Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pattern Review: Habitual Kimono

What a fabulous kimono pattern and great instructions! Actually, it is all instructions and you have to take the instructions and draft your own pattern from them but it is so well-explained that it is as if there is a pattern there. Really.

I found a few kimono patterns online. The one from Martha Stewart turned out so badly that it's not worth my time to review it-- that's how much I hated it and found it confusing and illogical and badly marked and won't try any of her other sewing tutorials.

This one is from Habitual and can be found here. It is sized from newborn to 8 years old. This is done with a chart and drawing that is very clear. It gives the suggestion to make the pattern out of muslin instead of paper, which is clever (I, of course, opted for paper anyway). If I would cut the pattern again, I would have only drawn and cut half of the back and made a note to place it on the fold, instead of just folding the paper and cutting the cloth on the fold.

When making the kimono, the directions are straightforward and clear. The only one I struggled with was the interior tie on my first pass at the kimono. I didn't realize that this was a two-tie shirt, with one tie visible and the other on the inside. When the directions said to put a piece of the tie on the inside seam allowance, it took me a bit of thinking to figure out that they meant for me to put it in the seam allowance and face the tie inwards.

I made this pattern twice before it occurred to me that my toddler is a bit old for a kimono, and he looks fine in a t-shirt or vest and is okay with things being pulled over his head.

The first one I made using some fleece I don't love (I bought it in the remnant bin and didn't see the whole pattern). I was so scarred from the Martha Stewart kimono experience that I didn't want to waste any good fleece. I made it out of fleece because I was hoping to be able to use it at night if the little guy has a big miss and his shirt is wet and I need to take it off. I thought it would be a good idea to minimize pulling things over his head when he is sleeping. He has since not had a big miss, and it has been too cold to sleep him in anything short-sleeved. I have used it a few times as a vest and it is ok. The fit is nice, but I am not sure if the style is what I am looking for. Also, I thought tying the inner bow was awkward, so I moved it to the other side in my next attempt at the pattern. Also, I used FOE instead of making binding, and the tie is elastic, of course, so it doesn't hold great.

The second time I made this kimono, I made it out of a hard cotton weave with terry on the inside. I actually made the binding for this one, and also used a cotton woven for the binding. I was lazy and did not iron the binding, and it would have been a bit thinner and tidier had I followed that direction. I changed the side of the tie on this one, and it is better. I thought it would made a fun bathrobe and may use it after swim class in the winter between class and the locker room, or after bath. The problem with using it after bath is that you need to change the baby twice instead of just once (and who wants to do that with an active toddler??). I had considered making it reversible, and hiding the inner seams, but decided against that because I think you'd always want the terry against the skin if you were using this one. I also modified the pattern to make it long-sleeved. On the arms, I cut the terry pieces an inch longer than the cotton pieces so they could be seen when hemmed.

So, in conclusion, the Habitual Kimono Tutorial is a great find. I think it would be more useful with a girl child than a boy child, or in the newborn times when you don't want to put anything over the baby's head. I am happy to have a bathrobe for this winter for swim class, too.
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