Project: Baby Kimono

Sew Tunes: Josh Ritter (Pandora Station)

Pattern: Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts

Fabric Used: 100% cotton

New to Me: Sewing in ribbons for ties.

Trips to Store: 2x. Once to get the fabric, then back for orange thread.

Loved One: My friends Natalie and Garard, and their super cute little girl, Jace.

Day by Day…

It feels good to be back from the mini hiatus. I haven’t been able to do as much children’s wear as I would like, so this week, I am focusing on a baby kimono. Jace is a little over a year. Since we are getting into cooler weather (wait, it’s New Orleans. Who am I kidding?), and I am using a lighter fabric, I decided to use the 18 – 24 month old pattern. It will be perfect for the springtime, and the fabric I found screams springtime fun.

The designer is M’Liss, aka M’Liss Rae Hawley. Every time I am at Hancock Fabrics, her fabric pops from the displays. She is not afraid of color, and that’s what I like about her designs. But it has been much too long since I last played with her fabric. The last time was with the baby blanket.

Friday, November 11 (11.11.11):

A friend wished me “happy corduroy day.” The sewist in me thought that clever.

So I am back in the sewing saddle and ready for the first step: pattern pieces. I’m taking my PDF pattern training wheels off. After the necktie project, I am armed and ready to tackle the next PDF. This time a Martha Stewart PDF pattern, courtesy of her Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts . The back of the encyclopedia holds a CD. I popped it into my computer and pushed print.

Holy sheets. There are 25 sheets to this pattern. Martha doesn’t give much instruction in the book on how to assemble the pattern, but thanks to Puking Pastilles and the necktie project, I remembered to cut every other page. With 5 rows x 5 columns, I cut the top and bottom borders off of the sheets in rows 2 and 4. And cut the right and left borders off of every other sheet in columns 2 and 4. And then taped.

And then cut again, this time cutting the pattern out, resulting in two pattern pieces.

By the time the cutting was done, the fabric was dry and ready to go.

Saturday, November 12:

I placed the pattern pieces on the fabric.  Martha does not include  grain lines on her pattern pieces, but it was easy to figure out how to place the pieces.

The instructions only called for a yard of fabric. With doing an 18 to 24 months pattern, I was skeptical. But it worked, not with much to spare.

And once cut:

By the way, the seam allowance is 3/8″ for this pattern.

It’s time to position the ties to the main piece of the kimono along the angled edge. Martha makes mention of two dots, using them as a guide when pinning the ribbons (to be used as the ties). But I didn’t see the dots on the paper pattern piece, so I winged it.

Let me rewind slightly. Before the ties, the instructions said to cut a 21″ piece of bias tape, then cut it into three even pieces (7″ each). And I guess I place the bias tape to the side because this  is the only mention.

So back to the ribbon…after pinning the ties, the instructions say to hem up the sleeves (fold twice, 3/8″ each time). All three of the above “to do’s” are part of step 1. There’s a lot of jumping around.

Step 2: Now it’s time to work with the front flap piece. I folded in the left side twice (3/8″ each time). I pressed, pinned, and topstitched.

Light bulb: I just realized something. When sewing, you always hear “press, ” as in setting the iron down, lifting up, and setting it back down in a different place instead of ironing back and forth. I know why now. It’s so the fabric doesn’t move in the process. When you iron back and forth, the fabric moves slightly with it. This is probably something I should have realized sooner, but it was an “ah ha” moment.

Time to pin the flap to the right sleeve, sandwiching the ends of the ribbons (for the ties) between the two pieces of fabric. Again, I winged it. The instructions made it confusing, and the pictures didn’t clear up the confusion much. I pinned everything first to make sure it worked.

I hemmed the side edge of the main kimono in. Then I folded in half at the shoulders and pinned under the arm and along the sides. I stitched, then hemmed the bottom. I cut triangles into the seams under the arms to help it lay better.

The final step was adding the bias tape. I ran to the store to buy orange thread since the bias tape is orange (I am becoming quite the perfectionist).  It seemed too easy to place the bias tape.

And here she is, Little Kimono:

Project Wrap-up

Sew Happy:

  • I did not use the seam ripper once.
  • I have come to realize that I find much pleasure in cutting. It’s a destresser,and with this project, there’s a lot of destressing going on since there was so much cutting.
  • This project is perfect for this stage in the experiment. The instructions skipped around a lot, and I think I would have been lost not knowing what I have learned over the last 17 weeks.

Not Sew Happy:

  • Applying the bias tape just seems too easy. I think I am doing something wrong.

Helpful Hints (to self)

  • Start looking into a serger. I am ready to take the finishing up a notch.