Friday Sew-Along: Make a Pretty, Cropped Kimono Jacket, Part 1

I just love the '40s Kimono Jacket by Caroline Hulse in Stitch Spring 2015. I have this gorgeous teal, silk velvet fabric that I have been dying to use, but I don't have quite enough fabric to make a full-length version. So I am going to do a little basic pattern-drafting and add a few couture touches to make a fabulous velvet, cropped cover-up that I can throw on over jeans or a little black dress. I will be doing this sew-along over the next 2-3 weeks. If you want  instructions to help you follow along, purchase Stitch Spring 2015 or download the Kimono Jacket video from the Sew Daily Shop.

Step 1: Stitch magazine garment patterns are in a downloadable PDF format and the instructions are in the magazine. I printed out the PDF, almost 40 pages, and taped it together. It's a bit tedious, but I actually enjoy it. Alternatively, I could have used the video for instruction, where the pattern is downloadable as well.  

Step 2: After taping the downloaded pattern together, I marked off the new hemline for the cropped jacket. The original center back measurement for the small size was 27". I decided to shorten the jacket to 17 inches for center back and add a 2-inch hemline. I like the wider hemline because the blue silk velvet material ravels easily, and I wanted to add a nice  finish for the raw hem edge. Also, a wider hemline gives more weight and drape for a couture feel. (For some real weight you could add a small chain to the hemline as they do in Chanel jackets!)

Step 3: Because the center back length is longer than the center front length due to the drop in neckline at the front, I have to measure up from the bottom of the front jacket to crop. To shorten the front, I measured the length from the original bottom edge to the new bottom edge on the back, including the hem allowance and transferred that measurement to the front. Then I drafted in 2-inch hemline from new front bottom edge.

Step 1: Tape the pattern.
Step 2: Crop the jacket back.
Step 3: Transfer measurements to
the front.
Step 4: Trace new pattern.
Step 5: Trace off front binding.
Step 6: Lay out pieces.
'40s Kimono Jacket by Caroline Hulse from Stitch Spring 2015.

Step 4: Once I had my new hemline on both front and back, I used Swedish tracing paper to trace off the pattern as I wanted to keep the original pattern intact. This is a jacket I could see myself making again and again so I don't want to have to tape that pattern together again!

Step 5: I also changed the pattern to add a binding to the center front opening of jacket, as suggested. I used the same bias tape pattern piece from the neck and aligned it with the center front edge to get the width of the front opening binding. Then I traced off along the center front edge from neckline to hemline. And I do love the self enclosed French seams on the jacket. I had considered adding a light silk lining, but the French seams add that finished couture feel without having to add a lining.

Step 6: With the little velvet that I had, it was going to be a tight fit on the pattern layout shown in the magazine instructions, so I adjusted my layout. I folded one selvedge into the center, and laid the jacket back on the fold on the cross-grain and the jacket front on the lengthwise grain. The crosswise grain has less give than the lengthwise, which could lengthen a little, but the jacket is so drapey that any slight variations in hemline won't be noticeable. Happily, it all fit the fabric layout, even the bias bindings. (Here's a bias trick: Any angle beside lengthwise and crosswise grain are considered bias, so if you can't make your pattern piece fit the true 45-degree bias, you can cheat it.)

Whew! That's enough for a Saturday's work.

Next week: Cutting out velvet and starting construction! See you for Part 2!

To get the kimono jacket pattern and video instruction, visit the Sew Daily Shop.

Amber Eden


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About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

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