There are two kinds of sewing projects, readers: the ones you think will be hard but end up easy, and the ones you think will be easy but end up hard. My kimono is the latter kind.
A robe like this should be easy: it's just two fronts (right and left), a back, and two sleeves. But I'm frankenpatterning here without instructions and I've added long kimono sleeves that attach to the torso along half their length, and hang open along the rest. I decided to close the torso sides, which isn't classic kimono but seemed easier and more robe-like.
There are a lot of seams to finish and I probably didn't finish them in the best/easiest way. I used French seams on the shoulders. I flat-felled the armscye and side seams -- not easy with a delicate cotton lawn fabric. To finish the open end of the sleeve (not the cuff, but the end beneath the armscye) I rolled 1/4" twice and stitched. At the point where the sides and armhole meet, I had to clip 5/8" into my fabric (since the top of the side piece attaches to the sleeve and the bottom attaches to the back, creating a very fragile area.
To strengthen the area on both the torso side and the sleeve, I cut four triangular gusset-like pieces of fabric and stitched them along what's essentially the underarm. It wasn't difficult but it was painstaking.
The result is nearly invisible.
Maybe there's a better way to have addressed this issue but I couldn't come up with one.
Meanwhile, I attached my cotton sateen trim to the sleeves, the neckline and fronts, and the hem.
I used the trim pattern piece from my vintage Eighties Butterick kimono pattern. The trim is cut parallel to the grainline even where you're attaching it to a slightly curved front. In an ideal world this trim would be stitched right sides together, folded over and then slip-stitched closed on the wrong side. I didn't want to hand stitch, however, so I carefully, carefully stitched this with my machine. I even used a little double-sided fusible web to hold things in place. Also in that ideal world, the trim would be silk. My cotton sateen looks great, but it's a little heavy, frankly.
Enough about kimonos. Here are some gratuitous chihuahua shots from this morning.
I'm fried and eager to move on.
In closing, have you ever made a kimono robe? Was it easy or hard?
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!