Kimono Time

This week I got to grips with crepe.



I have been planning to make the Sew Over It Kimono for some time, but when Simplicity 1108 arrived with the latest issue of Sew I couldn’t resist. The shape is not dissimilar, and I don’t know about you but I like to avoid the Blue Peter style pieceing together of PDF patterns. Sometimes it’s worth the faff for something a bit different, but personally if there’s a printed alternative I’d rather spend a bit more on it and get to the sewing and wearing of a garment faster!

I set myself the challenge a while ago to start sewing with lightweight, drapey fabrics. I’m keen to up my skills, and Simplicity 1108 seemed a great place to start, as the construction of the kimono is relatively simple. That way, I could focus my attention on mastering sewing with and handling the fabric. I have had this  Dragonfly Dance print from Sew Over It in my stash for a few months, do decided to bit the bullet and make myself a dragonfly print kimono.


Knowing cutting out would be a challenge, I made sure I used my pattern weights and pinned the pattern pieces down to within an inch of their life. I wasn’t taking any chances.


In laying it out, I was disappointed to see how badly the fabric had been cut. It looks like someone has just chopped away at it carelessly – now I know cutting something so delicate isn’t easy, but take a look at their cutting and mine side-by-side:

Considering I’d never cut in to a fabric like this before, this is really bad. I expected more from Sew Over It, and it has put me off a bit.

Rant over, and on to the pattern.

I’m pleased to say it took far less fabric than advertised. The pattern envelope said for a small I would need LENGTH and I actually barely used a metre, as I was able to fold the fabric and cut the front and back pieces side by side. Instead of cutting the back pieces separately I cut them as one piece in the fold, removing the 1.5cm seam allowance. I couldn’t see any reason for these to be two separate pieces in the instructions, and cutting them as one meant I didn’t have to pattern match. Result. I didn’t bother pattern matching the side seams because, quite frankly, who will see the them.

I sewed with a number 7 ballpoint needle – I went for the thinnest needle I had, but it think really it could have done with being thinner. And after a quick tutorial from my mum I decided to use French seams, to incase the raw edges and prevent the fabric from fraying.


For a first attempt, I was pretty pleased.

My only really stumbling block with this pattern was the sleeves. When I read the instructions and saw the method, I thought it seemed entirely sensible and straightforward. You sew the overarm to the side seams across the shoulder first, before sewing the side seams and sleeve seams together. It certainly seemed a good alternative to setting-in a sleeve in such an unstable fabric.

In practice, however, it wasn’t so great. In every stage of sewing the sleeves. the French seams everything lay perfectly. When I did the final sew with right sides together, it lay perfectly and beautifully flat.

And then I turned the garment right side out.

Oh dear.


As you can see, the underarm seam doesn’t sit properly AT ALL. After much deliberating, lots of pressing and a teary phone call to and visit from my Mum, we decided the issue is there’s too much bulk at the underarm seam. This was of course exacerbated by the French seam. And of course you can’t trim or clip a French seam. And I didn’t want to unpick and re-sew as I would be worried about ruining the integrity of the fabric.

Despite all of my malingering its not really much of an issue, as you’ll never see the underarm seams because of how the garment sits on the body. So it’s not even a noticeable flaw. But I’m a perfectionist and know it’s there. As hard as it was, the most sensible thing for this make was just to accept the imperfections and take comfort knowing that they went noticeable.

As I do like the pattern I am going to try it again using my toile fabric stash (fancy name for my old bed sheets), doing one sleeve as a French seam and one as a flat seam. Using something more stable, I can unpick and troubleshoot the issue and solution. And I might conveniently invite my mum over for coffee that day…

So the verdict? Definitely a like. And, once I’ve got to grips with my underarm imperfections, I think it might be love.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Pingback: #2018makenine
  2. Pingback: Sewing, Mum and Me

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