I have made this dress for my mum’s birthday. The bird is magnificent and I wanted to show it off.
The delicate character of the pattern in the background has enabled to support the grandeur of the bird. The rest of the kimono fabric should yield two more dresses and they will be nice and delicate even though there is no bird.
Here only a long kimono band has been used, with a smaller one for some extra space.
1- THE BODICE
The fabric you need :
French Sizes, 36 to 42 – A large band in the center (a bit less than 3,60 meters by 36 cm) is sufficient to make this dress. It will be divided into 4 parts.
French Sizes, 42 and 44 – If you want to be comfortable and enjoy some space under your shoulder, add a thiner band (18 cm x about 1,60 cm for example). It will be divided into 2 bands (9cm x 80 cm) placed on either side of the dress. This is what I have done for this dress.
I cut the 36 cm large fabric of 3,60 cm in two.
Here the tail of the bird was brushing against the hem, so I have decided to make the part with the bird longer.
To do that, I have removed 5 cm from the back part so as to add it to the bird part.
The height left to the bird is adequate.
On the side, I have attached the back part
For the other half (the second 1,80 cm by 36 cm part), I have covered it with the fabric I had just cut off, and I cut the second half by following the dimensions of the bird part.
Once everything is put together, it should look like this. On the wrong side, and on the right side:
View from the back, on the right side:
I have sewn the 6 parts (for size 42 and over) up.
I have stopped at 3 cm from the hem on the parts under the shoulders, that touch the main part and the side part.
The 3 cm space will be used to pass through some thread afterwards:
4- ADDING MORE BANDS
For over 42 sizes, add another band (ex: 9 cm large) to the band on the side, under the shoulder ( 36 cm large).
Before stitching them together, fold twice on the horizontal line and sew for some neat work and stop it from fraying.
Divide the 9 cm large band in two (horizontally).
If you face the bird part, join each 9cm x 80 cm band next to the side band and the main part at the back (the part without the bird).
3- THE SIDE
Once the 4 bands (sizes 36 à 40) or 6 bands (sizes over 42) are sewn up, fold twice the 3 cm space at the top of the side band.
Iron so the strip will be neat.
Stitch. I have used some quasi-invisible sewing, so it can be discrete.
Only a few stitches will appear on the right side. None if you can grab some thread which has the same colour as the fabric.
The stitches are more or less discrete and could have been “invisible” if I had used some thread of the same colour as the fabric.
4- THE HEM OF THE BODICE TOP
As for the main part (the one with the bird for example), stitch once the hem with basic thread, then, fold one more time the hem and sew.
To enlighten the top, I have used metallic thread for the top thread that appears on the right side.
5- CHOOSE THE WIDTH ON THE SIDE
Pass throught two thin ropes in the space you just created. I have used some thread for Asiatic ropes.
You can use some elastic bands, but you won’t be able to change the fold on the side, and I find the effect more natural and smooth with some Asiatic ropes.
Pull the ropes so it fits you.
To keep them from sliding, I have wedged them with some ceramic beads.
I first made a knot, and slid the bead through, then I made two more knots.
In this article, you will find a few explanations to acquire the threads and beads.
On the other side, other colours.
6- THE STRAPS
Determine the dimensions of the straps to adapt them to your body.
For that, you need to pin the dress over your clothes, by putting the dress top on places where you want it to be.
Take some piece of paper and fold it to determine the right length and width. I wanted some pretty large straps.
Lay the two fabrics for the straps, right side over right side. I have used the surface fabric of the kimono, and the lining for the side that touches the body.
Then, lay the paper strap, on a wrong side. Pin it so it does not move.
In one go, stitch around the three sides (leave a small side open) and make sure you do not sew on the paper.
This should appear like this. Do not hesitate to change if one line is not straight.
Cut off and try not to have too much fabric on the outside.
Turn it over.
Stitch up the side that has been left open.
I did some invisible stitches.
For the other strap, instead of the paper strips, you can use the first band you have just made.
Put the straps beneath the hem of the top.
Attach the straps by going back and forth.
Here again, I have used some orange metallic threads for the surface thread.
7- THE BOTTOM
For the last stage, the stitching of the bottom, I have exploited the kimono lining.
I have taken a long band and divided it in two, horizontally.
Stitch the two bands together and iron.
Wedge the band thanks to wonder clips and sew up.
Close the band (vertically).
Put some pins over the vertical line.
Sew and cut off the useless fabric.
Fold the band, horizontally.
Fold the hem one more time and cover the stitches.
Pin just over the band. This for two reasons: it will serve as a landmark, and prevents the band from moving.
Sew on the right side, by removing each pin little by little.
I have also used some metallic thread on the surface (polyester thread underneath).
Here is what it should look like on the side and from the back.
A view of the profile and face to the beast: