Upcycled Kimono Dresses

Upcycled Kimono Dress via Vivat Veritas Blog

Hello! I recently worked on a few kimono dresses so I wanted to show the finished products here. These dresses were upcycled from vintage kimono fabrics. This was the first time I worked with kimono fabric so it presented a few challenges!

The first challenge was that the kimono fabric in Tanmono(反物) form has a very narrow width. If you haven’t seen what Tanmono looks like, here are some examples. Its width is about 35cm and the length is about 12 meters. This is not where I sourced the fabric, but Ichiroya has many beautiful antique kimonos – I love this, this and this (all 100% silk). They also have an English page. Since the width is so narrow, the patterns need to be adjusted so that I can cut out each piece without disrupting the patterns or motifs of the fabric.
blue kimono dress kimono remake blue kimono dress via vivatveritas Kimono upcycle dressBeige Kimono Dress Details Beige Kimono Dress Inside Beige Kimono Dress Vent Beige Kimono Dress

Second challenge is how to match the patterns of the fabric. Since many kimono fabrics are one-of-a-kind, in one roll, you might get all different patterns. What I did was to take a look at the entire fabric (12 meters of them!) before I started cutting and planned out accordingly. For the below dress top, I looked for a similar pattern in the fabric and although they were not completely the same, I mixed and matched so that they look like they belonged together. The process is similar to matching plaids. I’ve worked with plaids in the past (did not love the process though) so it helped. Beige Kimono Remake Dress via Vivat Veritas In process of Kimono Dress1 kimono dress in process

Overall sewing from Kimono fabric was fun, and I love handling the 100% silk. Have you made something with antique or traditional fabrics? What were the fun parts and challenging parts?

pink kimono upcycled dress via Vivat Veritas pink5



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Handmade Bow Ballet Leotard

Bow Ballet Leotard

My daughter started taking ballet lessons in last October and I made a lace ballet leotard for her back then. It’s been nine months and I already had to make a second one since she’s grown out of the first one! Although the leotard had some stretch, at the end her nipples were exposed and its time had passed. I already made the pattern, so I made simple modifications on the pattern and didn’t need to change much (here is a good alternative PDF pattern on etsy). I added 5cm in bodice and few centimeters around chest and waist. It turned out that chest is a bit big for her but I have no doubt that she will grow out of this leotard very soon.

She did not like the last dress I made for her, but thankfully she received this leotard with much love and gratitude. So funny that a child has preferences over what she wears at this young age.

The fabric is a leftover from the jazz dance costumes I made back in 2012.  It’s some kind of spandex mix two way stretch fabric I bought in the second floor of Nippori Tomato, knit section. After making her leotard, I still have a ton left so I’m thinking of making myself bathing suit for this summer. I’ve been eyeing this vintage inspired one piece number by Ohh Lulu Sews. Has anyone made this?


White bow leotard handmade bow leotard for little girlhandmade bow leotard for little girl via Vivat Veritaschie sig2Find me elsewhere:

Bow Tie Dress from Girls’ Clothes by Fu-Ko basics

Polkadot Dress from Japanese Sewing Book

Our local library has many great sewing books. Kiko and I go there once a week since they have a story telling program for little kids. While she is in the program, I wander around the sewing and crafting section and usually end up taking out one or two sewing books.

My recent sewing project for Kiko came from  the book, “Heart Warming Life Series: Girls’ Clothes by Fu-Ko basics” by Mayumi Minowa (Japanese title 作ってあげたい、女の子のお洋服).

I made Bow Tie Dress in size 120. Japanese kids clothing size goes 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120… and they point to the kids’ height in centimeters. Kiko is little over 110cm right now, but I made it in a bigger size so she can get the most wear out of it.

The fabric is cotton with pink dots. I bought the fabric back in 2012 and made curtains for her nursery. It looked cute in the room but it did not cut out the light so later on I bought light shielding curtain which cuts the outside light completely. It comes handy for naps when she used to take one or summer nights when the outside is still bright at 7pm. Since we no longer need the polkadot curtains, I recycled it to make the bow tie dresses.

I love making clothes for her at night and surprise her in the morning. It’s like a mini Christmas. I hang the new clothes in her room while she is asleep and she finds it when she gets up. I was convinced that she would love this dress. It’s 1)dress, 2)pink and 3)bow tie. What more can a girl dream for?

Contrary to my expectation, I did not get a good reaction out of her. She did not like it at all and told me I can give it to her friend! I was furious. I thought about giving it away so she can’t wear it but she kept insisting that I should give away, so I thought maybe I should demand that she wears it even though she does not like it to teach her to appreciate things that she is given. I think she got my point.

If you sew for your children, do you get a reaction “I don’t like this”? When that happens how do you react?
Close up of the Dress Bow Tie Cute! Japanese Sewing Book for Little Girl Japanese Sewing book Matching Little Girls Dresses Matching Little Girls Dresses2 Polka Dot Dress from Old Curtain
Polkadot Dress Vivat Veritas Blog Girls Dresses


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