Kimono by Karasu

This was taken from a post on alt gothic fashion by karasu. She was gracious enough to allow me to post it here. I've tried to incorporate all corrections. Any comments or suggestions can be sent to her.

Anything to avoid homework... ;) Since I know there's a few kimono fans lurking about here on a.g.f. I figured I'd do a quick 'kimono guide' sort of thing. How to make one, colors and patterns and seasonality, wearing faux pas, etc.

I've been doing homework all night... I really don't want to think about homework anymore.

How to make one(much simpler than Western clothing, I promise! In fact, before Western clothes became popular in Japan there was really no need for professional tailors):

Get a bolt of 45" or 60" cloth that's 5 yards long(length here is the most important... you'll just have more extra width wise if you get the 60"). For what sort/color/pattern of cloth to get for what occasion check out the part after this one in this post. Traditional widths for kimono bolts are between 17"-15"(the entire kimono was made out of a long 12 1/2 yard piece 17-15" wide), so where you've seen me use 14" below you might want to make an inch larger or smaller depending.

Lay it out flat and cut two 11' long rectangular pieces from it that are 14" wide. This is the body of the kimono. Find the midway point(5 1/2' feet in from either end) and draw a line to mark it on the wrong side of both pieces of fabric. Starting from the left side on the first piece(flip all these instructions for the second piece so you don't end up with two left feet, as it were), mark point A(*) along the midway line 3 1/2" in from the edge. Now measure 2 1/2" down from that mark and make point B(#) there, drawing a line between A and B. Now measure 12 1/2" down from midway line and mark point C($) on the cloth edge on the side closest to Point B(#), drawing a line to connect them. Like this:

midway line ___, A(*), B(#), C($)

| * |
| # |
| |
| $

Starting on the side C($) is on, cut 3 1/2" in along the midway line until you hit point A(*). Now cut out along the lines you've drawn from A-B-C. You've just made the neck hole, which should look about like this:

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| \
| \
| \
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Do the above steps again with your other 5 1/2' long piece to get a mirror twin of this one. Lie both pieces together, right sides facing in, and beginning at the midway line (top of the neckhole), sew a straight seam down the back to form the back of the kimono:

back seam = -------
| |
| ___|

The neckhole is on this side ^. It should unfold to now be an 11 ft. long, 28" wide piece with the front open and a basically inverted pyramid neckhole.

Set them aside.

Cut two rectangular pieces from the bolt that are 14" wide and 40" long. These will be your sleeves. Set them aside.

Cut two rectangular pieces that are 7" wide and 5' long. On each one, mark on the wrong side a line or mark at the lengthwise edge of the fabric 18" from one end. Laying out a ruler or yardstick, angle it to line up between the mark and the top end catticorner from it. Like this:

top of piece ___, # is 18" down, * is the top edge catticorner. ___
*| |
| | 18" long from * to #
| |

Draw a line between * and # and cut along it. Do this to both pieces, making sure you do the second opposite from the first(* moves to right top corner, and # moves to left point 18" down) so that when they face each other, you won't have two left feet, as it were. These are your front overlap pieces.

Take the first one and lie it down atop your front right piece, the overlap wrong side up and the front piece right side up. The ends do not have to match as the rough pic. I've done shows... the unseen bottom ends are the ones that _have_ to match up.

| |
| \
| /|\
| /|| \
| ||||| |
| ||||| |
overlap= |||| (darker piece, wrong side up)
1/2" in = ^^

Match up the bottoms of each piece and line up the overlap to be 1 1/2" in from the edge of the front piece. The angled tops of the two pieces(when the overlap is flipped to be right side up) should be aligning to make a long angle down the front, if not a perfect one. Making sure the bottoms of the pieces are aligned, sew the overlap to the front piece(remember, the overlap wrong side up and the front piece right side up). Trim the overlap to make a perfect, continuous angling line between the two pieces. Repeat this process with the other front piece and overlap. Staystitch the new neckline and hem the front, kimono-opening edge of the overlap with regular stitching.

Cut two rectangular pieces 6 1/2" wide and 35" long. These are going to combine to be your neckband. Mark on the wrong side of the fabric two lines down the length of each piece: one 2 1/2" in(line A), and the next 2" in(line B)(make sure you do this measuring down from the same side for both pieces, so if they were next to each other it would look like two unbroken lines). Sew them together, right sides together and facing each other, along one end to form a piece twice as long and still 6 1/2" wide. Press the seam open.

Cut a piece 6 1/2" wide and 30" long: this will be your neck overband. Press under 1/2" on the ends of the neck overband, and fold it in half, marking the midway line on the wrong side of the fabric.

Lay your neckband out, right side up, and pin the overband down right side up, matching its now hidden midway line to the center seam on the neckband(the wrong side of the overband is touching the right side of the neckband). Baste the long edges of the overband within the seamline to hold it in place.

Match the center back of the neckband/overband to the center back seam of the kimono body(right sides together). Pin the seam of the neckband/overband and the neck hole together, arcing the neckband back a little from the back of the neckhole to give it a little bit of a curve. Sew it to the kimono body from one top inner edge of the neckhole(.) to the other.

sew here = ----

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\ /
\ /

Clip neck opening 1" inside each . to allow for curving of fabric.

Continue pinning neckband/overband to front piece and overlap, curving the seam around the neckline and straight down the angled front with 1/2" seam. Sew neckband/overband down where you pinned. Press seam towards neck band.

Ok. Press the outer third of the neckband in, to where the fold matches up with that line A you made on the neckband, and the raw edge matches up with line B. Now fold the neckband back out to where the folded edge(where line A is) meets the front piece and overlap/neckband seam, and the raw edge of the neckband is lined up with line B. Sort of like an accordion. Stitch across the bottom of the folded neckband(this seam is NOT along the raw end of the fabric... it's higher up and should be a straight line parallel to the end of the neckband that squares off the neckband while touching the hemmed straight edge of the front overlap piece. Trim off excess neckband if needed and flip the neckband right side out. Press. Slipstitch the folded inner edge of the neckband over the seamline on the inside of the kimono.

Now take your sleeve pieces. If you're a man only make a tiny tiny curving edge along the two edges of one side. If you're a woman curve it more, about the curve of 1/4 of a saucer or small plate(lie a saucer down where it's topmost and rightmost points meet the fabric: that 1/4 total curve between them going across the fabric is where you will trace and cut). If you're a young woman or are making this for a child, curve it even more(dinner plate, thereabouts). Your pieces should now both look roughly like this: _____________
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| |

Along the curved side, hem it up about 1/4" from the point the fabric ceases curving to the other end where it begins to curve again, handstitching it at these delicate ends. | |

Find the midway point on the sleeve and mark it with a line on the wrong side of the fabric. This marks where it will hang across your shoulders. Mark two points(*) from the outer edge of each side 11 1/2" in. Line up the sleeve's midway line with the midway line on the inside of the kimono, edges touching.

| * | * |

Now pin the two pieces together, right sides together. Sew a 1/2" seam along the sleeve from one point(*) to the other(*). You're leaving an opening on the sleeve because kimono always have that at the back bottom of the sleeves. Repeat all this with the other sleeve.

Now fold the kimono down to its normal hanging position but inside out(right sides together), along your midway lines. Stitch the sleeve bottom together from the point you hemmed it at earlier to the back corner. __________
| /
| | /
| --------

Now fold the kimono, right sides together, and sew the last side seam together, matching the front and back of the two original body pieces. This seam goes from the bottom hem of the kimono to the part of the sleeve where its stitching begins(the seam that connects the arm to the kimono). to leave the body unsewn along this final seam, ending your sewing at about 12" down each side from the midway point of the kimono body. This leaves not only the arm hole free(as I correctly wrote) but allows the arm to have greater movement with the longer hole extending on the kimono body(which I left out).

! |
1 1 |
| 1_____/

open gap = 1(whole back end of sleeve and space coming down from kimono body). original shoulder seam attaching the kimono sleeve to the body between points * and * = ! hmm....

It should look like this when worn:

________________ ___
|| | __9" gap from top edge to
//\\ || __ | here
|| || |
12"--->|| || |
down | ||_______/
from |
top |
body seam

There. That makes more sense. The double marks show where the gap should be, where you should be able to see the inside of the kimono. Usually white or red lining can be seen peeking out here, but I'll leave the details of creating a lined kimono to someone else(I don't imagine it'd be that difficult). Oh, and the || up where your wrist would be poking out means that I think I forgot one last little touch. There should be 9" of gap hanging down each side from the midway point of the sleeve at the wrist to allow your hand to get out, but at the 9" point down and along the rest of the sleeve to the back corner, it should be sewn up.

This leaves the needed gap open in the sleeves(which you need to hem with a 1/4" hem).

Hem the bottom the usual amount, more if it's longer than you expected.

Congratulations! You have a kimono! :D

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO SKIPPED DOWN HERE TO SEE THE COLOR/PATTERN GUIDE... I'm doing that later. Writing all this out(with the help of a few books and a pattern I have) has taken way too long already tonight, but it was fun. Look for the color/pattern guide at a later date(tomorrow/the day after/etc.).

There shouldn't be any mistakes in what I wrote, but please email me if something's not clear. Back to homework(*sigh*)...