How to sew a Kimono

Summer Kimono jacket

I’m in love with these gorgeous Kimono jackets. They are light and cool, but provide cover from the sun. Most of them have almost no sleeves or at best a half sleeve. Right now in Cape Town we have clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid thirties. It’s hot.


I wanted a kimono that would cover my arms but also be loose and cool. My folks are staying with us for the holidays and my mother brought this lovely lightweight paisley print cotton for me.

We measured up the pattern from a kimono I bought while in Europe earlier this year. This is a basic

Making pattern using mixing bowl for curve under arm

pattern. Please make this jacket as YOU would
want it. If you prefer shorter sleeves or even no sleeves – shorten this pattern at the arm. If you want your kimono higher on your hip – don’t make it as long. If you’re not keen on the overlap at the front of this jacket – then don’t

The back is to the left and front pieces to the right

add it and cut your jacket straight.

You can even fold a cuff at the end of your sleeve if you wish. Or add a contrasting cuff with another fabric. I added a flat collar when I made – this kimono jacket. How about adding braid at the neck and sleeves to give it even more of a bohemian feel.

I am a dress size 10 and this jacket is probably too big for me. But that’s how I wanted it. It should fit most people. If it comes out too big for you, can always add a seam at the centre back to take it in. This pattern includes a 1.5

Sew sides and shoulders together

centimetre seam allowance.

First you need to make your pattern. I used newspaper as that’s all I had that is big enough. The ink can transfer to your fabric if you’re not careful and plain paper is best. My mother and I used a large mixing bowl to create the curve under the arm. (See photos) Then we cut the back piece of the fold. And a left and a right piece with the extra overlap added on the pattern.

Cutting excess fabric from seams

My mother sewed this for me. (Lucky me.) She sewed the side and underarm areas together. Then she sewed the top or shoulders together.

Sewing a flat hem all around the edges

Next I fitted the jacket. Here is the part where you get a perfect fit. If it’s too big anywhere take a bigger or wider seam. If it’s too tight, let out a seam.

Snipping at neck to allow fabric to lie flat

My mom likes to cut away the fabric away from her seams for a better fit. I don’t do that. She also didn’t over-lock or edge-stitch the raw edges as cotton is highly unlikely to fray or unravel. I only bother with zig-sagging edges if I know they will fray.

Fold over and make a second hem all around the edges

Then my mother folded over all around the edges of the jacket and made a flat hem. So think ends of sleeves, lower edge and fronts.

I pressed the jacket with an iron and my mom folded the flat seam over a second time and hemmed all around the edges a second time. That conceals any raw edges. My mother likes to snip any curved areas so they fold over nicely. So that would be the neck area on this jacket.

Fold a second time and hem

The jacket needed one last ironing and that was it! I styled it with the shiny big black bead necklace I made last week and a black Tigers Eye necklace my mother gave me.

See another version of this same jacket on this link – kimono tutorial.

And yer another version – here.

At the top of this page are the Greenie Galleries with hundreds of older blog posts. You will find more free patterns and inspiration to hopefully help you DIY and not buy.

I will be back with more next week.