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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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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Before & After | Cocktail Dress to Pleated Skirt

Before and After of Dress to Pleated Skirt DIY Vivat Veritas2After reading about Wardrobe Rehab over at a pair & a spare, I try to review my closet every few months to get rid of clothes that I don’t wear by donating them to thrift shops. Although I made this a regular practice, there are some items that I neglected to part with even though I don’t wear them at all. This cocktail dress is one of those items. I do have an emotional attachment to this dress as this was the dress I wore to my engagement party nine years ago. After that, I wore this once for a work party, but not since. Since I bought the dress nine years ago, now being 30, I feel like this dress is too young for me.Before and After of Dress to Pleated Skirt DIY Vivat VeritasInstead of getting rid of the dress all together, I upcycled it by making it into a knee length skirt.

Here is how:

You need:
1. babydoll style dress with pleated skirt (stretch material)
2. 2″ wide elastic band cut in your waist length + 1″ for seam allowance

Cocktail dress to pleated skirt DIY1It was a baby doll style dress, so first I cut off the top part. Sorry for all the white fuzz in the pictures! Right before this DIY, I was working on a white fur… I made a tissue case cover.

Cocktail dress to pleated skirt DIY2

Sew the elastic band and attach it to the skirt you just cut. Since the skirt waist was bigger than my elastic, I stretched the elastic as I sewed it onto the skirt. Cocktail dress to pleated skirt DIY3

Cut two satin ribbons so you can attach it to the inside of skirt waist. This is so that you can hang the skirt on a hanger to store.
Cocktail dress to pleated skirt DIY4

All done! Brad new pleated skirt that works in winter with tights and spring! Cocktail dress to pleated skirt DIY5DIY-dress-to-pleated-skirt-




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