My recent stay in a hotel with communal bathrooms left me yearning for a summer kimono dressing gown that I needn’t be ashamed of. No more scuttling across the corridor, clutching a shower hat to my chest. Only billowing silk as a door was shut and steam clouded the windows.
Or something like that!
For a couple of years, I’ve had a summer dressing gown that I loathe. Shop bought and constructed from the most heinous polyester. It makes me sweat the moment I shrug it over my shoulders.
There had to be a better way, but I was keen not to spend money unnecessarily. It didn’t take me long to plunder my stash and my bookshelves to find the perfect combination. The Sew Over It Vintage book (page 58) has instructions for a kimono dressing gown and my stash held some lemon print fabric. Time to sew!
This book doesn’t supply pattern pieces; it’s all about sewing from body measurements, which were easy enough to take. I set to with lots of sewable swedish tracing paper to trace the pattern pieces. Then I cut out my fabric pieces and started sewing.I wasn’t so naive as to expect a kimono in slippery fabric to stay closed with no more help than a tie belt, so I added an internal tie stitched to one internal side seam and the front edge of the kimono that would lie under the overlapped front pieces.
If you’re sewing this kimono, my tips would be:
Use fabric with drape, and not necessarily a natural fabric. Natural fibres will crease like the devil itself, demand hand washing, and a hot iron with every single launder. Seriously. You have time for all that? Consider high quality polyester or viscose. Emphasis, high quality.
Know the labels for your body. What does nape actually mean? If you don’t know, you’ll take the wrong measurements. I may sound patronising, but if you’d like to peer into my sewing room’s waste basket, you’ll see a whole set of kimono pieces resting in there, because I mistook the top of my shoulder for my nape. (Your nape is the base of your neck.)
Have lots of fabric and be ready to guesstimate. There aren’t any fabric requirements in this book (though page 19 helps you judge fabric allowance). For this make, I’d allow a good three metres of fabric, especially if your fabric has a narrow width.
Finish your seams. Kimono sleeves billow and people will see your innards.
Try your kimono on before adding loops for your belt. You’ll want to be confident of where the kimono sits on your natural waist. Otherwise, your make will twist up your body.
My final tip? HAVE FUN! The kimono doesn’t demand close fitting, and you can work with some amazingly striking fabrics.
Then you’ll be able to drift across a hotel corridor, waiting for the man of your dreams to scoop you up in his arms and plant a kiss on your lips.
Either that, or you have something great for lounging on the sofa in front of the telly!
For other kimono sewing adventures, visit here.