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How to Refashion a Kimono Into a Dress

Creative solutions for working with vintage Japanese garments

Threads, Issue #209 June/July
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Over the centuries, kimono have been made from specialty silk, linen, and cotton fabrics that were developed to suit Japan’s climate. The superb weaving, dyeing, and design techniques used to create the kimono offer fabrics of unrivaled beauty. Adventurous sewers can use vintage kimono as a valuable resource. They contain a good amount of fabric that can be transformed into yardage to use in sewing new garments or projects.

Today, kimono are available in import and antique stores, on the Internet, and occasionally in consignment and thrift shops. They may have stains or holes, but there is usually enough fabric to make a simple garment. Beware of larger stains, which are difficult to cut around—they are often decades-old and impossible to remove.

I’ll explain how to work with a kimono’s flaws to create summer dresses. Damage can be hidden with embellishments, and the fabric motifs can be manipulated…

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