I was going to start this post off by writing how I try to sew easy, simple pieces during the warmer months so I can spend less time sewing. But then I thought, who am I kidding? I opt for the simple stuff all year round now. Keep the design details to a minimum and let the fabric do all the heavy work, I say!
Case in point, this très simple silk kimono top I just made in only a few hours, from cutting-out to final pressing. (This is so easy you can make it without a pattern, but I cheated and used Butterick 5790.) It’s very similar to this wool version I made last fall, which received many compliments every time I wore it. I call it my Fabric Store Diva Kimono, because I feel very divalicious when I wear it to work. It floats behind me when I walk down the aisles! You can dress it up by pairing it with a little black dress or a pair of silk pants, or down by wearing it with white jeans and a tee, which is my Mood outfit.
Mood has the most gorgeous silk panels in-store and online, and I was aching to sew something with them. I found this silk crepe de chine black-and-peach print panel at our NYC store. Two panels were all I needed to make this kimono. In fact, two panels are all you usually need to make most dresses, tops and tunics.
Tip: Panels are sold by the yard and by the panel. A panel is like a piece of art that has to be sold in its entirety—you wouldn't buy half a painting, right? Panels vary in size, but most are a little longer than a yard. If you can, bring your pattern pieces with you to the fabric store so you can lay them out on the panel and see how they will fit. If you're shopping online, note the size of the panel and compare it with your proposed pattern layout.Bottom line: Immense payoff when compared with time invested. This kimono cape is now a favorite addition to my spring and summer wardrobe. You should sew one too! Be a Coachella style icon and make one out of white lace that you pair with a tank top and cut-off jeans shorts. Or make one out of a cotton voile print that you can drape over your bikini as a coverup. Or go the silk panel route. Whatever your style, this kimono delivers maximum impact for minimum effort.