Sunday, 10 November 2013

The $3.85 (or so) Kirsten Kimono Tee Dress

I finished this dress this afternoon, though I have not hemmed the bottom as I am still deciding if I will leave it as is.

This make started like many of the things I make - with me admiring a RTW dress that one of my friends was wearing at a fabulously fun BBQ arvo last weekend.  The RTW dress is this one from Country Road.  As I was admiring it I commented out loud that I could make something like that, but didn't really think I would get on to it quickly.

Following the BBQ I was doing some catchup blog reading and saw this post from Makizy Sews on the MariaDenmark Kirsten Kimono Tee.  I have seen this tee several times on blogs before but for some strange reason had not added it to my to make list.  When I saw Makizy's it occurred to me that I could easily add a drop waist skirt and viola.

Next to find some fabric.  I do like the idea of a plain back dress (maybe next time), but found a great sweater knit from Girl Charlee Fabrics in my stash.  It was on sale at the time I purchased it and not knowing exactly what sweater knit would be I purchased 1 yard for $3.85.  I was expecting something heavy'ish and although when I got it it was lightweight I liked it a lot anyway.

On to the dress.  I cut a BM which pretty much aligns to my measurements.  Made up it is a pretty snug fit, but I am happy with it.  I was interested to see when doing some research before sewing that Sarah from Sew Squirrel said she forgot to add the seam allowances and got a great fit too.  That's what I call versatile!

Although I cut the BM size generally, for the length I just went with the biggest size.  Then when I had constructed the top I tried it on and decided which of the stripes I wanted to have as the seam line for the skirt and cut off an inch and a quarter (note to reader: I tend to use both metric and imperial measurements at different times throughout my sewing).  Using the wrists of the Country Road model as a guide I thought I could potentially cut a bit more off the bottom of the tee but I didn't want to go too far and then regret it.  Next time I will shorten the tee part perhaps an inch or two more.

For the skirt I just cut 2 rectangles as big as I could with the material I had left over (I also may or may not have measured twice, but cut wrong and therefore the rectangles ended up slightly smaller than they could have been (grrRRR cutting at 10pm...).  They ended up about 82cm X 9 and a half inches.  Given the bottom of the front and back of the tee was about 50cm wide I just decided to go with gathering and stitching them on.  I had been thinking of going for around one and a half times the width of the bottom of the tee for the gathered skirt - close enough I thought.  I think the gathering of the skirt worked out fine, but next time I will probably stick to the ratio of about 1 and a half to the width of the bottom as the gather was pretty full and I had to be careful when sewing it on not to catch the gathers.

The skirt turned out a bit short, which I knew it would as I only had a yard of fabric.  So I hit The Remnant Warehouse yesterday hoping to find a plain blue knit that matched to add some extra length.  I didn't really think I would be successful, but found a sports knit that looked ok.  It reminds me of the fabric sports clothes are made from for primary school kids.  It is heavier than the sweater knit but works ok.  I can't remember the cost, but it wasn't much - I got 30cm and used half.  So I consider this dress to be the $3.85 or so dress - yahoo, oops did I mention the Kimono Tee is a free download when you sign up for the MariaDenmark newsletter.  Thank you Maria!

I am not so happy with the neck as another cutting mistake issue meant I didn't have enough fabric to do a continuous binding along a stipe.  So I made the binding with a seam in the middle and lined the seam up with one of the shoulder seams and left the other shoulder unsewn.  I then attached the binding without measuring, but it looks like I have pulled the biding a bit tight and I didn't end up with a boat neck kind of look (interestingly though it kind of looks like the neckline of the CR dress).  I hope to improve this next time.  Sorry no close up pic of the neck on me, forgot to get one and unfortunately the top pic does not show it very well.

Neck binding join in shoulder seam

Some other things I did that were not in the instructions was to reinforce the shoulder seams with knit stay tape given I was adding a skirt.  I also added binding to the sleeves instead of turning them under and hemming.  I used my twin needle for neck and arm bindings.

All in all am very happy with this make and will definitely be making another dress, as well as several tees.  The nice thing too is that if/when I don't want the drop waist dress anymore I can refashion it back to the tee.

My photographer is away at the moment and I couldn't find the tripod, so thought I would post a pic of my 'make do' tripod construction skills.

Til next time.


  1. I really love this! I may just borrow from your design. :)

  2. Thanks! You should - its such a quick, easy and satisfying make.

  3. I am a drop waist addict.. so LOVE this.