A valentine’s gift – a Man’s Kimono

Simplicity pattern 8318

The simplicity 8318 pattern is part of the costumes section – I think as a response to the film the last Samurai. I chose this because I wanted a more authentic style of kimono rather than using a dressing gown pattern.

Technical drawing

A kimono is virtually made up of rectangles – I did contemplate drafting a pattern myself but as it was a valentine gift for E, I wanted to ensure I had the style right.

A great tip is to use a photocopy of the technical drawing to record your measurements – it gives a great reference sheet when you are creating the garment.

The pattern was very large and unwieldy, the difficulty with this project is that E’s measurements were not rectangular – I needed a certain size at the waist but had to scale it down at the shoulders. So it became more of a trapezium with the bottom edge slightly wider than the top.

Geometric fabric blue grey.

One thing I will adjust in the pattern next time is that there is a back seam – my fabric was fairly geometric, but the pattern itself was tiny, to have spent time matching would have taken an age!

If you are using this pattern, cut the back piece on the fold, there is no shaping – it is a straight line. I was not making the long version of this Kimono so there was no need for a back opening (which is why the back patten piece is in two).

kimono simplicity 8318

As this Kimono was not lined – I did not want the interior to have overlocked edges showing. So I did a combination of French seams – and a lapped seam. (I might post how to do this soon). As you can see from the photograph this creates a seam with no raw edges showing. It is also a very strong seam – usually used on jeans.

I used bias binding for the sleeve edge and the bottom edge of the Kimono. It gives a flash of contrast but also gives a crisp finished edge.

Kimono male Simplicity 8318

The neck facing was odd, the pattern suggested a double faced edge that was velcro’d together. I could not see any point to it (perhaps it is what authentic kimono’s detail). I decided to make just one neck edge – but I gave it structure with a firm interfacing.

The obi belt is a lovely feature – it does finish off the kimono nicely. E was rather delighted with his kimono and it was all ready for Valentines day!

Happy sewing x ttfn x

Summer Flowers – Dress for a wedding

flowery fifties dress

A dear friend of mine was getting married so I decided to make myself a dress – I have been gradually working through my fabric stash -this beautiful fabric was bought a couple of years ago from a curtain shop that was closing down. In all I had just over three metres that I had snapped up for £7!

Fabric design

The fabric is big and bold the flower heads were enormous, but the repeat was manageable with the quantity of fabric I had. I also loved the weight of this cotton, similar to the purple linen I used for my spring dress. I have also been learning some Couture techniques that I was hoping to put in practise: using an underling.

Threadcount pattern

This pattern came with my Love Sewing Magazine and, joy of joys, it came in a DD cup! No full bust adjustment for once! What a brilliant idea! The Thread Count patterns are very well thought out and I hope that other patterns will follow their lead!

The princess seam line, just off the bust line works well for my body shape, it makes the bodice  easier to adjust without deep darts. I really struggle because my bust is quite big, I avoid waistline darts as there is not enough room and they end up very deep! The pattern was very easy to follow –  I was delighted to find after making the toile there was no pattern adaptation other than bringing in the back by a couple of inches.

I decided to change the lightly gathered skirt opting to use a circle skirt to avoid extra bulk around the midriff. I am short waisted with a bit of a tummy which reduces the overall space between the bust and waistline.

Princess seams

I used a beautiful soft voile as the underling – it was the first time I had used this technique – oh it is delightful, suddenly the garment has more structure! I hand stitched the princess seams open – it might look messier than my overlocker, but I find I really enjoy the control hand stitching gives! This will be covered by the lining anyway.

pattern matching 2

I used the underlining to pattern match the bodice pieces, I wanted the design to flow round the body – while the design was large I had enough fabric to get the pattern matching right on the bodice.

pattern matching side seam

The side seam worked beautifully – once again hand stitching the seams open to the underling, meant that no stitches came through to the front of the garment.

back bodice zip

The pattern matching came up well along the back bodice, although it was difficult to do on the skirt.   I hand stitched the zip to the underlining again – so there is no visible stitching line the right side, only the zipper pull is peeping out from the top.

Organza skirt lining

I used a organdie lining for the skirt – I had to pattern match as best I could – trying to ensure the flowers ran centrally along the front. The underlining helped the skirt to maintain its crisp shape, allowing the garment to flow around the body, as it is quite slippery.

threadcount pattern

The skirt flowers matched the bodice but I could not be as accurate as I was on the bodice as there simply wasn’t enough fabric to play with. Although I am quite pleased with the results.

Reading poem

Here I am wearing my dress and reading out a poem during the service, the dress was supported by a net underskirt.  It was a fabulous wedding and a beautiful day!

the Happy Couple

The happy couple! Congratulations!

Pattern Matching Blues (or Pinks!)

Floral Dress Love Sewing Magazine

The upside of moving home is that I had to go through all the boxes of fabric I had stashed away in the loft, there were some beautiful fabrics so I decided to challenge myself to use them up before buying any more.

I had this lovely floral light cotton so long I could not remember buying it! Sometimes I just want to make something without all the pattern adaptation and drafting, so I thought I would use the Love Sewing Kate Jersey pattern again. Of course, it wasn’t quite straightforward, I used the slash technique to add a few inches – as it was a pattern designed for stretch fabric –  I was using cotton I added a few inches around the hips.

Pattern placement frustrates me – I see such beautiful garments on Pinterest, like this beauty currently on sale at Liberty, but they have been specially made with the garment design in mind. I just love the centre panel, the way it reflects across the tummy -a great hiding place for a few pounds, and the cross section reduces the hips – but it is nigh on impossible to do if you are a home sewer!

The fabric stores I frequent don’t seem to have these forms of pattern repeats so I end up turning my pattern pieces in all directions to get something pleasing. The bodice top just wouldn’t work with the large floral motifs of the fabric, I ended up with a flower on one side and half a feather and blank white on the other side.

Not to be thwarted I headed to  the fabulous Eternal Maker with fabric – (I will write a post about them soon). The store is positively heaving with various types of cloth in every shade of the rainbow, but only one fabric would match the colourway: this pink honeycomb design. I tried all the greens – as it would have  been more subtle, but the shade just did not match anything in the store.  If you want to ensure your colours match use the little printed dots on the selvage as a guide.


Pattern matching uses up more fabric – especially with a big floral design – I usually purchase at least 3 meters if I think there might be a problem so there was plenty to play with. In order to bring the two fabrics together, I appliqued one of the motifs to the mid-section of the garment, using the flower that closely matched the colour of the top.

If you are matching a pattern over two pattern pieces it can help to cut out the upper or lower  pattern edges in tracing paper or baking parchment, you can trace the flowers to ensure they match up.

Because of this bold pattern, it was simply a case of choosing a central element, lining  up the feather  to flow from the applique down the central panel of the skirt, I also liked the way the two yellow flowers curved round the hips. I used the nice yellow flower as the centre panel for each sleeve just below the sleeve cap as that would be noticable.

Thankfully the honeycomb was small enough that I did not need to pattern match, although I used pink facing at the front and floral facing at the back of the garment.


I  often wear floral brooches with my clothes – since I had the applique bug, I thought I might add a flower on the right-hand side of the neckline, overhanging the edge, although  I can’t decide if it is a bit OTT, what do you think?

I was thinking about doing a pleated contrast edge at the sleeves and bottom of the dress, but then I thought that was too coordinated, so might just do it at the cuff.

Hmm… with? or without?…

Mr. D thinks the dress is colourful enough, wearing sunglasses to look at it was pushing the point a little far!

Spring is sprung here comes the sun!

ttfn x