Monday, October 13, 2014

Plu size DIY Kimono, sewing without a pattern

I've been admiring kimono cardigans online for weeks now, and wanting to add at least one to my wardrobe. (I'm using the term "kimono" in the way it's used in current fashion -- a simple drapey jacket, duster or coat, largely constructed of rectangles -- rather than in the authentic Japanese way).


There are lots of kimono sewing tutorials out there but none especially for plus sizes. (I was especially amused by the one that cuts a T-shaped piece of fabric out of one width of material -- after leaving enough room for my magnificent body, this would give me a kimono with 3 inch long sleeves :))

This one is probably closest to the tutorial on Elle Apparel, although I think mine makes putting on the sleeves easier :) And mine doesn't have an extra shirt tail of fabric on the back (although that might not be a bad idea ...)

I had about three metres of a really lovely, slightly crinkled fine woven fabric in my stash, in a rich, orange, grey, green and black paisley print. I had bought it last season for a dress, but decided that it would be perfect for my first kimono! It's definitely got the exotic, boho feel I want.

Love this paisley pattern! The main colour is a super-saturated dark orange that's only a few steps from a tomato red.
This kind of kimono is made of 5 rectangles -- one big one for the back, another equal one, split vertically for the two front sides and two equal, smaller ones for the sleeves.

I'm a US 3X or 22/24 so this kimono is made to fit me.  It would actually work on a 4X, size 26 as well. It's roomy :)

1. Cut or rip a length of fabric that equals the length of garment you want. I used a 36" length. I took 2.5 inches off each side giving me a rectangle measuring 36" long by 40" wide (I originally thought I could use the full width of the fabric -- this gave me a really enormous and unflatteringly wide kimono :))

2. Cut or rip a second equal length and width, then cut or rip it in half vertically giving you two rectangles 36" long by 20" wide.

3. Sew the back to the fronts at the shoulders, leaving room for your neck. I left 4" on each side of the centre front opening.

I ripped a 16' wide strip of fabric from my left over piece and then ripped it in half giving me two 16" by 22.5" rectangles. These will be my sleeves.

5. I found the centre of these rectangles and put a pin in place to remind me where that centre was (you could also make a little notch in the fabric). I pinned the sleeves to the kimono, matching the centre of the sleeve to the shoulder seam, and sewed the sleeves on.

I then turned the sleeves out. 

Folding the kimono in half along the shoulder seam, right sides together, I sewed the bottom of the sleeves together, then turned the corner and sewed the side seam of the kimono. 

I tried on the kimono at this point, danced around for a while and and then hemmed the sleeves and the bottom edges.

8. The last edge to finish is the centre front/neck.  You could shape this edge and then bind it with either self binding or contrast. You could make a facing. Or you could do what I did: I turned in the front edge from the side of the neck opening to the centre front to create a straight line and trimmed off the excess fabric.  I then turned in the edge twice to contain the raw edge and hemmed all the way around the front opening and back of the neck. After pressing, this looked just fine to me.

Here's how it looks at the end of today. I'm going to buy some fringed trim for the bottom edge, partly to give it a little weight (that will bring out the drapey-ness of the fabric) and partly because it looks extra bohemian that way!


Pat B said...

Love it, nice and easy

Carol Dee said...

Very pretty, I would love to se it on you! :) And I think it might fit me! Saving directions , thank You.

sunnysmith703 said...

...hmm...with a black maxi dress or column skirt, some funky jewelry, sandals, and an anklet...yup...I can see me in this! Thank you for the inspiration...Be Blessed!

Katherine Nobles said...

i've got a couple of sari with lovely embroidered bands. I'm going to see if the width will work!

lsl said...

I love your kimono and think it would make wonderful Christmas gifts for a couple of my friends. However, I was wondering if you could tell me how to downsize the pattern to fit smaller sizes. I am a 1X but I think my friend would be an XL or L. Is there a formula that would apply? Thanks for sharing your talent!

Nena said...

Thank you for posting this tutorial WITH diagram! I am a "visual" person and never understand written patterns until I can see a diagram or pictorial along with it. This kimono is lovely and I will try to make this out of some leftover yardage I have of silky fabric I bought three years ago. If this comes out as well as I think it will, I will be making a whole bunch more for my wardrobe! Thanks again for sharing!

Mary Anne Bolis Krohn said...

I've been wanting to make this style kimono for a long time, but never was satisfied with the DIY's I've found on line. Your's makes sense! I am going to make one this weekend with one change....I think I will make the armholes deeper (or longer, as the case may be). Wish me luck! Thank you for sharing this with us. Would love to see you wearing this with the added fringe you suggested!

Debbie Becker said...

This is so beautiful! Great job. Do you think an African waxed cotton would be too stiff to make this with? Thanks, db

regina said...

New to sewing and want to make this.. How many yards of material do I need, approx?

Tania Brown said...

Eek! Mine is in progress as I type...excited, but terrified, as it's my first 'thing' to sew without a complete pattern 🙃

Vilma Hein said...

You did an absolutely beautiful job

Diann Trotman said...

I made this over the weekend and I LOVE it!! I had to trim the arms down a little bit - I looked like Batman. I cut it out and pinned it on Saturday and sewed on Sunday. Only took a few hours (and I am a very new beginner - this is the first thing I made for myself!) and it's just lovely. I'm going to make another one. Thank you so much for the tutorial and pattern!!!