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Saturday, 10 September 2016

Quasi-Tutorial: Quick Sew Kimono-Inspired Jacket

Pride & Prejudice Kimino Inspired Jacket by eSheep Designs
Simple kimono-inspired jacket made out of
my Pride & Prejudice text fabric...
Towards the end of June, Spoonflower held a four day sale on their sport lycra that I couldn't pass up: 25% off and free shipping. The fabric is heavy, so getting the shipping for free was a $6 savings in itself.

I quickly re-jigged my Pride & Prejudice design to make a non-directional version and ordered a yard.

I did not yet know what I was going to make, but given the nature of sport lycra, it was destined to become an article of clothing. I thought briefly of leggings.. then of shorts... then a skirt... and then a kimono. At that point, I turned to Google and wound up finding ideas that involved very little sewing and not a whole lot cutting. Some were so simple as not to require any sort of pattern and yet were very versatile in the end result.

Today I will present my own take on the "snip and sew" concept: a kimono-inspired jacket that can be made with just one yard of fabric (depending on size).

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When I first hit upon the idea of a kimono type of garment for this project, I knew that it wouldn't be a big flow-y one more suited to a light, airy fabric. I wanted mine to be wearable as a casual jacket or as a beach/post work-out cover-up. And I wanted to take advantage of the fabric's properties and do as little sewing as possible: i.e., no hemming, no finishing.

Pride & Prejudice Kimino Inspired Jacket by eSheep Designs
A simple and versatile jacket to make!

As mentioned in past posts, the advantage of Spoonflower fabric is that you have bonus usable fabric around the edges of the design. All designs are printed on white, so the underside remains a solid white that adds a natural contrast to the top side of the fabric. The lycra shrunk a tiny bit on the length but not so much across the width, so I was left with about 60" of usable fabric width.

Pride & Prejudice Text fabric by eSheep Designs
Original, washed piece of fabric, folded in half...
I decided to take this piece of fabric, fold it in half across the width and then turn it ninety degrees; i.e., the selvages are at the bottom of this picture.

With the fold across the top, my fabric measures approximately 30" from fold to bottom and just shy of 37" from left to right (recall that it started out as a 1 yard cut and that there was some shrinkage along the length).

The plan was to cut a basic "T" shape and sew up the side seams per the tutorials that I had seen. Referring to an existing similar garment of mine (ironically, a kimono robe), I determined that a folded width of 11" — i.e., 22" all around — would it do for me for sleeve size.

Pride & Prejudice Text fabric by eSheep Designs
My "pattern" for this kimono jacket...

Since I didn't want this to be as wide as a regular kimono — which typically overwraps one side to the other — I cut away 8" on either side of the body to make it more close-fitting. (Note that this is not meant to be one size fits all; as said, if you're going to make this, use your own clothing as a guideline. I generally wear a size 2.)

I sewed up the sides — with wrong side of the fabric out of course — with a 1/4" seam allowance, using a ballpoint needle and my machine's built-in stretch stitch. (Went off without a hitch until I ran out of bobbin thread with about seven inches left to go.)

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After turning it right side out, the next step was to cut the front opening of the jacket all the way from the bottom to the folded edge. Then it's a matter of cutting a small oval for the neck area, which also creates a bit of a "lapel" in the process.

Pride & Prejudice Kimino Inspired Jacket by eSheep Designs
This can be worn belted for another look...

With some fabrics, you'll have to be mindful of how the pattern looks after you do this 90° spin. The underlying text on this fabric runs along the vertical throughout the body of the garment and along the horizontal on the sleeves...

Pride & Prejudice Kimino Inspired Jacket by eSheep Designs
Back view...

But because I created segments of "title text" along every axis, there is no obvious upside down or right side up to the pattern.

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I'm quite happy with the results. I particularly like that it's long enough to cover my butt, since I'm not at an age where I'm entirely comfortable running around in leggings — which I do like to wear — without having a tunic length "something" covering my behind!

Pride & Prejudice Kimino Inspired Jacket by eSheep Designs
Back view again...

The best part of this project was that I was able to whip it up with just one yard. Spoonflower has several different fabrics that come in a width of 56" and up, enabling the white border to boost usable fabric width up to 60". (The least expensive option is the performance piqué — which would also work well for this — at $20/yard.)

On second thought, maybe the best part of this project is how quick it is to make! Once you have your measurements determined, this will be a half hour effort at most. (And what's not to like about a quick project?)

But on that note, what's the most complex thing you've ever sewn for yourself? Let me know about it... I'm gathering info for a future blog post. :-)


  1. What a great idea for a post workout cover up. I'm with you on wearing a tunic length top when wearing leggings. Have made a few complex items - woollen pant suit, with fully lined jacket, wedding dress and veil, bridesmaids dresses.

  2. I love this jacket. I don't mind wearing leggings around the house but, like you, I want something long enough behind. This would be great to grab when I need to go out.
    The most complicated clothing piece I made was a lined waist coat with slash pockets - man was I scared of blindly cutting into the coat fabric! I love the result and want to make more.

    1. Yes, it's good to be brave and sew a little bit out of your normal element every once in awhile. The results, as you say, are often worth it. On the other hand, simple projects like this jacket are worthwhile too! ;-)

      Thanks for adding some input to the discussion.


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