I’ve been thinking about making a kimono like this for a long time. I’ve made a couple of them for myself in the past, had some lovely material on hand that was perfect for this style, and have a current client that I am making a manly version for as well, so the time was right to just go for it.
Many of my ideas stem from images I find down some rabbit hole also known as Pinterest. I have a few pins to share, but these are just a few to spare you the boredom (and to save you some of your own Pinterest time suck):
So, with this amazing silk burnout velvet that I had purchased from Mood Fabrics on hand all I needed was some fringe for the hem and binding for the edges.
Using a simple pattern like this one it didn’t take long and was truly easy to sew. I used view D and added trim and wide binding to the sleeves:
The most difficult bit for this little number was the fabric. The velvet wants to shift and dodge around while sewing, and the fact that it was silk also made it tricky and delicate to manage. Sewing on the binding was the pits as the two slippy materials did not want to behave and it just shifted all over the place.
Then there came applying the fringe and many inappropriate swear words were used. Ugh. I had to sew it on carefully by hand as my sewing machine refused to cooperate or participate in that nonsense.
Now I can appreciate why these kinds of little tops are so expensive. Yes they are simple garments, but MAN, all of the above factors really take a toll on one’s patience! Plus that fringe was not cheap, much less that fabric.
Well, as usual, the time and effort paid off and I now have a lovely and special top I can just slip on over a nice tee and jeans, or my leggings and I’m ready!
Whenever I have been invited to an occasion, the first thing I think of is “what am I going to wear?”. The next thing I think of is “what can I sew for myself to wear” as I love to make clothing and I love wearing things that are unique and nobody else has in their closet. From there, I pull up my pattern stash archive, pay a visit to my fabric stash (or the fabric store if I really don’t have the appropriate fabric to work with) and get started planning and sewing my outfit.
For this occasion, I was invited to a wedding of a lovely bridal alterations client who had become a friend over our many dress fittings and consultations of her beautiful wedding gown. The major part of her dress that I altered was her complicated and intricate bustle of her train that I she dreamed up and I created for her. Originally, as I fiddled and fussed to get her train bustled just right at one of her fittings, I said to her “I’ll just hide in the bushes at your wedding venue, you give me the signal when you are ready, and I’ll sneak out and help you bustle, then disappear back into the bushes and let you be on your way to the reception”. She would have none of that and insisted that I attend the wedding as her guest, and enjoy the entire ceremony plus be ready to bustle…DEAL!
So, being the alteration seamstress of honor at this wedding, I just had to have something special and handmade to wear! Not having all the time in the world to be sewing for myself with the very busy post-Covid wedding season upon us and other alterations and custom sewing client projects literally piling up in my sewing studio, I decided to make a dress that I have made before (a huge time and energy saver!) and use fabric that I had in my stash from Mill End Store in Portland, OR.
I pulled out this lovely pattern from Butterick that I had already cut out and made fit alterations to the pattern for a dress that I made a couple of years ago:
I made view C, the halter neck, ruffled and flounce dress that wraps and ties to the side.
This time around, I decided to fully line the dress (instead of using the bodice facing from the pattern), meaning I cut out the entire dress, the bodice and the skirt pieces, less the flounces, in both the outer, floral silk georgette fabric and the silk lining that I also had in my fabric stash. Cutting silk, especially sheer, floaty slippery silk, is NOT easy if you’ve ever tried. It slips all over the place and misbehaves in as many ways as it can, just to drive you nuts and practically give up before you even started. But, since it was SO pretty and soft, I did my best to battle it and tackle it into submission, knowing in the end it was going to be incredible and worth it all.
So the sewing begins!
It all went pretty well and the fact that I had made it before, I knew what to expect from the pattern instructions.
The most difficult and time consuming part was making the narrow hem on the long outside edge of the flounce that would be attached at the bottom of the skirt. Check out this pattern piece that is over 110 inches long. Yikes!
After tackling that beast, the dress was nearly done and I could start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Having a major deadline to hit, and other clients banging down my door and begging me to help them with their last-minute bridal requests, I finished up my dress and just got ‘er done.
One last thing I added to the dress was lightweight foam bra cups sewn into the bodice lining as that sheer stuff certainly wasn’t going to hide my bits. Thank goodness I had some on hand in my supply stash and I was able to swiftly hand sew them into my dress, no problem! Confidence boosters for boobs-horray!
I just have to share the insides of the dress with the lovely silk lining!
So off we went to the wedding, leaving enough time to stop at one of our favorite spots in the wine country of the Willamette Valley in Oregon, The Allison Inn and Spa, to snap some photos and have a glass of champagne and a light cheese plate before the wedding. Perfect!
As much as I enjoy the entire process of making a new dress, it feels so good to be done with this one, wear it to a fun wedding (and not have to hide in the bushes!) and hang it up on my wardrobe for another occasion.