Kimonos are THE piece to wear during the hot days. They’re perfect for the summer, being light and flowy while chic all at the same time. Pair them with skinnies or a crop top and denim shorts and you’ve got a super cute yet comfy outfit. And guess what? You can easily DIY them so I’m going to teach you how you can make your own! It’s super simple and easy so you can make it in a lazy afternoon. Plus, the cardigan will look totally store bought! So let’s hop right in to the tutorial.
UPDATE as of 8/28/15: view the updated/revised version of the tutorial HERE.
You will need:
-1 to 1.5 yards (depends on your size) of light, flowy fabric; silk works the best but can be pricey so for the purple flowery cardigan, I used a crepe de chine from Girl Charlee which is really pretty and only $6.50 for a yard.
The exact fabric I used is no longer available, but they still have a beautiful selection of woven fabrics at great prices.
The mint green and black chevron one was made from a chiffon I scored at the LA Fashion district for only a dollar! A DOLLAR for a kimono cardigan compared to a $30 store bought one!!! You can’t beat that price!
-needle/thread or sewing machine
-the obvious scissors, measuring tape, ruler, pen, paper, pins, etc
Cutting Tip: Cutting silky or lightweight fabrics can be tricky since they’ll slide around and shift alot. So what I suggest is to work in a open space like the floor and cut neat, precise, and careful cuts. Also, I would first make the pattern pieces by drawing out the dimensions below on paper, cutting the pieces out from paper, and then laying the paper pieces onto the fabric to trace and cut, like a stencil. That way you’ll avoid any mistakes.
Also, I apologize for the inconsistency in the photos/graphics. I made this on the fly and decided part way through making the kimonos to turn this into a DIY post. I know the graphics are also kinda messy so I’ll try to keep it together next time!
1. Cut the pieces as followed:
Front: 2 pieces- 9″ wide x 26″ long
Back: 1 piece- 25″ wide x 32″ long
Sleeves: 2 pieces- 20″ wide x 10″ long
These measurements are approx. and should work for a size XS-S. If you are smaller or larger, adjust the width accordingly by a couple of inches on the sides; smaller-subtract an inch or two, larger-add a couple of inches. If you want a longer or shorter cardigan, lengthen or shorten as desired. I’m 5’3″ and a size XS so these are the measurements I use. If you want the exact formula using your own measurements to get the perfect cardigan, use the graphic above.
2. Moving on, cut a gentle curve at the top of the back, 1.5″ below the top edge and the same width as your neck (mine is 7″). For the bottom curve, cut starting from the center, curve upwards and end the curve 6″ above where you started and at the edges.
3. Lay the back piece pretty side up and put the two front piece pretty sides DOWN onto the back. The pretty sides of the back should be facing the front. Line up the top right corners and the top left so they’re perfect 90 degree angles. Sew the shoulder seams as pictured below. Then sew the side seams, stopping half of the sleeve width from the shoulder (the width of my sleeve is 20″, so 20 ÷ 2 is 10 meaning I have to stop 10″ from the shoulder seam).
4. Sew the sleeve by folding it in half hamburger style, with the pretty sides together (on the inside) and sewing the short edge. Turn right side out and repeat for the other sleeve.
5. Slide the sleeve into the body portion. The body portion should be inside out and the sleeve right side out. Just slide it right in the section you left open. Pin all the way around and sew. Repeat on the other side. Wasn’t quite sure how to demonstrate this so hope the collage helps!
6. Hem all the remaining edges: the bottom, the center front, the neckline and the sleeve hems. Hem by folding up 1/4″ and then folding up 1/4″ AGAIN. Stitch all the way around. This way, you’ll conceal the raw edges for a professional finish that looks like it was really done by a pro!
(here and here)
Design Tip: Add a fringe to the bottom hem to spice it up maybe? You can easily purchase all kinds of trims at the fabric store to stitch to the bottom to suit your taste. Or perhaps make the cardigan in a chunky sweater knit for a cozy knit cardigan to wear during those colder days. Or maybe you want a longer, almost floor length kimono for that super fashionable look. The possibilities are endless!
And you’re finished! Trust me, it’ll take a lot less time once you know what you’re doing. If any portion of the tutorial was unclear or you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below or email me! I will try to respond to you as quick as possible! Also, please let me know if this tutorial was helpful and what other items you would like me to do in future DIYs!
Until next time (which is hopefully tomorrow or the day after!),