Friday Sew-Along: Make a Pretty, Cropped Kimono Jacket, Part 2

Last week, I redrafted and laid out the pattern for the '40s Kimono Jacket by Caroline Hulse from Stitch Spring 2015 to make a cropped version, so that I could use a small piece of blue silk velvet that I love. This week I will be cutting out the pattern, sewing the French seams on the shoulders and attaching the binding to the neck. I am adding my own couture spin to the jacket. If you want to sew along with me, you can get the full instructions and pattern from Stitch Spring 2015 or download the Sew a Kimono Jacket video in the Sew Daily Shop.

Step 7: Back velvet with paper to cut.
Step 8: Use the metallic selvedge as hem tape.
Step 9: Sew French seam wrongs sides together.
Step 10: Sewing a 1/4" seam allows turn of cloth.
Step 11: Pink velvet to prevent fraying.
Step 12: Finger press the seam rather than iron.
Step 13: Pin and baste bias tape to neckline.

Step 14: Bind the neck with an invisible stitch.
'40s Kimono Jacket by Caroline Hulse from Stitch Spring 2015.

Step 7: Silk velvet is super slippery, so I am using the trick of laying the fabric down on top of paper (I used white pattern paper). I secured the fabric to the paper with pins and then pinned the pattern paper on top of the fabric. As I cut around curves, I lifted the fabric to facilitate accuracy. For the straight edges, I kept both the pattern and scissors as flat to the cutting surface as possible.

Step 8: I loved the velvet selvedge with its gold thread, so I cut it off and saved to secure to hem tape to stabilize and finish the hem's raw edge with a glittering touch later.

Step 9: To create the French seams, use the old couture adage of pin, baste, sew. Because the silk velvet is so slippery, I first pin and then baste in a high contrast thread very close to raw edge. Because the first seam is only 3/8" wide, you want that basting stitch to be only 1/8" inch away from the raw edge so that basting stitches won't get caught in the seam. The basting stitch will hold fabric securely for machine stitching. I like to use an unknotted single strand to baste so that it pulls out easily after sewing.

Step 10: I decided to stitch only a 1/4-inch seam allowance rather than the 3/8-inch recommended in the pattern instructions to allow for the turn of cloth from the velvet pile.

Step 11: I pinked the seam allowance, even though the seam will be enclosed. I also did not trim quite as close as the 1/8-inch suggested due to the more fragile fabric.

Step 12: When I folded the right sides together to complete the French seam, I finger-pressed and basted the seam rather than pressing it. to avoid ruining the nap of the velvet. Tip: When sewing the seam, I tug the thread tails to pull the fabric through the machine.

Step 13: I also pinned and basted the bias tape to the neckline. 

Step 14: After stitching and clipping into the seamline, I skipped the understitching and folded under the raw edge and basted the folded edge to the inside neckline seamline. Then I stitched the tape in place with an invisible slip stitch, covering the stitching line.

Next week: Adding sleeves and finishing construction! See you then!

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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