Hey there! Welcome to my very first sewing tutorial! Please bear with me. I am a designer and a writer but I have yet to put the two together.
Here we have the finished “kimono” top. Let’s use the word kimono lightly because in actuality it won’t be worn like a true kimono but the basics are there. This tutorial is for the brave and the strong! I’m only kidding it’s for the beginner sewer. If you can wield a sewing machine you can make this top. It’s essentially a folded piece of fabric with shortish sleeves cut into it.
Materials: 1 metre long piece of fabric. The length of your kimono is going to be determined by the width it is sold by. This piece is about 60″ wide and then folded in half. The best fabrics for this design are anything lightweight and flowy. I’m using a lightweight rayon but chiffon, satin and silk are good fabrics for this project too. I am actually thinking about repurposing an old sarong for this design as well.
Step One: On your cutting table, kitchen table, living room floor (ok not recommended but I’ve been there). Lay out one metre of your chosen fabric. That’s 100cm or if you’re an imperial fan 40″. Fold the piece of fabric in half with the right sides together and the selvage edges at the bottom toward you. This is the hem of your kimono top.
The above photo with the pin is a good example of what a selvage edge looks like. It’s the sometimes slightly frayed side with the little holes in it. I’ll be writing a post on fabric direction and why it is important soon!
Step 2: Measure down from the folded edge of the fabric 10″ and then square a line into the fabric 6″. Square another line from that point to the hem. Do this on both sides.
I personally like to use tailors chalk to mark my lines on my designs but you can also use a little bar of soap. Anything that washes off (obvi).
There are two ways you can proceed from here.
Step 3: You can cut along the 6″ line you’ve drawn, curving around the underarm and down the side, then pin the two layers together and sew. Or you can pin it and then sew along the line you’ve drawn making sure to curve around the underarm seam and down to the bottom edge. Then cut the fabric out after. Whichever is easier for you. If you are fairly new to sewing I would recommend the later. These types of fabrics are hard to keep stabilized.
Step 4: Measure from one edge of the sleeve hem to the other and find the centre measurement (should be roughly 20″). Do the same along the hem (should be about 14″).
Step 5: Cut that centre line through the TOP LAYER ONLY! Do not cut through both layers. This is the front opening for your kimono top.
Voila! Technically you could be done. If you are a stickler or you just want to sew some more or you would like to properly finish the top, fold and stitch a half inch hem all the way around the bottom and neck opening and around each of the sleeve hems too.
If you would like to adjust the size of your kimono top you can go wider, pretty much as wide as you like, but it’s tough to go longer. The length of the kimono depends on the width of your original piece of fabric. Different fabrics are sold in different widths by the metre/yard depending on where you buy them.
If you like this one you can buy it here on my etsy shop!
I tested out a couple of DIY kimono top tutorials before making my own.
http://www.brit.co/diy-kimono-tutorial – this is a simple kimono tutorial with minimal sewing (like this one) and a nice silhouette
http://www.elleapparelblog.com/2013/09/kimono-cool-tutorial – this one is pretty intermediate. There are too many pieces involved for a simple top. It’s more like an oversized shirt but the effect is nice.