Thursday 28 July 2011

Part III Styling the Kimono

I hope you've been patient enough to wade through Part I and II below, about this project to see my finished Burda 124 July 2011 kimono, here. Let me assure you, I've spent far more time doing these blogs than sewing the garment. It's really easy to sew and, depending on the simplicity of your fabric choice, very versatile.

My color choice won't suit everybody, which is why we sew, right? I can heartily urge you, once you've found a color that flatters your hair and eye color, to learn how to dye natural silks. It's a sure way of knowing you'll be able to build a wardrobe with separates that work with things you already have, sort of Dyeing with a Plan.
Here I've used a silk velvet from Thai Silks' mail order service to get the right drape and pure blue I wanted as described in this post: dyeing the natural silk. You can use any weight of fabric but make sure it has a very soft, fine "hand" or drape.

 I'm using the traditional Japanese way of displaying a kimono with the sleeves supported by a rod, (here just a bamboo stick from a garden shop.)  Of course, when not worthy of display, a normal kimono would be folded into squares and stacked in the closet, not hung on a western clothes hanger. But if  you've silk-screened, potato-printed, hand-painted or laboriously embroidered your fabric, your kimono should hang on your wall! 

The flat rectangles that make up this garment lend themselves readily to fabric arts.

Here are some close-ups of the interior, showing how I was able to machine-finish the entire lining using the steps explained in Part II's diagram. I used a lighter dilution of the same silk dye on China silk from Thai Silks because I wanted a hue of blue lining that highlighted the velvet cutwork outer shell, but didn't clash as much as pure white.

Burda takes their kimono dressing into the lounging-in-jeans direction, which is very hip.
For an artist-at-her-day-job look, I've used a Korean scarf as a belt, below, a coral necklace from Hong Kong and a jade pendant from the antique market in Xian, China. The neck pieces pick up the sandy brown in the scarf print.

Below we're going in the Noel Coward 1930's evening salon direction. I've layered my blue satin Burda blouse from the December 2010 issue underneath and added assorted pearl necklaces. Very Kristen Scott Thomas and country house weekend in the mood of an Agatha Christie mystery.


  1. It is exquisite! I love the idea this sort of garment although I never know how to wear them, would love to see you modelling your styled options. Maybe I will experiment, lets face it the worst case scenario is I get a super luxe dressing gown for lounging about in.

  2. Beautiful - I love the color!

  3. Your kimono is beautiful, and I love how you styled it! Thank you for explaining the sleeve construction - I could never get my head around that.

  4. Gorgeous! All eyes will be on you when you wear that. Love the blue on blue with a dash of pearls.

    And so right about needing a bit of drape...unless one's wearing it the really really traditional Japanese way. I had attempted a kimono top once (adapted from instruction in an old issue of Threads). But the fabric was rather spongy instead of drapy. So it looked too big and was hard to coordinate with. It's now in my To Be Altered / Refashioned pile }:-)

  5. Your kimono is lovely! Great color, too. ~ Peggy