Stripy Kimono

I’ve been putting my week of looking after ill people to good use by catching up on my backlog of unblogged garments. Here’s one I finished back in May (had to have something new to wear for Me Made May!) and it’s definitely more of a summer make. Ah well, the weather is so cold and miserable I need something summery to cheer me up. Maybe a cocktail would work…

This is one of those garments I never would have considered making a couple of years ago. Kimono style sleeves? So not me. Or so I thought. But I had all this hacci knit fabric I’d bought for another project (can’t actually remember what) which turned out to be way more lightweight than I’d anticipated and so unsuitable for said project (dress, jumper?). After googling to find out what others had made with it I found Portia’s make, and since she included a tutorial and it looked super simple, I thought why the hell not? I didn’t have anything like this in my wardrobe, but sometimes I surprise myself by trying things out and realising they do suit me after all. Or that they make me look ridiculous. Happily this was one of the former occasions 🙂

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In a Nutshell:

A cute and surprisingly versatile summer layering piece, which was an absolute doddle to make.

Pattern:

The Hacci Knit Kimono Cardi tutorial over on Makery. There is no pattern, just instructions for finding out the size rectangles you need to cut. It’s an incredibly clear tutorial and should be suitable for complete beginners.

Fabric:

Hacci Sweater Knit in Cocoa and Mauve stripes by Girl Charlee UK. I liked it on the website but when it arrived I found the colour a little too pastel for my taste, so I decided to try chucking it in the bucket when dying some other jersey dark brown. I thought it would go uniform dark brown, but surprisingly, the dye was only taken up by the palest yarn giving a much stronger stripe than I’d anticipated. I do like it, though.

The following picture shows a snippet of the original fabric placed over the dyed fabric:

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New skills learnt:

None for this make. I could have sewn it in my sleep, but don’t we need makes like that every now and again?!

Changes I made:

  • None, other than to dye the fabric.
  • Oh, okay, there was one change where I thought I was being clever, but I ended up ripping it out and followed the instructions instead. See next section.

What went wrong:

So I thought I knew all about sewing knits by now, and that those shoulder seams should have some clear elastic in them. Uh, turns out they shouldn’t. I don’t know why the fabric gathered in this way–I wasn’t stretching the elastic at all–but I guess the shoulder seam on a kimono is meant to stretch out a little. You can see the result of adding clear elastic in the following pics. My face says it all…

What went well:

Clear elastic debacle aside, this was incredibly simple to make and I’m really pleased with the result. I whipped up the whole thing on the overlocker, with the exception of the hem which I did by hand. I do enjoy hand hemming and it gives a beautiful finish.

I was especially pleased with my stripe matching along the edges of the collar. Totally copied the idea of staggering the stripes from Portia!

Here are some more pics of me enjoying the finished article and pretending it was still summer in a few rare rays of October sun:

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Overall verdict:

Initially I wasn’t sure how much wear this would get as I considered it a bit of a wardrobe orphan. Those brown stripes just didn’t seem to go with much. But then I experimented a bit and found it looked great over dark maroon and purple colours. It’s incredibly lightweight and folds down to next to nothing so great for holiday packing, and it’s the perfect thing for layering over a cami and skinny jeans on a summer day. Shame it will be a while till we get any more of those, but perhaps it could work in the spring over a long sleeved top?

Changes for next time:

I will definitely be making another of these for next summer, and am interested in trying a winter version in a thicker sweater knit, with longer sleeves and wider front panels, and possibly some kind of a closure (a belt?). The front panels on this are fine for summer, but not wide enough to meet in the middle so could be a bit chilly for winter layering.

Costing:

Pattern: £0.00

Fabric: £8.95 per metre. Used 85 cm, so approximately £7.61

Notions: £0.00

Total cost: £7.61.

Total bargain. Yay!

Bonus cheesy pic:

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