I have been on the search for the perfect kimono pattern for a while. Something shorter, a bit more fitted, just a simple, classic style. In searching I felt a little like Goldilocks—lots of patterns that were close but not quite right. Then, Papercut Patterns released the Kochi Kimono! Slightly more fitted through the shoulders and the sleeves aren’t too wide, this pattern combines all of the elements that I was looking for into one nice package!
Now to pick fabric to compliment Papercut’s Kochi. As it is still summer and quite warm here in the Pacific Northwest, I thought go with something light weight and with great drape. I also love that Anthro-inspired Bohemian style which lead me to choosing this amazing block print rayon challis.
Now to get cutting and sewing! If you have sewn with Papercut before you know these patterns run big, I am typically a medium but in their patterns I always make a small. To keep with the classic look I am going for I selected View C of the Kochi—no pockets or tie and added neckband. In looking at the finished garment measurements, the finished length was a bit shorter than I wanted it to be. I decided to add an 2″ to the body length, making the hem hit right about my hip. I added the length in the bottom third of the front and back pattern pieces. The back piece is almost square making this change very easy. The front required a little extra tweaking as one side of the piece tapers a bit. Don’t forget to also add the length to the neckband pieces!
Sewing my Kochi together, ALL of the raw edges are finished with my serger. The pattern clearly directs you when to finish the edge before sewing and press the seam open or finish the seam allowance after it is sewn. I think the pattern did miss a couple so I made sure all my edges were serged. I also serged my hem and sleeves before folding them up and topstitching. On a heavier fabric I might be tempted to finish the raw edges with bias binding but for this I didn’t want a lot of extra bulk and that is a lot of extra work on a first try of a pattern.
The only other change I made to the Kochi pattern is how I attached the neckband. I decided to kick the Boho vibe up a notch and add a geometric trim insert in the seam. A great added detail without a lot of extra work. The first question was how to attached the neckband to one side of the trim? To keep a nice finished edge I folded the neckband right sides in and sandwiched the trim between the layers. Then, I stitched a long tube with 1/4″ seam, turned it right side out and pressed.
Next, to attach my new “neckband” to the kimono I finished off the front edge with the serger and pinned my neckband in place, starting at the back neck. Now for the trickiest part, at the hem I trimmed the neckband 3/4″ short of meeting the hem. Weird, right?
I also cut a roughly two 3″ squares from my fabric scraps and folded all the raw edges to the wrong side and folded this in half. This created a little hem for my neck band that is about the same width as the actual hem on the kimono. Lining everything up in place, I sandwiched each end of the neck band (about 1/2″) between the folded hem piece and top-stitched. You want to keep everything pinned so that it all lines up correctly.
Last but not least, I stitched the finished neck band on using a 1/4″ seam allowance, taking care to catch only the edge of the decorative trim. Pressed the seam to the body of the kimono and I was set!!
Now for the big reveal…
My Kochi Kimono is the perfect addition to my summer wardrobe. I love how the fabric feels almost weightless and kind of catches in the breeze. And that print… so fun for this Boho style. It kind of reminds me of a bandanna or even henna designs. Overall, the fit is just right and I like the added length and the side slits and it the perfect layering piece for a warm day.
I am so happy with my choice to add the trim insert, such a fun extra detail and the finish turned out amazing. Trims like this are so easy to add to just about any garment—insert them in an existing seam, split a pattern piece and slip it in between or even cut off the hem and add it just above it. I was thinking after the fact that adding it to my kimono sleeve hems would be another great option. Maybe next time!
Guess I need to start thinking about a fall version. Any thoughts of fabric choice? Maybe a soft wool or go crazy and try a stable knit? Oh, and pair it with a turtle neck! So many ideas, not enough time to sew…