Summer is almost here and it’s time for the beach and great music festivals. It also means it’s time to protect your skin and coverup at the same time. Today, we are going to make a chic kimono shaw! This is a great first project for a new sewer and if you can’t sew, it’s still easy to make with just fabric glue! Depending on the fabric and the color, you can coordinate this with almost any summer outfit! We are going to be making two different kinds of kimono. The first is a basic draping shaw and the second is shaped more like a traditional kimono. Excited? Let’s get started after the break…
For this DIY, you are going to need:
- One and a half yards of fabric. I like using a light and flowy fabric for a nice draping effect. For the best sun protection I recommend a polyester chiffon. Something with a very tight weave but still lightweight. You can use other fabrics, but for summer use, you want something that is lightweight and can wick away perspiration.
- Fabric Shears
- Ruler and Measuring Tape
- Sewing Machine or Permanent Fabric Glue.
The first thing you need to do is determine the overall size of your shawl. You can make it either wrist length for a long sleeve style or elbow length for a short sleeve style. First, measure from the midpoint of your chest to your desired length and then multiply by two. This determines the width of the fabric you are going to need. Next, you want to determine the overall height of the kimono. Measure from your neckline to where you want the kimono to fall. I made mine mid-hip height.
Now, with your desired dimensions, fold your fabric in half with the longer side being your width and the shorter side being the height. Trim on all three sides to the needed dimensions and ensure your fabric is perfectly straight.
After squaring up your fabric, take a ruler and find the exact middle of your rectangle and cut it height-wise from top to bottom, so that you have 2 separate pieces of fabric. Time to finish the edges!
Take one side, open it up so that the wrong side of the fabric is facing you. Next, fold in the long edge a half inch of fabric and pin it. We are going to seam the edges. Take an iron and press it flat. You can either sew the seam or use permanent glue to finish the edge. Do this for the rest of the sides and repeat the same steps on the other rectangle.
Ok, now that we have two pieces of finished cloth, fold them so that you have the right sides facing you with the bottoms closest to you. Open the shawl and pull the inside corners out.
Pin the inside back seam together and either sew, stitch or fabric glue it together. I had a few folks ask if they can have a seamless back, and it’s possible, but you will need to make a bartack(block of stitch) at the top of the cut to prevent the fabric from ripping apart or a finished collar. Definitely doable, but I prefer the back seam for durability.
Almost done. Let’s finish out the sleeves. Turn it inside out, do that the seams and wrong side of the fabric is facing you. Measure 18 inches down from the top line and either sew or glue together the seam allowance down to the bottom.
If you are making a kimono with a more traditional sleeve, do the same as above but instead of just measuring and sewing, measure down 10 inches and in 6 inches. Cut out that rectangle and then either sew or glue your seams together.
Use this great kimono to cover up at the beach instead of wrapping a towel on you! The flowing fabric and openness of the design will help keep you cool and covered up.