I am constantly thinking of new ideas for future sewing workshops. I teach all levels of abilities, from beginners to advanced seamstresses. The Kimono can be made by any ability, depending on the way you go about it and with which paper pattern, if any you use. In my advanced workshops we make a Kimono without a paper pattern, in my beginners class we make a very simple style that includes some challenges, enabling skills development and progress. Here is an over view of my latest workshops: http://www.eventbrite.com/experience/39613833041
I love-making and wearing Kimonos, as they are so versatile, they can be worn to dress up jeans, or with a sparkly evening dress. I am going to the Blog awards this year and will wear the blue Papercut one in the pictures below, with a posh frock.
So I am on a mission to find the best Kimono pattern, so I can use it to teach with, in workshops at the end of January.
They are so quick and easy to make too. Or are they?
I have made 4 different versions over the last few months, so wanted to share my experiences with you.
- The New Look 6438
- Simplicity K1108 (3 shapes included)
- Papercut Kochi Kimono
- Pinterest no pattern online tutorial
This is a short bat wing sleeve style. Initially I didn’t add the fusing to the neck-band and soon discovered this was an error. It definitely needs the structure, as without it stretches and gets misshapen and doesn’t matchup. so I amended my error. I used a; blue silk, Liberty print, this worked really well as it has fantastic drape. I also French seamed it, this only worked as the underarms were curved, if there was a corner under the arm like in other patterns, this would bunch up under the arm. I would like to make a chiffon version, maybe with a contrasting beaded neckband? or it could be made in a heavier material for a warmer jacket effect. this was really quick and easy to make and looks lovely. I get lots of compliments when I wear it. The first time I wore it with jeans to my husbands 3rd book launch. i had to make a speech at this event, so wanted to feel comfortable and confident and the kimono helped.
No pattern Kimono
I have a future workshop where I am teaching how to make a Kimono without a pattern, this technique I saw on Pinterest and gave it a go myself. It is literally made up of 4 pieces, two L shaped fronts and one T shaped back. With an optional front band. This is the simplest and best way to start pattern cutting for yourself. It is so easy and you can make the perfect length and shape for you. I used a heavy weight cotton sashiko fabric that was originally a throw. it looks great as a jacket style kimono. Here is a link to my Kimono board on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/ItsSewSimple/kimono/
Paper cut Kochi Kimono
The Papercut patterns are a totally different experience, a quality experience I was having for the first time. The packaging is so lovely, from the cut out logo, the card cover, the instructions graphics, to the thickness of the paper inside. All make you feel like you are working with a quality product, it just feels expensive. Patterns have traditionally been made with a light-weight tissue, mainly because it is cheaper to produce and easier to store and pin to the fabric. This isn’t everyone’s specification these days, well I enjoyed using the thicker paper and like how it doesn’t rip so easily and it folds away so well. I am forever crunching up my tissue patterns and they never store well once used. I remember someone saying they iron theirs before they put them back, which is a good tip, just not what I want to spend my time doing, I avoid ironing like the plague. The pattern just feels special, when something feels new and expensive you tend to treat it differently. Which is definitely the case for me. The instructions make you feel like someone is having a conversation with you, they are easy to understand and well illustrated. You pay for the quality paper, inside and out.
You can make the Papercut kimono with pockets, a belt and or lining. The lining I may try in a thicker fabric in future. I went for the plain, no belt no pockets style, as I was using a large print, so it has enough going on. I do still find the under arm tricky to match up and it’s worth pinning and then basting before sewing, just to check. i would also recommend you baste the band before top stitching, the shape has so few parts to sew together it’s worth spending that extra time, to make it make perfectly.
The Paper cut pattern is luxurious, quite expensively priced, but you soon understand why, I am a big fan and will be ordering some other styles very soon.
New Look 6438
I really enjoyed making this and it looks great on. It isn’t as comfortable to wear though, it’s too short and needs a brooch to keep the centre front in place. If I make it again I would add a press stud inside and make it longer. I often remind myself when this happens that it is good to make a toile first, then you can feel how it fits and then make alterations before using the expensive fabric. we have not always the time, so live and learn.
I went on to make the short square version. I had some black Liberty fabric that I wanted to use and thought this would work well. I didn’t like it anywhere near as much. I wore it as a light jacket to one of wy workshops at the great British Sewing bee last year. I made a matching infinity scarf. It just looks old-fashioned shape wise, frumpy is the best description. I will not make this shape again. I did also find the under arm quite tricky. The meeting of the seams is difficult to do first time, I did have to unpick it as the seams were pulling and it didn’t look right when finished.
The over all winner has to be Papercuts kimono, as its easy to make, a quality pattern and an all round user-friendly, special experience. The Simplicity bat-winged kimono comes in at a close second place, as it is so easy and a versatile wear. I didn’t need to alter the shape in any way. I really like the New look style, but need to alter the sizing next time I make it. Kimonos are definitely my favourite to wear and make.