Kimonos or Robes?

I gave you guys a sneak peek last post at these mini kimonos:
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So now let me fill you in with a whole peek and tell ya how you can make one, sew or no-sew!  I made mine with my trusty sewing machine but you guys, I racked and racked and racked my brain on how to make this go either way – sew or no-sew!  I know a lot of you don’t know how to sew (yet) and so I didn’t want this to be a project only to be done with a sewing machine.  Making clothes for kids (and adults) is so fun, but I know it can be a downer when you find out you need to be able to sew to make something cute.  Sew, let’s get our kimono on.
sew or no-sew kimono tutorial
[Hey!  That rhymes!]

The supplies:
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-a piece of knit fabric (or a fabric that won’t fray at the edges)
-a scissors
-fringe (optional)
-glue (optional for the no-sew version)
-sewing machine (for the sewn version)
I bought this fabric at JoAnn’s.  It was 50% off, ringing in at $7.49 a yard.  I bought a yard and a third and got two toddler kimonos out of it and two toddler-sized inifinity scarves pieced together with the leftovers (more on those later).  The fringe is also from JoAnn’s. 

First, I cut out two rectangular pieces of fabric that were 23 x 42 inches each.  If you’re just making one toddler kimono, you’ll only need 2/3 of a yard of fabric.  However, it’s worth mentioning that the kimonos I made would probably fit a girl who wears size 5 or 6 pretty well.  They’re a tad large for my size 2T girls.  If you’re making an adult-sized kimono, you’ll need more.  I’d guess about two yards depending on the length you want. 

After I had my two pieces, I grabbed one and folded it in half long-ways with the right sides of the fabric facing each other.  The top of this piece measured 23” and it measured 21” long.  The folded side would eventually go along the girls shoulders and arms.
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The Sewn Version
For the sewn version, I measured down four inches from the top of each side and put a pin.  This four inches would be the arm holes.  Past the four inch mark, I pinned the sides together and then sewed them together.  Simple enough, right?

The dotted line in this picture shows where I stitched:
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Next, I turned the kimono right-side-out and folded it in half so that the two sides I had just sewn were together.

Then, I cut down the fold only cutting through one layer of fabric (IMPORTANT!!) and only to the top fold.  This gave me the kimono opening at the front.
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(So in the above picture, the two sides I had just sewn are laying on the left and I cut through one layer of fabric on the fold at the right.)

After cutting, I laid out the kimono and it looked like this:
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The last thing I did was sew a few zig-zag stitches at the very top of the front opening to keep it from ripping.IMG_0015
I don’t know how likely it is to rip but just in case it got pulled open too far (you never know what toddlers are capable of), I wanted to make sure it was nice and secure.

And that’s that!  Because I used a knit that wasn’t prone to fraying, I didn’t have to do any hemming at the unfinished edges.

The No-Sew Version
The no-sew version involves cutting shallow slits down each side and tying.  It’s exactly how I made these infinity scarves for the girls.

Making sure you mark that four inches at the top of each side for arm holes, you’d cut slits down the side (represented by the lines in the picture below) and then you’d tie the sides together by knotting the front and back fabric pieces.
no-sew kimono
After that was done, you’d turn the kimono right-side-out, fold it in half, and cut the front opening just like you would in the sewn version.  Instead of using a zig-zag stitch to reinforce the top of the cut though, you might want to place a dab of glue over it to make sure it stayed put and didn’t rip.

Of course you could probably go the stitch witchery/iron-on hem tape route with the sides if you didn’t feel like tying them or you could even try your hand at sewing them shut just using a needle and thread since there are just a couple of straight lines to be sewn.  However you make them, they’re pretty simple, no?

I wasn’t done with the kimonos there though.  I saw a few kimonos on the web with fringe and other trim at the ends so old horse, new tricks type thing.  I had to try it.  All I did was cut a fringe piece long enough to go across the entire bottom of each kimono and sewed it on with a straight stitch.
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Fringe is sold with the strings attached at the bottom with a little thread to make sewing easier; fringe strings all over the place would be a frustrating thing to tame while you’re trying to guide fabric through your machine or out of your way.  So all I had to do once I had the fringe on was remove that string.
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Done!

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So my first thought when I put them on the girls was “Oh my gosh, they look like vintage robes…not what I was going for”, and that’s probably your thought too.  I know.  They’re a tad long.  I’m still on the fence about the fringe.  I think it might just amp up the vintage robe look but for now I’m keeping it on.  What do you think?  Is the fringe too much?  I think I’m going to make them some more kimonos soon minus the fringe and round off the front corners to soften them up.  You know I’ll write about it when I do.  :)

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Anddddd…I’m thinking mom here needs one or five too.  Maybe I should grab some more fabric and do the whole matching thing?  “Oh look!  Mom and her daughters in their robes at Target in the afternoon!”  What a spectacle.  ;)

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Have a great rest of the week guys!  Anthony just got home today from a 12-day mission trip so I’m sorry if I’ve been semi-absent during the past 12 days!  Now you know why!  He’s currently napping with the kids so I’m playing catch-up and boy do I have lots of things to play that with!  My cousin has been here for the past week helping me and we’ve been doing lots of projects around the house!  Stay tuned!!

4 comments

  1. I love it! You're so talented and creative. And bless your heart for being without him for 12 days! Summer's are always the craziest for our YM husbands. I truly believe that there's a special place in Heaven for spouses of YMs who bear the long days/nights solo with kiddos. (Or so I hope... 😏) 😋

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    1. Thanks Kristina!!! I hope so too!! :) Solidarity sister!

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  2. You are just so talented. Really cute, but sorry for the little ones, I prefer no fringe.

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    1. Thanks Lisa! I think you're right on the fringe but I think I might keep it until the kimonos actually fit the girls to see if my mind sways at all...if not, it's off with it!! :)

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