Sewing Challenge of The Week

1st Sewing Challenge of the Week: DIY Kimono for Beginners

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Two weeks ago Libby and I started the sewing challenge. If you want to read more about it, check out the Challenge of the Week post Sewing Challenge of The Week . Our first project was to sew a kimono. I don’t know about you but I could wear a kimono every day because they are so light and airy and perfect for a California summer day. Before making this kimono I only had one which was worn as much as possible so I was very excited to sew along with my sister Libby and also make another kimono I could possibly add to my rotation. If you know me personally, then you probably know which kimono i’m talking about 😉  Since sewing the kimono I have worn it two times but I must say I don’t know how long it is going to last. After reading Libby’s review on the project, I was a bit surprised that we had similar opinions on the project. Actually, it was quite funny that we had similar issues. If you would like to read her review check out her blog Our Play Palace .

For this project we used the video by shopstyleconquer on YouTube, DIY Kimono – An Easy ‘How to’ Tutorial . I used a floral chiffon (shear fabric) I had purchased while in LA. I would say overall the video was very helpful, but here are some recommendations:

  1. watch the video a few times before or until you’re certain you understand the instructions
  2. cut your fabric on a table or hard surface if possible
  4. have patience – working with a chiffon or shear fabrics can be challenging for a beginner
  5. press the seams

It took me a total of about 5 hours over a span of several days to finish this project. The cutting part was simple but as I mentioned, I wish I would have cut on my table as it is easier to cut on a hard surface. The video instructed to do french seams and I had once done french seams on my railroad tote bag but I forgot how to and the video didn’t go too much into detail on french seams. Looking back, I should have gone back to my Sew it Academy class to remind myself how to do a french seam because that is what ruined my project. The first time I attempted the french seam on the inside panel I sewed incorrectly so I had to unstitch and there is nothing more that I hate than to unstitch. I got it right the second time but on the other panel, it took me about an hour to figure out how I was going to do the french seams and by that time I was SEW over it (pun intended) that I truly didn’t care about the outcome.  Had I used pins, the seam would have looked good but folding over the fabric as I sewed along is a no no. By pressing the seams before sewing, I believe I would have had a better result.

At the end of the project I was so disappointed with myself and frustrated. I definitely rushed to finish the project and had I taken my time, I would have a kimono that would actually last. As you can see some fraying has already begun and it is only a matter of time until this project falls apart.

Sewing with the chiffon was hard because it is light and unstable. I did use some Starch Savvy to help stabilize the fabric, but quite frankly I didn’t use the instructions nor do I know if this could be used on chiffon (LOL). If you haven’t noticed, I tend to act on impulse and typically read instructions after the fact. I will definitely do some research on tips for working with lightweight fabrics because I will definitely attempt this project again. The advantage of working with this type of fabric is that is light and flowy and the way it drapes, mistakes are not easily noticed. As I mentioned, I have worn this kimono twice and no one has made any negative comments (but maybe they are too kind to say).

When I “finished” this project my husband attempted to cheer me up and kept asking me “Well, what did you learn from this project?” and several times I said NOTHING, NOTHING, I HATE IT but jokingly I said “never use this fabric again”. The truth is that I did learn that I need to take my time and follow instructions because otherwise I can’t expect to have a great final project. Also, I would suggest that if you are frustrated with the project, leave it for a few days and sew something that you know will come out great and then return to your challenging project. This will give you the instant gratification and will encourage you to continue. I hope that you give this project a try and if you have any tips, let me know! Happy Sewing!!

Here’s Libby’s finished kimono – fresh off the sewing machine

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