Creating a custom print kimono is a good way to ensure that special someone in your life is always clothed. It is ideal for never-nudes and people of other modest inclinations. It is also great for people who want to gift someone a garment covered in their own face.
To make this kimono I used a Burdastyle pattern. While the pattern comes with instructions, I'm hoping mine are a little bit more clear for people - like myself - who have never really sewn from a pattern. I also removed the pockets from the garment, which should make the project easier. Hopefully this will save someone a lot of time deciphering what on Earth their instructions are saying.
Also, a special thanks to Becky for her help and guidance throughout this process. If you are lacking a sewing spiritual guide in your life, check out the free Machine Sewing Class for help.
Step 1: Designing the Fabric
I designed the fabric using Photoshop. I basically took a bunch of pictures of myself on a white backdrop and then laid them out into a grid of me.
You don't need to take pictures of yourself or compose them into a grid for this to work, albeit I highly recommend it. Ultimately you can use whatever image you want.
I saved the file I made as a a very high resolution 150 dpi JPEG image.
Finally, I uploaded the file to Spoonflower and had them print me some lovely silk fabric. While it is a little pricey, I do recommend the silk for this project.
Step 2: Materials
To make a personalized kimono, you will need the following:
- A Burdastyle Kimono pattern
- 3 yards custom printed silk fabric
- 2 yards matching satin fabric (for trim)
- A spool of thread to match silk
- A spool of thread to match satin
- Marking chalk
- A ruler
- Measuring tape
Step 3: Cut Out the Pattern
Print out the pattern at 100% size and then tape it together along the appropriate marking lines.
Determine what size garment you would like to make. There should be a sizing guide. This is a series of dotted and dashed lines that correspond to the different possible garment sizes the pattern will produce.
Determine what size garment you would like to make and cut along the appropriate line. This kimono is fairly loose and roomy, so don't worry if you are off on the sizing a little bit.
Step 4: Iron the Fabric
Before you start, iron out any creases there might be in the fabric to make it nice and flat.
Be extra careful with the silk fabric. Iron it on a low-heat pressed under a dry clean towel.
Step 5: Cut Out the Fabric
Fold the fabric in half length-wise and make sure it is nice and square.
Use pattern piece number #2 to and cut out a section of fabric along the fold with a 1/2" seam allowance. This will be the back of the kimono.
Next, use pattern piece #1 to cut two identical pieces also length-wise with a 1/2" seam allowance for the front of the kimono.
Finally, use pattern piece #3 to cut two pieces which are laid right-sides facing with a 1/2" seam allowance.
Additionally, transfer any alignment marking from the pattern onto the fabric using chalk.
Step 6: Sew the Shoulders
Place both the front pieces and the back piece of fabric right-sides facing in, and pin the pieces in place along the shoulder.
In case this is unclear to you, the shoulder is the edge with the V opening for the neck.
Sew along the seams to attach both front pieces to the back piece.
Step 7: Sew the Sleeves
The sleeve fabric and garment should both have markings for seam attachment #4 marked onto them. Make sure these markings line up, and pin the sleeve to the front and back of the garment right-sides facing.
Sew along the edge of the sleeve's seam to attach it to the front and back of the garment.
Step 8: Close the Sleeve
Sew along the bottom edge of each of each sleeve to close them up.
Step 9: The Side Seams
With the right-sides still facing in, sew the side seams from the sleeves all the way to the bottom edge of the garment on each side.
Once this is sewn, fold each edge of the seam back in on itself and very carefully sew these folds in place. This will help maintain the integrity of the garment and make it nicer to wear.
Step 10: Finish the Sleeves
Finish the sleeves by folding a half inch of fabric back and sewing around the perimeter
Step 11: Cut the Satin
Now is the time to cut a bunch of 4-3/4" wide satin strips.
The length measurements differ depending on the size garment that you are trying to make. For this, use the measurements as specified in the pattern's directions.
Additionally, the neck band should be two lengths that get sown together, right-sides facing, to form one long piece of fabric.
Step 12: Iron the Satin
Take the satin strips and fold them in half with the wrong sides facing. Iron along these folds to make nice creases in each piece.
Next, unfold all of these strips. On just one side, fold the fabric in 1" along the length of the strip so that the wrong sides are facing and iron this crease to hold it in place.
Re-fold the whole strip in half, and reinforce the central crease. One side of the band should now be slightly shorter than the other because it is folded inward.
Step 13: Sew the Trim
Pin the longer edge of the satin hem band along the bottom hem edge of the garment with the right sides facing. Sew it in place.
Next, starting at the center of the neck band pin the longer half of the satin neck band satin around the front opening of the garment.
Sew the trim in place starting from the center and sewing outward in one direction and then the other. This will keep the garment from bunching or pulling funny towards the seams.
Step 14: Hand Stitching
Using a blind hem stitch, hand stitch the along the seam of the trim on the inside of the garment with the thread to match the trim.
The goal of hand stitching is to do it in such a way that it passes between the layers of satin trim and is hidden from view on the front side of the garment. This makes it look much more luxurious.
Step 15: Sew the Belt
Finally, it's time to sew the belt.
Take two 34" x 6" strips of satin, and sew them together right sides facing along one of the shorter edges to create one very long strip.
Fold them in half lengthwise, with the right sides facing and pin the edges
Sew from one edge inward stopping 1" short of the center seam. Repeat the process from the other side.
Invert the belt fabric by pulling itself out through its own center hole. Once Inverted, hand sew the hole shut with a blind hem stitch, being careful to hide the stitching.
Finally, iron the belt to make it nice and flat and give it a nice solid crease.
Step 16: Enjoy
Enjoy the look, feel, and swish of your new custom print kimono.
Never go naked again.