Spring Kimono

Fabric: rayon from Fine Fabrics

Pattern: Simplicity 4552


I’m going to Europe with my mom this summer – just us girls!  We are going for her 70th birthday and taking a river cruise.  I am excited about many aspects of this trip (leaving my kids for a week!), but especially excited about all the clothes I need to make.  The first thing I decided I needed was a cute spring kimono top.  Something light and flowy that I can throw on over a tee or tank as needed.

I conceived of this project as being made with a tropical print in a neutral olive color.  After browsing online and not finding what I wanted, I headed over to Fine Fabrics in Norcross, GA.  We are short on apparel fabric stores in Atlanta, so even though this is a hike for me (and sometimes and all day activity), it’s the place I go when I need to touch everything first.  So obviously I didn’t find an olive tropical print, but I did find this one that I kept coming back to (plus enough other fabric to keep me busy for a while).

This Simplicity pattern is from 2005.  I happened to be inventorying a box while this project was kicking around in my mind, and there were two copies of it, so I grabbed one for personal use.  I made the size 14 – my bust is between the 14 and 16 but everything else I’ve made lately in the large size has been too big – and it fits no problem.


I played with two types of hems on this one.  I did a rolled hem on the sleeves and a narrow hem on the bottom.  I originally planned on doing a rolled hem along the bottom too, but wasn’t thrilled with the thread color I used on the sleeves.  I think it would have looked better if I had matched either the orange or pink instead of the one of the lighter colors.

I didn’t really like the way the sleeves went in on this pattern.   They set in fine along the arm hole, but the instructions had me sew up the body sides and sleeve seam in a right angle and I am not thrilled with the way they feel in the underarm.  I thought maybe it was the way I did it, but I ripped and re-sewed twice and they came out the same.  Of course, I could be totally misunderstanding the instructions.


Another thing I didn’t like with this pattern is the front facing.  Again, just not a fan of the design.  Once the facing was attached, the pattern had me top-stitching it in place, but I felt like the top-stitching is too far away from the edge.  This is just a nit picky thing, because from more than a foot away, I can’t see it at all.  I also decided that it might be improved by using a different interfacing (one a little more drapier than the one I used).

Also – I had my first serger whoops!  I was happily finishing off a side seam when I turned my head to respond to some question, and knifed a small hole through the seam!  I was so mad at myself.  Of course, this is the reason I buy extra fabric, but did I start over?  Nope.  I figured the hole wasn’t too bad and the garment was loose and flowy, so I just moved the seam over slightly to cover it up.

So, not my favorite make, but not a throw-away either.   This is my first kimono-style shirt I’ve had, and I am really enjoying the versatility of it.  It is especially useful here in GA in the spring.  I will be making more of this type of shirt, maybe not with this pattern (depends on how lazy I am).  I think it will fulfill its purpose for at least one season.  My oldest daughter is already coveting it, so maybe I will pass it along.



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