Kimono Twist – First Sample

Kimono Twist – First Sample

Inspired by fans, I’ve finally had a go at the Kimono Twist Dress from the Pattern Puzzles series.  My first pattern was cut from a knit kimono block that I made from my Basic Knit Block that’s now available here.  I used a mid-weight two-way stretch jersey in a near-block aubergine.  And although I’ve identified some issues for improvement, this first sample’s not too shabby.

Inspiring Students:

Natanya, has been coming to my studio for pattern making training for the past year, and recently made this amazing frock to wear to an art auction.  She’s made a commitment to not buy any new clothes for a year.  You can follow her sewing and pattern making journey on her blog Cheshire Cat Crafts.
And the first woven sample from Emelogu Ngozi of @stitchesnsoles with some precision pattern matching through the front!  You’ll find her other work on her instagram page.

My Pattern Making Process:

For new and complex patterns I always start by tracing my block onto a fresh piece of pattern paper in pencil.  In this example I’m using a knit kimono block that I’ve made from my knit block in Size AU12.
Then I plan all the pattern making moves on the block making notes of alterations and measurements.  I keep this original as a blueprint and trace off my first sample patterns, making each of the planned pattern making moves as I go.  Having the original blueprint or plan really helps when you’re analysing the success of your first sample.  This history of all your pattern making decisions and their relative success forms a body of knowledge that constantly improves your understanding.

Lay-up and Cut:

The fabric was at least 150cm wide so no problem laying up on 2 metres of plain cloth. That will increase if you have a one-way pattern, a nap on your fabric or narrow cloth.

And for all that creative pattern making the sewing is really easy:

  1. Join the shoulder seams first.
  2. Then finish the neck and front edge with a narrow hem or bind.
  3. Twist the front pieces and sew the waist seam as far as you can into twist.
  4. Sew the side seam through to the underarm.
  5. Hem the sleeve and the body of the dress.

Final Observations:

  1. Be careful with the front waist seam as it may stretch in sewing.  Adding some fine elastic may solve that problem.
  2. I added a total of 18cm of extra fabric when making the twist feature in the pattern and it feels a little bulky.  Next sample I’ll use a finer fabric to see how much difference it makes.
  3. I like the open front and will cut a print shift dress to go underneath this original sample.  
  4. It’s not that difficult the close the centre front seam, either side of the twist, to eliminate the need for camisoles and underdresses.  You’ll notice that both Natanya and Ngozi (examples above) sewed the centre front together to complete their samples as dresses.

What’s next for this fabulous sewing pattern:

  1. To try an asymmetric length variation similar to the photo above for wearing with leggin’s or slim jeans.
  2. To cut a sample that features one panel (front right) of contrast or print fabric with the remaining three panels in a plain fabric.  I’ll be using a finer cloth to see if the extra fabric in the twist is too much or not.
  3. To cut a woven version of the Kimono Twist closer to original production sketch.  Looser fit and wider sleeve in soft drapey fabric.
As always too many ideas and so little time.  :/
If you’d like to learn my method for creating Twist Drape Patterns I have a detailed worksheet for making Jersey Twist Patterns.  For just a few dollars you’ll get the same training you’d get if you came to the workshop in my studio.
Or you could get yourself a copy of these pattern making notes for your own personal use at home you’ll find them here:  Kimono Twist Dress – Pattern Making Instructions.

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Anita McAdam
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