Kimono - How to

Step by Step: Easy Sew Kimono

diy-kimono-tutorial The kimono look is still going nowhere and with our lack of fine weather and generally pale skin we Irish girls love a cover up (or maybe I should start fake tanning). It"s one of those items that once you have in your wardrobe you"ll wonder what you did without it. Wear it with your skinnies during the day, over your bikini on the beach, over a dress for night or go daring and make yourself a long length one for some major sex appeal at your next function. There are some fab options on the High Street as featured on the gorgeous Curves and Confidence and Pippa blogs. You might wonder why you would bother making one when you can buy one for like €40? I"ll tell you - not only can you make one that will cost less but you certainly won"t see anyone else in the same one or as I like to call it "The Penneys effect". Oh and yeah there"s that smug look you"ll get when someone asks "where did you get that" and you get to go "oh this? I made it", yeah like no big deal! In any case the kimono style is super wearable and super easy to sew. It"s one of those projects that if you make once you"ll find excuses to make and wear again and again.

Here"s what you will need:

*Picking your fabric:
Choose a fairly lightweight fabric with a good drape, a viscose or a drapey satin will be really good. Also if you"re going for a pattern choose an all over print that will look ok going the wrong way; as you"re making the kimono in 1 piece the back of it will have the pattern going the wrong way. If you"re unsure of what"s best go to your local Hickeys and have a chat to one of our staff who will be happy to point you in the right direction.

So I"ll show you a little sketch of what we"re doing here:

Basically you"re going to be cutting your fabric into a T shape and then sewing along the edges of that "T" before creating an opening

This is how to fold your fabric:

Kimono cutting template

Then how to cut and sew:

* Size calculator:

To figure out where to cut your fabric along the length, measure around your widest part (usually the hips), divide that by 4 and add 2 cm on for some ease and seam allowance (4cm if you plan on wearing it belted as a dress to allow it to overlap). In my case the widest part was 120cm all around, so divided by 4 that gives me 30cm and then adding 2 for ease and seam allowance I"m cutting my folded fabric at 32cm.  

Let"s Get Started:

  • Lay your fabric out flat with the right side facing you
  • Fold it in half lengthways so the wrong side is facing you.
  • Fold it in half again crossways.

Now it"s time to get cutting:

  • As per our little diagram above cut across 30cm down from the top to however far you have decided you need for the width.
  • Then cut down the length of the fabric at this point.
  • You can see the basic shape now.

Let"s get stitching:

  • But first get pinning - open the piece above so it is laying in a flat "T" shape with the right sides of the fabric facing each other.
  • Pin along the edges, along the bottom of both sleeves and down both sides.
  • Sew all the way along about 1cm from the edge using a simple straight stitch on your machine.
(I really should dust my machine)
  • Now to make the opening, just lay your completed "T" shape flat and cut up the centre of the top piece of fabric only (you don"t want to cut all your hard work in half now!)
  • And to make a neckline cut across the top, 10cm each side from the middle.
  • Then mark a point approx 18cm down from the top.


  • Let the 2 sides naturally flop back till this point and cut along the line that they make.

Now let"s get hemming:

This is probably the most time consuming part of the make but is definitely worth doing properly - oh and you"re probably going to burn your fingertips with the iron at least once (or maybe I"m just a klutz).
  • First press all the seams that you just stitched flat.
  • Next get pressing those hems; do the fronts and neckline first; fold the fabric over by approx 1cm and press.
  • You may need to clip into the corners to let the fabric lie flat along the more curved edge of the neckline.
  • Then fold this over again and press and pin to get a nice neat edge.
  • Sew along the folded hem close to the edge.
  • Next do your sleeves in the exact same way.
  • Then last but not least the bottom hem the whole way around.
  • At the 2 leading edges, press right to the edges, then fold back your hem, fold the outside edge to the fold line to make a little triangle.
  • Then fold it up and pin and sew the same way you did the other hems, giving you a nice neat edge.
That"s you basically done, give everything one last press and get ready for the compliments to flood in!
Oh and do try to look nonchalant while posing in the middle of the street!!

Here"s another version made from a lightweight  jersey:

This geo print jersey has a really nice drape, the beauty of this jersey one is that I didn"t even have to hem it, as the jersey itself created a nice, clean edge.  When sewing the jersey just use an overedge stitch to sew the edges together, which will give a nice edge to your jersey and will prevent the seams puckering. diy-sew-kimono14
Don"t forget to have your Angelina Jolie leg moment:
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