My First Kimono!
It is true, my list of sewed garments did not include anything that resembled a kimono or robe, until today. I’m not sure why but suspect it has something to do with perception. Up til now, robe-wearing always reminded me of a trip to the spa or a leisurely morning routine. And since my morning routine looks more like a frantic Carrie Matheson rather than a glamorous Carrie Bradshaw, robe-wearing just wasn’t in my plans. What changed this you ask? All the beautiful kimonos I have seen on Instagram lately. It seems like everyone is making one, and since they also can double as a robe, I figured my sewist friends, as usual, were one step ahead of me.
Pattern & Fabric
Since this was my first robe rodeo, I chose to make a wearable muslin. I used a not-so-expensive rayon fabric in the hopes that it would mimic my ultimate goal of a silk kimono, but still be wearable. The Suki Kimono pattern is only available in PDF format, so I utilized the copy shop version for printing and traced off my size from there. This pattern has several significant markings for the pockets, ties, and loops, so I made sure to get this all transferred accurately.
The pattern directions are clear and concise, and I love that there are a few places where the maker can choose a finish option. I decided on finish option #1, which includes exposed seams since I recently reconciled my relationship with my serger. The instructions start out with the tie assembly, and I finally got to try the straw & knitting needle technique I saw recently from @ColettePatterns– this is a genius idea and one that I will use again!
The pockets and side loops additions get sewn next, followed by the side and shoulder seams. These were not hard steps to follow but do rely on the markings from the original pattern, so make sure to transfer those accurately. The set in sleeves went together nicely, and the length fits me perfectly without alteration.
The only slightly tricky part of this pattern is the addition of the front band. I selected a non-contrasting color and method #1 for this application since this was my first go at this pattern. The directions were clear, and the pictures helped make sure I was lining up the correct section of the front & band pieces. Sewing a precise corner at the front of the two pattern pieces is the trickiest part, and should look something like the photo below as you line it up for sewing.
Once sewn, the wrong side of the front band corner should look like an “L” and includes interfacing for added structure. The final step in the front band sequence includes turning under the wrong side of the kimono front to finish the hem- which lines up nicely with the front band corner piece. The picture below shows what this should look like from the wrong side.
This pattern includes internal and external ties. I made both sets and while I might not always bother to use the inner ties, I’m glad I added them. What I love best about the external, or waist ties, is the fact that they are anchored to the back and also have hanging loops attached to each side. This keeps the ties from hanging down on the floor or getting lost. The tie shape was perfect- not too thick or thin- and the length and placement fit me well.
I Love my New Kimono
I’m thrilled with this completed garment and am happy to have finally conquered my negative robe-wearing perceptions. The Suki Kimono pattern is not only comfortable- it’s also stylish and coupled with the many options included, this design would make a great wrap dress. I have already purchased some special silk to make another robe version of this kimono which may completely change my morning routine!