The Suki Kimono : : A Helen’s Closet Pattern

Suki Kimono, Helen's Closet, Vancouver Sewing Blogger, Vancouver Sewing Blog

Hello. Hello.

I’m back with a new to me, new to the pattern market, make today. Yep. I was lucky enough to pattern test the hot off the press Suki Kimono by Helen’s Closet.

Okay…a very short back story. I’ve been on the hunt for a kimono for a few years now….patiently, and sometimes not so patiently, searching thrift stores for a vintage kimono that ticked all the boxes; fit, colour, fabrication. The reality was I found few….very few…kimonos at all. And. They never fit. And. The colours were always wrong. Honestly…I’m not sure why I didn’t think to sew a kimono from the onset of my obsession other than that I was probably a little glued to the idea of vintage.  My shopping experience kept trying to tell me otherwise; ginormous sleeves past my finger tips, hems puddling at my feet, heavy fabrications, saturated colour combinations…yep, those were clues baby, clues. Still. Optimistically. I continued my search…until a surprise email from local pattern designer Helen landed in my inbox.

Suki Kimono, Helen's Closet, Vancouver Sewing Blogger, Vancouver Sewing Blog

So. Honestly?  The Suki Kimono had me at hello. The silhouette. The perfectly proportioned sleeves. Pockets! The inset front band that feels so classically kimono.

Of course, when sewing one’s own masterpiece, the fit, the colour and the fabrication need not be compromised.

To make customization a little easier, Suki comes in two lengths…to the knee and midi. I shortened the knee length version by 3″ {for reference I’m 5’2″}. I also shortened the sleeves 1/2″. EDIT: The knee length version has been lengthened by 1.5″

Suki Kimono, Helen's Closet, Vancouver Sewing Blogger, Vancouver Sewing Blog

The pattern instructions include a nifty {does anyone even say that anymore?} method of permanently securing the tie to the back of the kimono. I, however, opted to leave mine free. I prefer to wear my kimono open, without the tie at all. Somehow it feels less robe-like. If I anticipate that I might want a cozier fit, I simply take the tie along with me in my handbag.

Suki KImono, Helen's Closet, Vancouver Sewing Blogger, Vancouver Sewing Blog

All righty…this is a new pattern release and I get it; people want to know the level of sewing difficulty. For me…an advanced seamstress…it was a mostly easy make. BUT. Sewing that front band required patience…and even with basting and interfacing, I didn’t end up with a completely square corner. Sewing those right angles be tricky sewing business. The good news is…if it feels too daunting, there is an optional {easier} view with the front band running the full length of the kimono. I also think Helen will be posting a blog about this potentially challenging step.  I encourage you to give the inset band a go. Learning new mad skillz is always a good thing! EDIT: I’ve just reviewed the final published pattern and it has additional very detailed steps. You can do it!

For those of you adverse to hand sewing, you’ll be happy to know that Suki can be sewn entirely on your machine. That being said, I hand stitched both the sleeve band facings and the front band facings. My fabric is a bit diaphanous and I didn’t want any raw edges to show. {I french seamed both the shoulder seams and the side seams.}

Suki Kimono, Helen's Closet, Vancouver Sewing Blogger, Vancouver Sewing Blog

My kimono is intentional outerwear…oooh, should I hashtag that? I’m always hesitant about wearing test patterns before their release date, but with my Suki I couldn’t resist. I’ve worn it a couple of times when going out for dinner….it functions perfectly as a wrap when the air gets chilly. I’ve also worn it in the daytime as sun protection. How is that even possible? I think because the design is loose fitting and the fabric is cotton…it feels comfortable even in the heat.

Suki Kimono, Helen's Closet, Vancouver Sewing Blogger, Vancouver Sewing Blog

So, to wrap up, {see what I did there?} my kimono is practical, but best of all? It’s a fun way to add pattern and colour to an outfit. And….ahem…when I was shopping for my dream fabric, I actually found two fabrics I loved. Yep…I bought both. I hope to show you my second one soon!

Helen is offering 20% off the Suki Kimono this week. You can buy it here.

Suki Kimono : : Helen’s Closet

Alyse Wide Leg Pants : : Designer Stitch {blog post coming}

Plantain T-Shirt : : Deer and Doe {updated 2017 pattern}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

36 Comments

  • Reply Melanie July 25, 2017 at 10:33 am

    It’s a marvel! I love this flowy, flowery kimono. I’m glad you forced (or cajoled/seduced?) those right angles in there. And this is the perfect piece to wear as a coverup for sun protection. Those palazzo pants also deserve a mention – they look great with this. Great photos!

    • Reply Sue July 25, 2017 at 10:47 am

      Thanks Mel! Yep; all of the above….started with seduction, but things may have slipped down that slippery slope for a minute or two whilst ‘making it work’.

      I’ve got two pairs of the pants pattern sewn up and I’m loving them both!

  • Reply Susan A. July 25, 2017 at 10:34 am

    I’m having a hard time seeing anything but your copper-colored pumps! Great from head to toe.

    • Reply Sue July 25, 2017 at 10:50 am

      Ooooh….you’re attracted to shiny things too, eh? LOL

      Maybe not so suitable for a beach walk, or a log balance, but they did glam up the outfit for dinner after!

  • Reply Gillian July 25, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I love how you’ve style yours! I’ve been wearing mine every day in the house – I love it so much!

    • Reply Sue July 25, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      I’ve seen hints of yours Gillian and I’m eager to see it in full! The print you chose looks so gorgeous!

  • Reply seamsoddlouise July 26, 2017 at 1:32 am

    lovely. i agree about the belt.

  • Reply Kezzie July 26, 2017 at 3:04 am

    Sue, this looks amazing !! I really like the colour and shape and I’m very surprised you haven’t made one before!! I know what you mean about ones in shops. The material and shape is wrong on them!

    • Reply Sue July 28, 2017 at 10:03 am

      Thanks Kezzie! I know…funny how it took me so long before sewing my own.

  • Reply Vix July 26, 2017 at 3:52 am

    I love it! What a stunner f a make made all the more fabulous by your super cool location and those glorious metallic shoes! xxx

    • Reply Sue July 28, 2017 at 10:04 am

      Thanks Vix! Ah yes…the beach is always my favourite place to be.

  • Reply Suzanne July 26, 2017 at 8:10 am

    I remember you trying on all those oversized Kimonos since I met you. Good on you for making your own!

    The colours are wonderful and having the correct fit makes all the difference.

    bisous
    Suzanne

    • Reply Sue July 28, 2017 at 10:04 am

      I know, right?! Now that I have this pattern, I may venture towards trying a silk version one day.

  • Reply Louisa July 26, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Of course your handmade kimono is perfect for you! Like nothing you could buy in a store ever could be. And best of all now you can make as many perfect ones as you want!

    • Reply Sue July 28, 2017 at 10:05 am

      Tee Hee! ‘Tis true…we do create our own Pandora’s boxes full of fun!

  • Reply Nancy Baten July 26, 2017 at 8:49 am

    How good that kimono looks, I want those shoes! Amazing!

    • Reply Sue July 28, 2017 at 10:06 am

      Thanks Nancy! Those shoes are Payless surprisingly, or not. They’re my neutral shoes. 🙂

  • Reply Priscilla July 26, 2017 at 9:07 am

    The kimono is so well proportioned on you, fabulous look! I’m also impressed at how well you can balance on driftwood in high heels!:-)

    • Reply Sue July 28, 2017 at 10:07 am

      LOL…who knew all those years of gymnastics would pay off. Fortunately, it was a very flat piece of driftwood.

  • Reply fran July 26, 2017 at 9:23 am

    I really love it Sue!!!

    • Reply Sue July 28, 2017 at 10:07 am

      Thanks Mom! It’s getting lots of wear!

  • Reply Judith Dee July 26, 2017 at 9:45 am

    This is such a lovely version of the Suki! Bright and fresh look!

    • Reply Sue July 28, 2017 at 10:07 am

      Thanks Judith! I love your version too!

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion July 26, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    I love it. And I love how you have styled it. Those trousers (which can be sooooo tricky) look absolutely terrific with the kimono. Great pumps, simple white shirt. You nailed it. I give you an A.
    Greetje

    • Reply Sue July 28, 2017 at 10:08 am

      Thanks Greetje. I was a little surprised, but pleased, when the pants worked out well with the kimono! Skinnies look great with it too!

  • Reply Suki Kimono Tester Roundup – Helen's Closet July 27, 2017 at 3:01 am

    […] A Colourful Canvas  |  @acolourfulcanvas “After zero luck searching for a vintage kimono, I finally found just […]

  • Reply hana July 30, 2017 at 8:58 am

    I love it, Sue. Beautiful kimono and print ❤❤

    • Reply Sue August 8, 2017 at 11:05 pm

      Thanks so very much Hana!

  • Reply Shelley@ForestCityFashionista July 30, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    These are wonderful photos Sue; the colours of the kimono pop against the grey-blue of the water and sky. This is a go-over-anything piece and as I love wearing Japanese style jackets and robes as layering pieces, I would be making multiples of this in all sorts of patterns and colours.

    • Reply Sue August 8, 2017 at 11:05 pm

      Thanks Shelley. I agree…multiples are coming. I can see it in so many fabrications as well as patterns and colours.

  • Reply Flo July 30, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Love this! That print is absolutely gorgeous and perfect for this project. I love the versatility of it too, like you said you’ve worn it as a wrap for various situation. I can see this as a nice piece to take to the beach too as a coverup after one has gotten too much sun. I bet you get a lot of use out of this one!

    • Reply Sue August 8, 2017 at 11:03 pm

      Thanks Flo! I recently traveled by air and my kimono was great for the plane!

  • Reply Cheryl August 4, 2017 at 6:07 am

    Oooh, that’s gorgeous!

    • Reply Sue August 8, 2017 at 11:02 pm

      Thanks Cheryl. Hope you’ve been keeping well!

  • Reply AnneW August 9, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    This Kimono is gorgeous! Love, love the print and the proportions are perfect for you!

    • Reply Sue August 9, 2017 at 10:38 pm

      Thanks so much Anne! I’ve been wearing my kimono a lot and I too find that the proportions really work for me!

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