This traditional Japanese garment has a timeless quality to it, evoking classic Oriental elegance and style. Nowadays, the kimono is usually reserved for special occasions; weddings, tea ceremonies and other such formal events. But this beautiful gown can also be a sumptuous staple for the bedroom; practical and chic, it has a stitched taffeta trim to add a touch of luxury.
- Fabric: cotton, lightweight, printed, 250cm; silk, taffeta or polyester, contrasting, 70cm
- Thread, sewing, coordinating
- Main fabric: back, cut one; front, cut two; sleeve, cut two; pocket, cut two
- Contrast fabric: neckband, cut two; belt, cut two
- For French seams, take 1.5cm seam allowances. All other seams are 1cm unless otherwise stated.
Stitch a kimono robe
Locate and download the pattern from www.sewmag.co.uk. Select your size then piece together the pattern and cut out the required pieces of fabric, referring to the cutting guide. Using tailor’s tacks, transfer the pattern markings onto the cloth. Measure and press a double hem of 2cm, plus 2cm along the top of each pocket piece; fold the hem up by half the total allowance and press. Fold again to the total hem allowance and press again. Edge stitch along the folded section on the wrong side. Press the pocket seam allowance in around the three sides (Fig.1).
Pin the pockets onto the kimono fronts as marked on the pattern, and top stitch into position (Fig.2). Start and finish with a 5mm rectangle on the upper pocket band to secure firmly. Make up a belt loop strip measuring 4cm x 30cm. To make a belt loop, cut a straight grain strip four times wider than your finished strap. For example, a 1cm wide strap needs to be cut 4cm wide. Allow 1.5cm at either end to be sewn into a seam. Fold the long edges in to meet in the middle, right side outwards. Fold the strip in half lengthwise. Edge stitch down the sides to finish and cut into three equal parts; fold two of the loops under by 1cm at either end and press. Pin the two loops onto the back of the kimono and sew each end to the robe. Edge stitch a box shape to cover the raw edges and secure in place.
Join the front and back shoulder pieces together with a French seam (see How to… panel) and press (Fig.3). With the same technique, open the sleeves flat and attach to the armhole. Press the seams towards the body and pin the back and front edges together on either side. Continue around the underarm to join the sleeve back and front, then stitch using a French seam. Measure a double hem of 2cm, plus 2cm along the bottom of each sleeve; press and sew in place.
Place the back neck hanging loop on the inside of the back neck pointing downwards, so the ends align with the raw edge, and pin (Fig.4). Join the neckband at the centre back seam, right sides together. Place the right side of the neckband to the wrong side of the neckline and front edge of the garment. Stitch along the seam, securing the hanging loop. Press the seam inwards towards the band.
Press the seam allowance under on the other side of the band. Bring the folded side of the neckband over, covering the seam and raw edges. Edge stitch the band closed, press, and finish by top stitching at 5mm intervals, using the machine foot as a guide. Measure and press a double hem at the bottom of the kimono and sew in place, stopping 2mm before the final edge of the neckband. Turn the foot at right angles towards the hem and stitch to the folded edge (Fig.5).
With right sides together, join the short ends of the belt at the centre back and press the seam open. Press the edges of the belt inwards by 1cm, fold in half lengthways and pin along the three seam edges. Edge stitch around all four sides. Starting at the centre back seam, foot stitch all the way around the belt again, parallel to the edge stitch.
At the centre back seam, leave the needle down and lift the machine foot. Pivot the belt at right angles and sink stitch (stitch in the ditch) 5mm along the centre back seam towards the middle of it. Turn the belt back again and sew a second foot stitch rectangle inside the first. Repeat to create concentric rectangles over the whole belt (Fig.6). If necessary, add a single line of stitching down the centre to complete the pattern.