trim, zig zag stitch on either side of the trim along the center front, on top of the lace and pleats. I preferred my trim slightly off center, covering half of the lace for a unique effect.

Re-Style a Boring Denim Jacket|Chambrayblues|Chambrayblues.com
4″ gathered lace was added to the cuffs and hem of the jacket.

Updating the Jacket Cuffs and Hem

1. Gather the 4″ lace 1/2″ from top edge.

2. Fit lace to cuff edge, trim. Pin in place. Sew a zig-zag (3.0) stitch along edge on the wrong side of the cuff.

3. Add a flowered trim to cuff. Cut the floral trim to the same width and length as the cuff. Pin in place on right side of jacket. I cut the trim 1″ short to leave the button and button hole on the sleeve intact so it was still use-able.

4. Zig-zag stitch flower trim in place on top and bottom of cuff.

That’s it! This hack only cost me about $15.00. I already had the jacket and the lace skirt, so it was just a matter of purchasing the trims. We have lots of old jeans around the house and you can’t even tell that the pleated trim on the front of the jacket doesn’t match the rest of the jacket. It’s fun to mix up your old clothes and make them feel new again! Be sure to share pics in the Chambray Blues Sewing Group on Facebook if you remix your old jacket, we would love to see it!

Re-Style Your Denim jacket, easy sewing project|Chambrayblues|chambrayblues.com
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Sew Along 2018, the Year of the Blues!

Sew Along 2018, the Year of the Blues!

Sew Along with me! It’s a great way to stay motivated and learn new skills. This line up of great styles is perfect for those who want to explore new patterns and learn more about custom sewing and alteration details.

Sew Along Master Class

Here’s your chance at sewing success! I am starting a monthly sew along class. This class will be completely free and you can sew one month or all 12 as you choose. Most patterns are easy, we will have videos, Facebook lives too on each step!

I have chosen these commercial patterns for this Sew Along. Partially because I know people struggle with them and I can help, but they are also readily available and have the majority of sizes people are looking for. Here is the list, stock up on the next sale for the entire year and get sewing!

January: You will love this cozy Funnel Neck top. Make just the top, or buy extra fabric for the leggings, if you choose. This pattern is McCalls 7061.

Princess Dress|Chambraybluesblog|Chambrayblues.com

February: What’s not to love with this date night dinner dress! Cherry red is perfect for Valentine’s Day! Mc Calls 7535 is easy to sew and looks great on all shapes! Suitable for woven or knits.

March: I adore this Marfy Caftan. Make it long or short, wear it over a swim suit, out to dinner or just around the house. This easy pattern is Marfy F3921.

April: Mimi G Style pattern, love this jacket with optional capelet. Mimi G Style, Simplicity pattern S1016. Learn to sew rainwear fabrics and make buttonholes. This pattern has a lot of extra details on pockets, sleeves and caplet collar as optional custom designs.

May: Learn about stripes this month with this fabulous shirt dress. We will learn collars, facings, and how to work with bias stripes. Pattern is McCalls M7084.

June: Perfect for the romantic summer evening, this chic blouse would be great with chiffon sleeves. We will use Vogue 9243 for this project.

July: Explore vintage pattern Simplicity 8445. Darling! This pattern is available with long sleeve or short sleeve design options. We will learn about constructing collars, yokes and sleeve cuffs.

August: The perfect summer skirt! Very easy pattern and can be reversible! Easy and quick construction, includes a straight style option if you don’t care for the A-line look. This is McCalls 7129.

September: You will love learning about denim this month with this super trendy set of overalls! Great for back to school!Great way to learn to work with denim fabrics. Mc Calls 7547.

October: Fabulous knit top, can be stretch lace, stretch velvet, knit or sweat shirt fleece. Or use all four fabrics! This is Mc Calls 6992.

November: Learn to make custom fit jeans. We will cover specific pattern alterations to get a great fit! More advanced fitting techniques are easy with McCalls 5894.

December: Close out the year learning satin, brocade or velvet techniques. We will sew this darling Gertie vintage pattern for the holiday dress of your dreams! Gertie does vintage so well! This is Butterick 6412.

I am also giving away a free monthly calendar to new subscribers where you can have each task listed for every month in the sew along.

Print your free downloadable calendar here.

Sew Along, the year of the blues|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com

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