The Dusk Kimono Dress

You know it’s love when you can’t stay away…yes, this is the Easy Kimono Dress from independent label, Pattern Runway, again.

Scant moments after I finished working on the first version and pulled it over my head, I wondered, “could it work as a knit dress?”

And lo, the Dusk Kimono dress was born.

The fabric is a knit I retrieved from a remnant bin and which I immediately fell hard for. The graded colour starts with a deep indigo, transitions into a turquoisey sky blue and then the lower half of the fabric is taken up with a dark flower print, accompanied by splashes of trippy absinthe green and hot pink. As much as a piece of balled fabric with a suspicious spandex content in a plastic crate can, it whispered of the gardens of Coleridge’s Xanadu, glimpsed in the fading light of dusk. For£2 a metre, it also whispered.

When the fabric talks, I listen. So to ensure I got the full range of shades, I laid the skirt pattern piece much further down the fabric from the bodice front and back. This excised a large section of turquoise sky and flowers.

On the subject of excising, I also left out the neck and sleeve facing pattern pieces, preferring to fold a little fabric under and finish with a twin needle. I also didn’t include the keyhole opening at the back, so simply pinned the back bodice piece on the fold minus the seam allowance.

I ended up with only four pieces of fabric. So it should be a snap to sew up right?

Should have been. But the elastic waistband ended up as quite a struggle. I’m still struggling to understand how could have avoided messing it up, my mind is unwilling to revisit the event. Basically sewing the elastic directly onto the waist seam becomes a lot trickier when using a zig-zag stitch than it was when I was using a straight stitch with my woven Kimono dress. Plus sewing elastic to something that also stretches was tricky and it moved around a lot. The stitches ended up being visible on the outside of the dress.

But people, that’s why the world gave us belts! After these pictures, I made up a little sash belt out of the bottom bit of the skirt I chopped off and it works a treat. Lizz of A Good Wardrobe made a far more elegant sash belt for her own second Kimono dress but it pays to rip off those with taste.


  • This is a great pattern; the neckline, the sleeves, they rock.
  • The colours.
  • It’s the right length this version.
  • Four pieces of fabric.

Love less:

  • Elastic waistband trickiness. It doesn’t cinch as neatly as the woven version.
  • It’s not mine. >sob< This was my final Christmas sewing job (or my first for Christmas 2012, alllll over it), and it’s now in the hands of my friend, and follower of this blog. I’m going round her house and taking it back if she stops reading though. You’ve been warned.

And now for the chalk lovers in the audience, some hot notion action:

The nifty tool pictured above might be the cure for my marking-knits-woes. It’s a chalk wheel stick by Pym, with a serated wheel on the end that dispenses the chalk in a strong, even and visible line. Washable ink pens and normal chalk pencils never move smoothly over my knits but this rolls over the surface without me having to saw away at the fabric. Recommended.

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

9 Responses to The Dusk Kimono Dress

  1. This looks so good – I love the fabric! I had also wondered what this dress would look like in a knit. Something that I couldn’t decide on is what size to cut. If it were a fitted garment that I wanted use a knit on, I would normally pick something with zero or negative ease but since the garment isn’t fitted I couldn’t decide. What did you do?
    I hear you on the elastic waistband – even on my woven garments they’re a little messy. If I make it again, I want to make a casing rather than sew through.

    • Thanks Lizz! I cut the same size as I did when it made it with a woven and I think that makes sense for the shape. If only I’d thought of a casing for the elastic! My elastic ended up being distorted by my all my wrangling.
      Something I didn’t mention in the post was that I reinforced the shoulders but not the neck or sleeves. I was in two minds over this. They’re not getting stretched out through being snug on the body but would the weight drag on the openings? Hmmmm.

  2. __cui says:

    I’m wearing it now! in Barcelona and I can now say it’s great for flying as it is a comfortable shape and creaseless fabric is great for wiggling in small spaces for hours – one is able to emerge from a budget flight looking fairly glamorous. I teamed it with tights, brown belt and booties and a short necklace. It’s a WIN! thank youuuuu!

  3. Casey says:

    I am seriously envious of your sewing talents! Cui’s dress looks utterly beautiful and I love the cardigan you made for your mum! Awesome blog too. Wunderbar!

  4. kslaughter says:

    So glad I found your blog while catching up with Sewaholic! I love everything about this dress–that fabric is gorgeous! And, that little chalk wheel thingy, I’ve got one & I love it! Off to look at some more of your posts~

  5. This is gorgeous. You’ve chosen the perfect fabric for that pattern.

  6. Pingback: MMM ’12 day 24 to 30…the final furlongs… | 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