Search Results for: kimono

Refashioned Kimono Dresses

Upcycling kimono into dresses has become a continual project. You can see my past kimono refashion posts here, but these mermaid dresses are by far my favorite. I’ve never tried one-shoulder style dresses in the past, and I’m pleasantly surprised to say these are comfortable to wear. You do not have to worry about dress slipping like you would when wearing a strapless dress. It feels pretty secure.

The more I work with kimono fabrics, the more I feel comfortable working with it. This one came in Kimono shape, as opposed to a roll form of fabric prior to refashioning. Because the dress is long and has some train, I had to take the kimono apart, iron them and lay them all on a ground to figure out how to cut so that I won’t be short of fabric near the end. I am always impressed by the hand sewing that goes in in kimono – corners are perfectly matched and the thread colors coordinated. Sometimes I feel bad to take it all apart.

Navy + Hazel

I completely forgot to take “before” photo of this kimono, but it was originally a furisode, which means “winging sleeves”. It is a style of kimono distinguishable by its long sleeves, and is most commonly worn by unmarried young women. It’s a type of kimono that 20-year-olds wear at the Coming of Age Day (seijinshiki)

Orange + Black
Black Tomesode Upcycle

This one was upcycled from tomesode, which is type of kimono worn by married women for special occasions like wedding. My mother wore it for my wedding. Usually the patterns are less busy than furisode, and they are placed under waistline or lower.



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Six Kimono Dresses

six kimono dresses blog postThe more I work with Kimono fabric, the more comfortable and the faster I get with it. Practice makes perfect! This mint green one was particularly fun since the colors are so vibrant. I had a roll of kimono fabric (tanmono) to start with. First, I look through meters of fabric to see where the prints are and try to find the matching print. Then I connected the matching print just like you match stripes or plaid. The width of the kimono fabrics are usually narrow like 36-38cm (more here) so depending on the pattern you are working with, you first have to connect the fabrics to figure out the fabric width. Once I have the width I want, I think of the print placement. Should the main print be in front? back? skirt area? You might be limited with the options depending on how the print is placed or shape of the pattern pieces. I try to mix up the print area and solid color area so that the dress does not look too busy or borning.
back view of emerald green kimono wrap dress emerald green kimono dress details black kimono wrap yellow kimono fabric dress by vivat veritas red cropped sleeve dress in kimono fabric white kimono dress flatlayThese solid color dresses were much easier required less thinking. Still, there was some stripes going on so I cut carefully not to disturb the stripes.  creem kimono dress (1)Of all six dresses, I am most drawn to this cream color one. The silk is so soft and drapes beautifully. For this one, I could not find the perfect print match, but still went for similar print so that you can see the continuity. You can see the picture above that the pink (orange?) clouds matches but the purple cloud right above does not. Sometimes you just have to make the decision based on which mismatch is less noticable. You can see more of my kimono upcycling projects here.


creem kimono dress (2)chie sig2

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Tips on Sewing with Kimono Fabric

Tips on sewing with kimono fabric

Tips on sewing with kimono fabric

As you might have seen on past blog posts or instagram photos, I had some opportunities to sew dresses using kimono fabric. I wanted to share a few tips I picked up while sewing modern style clothes using this kind of fabric.

Kimono roll fabric(1) Consider the fabric width and choose the pattern accordingly.
If you buy a roll of kimono fabric, the fabric width comes in 36-38cm, which is quite narrow considering regular fabric width being between 90cm to 150cm. Usually the length of the roll of kimono fabric comes in 13 meters. For obvious reasons, some dress designs don’t fit. Dresses with princess seams, fitted dresses, and I-line skirts do fit the bill. If you want to use a top pattern with darts as opposed to princess seams like this, you might have to modify the pattern to fit the fabric width.

Matching patterns on kimonozipper insertion kimono dress(2) Pattern placement
It would be very difficult to match every single pattern perfectly, but you should try to match the pattern as much as possible. Before starting to cut out the fabric, I usually take a look at the whole 13 meters of fabric, and take a note of patterns and colors. Does the same pattern show up in a roll? If not, is there a similar one? What about the color? Sometimes a kimono pattern has color gradation as you can see below, from green to lavender to white. Even if you cannot match the floral motif, if you match the general color scheme, the mismatch of the floral motif will be less noticeable.
Once you decide generally which fabric part you will use for each pattern piece, cut out one piece (if it’s center front piece, cut center front), serge the seam allowances and press the seam allowances. Then, place the particular piece beside what you are going to cut out next (in this case, side front piece). That way, you take the seam allowances in consideration when you cut out the next piece.

cream mermaid kimono dresskimono dress in cream kimono dress in emerald(3) Decide on focus point
When you consider tip (2), you might want to consider where the focus will go on the dress. I usually decide where the best motif will go first, and then try to see the overall balance of the pattern placement. If I put a focus on front hem with a floral pattern, I go the top and sleeve light with solid color part of the fabric.

(4) Where to source kimono fabric
I found this site, Ichiroya with great selection of antique kimono fabric. The price is very reasonable considering you get the whole roll! Etsy is also another great place, although the price is higher since most stores sell by the yard or meter. I think this crane print is beautiful.

Hope these tips will help you in working with Kimono fabric! Overall, I do enjoy sewing this kind of fabric. Although it is silk (most of them are anyway), it is easy to handle having no stretch and weaved in twill. Pattern matching is the most challenging part, but also the fun of working with this kind of textile. If you plan well ahead, I’m sure you will end up with a gorgeous piece.
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