Making Vintage 1930s Clothes for Women
This light and elegant piece has simple lines and is cut from one folded section of lightweight, printed silk with a stylized floral motif. The three-quarter-length sleeves are attached separately. An applied, wide band of the silk fabric around the front opening and neckline provides the finishing and there are no fastenings. The sleeve cuffs are simply faced, using a fine, wide cotton tape.
Although the kimono robe has been stitched by machine, the very fine silk thread that has been used renders the stitches almost invisible. The various repairs to the stitching indicate that this was a well-loved garment and also acts as a reminder of the delicate nature of the fabric.
Any fine silk type, such as pongee, or a lightweight cotton fabric would be suitable to make the robe, but if a fabric that allows for the incorporation of a hemline border is chosen (as can be seen on the original garment), then the shoulders will need to be seamed to allow for the correct placement of any design. The folded, all-in-one pattern would be suitable for a fabric with general, all-over design with no obvious or defined direction of decoration.
Across the chest: 122cm (48in)
The loose styling of this garment means that the kimono robe described here would comfortably fit the following sizes: UK 10/12, US 6/8, EU 38/40
FABRIC SUGGESTIONS AND NOTIONS
The robe would have traditionally been made using pongee silk, a popular fabric of the era, but any fine lightweight silk would be suitable. Alternatively, a lightweight satin would work nicely, as would a lightweight cotton fabric, such as cotton lawn.
Fine silk or polyester thread
107cm (42in) of 10cm (4in) wide fine cotton or linen tape
6 STEPS TO CREATE A 1930S KIMONO ROBE
1. Cut out all the pattern pieces
2. Join the side seams
3. Make up the sleeves and attach the facings
4. Insert the sleeves into the kimono robe
5. Finish the hem
6. Attach the front opening/neckline binding
The simplicity and versatility of the kimono renders this garment a wonderful addition to any outfit or wardrobe. The loose-fitting nature of the garment allows you to wear it over many other outfits, and even provides you with the option of using a belt to cinch it into the waist, wearing it like a shirt or a belted top. The combination of patterns and colours in which you could make this garment gives you the choice as to where and how you would wear it. You might opt for an interesting metallic or iridescent fabric if you are looking for an evening look, reserving simple patterns, florals and silks for daytime chic.
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Begin by cutting out all the pattern pieces for the kimono robe, adding seam allowances, and set them aside. Joining the side seams
The kimono robe is created using enclosed seams which are stitched in the following manner. With right sides together, join the side seams by first hand-sewing a line of running stitches along each seam, 0.7cm (.in) in from the raw edges and to the marks indicated on the pattern. Next, trim the allowance to approximately 0.3cm (⅛in), then fold the edges over so that the stitching line is positioned along the seam edge and press flat. To complete the seam and enclose the raw edges, fold the allowance over again to create a finished width of 0.7cm (.in) and machine-stitch through all the layers, along the edge of the inner fold. Finish by pressing the seam toward the back of the robe. If preferred, as an alternative to the enclosed seam technique, the robe can be created using French seams, following the method outlined in the previous chapter. Note: If a shoulder seam is required, join using the same method. Making up the sleeves and attaching the facings
Take each sleeve pattern piece and join the seams in the same manner as for the side seams. Once the sleeve seams have been stitched and pressed, the facings can be attached to the hem openings. Take a section of the facing tape, approximately 53.5cm (21in) long (including 2.5cm (1in) for seam allowance). With right sides together, place the facing onto the hem opening, lining up the raw edges and ensuring the join in the tape will align with the sleeve seam join. Starting and finishing 2.5cm (1in) either side of the sleeve seam, stitch the facing onto the hem opening, 0.7cm (.in) in from the raw edges. Once attached, the free ends of the facing can be joined to create a seam, then stitch the remainder of the facing to the hem opening. Press the facing join flat.
Using a fine thread will ensure the stitches are not too obvious on the right side of the sleeve. For a couture finish, the facing could be attached using a slip-stitch from the wrong side or a prick-stitch from the right side. Press lightly to finish. Inserting the sleeves into the kimono robe
Finishing the hem
The narrow hem of the kimono must be finished before the front facing band can be added. Start by making a double turning of 0.7cm (.in) to create a narrow, enclosed hem. Top-stitch all the way along the hem, just below the turned edge. Press to finish Attaching the neck/opening binding The all-in-one neck and front opening binding is created by first cutting a long narrow section of the kimono fabric using the pattern. This section of fabric, which is cut on the straight grain, should measure 107.5cm (42in) long x
Once the section has been cut, begin by folding it in half lengthways and with right side outermost. Press along the length to create a crisp fold. Next, and with right sides together, place one raw edge of the binding around the kimono’s front opening and neckline. It is a good idea to start at the centre back neck and work from this point down each side of the kimono opening. This will ensure the binding is attached evenly without pulling or puckering. Stitch into place 0.7cm (.in) in from the raw edges and then press the binding back toward the centre front.
Finally, working on the inside, finish the binding by folding under a 0.7cm (.in) turning, lining up the folded edge with the seam stitches, and tuck the remaining allowance in at the hem edge.
Working on the right side, machine top-stitch to secure all the layers and press to finish. If preferred, the inside turning can be attached by hand, using a slip-stitch. Press lightly to finish.