Learn how to make a kimono and dress up your jeans with Leanne Garrity’s ombré cover-up project
Make like a starlet and swan around in this graceful kimono for a girl’s-night-in, pampering. Slip it on as an effortless cover-up at the beach, or style an on-trend festival look by pairing with a vest, cut-offs and stacks of bangles. The sheer fabric and gentle folds are flirty and flattering, and since the kimono is made from a single piece of rectangular fabric, you won’t need to faff about sewing in sleeves. Whip it up! We promise it’ll be an absolute breeze.
You will need:
• Lightweight white cotton fabric 160 x 80cm (63 x 31″) – plus a few extra bits for test dying
• Flamingo-pink fabric dye
Mix up a little of your dye solution and practise your dipping technique on dampened fabric scraps. Dye can ‘take’ differently depending on the fabric type, and by doing a test strip you can gauge the length of time, level of saturation and amount of bleed.
Prepare your dye bath following the packet’s instructions. Fold your fabric in half widthwise, and wet it with water. Holding onto the folded edge, dip the bottom half of the fabric in the dye bath. The top edge of the dye line will bleed up the damp fabric a little, giving you a blended transition. Leave the bottom third of your fabric to soak for a while. At intervals, hitch the fabric a little higher out of the dye so that you get a smooth gradient, with the bottom being the most saturated.
When you’re happy with the results, rinse your fabric in cold water until it runs clear. Hang to dry then press.
Cut a 10cm (4″) strip from one long edge of the fabric for the belt, and set aside.
Fold your main fabric in half lengthways with the folded edge on the right. For the front opening and neck hole, mark the halfway point on the folded edge. Cut up the folded edge until just before the mark, then cut a smooth half- keyhole shape around the mark.
Now fold the fabric in half again by bringing the top short edge down to meet the bottom short edge. Trim the bottom left corner into a curve, cutting through all four layers of fabric.
On your sewing machine, stitch a rolled hem around the edge of your fabric shape.
Lay your kimono on a flat surface, folded at the shoulders, wrong sides (WS) together. Line up the hems and side seams. Pin the side seams at the halfway point (this should be roughly where your dye line starts) and again at the bottom, just shy of the curve. Stitch between the pins using the side of your presser foot as a guide for seam allowance.
Take your belt fabric strip and fold it in half lengthways, right sides (RS) together. Pin the raw edge and sew a straight stitch along the entire length. Pivot and continue along the short edge. Turn this fabric tube RS out, press, tuck a hem under at the open end, and hand-stitch closed.
Try on the kimono, and place pins approximately 3cm (1″) either side of each side seam, at waist height. These four pins mark where your belt holes will go. Make sure the pins are all aligned.
Set your machine to satin stitch. Sew the belt holes by stitching a 3cm-long (1″) satin stitch, pivot, then stitch a second row alongside the first, reinforcing at each end.
Cut between the two rows of satin stitching, and thread your belt through the four belt holes. And you’re done! Time to slip into your kimono and float about like the utter goddess you are.
This project was originally published in Mollie Makes issue 30.