Sewing A Kimono Dressing Gown


sew over it kimono dressing gown

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!

sew over it kimono dressing gown on bed

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!

lemon fabric

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.Kimono Image iiI 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.

kimono tie Image

kimono tie

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!

kimono lounging

kimono full length

For other kimono sewing adventures, visit here.

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23 Responses to Sewing A Kimono Dressing Gown

  1. Helena says:

    Such a pretty print. I am tempted by the Buchanan gown by Gather Sewing. They do a lovely kit in a floral print with a green edge fabric. May be my Sewing Weekender project.

  2. Very Nice! You inspire me to make a custom kimono.

  3. Cherry says:

    What a tease! You don’t have to model it if modesty prevails but you could include a shot of the whole garment? Love this fabric.

  4. CurlsnSkirls says:

    Lovely fabric, and particularly your recommending viscose, my summer fabric of choice in these humid & hot southern summers across the pond.
    But what is that bright red ribbon doing on that seam gage? Please explain, as you always have a good reason.
    And a special thank you for mentioning BBC’s Women’s Hour, which I now enjoy **no end** each day. Blighty does seem light years ahead of us in some ways. (wink!)

  5. Kathryn Evans says:

    I love this.

  6. Lynsey says:

    This looks a lovely kimono gown to wear, very classy! I made one following an online tutorial but it’s not really wide enough and won’t stay closed, the extra ties might help if it will reach that far although seeing yours makes me want to make another one.

  7. Perfect timing for this post as DD has decided she wants a knee length kimono. Which then of course means I need a new sewing book. Oh, noes! *g*

  8. Birgitte says:

    Kimonos for hotel rooms are the best! I made one in a decent quality polyester and a funky digital floral print, and I use it pretty much *every day* while I float around in my apartment waiting for the door to buzz with a delivery of flowers, which I will open in my kimono, smokey eyes and a cigarette with one of those long slender holders so it’s all out of a parisian 1920s sort of scene. Or something like that. Kimonos lets you dream!

  9. dr P says:

    Great tip for the internal tie….you don’t want to give anyone a free show!

  10. Giorgia says:

    big thumbs up for the fabric! I wonder if your version also flaps a little on the back of the band? Behind the neck. I made one a few months ago for a friend and I couldn’t figure put why it was flapping flat on itself. I couldn’t make it out from your picture but have been wondering since if it was my cutting of the fabric or the pattern style :/

    • Hi and great question! The back collar can stand proud of flap a bit (!), although mine seems to settle with wear. This is definitely down to kimono design. That back section is very wide, compared to the back piece of my original dressing gown. (Worth remembering that kimonos are basically an arrangement of oblongs.) On future makes, it might be worth scooping out the back neckline a bit more.

  11. I love a good quilting cotton for a bathrobe. Always cool, folds down to a small wadge in the suitcase, essential for those of us who do not fit the OSFA offerings of hotels. It may not drape as well but it is nicer to wear, stays closed, and the creases fall out fast enough.
    Having said that, J’adore your lemony version! It’s glorious!!! Must be lovely to wear!

  12. Irene says:

    My old favourite dressing gown is in a knit fabric and has a shawl collar, buttons down the front and detachable fur collar… I feel like Joan Collins in it. Have looked for a replacement for years – purchased it on a whim when it was very expensive but cost-per wear must be ~2p now as I’ve worn it every day for 20 years. Washes like a dream but now rather bobbly. I’ve never really liked kimonos but love the fabric of yours.

  13. PsychicKathleen says:

    Beautiful fabric! And the kimono is really all about the fabric isn’t it? I love how you emphasize that too 🙂 Seamwork (Colette patterns) has a great kimono that Mel in our sewing group has made upteen times for herself and all her friends and family 🙂 They make great gifts because the fit is pretty easy.

  14. Janet says:

    ‘She wore lemon, but never in the daylight’. OK, maybe the last part isn’t quite right, but still. This is a fabulous dressing gown, and you’ve got me wondering if it would work for me in cotton voile. (I have a pathological fear of slippery fabrics.)

  15. sophie o. says:

    stunning print!! and thanks for all the tips, I’m planning to make one for myself

  16. Gail says:

    Lovely. That lemon print is taking me back to the Almalfi Coast!

  17. esewing says:

    Fabulous print ! My dressing gown is far less flattering , might have to give this a go !

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