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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DIY Lace Insert T-shirt

lace insert tshirt diy before and afterGrowing up, I was never a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl. I always preferred dresses, cardigans and sweaters. There are times when I would not have a single t-shirt in my closet, save the smelly ones i use for my workout. But after having Kiko, I am tending toward having more and more comfy clothes that are easy to clean. But the girly part of me can’t stand turning t-shirts into a regular part of my wardrobe. But i did find this little way to bring up the acceptableness (real word?) of the comfy top. I love this little DIY lace insert to personalize any t-shirt you have.

after diy lace insert tshirt 1I bought this Minnie t-shirt at 390 mart (everything in the store is 390 yen(about 4 bucks)! ). Although the t-shirt was perfectly acceptable as a workout wear, it lacked some femininity and breath-ability since the neckline was a bit too tight. I widen the front neckline and added a back lace insert. Here is how:what you need for lace insert diy

step1 lace insert diy adjust the necklineI wore the t-shirt in front of the mirror and marked the new neckline with a tailor’s chalk. step2 lace insert diy wider necklinestep3 lace insert diy save the ribstep4 lace insert diy decide where the lace goes

This is where you can be creative! I just did a deep U-line shape, but it could be V, star, heart, etc. step5 lace insert diy back necklinestep6 back lace panelstep7 attach lace and finish the front necklinestep7 backview Tada!sleeve alterations

If you want, you can fold up the sleeves and sew the top and bottom edges to change things up a bit!after diy lace insert tshirt 2 minnie tshirt diy after photosChieSignature

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DIY: Black Tank Maxi Before & After

I bought this black tank maxi dress at a small shop in Aoyama, Tokyo for 599 yen ($6). I don’t remember the name of the shop, but it was on a back street near the Max Mara store. The shop has a variety of clothes, shoes, accessories and watches for all 999 yen, but when I went there they were having a sale and some of their stuff were 599 yen.

I usually try things on even if the clothes are super cheap, but this shop didn’t have a fitting room. So I went ahead and bought this dress … mistake! I put it on when I came home and the fit was horrendous. Look at the pictures above! There were multiple problems with this dress – I don’t know how one simple dress can have so many flaws. The armholes were too tight and uncomfortable; neckline cut super unflattering; and the whole dress made me look like I was five-months pregnant.

So I decided to dissect the dress and made it better:

First, I lowered the neckline. I wanted the neckline not too low that I’m showing my bra, but low enough so I have breathing room (I hate turtle necks!!) and still look flattering. I wore the dress in front of the mirror, marked where I wanted the new neckline to be with chalk. After that, using a  french curve, I drew a new neckline and cut.

The neckline and arm holes are finished with bias strips.  I didn’t have the same black jersey for new bias tapes, but I had a similar one with the black block pattern. So I made bias tapes with that.

Using this bias strip, I finished the neckline and arm holes. I had to widen the arm holes because they were too tight.

For the body, I marked new lines based on my bust, waist, and hip measurements so the dress fit to my body. I did not include seam allowances because I wanted the dress to have minus ease, considering the fabric has a lot of stretch.

Finally I added a thigh high slit on the left side.

Now I like this simple maxi dress so much better. I can see a lot of possibilities for different styling, using belt, scarves, accessories and jackets. It is also a great transition piece to have from Summer to Fall.