It’s A Kimono – Simplicity 1318

Here’s a question.

Are there rules to pattern matching?

Or is this one of those gray areas in the world of sewing … where I has CEM (Chief Executive Maker) … get to decide when I pattern match and when I don’t.  I ask this after completing my most recent make… a kimono.


I think … kimonos were all over the sewing blogs this summer.  Were they?  Or did I dream that?  Anyway … somewhere I got it in my head it would be cool to make a kimono.  I didn’t have a pattern.  And I didn’t actively search for one.  It was just one of those things I thought would be a great addition to my wardrobe.

I finally ran across Simplicity 1318.  I liked the lines, and the high/low hem.  Initially I thought I would use a border print fabric (as reflected on the pattern jacket) and was going to use the print photographed below.  But then I got caught up in a Pattern Review Contest and really wanted to participate … so I used the fabric for the skirt.

Skirt Photo

I’ll blog about that skirt soon … back to kimonos!

Off I went to one of my favorite stores … not that I couldn’t have shopped out of my stash … Fabrique Fabrics.  I found this lovely fabric.  Primary colors … extremely soft … gigantic print … unexpected … slightly crinkled … I loved it.  I’m so bad about remembering (making a note, recording, etc.)  fabric content.  Maybe that should be a 2015 goal …. remember fabric content! I think it’s a rayon/poly blend.


I took a risk, and decided not to make a muslin.  Shocking!  I know!  But … the sizing on this pattern is very generous.  And after measuring once, twice, and then a third time  …  I decided to make the Medium.  I could have gone with a Small if it wasn’t for my hips and my butt.  Damn hips and butt.  (I joke!)  I did not want the kimono grabbing at either of those areas of my body.

There’s nothing henky about this pattern.  It’s very straight forward to sew.  I made zero pattern adjustments.  (Happy Dance) I initially thought I would significantly shorten the back and front length … but after pulling a few high/low tunics out of my closet and comparing their length … I decided to run with the original pattern length.  I usually wear some type of heel, so I’m confident about the length.

Another area a considered adjusting was the sleeve length.  Again … the original pattern length worked just fine for me.

IMG_4956Here’s my question with this garment.   Are their rules for when to pattern match and when not to pattern match?  I elected not to match the pattern across the seams.  My thought was … It’s a gigantic print.  Who will care?


Even looking at the back, I’m happy with how it came out.  But even as I’m typing this.  Those fingers are doubt are twisting away at my confidence.  As a new sewist … that hasn’t read the Vogue sewing book from cover to cover … is there a rule I’ve broken?

I have the book.  I just haven’t read if from cover to cover.  Ha!  Should I have taken the time to match the back at a minimum?  In all honesty I could have matched it.  But it would have taken longer and I wouldn’t have been able to wear it to Sunday brunch with my cool hat.  🙂



A few months ago I purchased labels from Sewaholic Patterns and have finally started to use them.  LOL!  There are several options  and I selected a few different designs.  Since I love this tunic, I thought the Handmade with Love label was appropriate.
IMG_5033Overall if you’d like to add a kimono to your closet, this pattern should definitely be considered.  It’s definitely appropriate for beginners. Though there are some curves,  this could be a very good introductory project if you want to step away from the basic pencil or A-line skirt, or tunic top.  One caution … the pattern pieces don’t have a lengthen/shorten line … but that’s an easy fix.  Draw your own and go from there.

What do you think?  Are there rules you follow to pattern match?  Or do you let your creativity take over?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.  I’m excited for the next few weeks, I’m off work and hope to get some serious sewing done!  Happy Holidays!

11 responses to “It’s A Kimono – Simplicity 1318

  1. First of all, there are NO rules in sewing! =)

    I love your kimono in this fabric – so pretty! I was sooo close to buying some of this fabric myself when I first saw it at Fabrique! (I restrained myself because I wasn’t sure what I would want to make for myself.) I think you’re correct it was at least partly rayon.

    As for pattern matching, it’s totally a design decision. Sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t – it depends on many things like pattern, print, and preference. You always waste a lot more fabric with large print matching. I think matching stripes is usually more obvious if you don’t do it and do it well.

    On your kimono, I think I would have only tried to match the center back if I decided to match anything. But it would have depended on how much fabric I had to work with because the print is abstract enough that it isn’t really obvious where the repeat is. I think you did just fine – you made it easier on yourself and it still looks great!

    My personal rule for whether I print match or not is: make it obvious you either did or didn’t. If you get close to matching but don’t go all the way, it will stand out more and cause everyone to focus on that area of the garment. (I usually try to stripe/plaid match the horizontal first and then maybe the center front and back – visual balance is the key.)

    I think you did a great job – I don’t focus on the center back seam unless I am trying to look for it. The length is great too! I want to see this one in person! =)

    • Brooke! I have to remind myself there are no rules all the time!! Thanks so much for your feedback. It’s so valuable. You make a key point when you say make it obvious that I either did or didn’t. I love that you loved that fabric too! It’s so awesome! Fabrique has such gems!

  2. Lovely! Great fabric! I feel like with a big, irregular print like that, pattern matching would have been near impossible. I wouldn’t worry about it; you make the rules.

  3. I like Brooke’s answer – make it obvious whether you match plaids or not. Never thought of it like that. Your kimono is so cool. You were definitely the hit of the luncheon!

  4. Hi there,
    I like that you love what you make – that is the best thing about sewing for ourselves, don’t you think??
    As for matching – many schools of thought. I’ve been sewin for over 40 years, and when I first learned, you matched everything that you could!! I still sew with a teacher today who still believes in matching, or at least keeping the design flowing around the body. If you have enough fabric, I think it looks nicer if you match. If you don’t have the fabric, then I purposely don’t match. Sometimes a piping or some other seam treatment can “trick the eye” if you use it on unmatched designs.
    Your kimono looks fabulous on you. Especially with the hat!!

    • Hi Mary!! Ahhh – this is why I love soliciting feedback. There’s so much great insight from different people and every perspective is great. I like using the amount of fabric as a guide for the decision to match or not to match. I’ll be a newbie sewer forever because I didn’t even purchase extra fabric to match. So many details to think about. And I love the idea of piping. I’m going to have to research that … but I like the design details of piping. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your feedback. It is always appreciated.

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