The other day I found a book on making Japanese clothes, particularly kimonos, in a charity shop. It's called Making Kimonos and Japanese Clothes by Jenni Dobson.
I've never thought much about kimonos, especially not about sewing them. The construction seems so simple that it didn't seem worth making. Where is the fun? But I was quite ignorant about the possibilities of the kimono shape and style.
There are so many ideas on kimono making in this book, all depending on the fabric used and the amount of fabric decoration you want. The simple kimono shape is a great cross-over between dressmaking and other textile crafts, like appliqué, patchwork, quilting, fabric dyeing and embroidery.
It could be a really good beginner project for complete sewing newbies or people who want to get into dressmaking from other textile crafts or vice versa.
I'm surprisingly delighted by this little book. In addition to kimonos, the book also includes other jacket styles, a waistcoat and simple Japanese-style trousers called "mompe".
There are no full-sized patterns in this book, but pattern diagrams that show you how to draw the patterns in real size. Since the garments are not fitted, I'm supposing that the patterns would work for many sizes and could easily be made bigger or smaller if necessary.
Currently, I'm envisioning a fashionable chiffon kimono. I've found some great inspiration on polyvore:
If you don't want to make your own pattern, I know that Elise Patterns, a new lingerie pattern company I have tested for, has a kimono-style pattern out. I have not tested that pattern but it seems like a great beginner pattern and perfect for chiffon kimono jackets.
What do you think about the kimono? Do you wear kimonos or have you even made yourself one?