A couple of weeks ago I was in a (Very Expensive) mall store window shopping. I found a rack of these light, breezy kimono style "cardigans" which are trendy for spring, and absolutely loved them. They had a million different floral pastel patterns (which aren't really my style), and they looked pretty easy to make, but even so I was tempted to buy one.
Until I looked at the price tag.
On sale, said Very Expensive Store wanted over $50 for a wisp of fabric and some thread!
Oh no. Just no. I'm too cheap for that.
So I promptly took myself to the fabric store and made my own for about $6, because that's what I do.
**Side note: These are still pre-haircut pictures! I really need to get on that...if you follow us on Facebook you saw when I posted the preview for this cardigan last week, before my haircut.**
I love how it turned out! Perfect for adding a little bit of interest to an otherwise boring summer outfit, and I was able to choose a non-floral fabric in non-pastel colors, which will compliment much more of my wardrobe. Plus, it's fun! Though it was kind of hard to take pictures of because this kept happening:
Today I'm going to share with you how I made it, so you can make your own!
Keep reading to see how I did it!
Kimono Cardigan Tutorial
I started with 1 1/2 yards of very fine, silky fabric. Chiffon works well for this, but I wanted something less sheer so I went with a super lightweight poly/cotton blend. I believe this fabric was also a 60 inch width. This actually ended up being too much fabric, but be on the safe side! These kinds of fabrics are super hard to work with so leaving some extra for mistakes is a good idea.
I also used a machine needle that was specifically for very fine/sheer fabrics, and lightweight thread. Those things helped a lot, because let me tell you, this fabric ended up being a nightmare to sew with!
1. Lay your fabric out, folded in half widthwise ("hamburger style"). Measure across your shoulders and upper arms to see how wide you'll need your kimono to be (mine was about 33 inches) and add about 1 inch on either end for seam allowence. So my kimono ended up being 35 inches across before sewing.
2. Measure across the folded edge of your fabric the length of your shoulder measurement. Mark with a pi where you'll need to cut.
3. Cut your fabric all the way up from the raw edge at the bottom to the folded edge at the top, being sure to cut through both layers! If you unfold it, your piece of fabric should measure (your shoulder measurement) x 60 inches.
4. Fold your fabric in half along the folded edge, and mark where the middle is with a pin.
5. Fold your fabric down the middle where your pin is, then cut about a 1 inch x 5 inch slice out of the center, tapering to a point at the end.
6. Unfold your fabric to the original folded edge, this will be the neck hole and shoulders of your kimono!
7. Unfold your first hamburger fold, and check to make sure your neck hold is pretty even in the center of your piece of fabric. Don't worry about it not being a circle!
8. Fold your fabric back width wise, then again down the center a second time.
9. Now you're going to measure about four inches up from the bottom of the fabric along the folded edge, tapering to a point when you come to the outside of the fabric. This step is optional, but I found that having a curved bottom seam really made it more fluttery and was a little bit more flattering.
10. Unfold your fabric, check to make sure the bottom edges are curved evenly.
11. Now you're going to fold your piece lengthwise (hot dog style!) so that you can cut the opening in the front of the kimono. Be careful to make sure that you get everything lined up evenly!
12. Cut about 1 inch in from your folded edge, from the bottom to your neck hole. This will take about two inches out of the center and will help remove some excess bulk.
13. Unfold your fabric completely and make sure everything looks even, it should look something like this picture above. If it's not exact, don't stress too much. Slippery or sheer floaty fabric is pretty forgiving actually. The more movement the fabric has, the less imperfections matter!
14. Next, fold your fabric back down width wise, making sure this time that the wrong sides are together. Match up the curved bottom edges as well as you can. Then you'll measure down about 8 inches from the "shoulder" on each side, and pin down. This is going to be your arm hole.
15. Measure 18 inches down from your "shoulder, and mark this spot with a pin. This is going to be where the slit in the side of your kimono starts.
16. Using a ton of pins, pin between your 8 inch mark and your 18 inch mark. Sew together using a straight stitch. Use pinking sheers/a zig-zag stitch if you want to keep it from fraying.
17. Now you'll finish the all your raw edges by turning them under twice. You will need approximately 1,000 pins for this, and your seams will still not be perfect, but that's ok!
18. Hem all your exposed edges (neck, sleeves, slit, front & back) using a straight stitch.
19. Gentry press your new hems down flat using a poly setting on your iron, and you're done!
I wore mine with my DIY fringe earrings, a vintage necklace and a basic black tank. Also skinny jeans and strappy flat sandals (neither of which you can see)
Hopefully these instructions weren't too confusing! If you have any questions please email us and I'll answer them. And if you're looking for other sewing projects by us, you can check those out here! In the meantime, let me know what you think of my cardigan. Should I have chosen a pastel floral fabric after all?