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How to make a kimono tutorial [Oct. 22nd, 2010|06:35 pm]
The Lilac Wood
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I made a fundamental mistake when making this tutorial but it does NOT affect the construction of the garment. I'm putting my hands up and saying I forgot seam allowance on the kimono i made to show you how to make one, this means it doesn't quite fit her. However as it is a photographic tutorial based on measurements for ANY doll this is my mistake, but that's why it didn't fit - my bad
All that was missing from this was seam allowance, that meant the panels were slightly more narrow than they needed to be, which is why it doesn't overlap over her hips.

Kimono are interesting garments because literally Kimono is the japanese word for clothes, any clothes are kimono It was designed originally around the width of a bolt of cloth, this was the width of the panel and one size fit all - literally.
Bearing that in mind I present the traditional method of making a kimono with only one adjustment for modern fabric.

A kimono is a simple robe which is overlapped and tied in place by a custom belt called an obi
I am not going to do a photographic tutorial for an obi as there is a very good one here
although the text is in japanese the pictures are VERY easy to follow.

First take your doll, to make it easier to photograph and hand stitch seam I'm using a 27cm obitsu called Margerite. I have removed her wig for this
this is Margerite - she exists solely for demonstrations like this because she is free standing on her base.

Now measure your doll from the crown of it's head to the floor, this is your vertical measurement or length for the kimono - write that down, in this case she was 10.95" so i rounded it up to 11"
measure your doll from shoulderblade to shoulderblade - in this case it was 1" now ADD SEAM ALLOWANCE at 1/4" per side, this means that the finished width is 1.5" (i forgot this and you can tell.

You may wish to make a paper pattern of this strip now, this will give you a master copy if you want to make another one.
This is where it starts to get slightly complicated

Take your fabric and using these measurements work out a panel of 9 of these strips of fabric, depending on the width depends on how you should do this, for a person it would be 3X3 because three times the width is about the width of the bale, with doll fabrics it's however you think will save most fabric. I used side by side for this
mark this - for photographic clarity i used marker so you could see

now you may notice there are 8 strips and one is double thick - this is the back to avoid a seam down the back. However if you goof and cut it it's not the end of the world, just stitch it back together. Traditional old kimono DOES have this seam, it's modern kimono that doesn't, so it's not an issue either way, it's just one less long seam to stitch.
Cut out the strips.


Using the double strip lay it with the RIGHT side facing up and take two other strips, with RIGHT sides facing lay these out over the double strip, these are your front and this makes your shoulders. If you've done this using 3x3 there is no reason why you can't not cut these strips, and form one piece that is 2x2 but cut down the centre halfway to make the front.
stitch this in place.

Now take two more strips and fold them in half marking the centre points
take the piece you were working on and lay it RIGHT SIDE UP, place the fold marks along the shoulder seam and pin into place. Stitch from the centre to halfway down the length of these strips - this makes the sleeves.

You should have three strips left. These are the front double panel and the collar.

Taking two of these strips lay them lengthwise over the front panels and pin along the front opening, stitch in place. Then arrange the kimono on your doll.
Make a mark at her hip and then draw a line from that mark to her neck, cut this out.
This creates the distinctive V neckline. Make sure this is done on BOTH sides

Sew the kimono together at the sides and the sleeves, leaving a gap for the wrists. I have pinned the kimono here to show you
this is where i learned i had forgotten the seam allowance

then stitch both kimono together at the front, hem and sleeves, turn out

To make the collar take the last strip of fabric and fold it into three if possible, as if folding a letter, if the fabric is very narrow in half will have to do. Run a line of tacking stitches to hold it in place.
Then carefully arrange this around the neck of the kimono so that the seam is on the inside, if you have lined it make sure to pick up both necks of the kimono and stitch into place. To make sure it sits right fold lengthwise and mark the centre of both the collar piece and the back, this will give you a place to start pinning.

You have made a kimono.

[User Picture]From: heimdalalr
2010-10-22 10:14 pm (UTC)
no finished photo? :_;
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[User Picture]From: cadacusfall
2010-10-23 01:28 am (UTC)
not yet because i made the oops and threw my hands up in despair
but this is a kimono for MSD made with the same instructions but
with seam allowance!
it is long enough to fold down but for the photo i didn't, and it is completely reversible, i should have mentioned that

belle kimono
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