Sew Easy Kimono How To

I know you liked that play on words….right? lol

Yay, I am finally able to make some time to do a step by step how-to on this open “kimono”. I am calling it that but I know it is not a true kimono…BTW did you know in Japanese Kimono means “thing to wear”? Whatever you want to call it, it is perfect as a layering piece or as a bathing suit coverup as I wore it here.

Before you get started, decide on these 2 things first:

  1. What kind of fabric will you use?
    • In my example I used 100% polyester chiffon which is see through, very light weight and has a great drape but does fray VERY easily.
    • I used 2 yards at 44″ wide. Use a fabric that is at least a 42″ wide but more yards if you want it longer and less if you want it shorter. (see #2 to determine how much to buy)
    • I recommend using something with a nice drape like chiffon, viscose, rayon or lightweight cotton depending on how you are going to use your kimono. Here is a great fabric chart from Named Clothing to help you decide what to use.
  2. What length do you desire?
    • I used some fabric I already had that was 2 yards so that is why this example stops just below my knee. I would use 3 yards if I wanted it to hit the floor…btw this is based on me and I am 5’3″
    • You can decide how much length you need by measuring with a measuring tape from the top of your shoulder down to your desired length and doubling that number (for a front and back) That number should equal the amount of fabric in length you should purchase.

Once you make those TWO decisions and have your fabric, you are ready! * it is a good idea to steam or iron your fabric before starting

For this DIY Kimono you will need:

1. 30 mins

2. Fabric

3. Scissors

4. Needle and thread — thread to match the color of fabric

5. More thread or a stop fraying glue to apply to the raw edges

This is such an easy design because you are going to use the selvage edges of your fabric as the edges of your garment- they are already finished and ready to go!  I hope it is easy to understand!

Step 1. Lay your fabric out in half width wise equally so the raw edges are touching (what will be the bottom edge of your garment) and the selvage edges are touching (which will be the sides of your garment). The wrong sides of the fabric should also be touching and the right side of the fabric is facing up and against the floor (see photo below, hover over the bottom of each photo for more notes, not all photos have additional notes)

Step 2. Measure down 11″ from the top fold on each side of the garment right on the edge of the fabric and mark

Step 3. Measure over about 6″ from the 11′ mark and mark the 6″ line with pins or a basting stitch on both sides of your garment

Step 4. Sew both 6″ lines (that will become your arm holes). Make sure the fabric stays folded in 1/2 (that the bottom edges are even) while you sew. It doesn’t have to be perfect but to much unevenness will be noticeable on the bottom edge once the garment is finished.

Step 5. Put a mark at the center point of the top folded edge. My fabric measured across 44″ so I made a mark at the 22″ point. This is the center line that you will cut to make your front opening.

Step 6. Cut a straight line up from the bottom 1/2 point to the top 1/2 point on the folded edge. Make sure to only cut the top layer of fabric. DO NOT cut the bottom layer or your garment will have an open back and front. I used the print on my fabric as a guide line to make sure it was a straight line (again it does not have to be perfect). If you are using a solid piece of fabric best to baste stitch or use tape as a guideline for cutting

Step 7. Once you cut a straight line from the bottom to top and you scissors hit the fold measure about 2.5″ inches in each direction on the fold and cut. This will help the fabric to lay better around your neck. If you fabric is very slippery and frays easily like mine, I would sew around the raw edges 1/4 to 1/2 the way down of your newly created neck line to help stabilize it and avoid excessive fraying (see below photos)

Now is a good time to try on your garment….It is pretty much done! Yay

Step 8. You will notice when you try it on that there are two “lapel” type things of extra fabric at your neck all the way down center front. This is from the 2.5″ cuts you made at the neckline. You can cut these off if you wish to make a clean open front. (I cut them off in the green example) I decided to leave them on this brown example and in the future will add some trim to make a statement neckline…I will post photos once I find the trim to use and completely finish it!

Step 9. Finishing the raw edges. This last step is up to you! There are a lot of ways to do this but I recommend you pick one and finish the raw edges on center front so to make your garment look more polished.

  1. Sew a hem to conceal the raw edges – I did a double fold hem on the center front on the green example
  2. Sew a straight stitch so that the current raw edges will still be seen but better secured from future fraying – I chose this way to finish the bottom edges of the green example
  3. Cut edges with pinking-sheers – probably my least favorite way, but will still work
  4. Use seam glue – my 2nd least favorite way but for non sewers it is the best way!
  5. Add a decorative trim to the edges to conceal raw edges – I will do this on the brown example when I get some more time!

After the finishing it really is done! I hope you like your new garment! Was it hard?

I can’t wait to find some gold trim to use on my brown example! Stop back for more updates on how I finish my brown Kimono.

Happy Creating!


xo Sami


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s