Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tutorial Tuesday: Kimono Top DIY

So the week before last week I hit a creative wall that I not only overcame, I burst through like the Kool-Aid Man. Oh Yea! I was worried about getting all my ducks in a row for going back to college in the fall(less then a month!) and worrying about trying to juggle school, work, blogging(2nd/ job now, woot!)when the time came. So that kind of drained all my creativity, but then I cleaned up my workshop and sat down for a big de-cluttered brainstorming session. The results were the next 10 weeks of tutorials planned out and the next two full months of posts. Then over the next few days I proceeded to finish 5 of the tutorials on my list. Let me tell you, its about to be a great two months at The Cwafty Blog.

Here is the second of those tutorials, the first can be found over at Dream A Little Bigger.
I've been noticing lots of kimono inspired pieces in the DIY and fashion worlds lately, and let me tell you, I'm loving it! I had a huge obsession with Orential culture growing up and always loved the beauty of kimonos and desperately wanted my own. One day I will make myself a full-fledged kimono, but until then I made this snazzy top! Find out below how you can make your own, with only one yard of fabric!


  1. 1 yd fabric (I used a beautiful silk-y fabric I love-at-first-sighted at Joanns. Cotton will be easiest, but you could also do jersey if you don't want to deal with fray checkign/ burning the edges like I did.)
  2. 2 Packages bias tape double fold
  3. Pins
  4. Thread
  5. Scissors
    Not Pictured
  6. Yardstick
  7. Fabric pencil/washable marker. (Don't use a sharpie like me)
  8. Fray Check/ Lighter (optional, if you use a silky fabric like me)
Isn't this one of the most beautiful fabrics you've ever seen? It was $12.99 yd and I snatched it up from Joanns when it was one sale for $6.99! Combined with both two packages of bias tape coming under $1.40 with 40% off coupons and this project came under $12.

Step 1: Grab your yardstick and mark out 14-16 inches in the exact middle of the fabric, make a dot at the starting and ending points. This is going to be the main body section of the top. Then draw a straight line up from each of those dots. I went 21 inches which left me with about 7 in. wide sleeves.

Then I marked out a straight line from the top of the side-line out to the very edge of the fabric, as shown below. When you have your top all drawn out, pin along the lines you drew.

Step 2: Cut out the top now. It should look like a really fat T. I kept my pins along the lines I drew and cut out with an estimated 1/4 in. inseam.

Step 3: Sew up the sides and down the sleeves with along your drawn line or with a 1/4 in inseam.

When you get to the part where the armpit section meets the side of the shirt section, make sure you lift up your presser foot and turn your fabric so that you don't get any odd puckering.

Step 4: Ok, so I got over excited and hurried through this step without taking pictures so I could be done quickly. Cut your shirt in half as indicated by the white line.

Then cut a semi-circle out of one side of the shirt for a neck hole/collar, and then use this piece to cut a corresponding shape in the other side.

 If you used a silky material like me, read on, if not skip to step 5. 

Your fabric is going to fray, this is a sad fact that I had to deal with. If you don't want to cry and curse your life and what was supposed to be such an easy project (and is! if you do it right), you're going to want to trim these loose threads down and apply fray check OR....

You can use a safety lighter to melt the edge of the fabric, just get the flame close to the fabric and it will harden, you can see it happening and judge if its locked in that way.
  • Don't ever touch the flame directly to the fabric! 
  • Be careful to not get the flame too close as it could melt very quickly and warp your fabric, and that would also make you cry.

Step 5: Encompass the edges of the top with the bias tape and pin every few inches.

When you get to the front corners, it makes it easier to bind them if you round them slightly.

Step 6: Sew the bias tape down around the edges. I kept it 1/8 in. from the inside edge.

Be careful going around curves, make sure you go slowly so you don't mess up. Also a good way to adjust for the curves is to  keep the needle in the fabric but lift the presser foot and slightly turn the fabric.

Once you've finished all of the binding you are done and can wear your kitschy top with pride!

Just like this skirt I remade, this shirt make me feel like a walking art project; The patterns! The colors! The shimmer! Oh I am just in love. Fun fact: I also made the black dress I'm wearing in this shot. I really should have shown it off a little more in at least one photo, but oh well. It just feels really awesome to be able to wear a whole outfit I made myself, from scratch.

I hope I can keep up this creative momentum that I've been running with lately. It feels so good to be accomplishing so much and trying to get prepared for the future. I really want the blog's quality to stay consistent even with my regular job, school, and contributing position. I should be able to handle it all with enough preparation and planning. 

Speaking of planning, if you're planning on starting a blog, or want to freshen up your blog, I've got a great post coming for your Thursday! If you want a little hint at whats to come on the blog, check back in tomorrow for Work in Progress Wednesday.

Til Next Time!


  1. Hey you´ve a great blog!
    Please check out mine and if you want we can follow each other
    here on bloglovin and via GFC?
    Let me know, now it´s your turn.


  2. Oooo RaChil, this is lovely. I have my fabric all ready to make a Kimono type jacket but haven't got any further than that. You are sounding super organised - I can't wait to see what you have for us.

  3. This is great! And that fabric is perfect.

  4. Beautiful - great work and a very well-written tutorial - thanks so much!