Silk Sari Turned Kimono + Tutorial

Silk Sari turned Kimono

A couple years ago Miss Lulu nicely gifted me half a vintage silk sari. That was about 3+ yards! What to do with such a lovely lightweight, semi-sheer silk? Why not make a kimono?

Silk Sari turned Kimono

This fabric was perfect for a kimono as it’s so light that it easily catches the wind while you walk, making for a breezy, bohemian look.

Silk Sari turned Kimono

Kimonos are certainly having a moment and there are numerous patterns and tutorials to be found from quick and simple, to fitted and sleek, to cozy and rounded. None of these “fashion kimonos” really resemble actual Japanese kimonos but that’s ok, these are more like fancy bathrobes. ūüėČ

Silk Sari turned Kimono

This kimono is super easy because it has cut on sleeves, minimizing the amount of sewing.

Silk Sari turned Kimono

Because the silk is so fine I French seamed the two sleeve/side seams and hand rolled the hem all around the sleeves, hem and neckline. That was a lot of hand rolling! But the result is so nice.

Silk Sari turned Kimono

My fabric was 50in wide and long that I was able to avoid having a shoulder seam. I simply folded the fabric at the shoulder, but this tutorial is going to assume you’ll need two layers of fabric and a shoulder seam.

Silk Sari turned Kimono



Kimono DIY Tutorial

First, you’ll need to take some measurements.

1. Length from back of the neck to where you want your hem to be.

2. Length from back of the neck to about mid-forearm x 2.

3. Circumference on the widest part of your bicep.

4. Waist measurement.


Cut two rectangles the length of Measurement 1 and the width of Measurement 2.

On both fabric pieces, measure the body of the kimono like the image below. Mark the center front/back.


On both pieces, curve the underarm seams slightly.

On the back piece, curve the center back at the neckline about 8in wide.


On the front piece, draw a sloping line from the side of the neck to the center front at the hem.


Cut the fabric along the pink lines.

Right sides together, stitch the kimono at the shoulder seams and the underarm/side seams. (If using a fine, lightweight fabric, consider using French seams.)

Hem the sleeves, bottom edge, neckline, and center front with a narrow hem/rolled hem.

Silk Sari turned Kimono

Crinoline Petticoat Tutorial


Ooooh look, I made a petticoat! Ruffly petticoats aren’t something we see much of these days. ¬†They’re usually only worn with special occasion dresses. Sometimes a pretty party dress will come with a layer of tulle attached to the skirt lining but not much else.

Large Crinoline Petticoat

I talked about the current popularity of the Fit and Flare dress in my last post, but those dresses don’t often get the kind of “flare” in the skirt like they did in the 50s and 60s. Why not give the flare some extra oomph with a crinoline petticoat!??

Skirt with large Crinoline Petticoat

I’m wearing this petticoat with my floral circle skirt. It also works well under other types of full skirts.

I originally followed this great tutorial¬†but I made my petticoat a little different. Firstly, I didn’t use ribbon trim. Spools tend to come in something like 3yd lengths and I didn’t want to buy 5 spools for one petticoat. Also, that tutorial uses quite a bit of fray check for the raw edges, but since I used cotton crinoline¬†rather than nylon I didn’t need the fray check and simply finished my seams with a zig-zag stitch.

Skirt with large Crinoline Petticoat

I tried to make this tutorial beginner friendly so first let’s talk about:

What is Crinoline?

Crinoline is a stiff but flexible fabric with a very open, plain weave. You can find 100% cotton as well as poly and nylon versions. It is most often white but you might be able to find it in black.

How is Crinoline different than tulle?

Tulle typically is made of nylon and has a diamond weave so it doesn’t fray. The size of the net can vary but it doesn’t have as much stiffness or body as crinoline. My petticoat made of crinoline will stand up on its own, tulle won’t do that. Crinoline is mainly for structure so it isn’t “pretty” like tulle. Those fancy colorful petticoats that are made to peek out from under skirts are tulle.

You can use tulle with this tutorial but your petticoat won’t be nearly as poofy. You’ll need several more layers of tulle to achieve a similar effect.

You will need:

4-5 yards of cotton crinoline (I bought mine from, some Joann Fabric stores sell it in the utility section)
1″ wide Twill Tape the length of your waist measurement plus an extra 5 inches
Hooks and eyes
Measuring tape, ruler, marking implement
Sewing Machine, thread, pins, needles, scissors, etc.

Tip: For this tutorial I’ll refer to Crinoline as the fabric and Petticoat as the garment.

1. Measure the Length of the Petticoat

Use your tape measure to measure from your waist to the hem of the petticoat.

Tip: The petticoat should be 1″-2″ shorter than the skirt you will wear it with.

My petticoat length is 20″.

Divide that measurement by 3 for a 3 tiered petticoat. I made my tiers 6″ (top), 7″ (middle), and 7″ (bottom).

2. Cut the Tiers

2016-04-06 18.55.40(I used a rotary cutter and mat and folded the fabric in half twice so I sliced through four layers of fabric at a time. You can also simply measure, mark, and cut with scissors.)

My tiers:

Top: 6.5″ (6″ plus .5″ seam allowance at the lower edge) x 2yds

Middle: 8″ (7″ plus .5″ seam allowance at upper and lower edges) x 4yds

Bottom: 7.5″ (7″ plus .5″ seam allowance at the upper edge) x 8yds (two 4yd pieces).

Tip: I cut my bottom tier along the selvage so I wouldn’t have to hem the lower edge.

Tip: My waist measurement is ~26″. If your waist is ~40″ or larger, consider cutting longer tier lengths like 3yds for the top, 5yds for the middle, and 9yds for the bottom tier.

3. Stitch the Short Sides Together

For the bottom tier, stitch the two 4yd pieces together along the short sides using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Finish the seam allowance with a zig-zag or overlock stitch.

Repeat with the middle tier.

For the top tier, hem both of the short ends by folding the raw edge inward 1/4″, then fold it over again 1/4″ and top stitch. This part will be open so you can get in an out of the petticoat.

4. Sew the Gathering Stitches

Lower your machine tension slightly and use a long machine stitch. Sew two lines of stitching on each tier, one at 3/8″ from the upper edge and again 5/8″ from the upper edge.

Tip: For the bottom tier, start and stop your gathering stitches at the short side seams rather than stitching all around in one continuous loop.¬†It’s easier to gather 4yds than a huge 8yd piece all at once.

5. Divide Each Tier into Fourths

Divide the length of each tier into four equal parts and mark with pins. You could also lightly iron vertical folds into the crinoline to mark each section.

6. Sew the Tiers

Starting with the bottom tier, pull the two thread tails on the right side of the fabric to gather the crinoline.

2016-04-07 17.38.07(Look how well it stands up on its own! Also, the bottom tier is so long!)

Once gathered, pin the upper edge of the bottom tier to the lower edge of the middle tier, right sides together. Match up each pin/fold in the fabric so the gathers will be evenly distributed.

2016-04-07 17.38.48(If you’re struggling with gathering stitches that don’t like to stay gathered, you can secure your thread tails by wrapping them around a pin in a figure-8 pattern)

Stitch all the way around with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Press the seam allowance toward the upper tier and topstitch with a zig-zag stitch to prevent fraying.

Repeat with the middle tier, then top tier.

2016-04-07 18.48.17(That’s a huge mess of fabric right there! This is sewing the top tier to the middle tier. Notice how the top tier has gathering stitches but isn’t gathered yet.)

7. Sew the waistband.

Cut a length of twill tape that matches your waist measurement + a few inches extra. My waist measurement is about 26″ so my tape is about 29″ long.

Mark the length of your waist measurement with a pin on the tape. Those extra few inches will be overlap for the hooks and eyes.

Gather up the top tier to fit the waist measurement area of the twill tape. Fold the short sides of the twill tape under 1/4″.

Wrap the twill tape over the raw gathered edge of the top tier leaving the overlap hanging off one side. Pin.

Stitch close to the edge of the twill tape and be sure to catch all three layers as you sew. Continue stitching all the way until to reach the end of the overlap, backstitch.

8. Sew the Hook and Eyes

Sew a “hook” to the inside end of the overlap.

On the opposite side of the waistband, sew on corresponding “eyes” each about an inch apart.

Crinoline Petticoat(I ran out of the flat style “eyes” but these loop style eyes work just the same.)

Tip: sewing on extra “eyes” allows you to wear the petticoat lower on your hips when wearing longer skirts.

Yay! You made a petticoat! No go wear your skirts extra poofy!


My crinoline was only 38″ wide but I had enough fabric left over to eek out a smaller petticoat.

Small Crinoline Petticoat

This one used 4yds of 8″ wide crinoline for the bottom tier, 2yds of 6.5″ wide crinoline for the middle tier, and 45″ x 7″ of cotton muslin for the top tier. I didn’t have enough twill tape left so I just cut another strip of muslin for the waistband.

Here’s an example of my Breathless dress with no petticoat, small petticoat, and large petticoat.


I didn’t take a pic of me wearing both petticoats together but, man, it makes for a huge skirt!


I was talking to my Aunt about her experience wearing petticoats in the 50s. She said girls would compete to see how many petticoats they could pile up under their skirts. She’d also dip her petticoats in liquid starch to make them extra stiff. If you were around in the hey-day of petticoat-wearing I’d love to hear your stories!

Small Bust Adjustment on a 2-Dart Bodice Tutorial


Hello everyone! In preparation for my new pattern I wanted to include notes on how to do a Full Bust Adjustment and a Small Bust Adjustment. I found a great FBA tutorial over on Curvy Sewing Collective but couldn’t find an independent tutorial¬†I liked on SBAs for a 2-dart bodice. So I’m making my own!

I’m using the¬†bodice piece from my upcoming pattern (which is why it looks like a big triangle is cut out of the bottom left corner) but this will work on any bodice with a side and a waist dart.


How to figure out if you need a Small Bust Adjustment?

  • Do you know that you have a small bust? Like, smaller than a B-cup?
  • If you make a muslin of your bodice does it fit well in the shoulders but bag out in the bust?
  • Or does your muslin fit well in the bust but is too tight in the shoulders and arms?
  • Does the waistline bag out in the front and the side seams angle backward (too much length and width in front)?
  • On pattern size charts does your bust measurement usually fall under a smaller size than your waist measurement?


You will need:

  • Pens/markers/pencil
  • Tracing paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Clear ruler
  • Tape measure



Start by measuring the fullest part of your bust in whatever undergarments you will wear with your dress. Make note of this number.

Select which size bodice piece to work with based on your waist measurement. The bust size will likely be larger than your bust measurement.

Now for some math: Say your measurements are 32″ bust and 27″ waist, and the pattern piece you cut out is sized for 34″ bust and 27″ waist.

Subtract your bust measurement from the pattern’s bust size: 34″ – 32″ = 2″

2″ is how much you need to remove from the front bodice piece total. But because most patterns use¬†half-pieces either cut out twice or cut once on the fold you¬†need to divide your 2″ in half, or 1″ reduction per side of the front bodice.

(Alternately, if you’ve already made a muslin that fits well in the shoulders and waist but is baggy in the bust, you could pinch out the extra fabric from the center front, measure that, divide it in half, and use that number for this tutorial.)


Adjusting the Front Bodice Piece:

Trace your bodice piece on another sheet of paper. Be sure to label any notches, darts, grainlines, etc.


Pink Line: With your ruler and pen draw a straight line from the center of the waist dart up to the point of the dart and extending a few inches up beyond the dart point.

Blue Line: Draw another straight line from the center of the side dart through the point of the dart and extending out a few inches beyond the dart point.

The point where these two lines intersect is the bust apex (fullest part of the bust). Mark the apex with a dot.

Purple¬†Line: Starting from the apex dot draw a straight line extending to about 1/3 of the armhole curve from the side seam. Mark a dot where this line intersects with the seam line (in this case 5/8″ in from the edge of the pattern piece)

Orange Line: Lastly, draw a horizontal perpendicular to the Pink Line, extending from about the halfway point of the Pink Line over to the center front.

(these four sections of the pattern are labeled 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the illustrations)


With your scissors cut along the Pink Line starting from the waist to the bust apex point, pivot, and continue cutting along the Purple Line, stopping at the seam line dot.

Next, beginning from the side seam cut along the blue line stopping just before reaching the apex point. DO NOT cut pieces 1 and 2 apart. They should be hanging on just barely to each other at the apex point.

Remember that¬†1″ number we came up with earlier? Draw a vertical line parallel to the Pink Line, 1″ to the right (solid¬†Green Line).


Slide pieces 1 and 2 over so that the Pink line on piece 1 matches up to the Green Line. This will cause the bust apex point to shift up and over so the waistline of piece 1 will be higher than it originally was. This also makes that side dart narrower because piece 2 slides slightly on top of piece 1.


From here we need to cut along the Orange line and shift piece 4 upward, slightly overlapping piece 3 so that the waistline will be level.


Tape all the pieces together.

Redraw the darts from the seam lines up to the original dart points (in red). True up the edges of your darts by folding them together like you would if you were sewing, fold them down or to the side, and cut off any excess paper.

If necessary, smooth out the armhole curve line (also in red).

Trace your new pattern piece and add all darts, notches, labels, etc.


So what changed when we did this SBA? Well, the darts are thinner. The center front line is slightly shorter but the side and waist seams remained the same length. We also reduced width in the pattern piece without altering the neckline or shoulders. The armhole curve looks a bit different than when we started but should be the nearly same overall length.

And you’re done! Doing a SBA won’t necessarily fix all your fitting woes but it’s a good place to start.


I hope this tutorial helps some of the slimmer busted gals out there. SBAs probably aren’t as common as FBAs but everyone deserves¬†to get the best fit they can no matter their shape.