Pattern Runway easy kimono dress

Independent Australian label Pattern Runway has started popping up over the internet recently but if you haven’t seen any of the patterns, you’re in for a treat. Oona made a gorgeous knit version of the Gathered Sundress and Lizz of A Good Wardrobe created a beautiful 4-ply silk version of the Easy Kimono Dress.

Paunnet’s interview with the brains behind the label and a handy discount convinced me to dive in, and I bought the PDF for the Easy Kimono Dress. A visit to the the remnant bin of a local fabric store scored me the bright orange print you see above. Given it’s slight sheen, I think it must be a cotton polyester blend. The bold black and white poppy design cries out for a simple shape and the kimono sleeves and elastic waist really showcases the print.

I started with a lot of printing. Opinion seems to be divided on printable patterns but I find they work to ease me into a project by asking you to tape them all together. Kind of a creative amuse bouche. I interfaced the sleeve and neck facings with the lightest weft I could find, and covered my own button for the keyhole opening at the back. I also used a lingerie elastic for the waist and it’s quite comfortable on bare skin. Here’s my verdict…


  • The design. I love the shape of this dress, which I think is both relaxed and elegant. It’s also a quick sew, with only a handful of pattern pieces.
  • Making the rouleau loop was cool! When you sew the narrow strip right sides together and the begin to turn it inside out, there’s an initial tricky bit when it doesn’t seem to be inverting but then it all came together. Anyone read that terrifying short story by Chuck Palahniuk, ‘Guts’? It was kinda like that, but in a good way. That makes me a sicko, I know.
  • Pattern Runway has detailed walk-throughs for most of its patterns on the website. I liked having this option as well as the pattern instructions because sometimes details are easier to understand in photos rather than illustrations.
  • Making my own covered button.
  • The colour.

Longer length on the left, and the shortened version on the right

Love less:

  • I cut out a straight XS but find the skirt a little tight around the hips. This is not the fault of the pattern but if I do another version of the dress, I’ll add a 1/4 inch to both sides, so 1 inch overall.
  • The sleeve facings flip out. I don’t have a history of success with interfacing (my first ever dress ended up with sleeve cuffs like manacles) but I don’t think my selection was too heavy. This could be down to the fact I sewed the facings in the wrong way round, and as the shaping at the armpit and the sh0ulder differ, they don’t flip up nicely because the sleeve shape and facing shape no longer correspond. The pattern recommends tacking at the shoulder seams but this hasn’t been enough to prevent flipping.
  • The fabric crinkles like a prune. I was going to iron it before I wore it in the pics but I wanted to be honest (I was feeling lazy) that this dress has it’s flaws. I don’t know how to check the crinkle factor when I buy though. Does anyone have any recommendations?
  • The length. I lengthened the skirt pieces because I wanted to experiment with the length. It works below the knee with bare legs but I think if I want to make it suitable for autumn, and let’s face it, a lot of the UK summer, it needs to be shorter. I’ve mocked this up in the picture on the right by wearing a wide belt.

Overall, the issues with this dress stem from my problems, not the pattern, which I totally recommend. The pattern is now also available as a printed version too!

This entry was posted in Dresses, Modern patterns. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Pattern Runway easy kimono dress

  1. Dibs says:

    I love ur fabric choice. I think Dorothy Perkins used it on some of their stuff for summer, or was it autumn? I forget now. It’s always good to see new pattern companies. Gives us more choice. And I love the short version of the dress.

  2. Thanks for giving my project some love! I adore your fabric choice and the dress looks great on. I agree that the shorter hem works better for the silhouette.
    I had the same problem with the armhole facings flipping out and ended up taking a few invisible hand-stitches around the perimeter to better secure them. Hopefully you can do the same to solve the problem.

  3. Suzanka says:

    pretty! was it hard to sew? I’m thinking of tackling this project next! do you recommend the PDF or the printed version?

    • Thanks! I only used the PDF version of the pattern, so I can’t compare. But the PDF was straight-forward to piece together. Big advantage: I didn’t have to wait for the postman to get started.
      The dress overall was easy to sew and I’d definitely recommend. I’d love to see your version!

  4. Pingback: The Dusk Kimono Dress | the secret life of seams

  5. Pingback: MMM ’12 day 24 to 30…the final furlongs… | the secret life of seams

  6. Pingback: Taking stock for Me-Made-May ’13 | the secret life of seams

  7. Pingback: New dress designs from Pattern Runway | the secret life of seams

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s