A story about a kimono jacket

A story about a kimono jacket


This story starts with a fabric shopping date with Lara near the end of last month.  At a stretch you could say that Darn Cheap Fabrics in Heidelberg is halfway between our houses.  Any excuse right?  After lots of chatting and fabric patting I came across this awesome leafy jungle print on twill-like fabric with amazing drape.  A look at the tag confirmed my suspicions… 100% polyester.

Now, you have probably noticed that I’m more of a natural fibres kind of girl.  I’m happy with a touch of lycra in my knits, I’m totally fine with viscose and rayon, but until now I’ve had a serious case of poly prejudice.  Maybe it was being in the midst of Jungle January, or perhaps some encouraging words from Lara helped, but what ever happened I grabbed that roll and proceeded to take some home with me.  My plans were vague… something drapey and trans-seasonal.


It only took a couple of weeks for the creativity lightening bolt to strike… a kimono jacket.  It would be a perfect layering piece, the swishiness factor would be high and I could throw it in a bag without a crease worry in the world.  But which pattern?  The free online tutorials looked good, but I longed for a band to finish the back neckline and front edges.  A 3 for $10 pattern sale at Spotlight sealed the deal and I purchased Simplicity 1318 with either view A or B in mind.  Then I began to waiver… could I pull this look off?


My research then turned to Gorman’s Autumn 2015 collection, and in particular their Greenhouse Kimono.  From trying on this garment I learned:

  • It was made of cotton voile and it still draped nicely (I’m filing this information away for a later date)
  • The kimono was far too long for me
  • The design looked good when crossed over, it was actually quite dress-like, but I didn’t like how the fabric fell went left open as you saw a lot of the inside of the garment.  Also, in the ‘open position’ the ties were awkward no matter how you tied them.

Armed with this information, I bravely traced View B of Simplicity 1318 which is the same as the photographed kimono jacket on the pattern envelope sans the boarder print.  I don’t sew Simplicty, New Look, Vogue, Butterick, McCalls, Kwik Sew or Burda Style patterns very often.  In fact, this is only the second non-vintage pattern from the previously mentioned brands that I’ve successfully sewn before.  My style is obviously more aligned with independant, European (Ottobre) and Japanese patterns!


I sewed up a quick toile of the pattern in some nasty synthetic fabric.  I’m justified in using the term ‘nasty’ as during the burn test to check fibre content the fabric melted to my finger.  Ouch!  I’m still nursing the wound.  The toile wasn’t to check the fit, which is my usual reason for toiling, it was in fact to try the instructed construction method and work our my preferred seam finishes.  My toile gave me the confidence to make the following changes:

  • I eliminated the centre back seam


  • I joined the sleeves in the round.  I’m not sure if that is ‘proper’ sewing terminology, but it’s my way of saying… as opposed to when everything is flat!
    • I sewed the side seams of the jacket to the underarm marker
    • I sewed the underarm seam of the sleeves
    • With right sides facing, I inserted the sleeves into the body of the jacket stitched them in place
  • To minimise hand stitching on this garment, I joined the short ends of the sleeve bands, folded them in half long-ways (wrong sides facing), stitched them to the sleeve (right sides facing), pressed the seam allowances away from the armholes and top-stitched them in place.  Clear as mud?


The front bands/facings (you cut four of the same pattern piece… two are the interfaced and become the front bands, the other two are the facings) and the back band are the trickiest part of the supposedly ‘easy-to-sew’ Simplicity pattern.  Speaking from experience, you must pay attention to the notches on the front band/facings because even though they look wrong, they are in fact correctly placed on the outer edge… the edge to be joined to the front pieces.  Be warned, the facings are hand-stitched in place.  I’m usually not a big hand-stitcher, but after this project I can definitely see the appeal.


The back band is a right royal pain in the neck to attach to the back neckline.  If you want to have any hope of joining these two pieces you will need to follow the instructions and clip the back neckline to the stay-stitching.  It’s worth persevering as the resulting neckline sits perfectly!


If you are interested in some other versions of this pattern..  Erica B has made a lovely fringed silk chiffon version and Trine from Groovy Baby & Mama is rocking her black view B Simplicity 1318 kimono with a stripey dress.

I personally think this garment comes into it’s own when you are moving… swishing…





So I’ve missed Jungle January for 2015… but I’m wondering Anne if you are accepting early entries for Jungle January 2016?

Pattern:  Simplicity 1318 (View B)
Twill-like polyester from Darn Cheap Fabrics
Removed centre back seam.  Change construction method for the sleeves and sleeve bands.
Accessories:  Necklace by Sonia Rykel (brought here) & shoes purchased at Siricco.

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