Hello! This week, I am so excited to share my DIY silk kimono. Not only am I absolutely crazy about this kimono, but it is a project that has been a long time coming. It started more than two years ago, when I picked up Simplicity #1318. I had been thinking of making a kimono for a while, and I loved the easy style of this pattern. What I didn’t realize was that it would take me more than TWO YEARS to finally find the right fabric … good thing I wasn’t in a hurry.
Initially, I wanted a border-style print like on the pattern envelope, but the ones I found just didn’t speak to me. So, I broadened my search for a silk in a great print. How hard could that be, right? Well, I searched online and looked at every fabric store I visited. There were plenty of prints that I would have used for other projects, but none of them seemed right for the kimono.
Little did I know that it would take moving to the other side of the planet to finally find what I was looking for. One really fun part of moving to Australia for six months has been finding and exploring some amazing fabric stores. One such place is The Fabric Store, and this is where my search came to an end. (There is a US location in Los Angeles, but I was not familiar with it prior to visiting the Sydney store).
The minute I saw this crazy, multi-color, circular print I knew it would be perfect for my kimono. I cannot say enough good things about this silk. It is incredibly soft, with a nice weight that makes it feel quite luxurious. For the trim, I initially wanted to use black, but when placed side-by-side, the black just didn’t pop. I guess I fixed that problem by going in the complete opposite direction and selecting this bright yellow silk, also from The Fabric Place. I don’t see either of these silks on their online store, but they do have others available here.
With the search finally over, I could now settle in and actually make my kimono. It’s a simple pattern, so I thought I could whip it up in a couple of afternoons and call it a day.
I selected View B, which has contrasting bands and a high-low hem. I ended up adjusting the fit slightly, by removing 3” from the sleeve and upper side seams. The back and hips fit perfectly, but I felt like the fabric around the arm area was swallowing me. I also removed the center back seam and cut the back piece on the fold.
The construction of the pattern is very straightforward. But, since I was using such beautiful silk fabrics, I wanted to finish everything as beautifully as possible. To me, this meant French seams. This was not my first time sewing French seams, but every time I sewed up the arm and side seams, they just didn’t lie smoothly. I realize that I am the only person who would ever notice this, but I took the seams apart and tried again. And again. And again. Finally, on the fourth try…success!
What a nerve-racking process. Each time I took apart the seam, I held my breath hoping the silk could handle just a little bit more. In the end, I’m glad I took the time to get the seams perfect. And I can’t tell you how happy I am that the silk held its own against my seam ripper. Finishing the facing on the bands required a bit of hand sewing, but after my battle with the French seams, it was a welcome change of pace.
Overall, I am so pleased with how my kimono turned out, and it was definitely worth the wait for the perfect fabric.
Until next time…