Lauren’s High Street Knock-Off Burda Kimono
Posted in Projects on Monday the 22nd January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I often get inspiration for new sewing projects from something I love that I’ve seen on the high street. I’m sure many other crafters will feel the same, but even if I do see something lovely in Zara, or New Look, I sometimes resent paying for it, when I (at least in my head) think I could make it myself.
This thought process usually leaves me with a lot of plans, but not always a lot in my wardrobe…
Recently I went for dinner with a friend who is probably one of the most stylish people I know. She has gorgeous and glamourous clothes, and isn’t the type of person who has to save her favourite pieces ‘for best’. She turned up in a full-length kimono, with fur cuffs, basically the kind of thing I can image a princess wearing to lounge casually around her home.
The version my friend was wearing was a Zara purchase, and after looking at it and raving about it for pretty much the entire night, I knew I had to have one too. (She luckily doesn’t mind me copying her occasionally!)
The design of the garment itself was straight-forward. A simple, kimono-style jacket, made out of a georgette fabric, with fake fur attached to the cuffs. I was pretty confident that it was something I could replicate fairly easily myself, so I started looking for a suitable pattern to work from.
After having a scroll through the Minerva website, I came across New Look 6476, which came with a few different options. (Including a view which involves a fake fur body section!) One option is a collarless maxi kimono, with long sleeves, which seemed almost ideal, and would give me the basic shape to make what I wanted.
I cut the size 12, as it fitted my largest measurements; I wasn’t too fussed about this fitting perfectly around the bust or hips, as I didn’t plan to fasten it closed. There were only four pieces to cut out, so this took barely any time, and I was soon onto the construction.
I can’t say I relied too heavily on the instructions for this project, as the construction was very simple and straightforward. I used my trusty Janome DKS30 to sew most of the seams, and used my Brother 1034D overlocker to neaten the insides. As I was using quite a delicate fabric, and I didn’t want the seams to fray over time, I thought it was important to put a little more time into this step and make sure the inside looked neat and secure.
The fabrics I chose for this project are both from Minerva and I was so pleased with both of them as soon as they arrived. I wear a lot of neutrals, so a light blue/grey colourway was an obvious choice for me.
To make sure the kimono drapes well and flows in the way I was hoping, I wanted to go for a georgette or chiffon-type material, and found this floral Georgette Fabric, which comes in assorted colours. To pair with it, I chose a light grey Fake Fur Fabric, and was hoping that when the two fabrics arrived they would compliment each other rather than clash. I wasn’t wrong – I think they work really well together.
The georgette is on the thicker side, which makes it a little easier to work with. I had no issues with it getting sucked into my machine, and it wasn’t even very slippery, a few pins managed to keep it in place fine. The fur was perhaps a little stretchier than I expected, but this could easily be remedied by adding interfacing, or something similar, to the back. I’ve heard that when cutting fake fur fabric, it can be easier to cut from the back with a craft knife, to avoid covering the room with mountains of fluff. I tried it and while there was a bit of mess, I think it would have been a lot worse if I’d used scissors for the task.
The pattern itself gave me an excellent block to work from, but I did make a few changes to get the look I was going for. The sleeves on the pattern were a lot wider at the cuff than I needed them to be, so I simply traced the sleeve piece onto some baking paper, and drew out a new pattern piece with straighter cuffs.
Being quite a short person, I inevitably had to remove a few inches of both the cuffs and the hem, but this is a fairly standard alteration that I fully expected.
I increased the length of the split at the back, so that it would almost have the effect of a tailcoat, and I decided not to include the waist tie. I have since found a use for the tie as a hairband though!
Of course, I also added the fur to the cuffs of the sleeves. To do this I simply cut two pieces of fur the same size, long enough to go around the diameter of the sleeves. I then sewed the two short ends together, right sides together then added the cuff to the georgette sleeve right sides together again. Lastly, I hand sewed a small hem on the fur cuff, to make it look a little neater.
It was a little bit of trial and error, but I’m so happy with the result. I even had a little of the fur left over, so decided to put it to good use and make a fur stole to go over the kimono. This was really easy. I just folded the long piece of spare fabric in half, lengthways, right sides together and drew an outline of the stole shape on the back of the fabric. I then followed round it with my sewing machine, leaving a small hole to turn the stole the right way round.
I’d definitely recommend this pattern to anyone who’s looking for a simple kimono pattern to embellish and enhance with their own designs.
I know this kimono-come-housecoat is perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but to me, that’s the beauty of being able to make your own clothes. This garment makes me feel glamourous and interesting and it’s so easy to make! Plus, it’s saved me a laborious and expensive trip to Zara, and really, who wants to stand in the Christmas shopping queues longer than absolutely necessary!?
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