Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Vintage Kimono Hanami Dress

A few months ago, I bought a bag of scrap fabric from a store that sells and alters vintage kimonos in my neighborhood.  Mostly, the pieces really were scraps (I have used some to make doll kimonos and a table runner) but there was one piece of an amazing deep purple shibori-dyed fabric that I thought would be large enough to make a girls' dress.

And I was right!

The pattern is the Hanami Dress from StraightGrain Patterns, which I thought was just perfect, as Hanami is the name for the Japanese Sakura (cherry blossom) viewing time which has just come to an end.  So I really wanted to use a Japanese fabric to make this dress!

This panel of fabric was prepped to be made into a kimono, but for some reason was abandoned.  The snips and basting stitches were still present in the fabric:

I'm experimenting with putting a jump into my longer posts so that more posts appear on my main page--read the rest after you click, and let me know if you love/hate having a jump!

The two narrow panels, which would have become the front of the kimono, were exactly the right length for the skirt of the dress.  I actually had a little bit of extra length, because I chose to use the selvage edge instead of hemming.  It makes the skirt so nice and floaty, plus it kept the dye process on the edges visible!  So my dress is about an inch longer than it would have been if I followed the pattern exactly.  This was the only change I made though!

My daughter just turned 5, and the size 4 I sewed up fits her absolutely perfectly.  The pattern sizing is based on finished measurements rather than the child's body, so I measured a dress that fits her well and chose my size based on that.

I chose the crossover back and tulip sleeve options--I love all of the variety this pattern offers!

And did you notice?  This dress has buttons!  And I did it!  And they lined up perfectly!  I may be able to say I have overcome my fear of buttonholes.

The unique print on the fabric is a Japanese style of dyeing called Shibori, which is kind of like a very thorough tie-dye done with folding and clamps.  I just loved the dark line of purple dye across the end of the fabric, and luckily I had just enough to cut my front bodice and one back bodice piece so that it ran across the waistline:

As you can see the purple dye gets narrower on one side of the fabric so it's not a perfect line all the way around on the dress, but I love the way it accents the waistline and shows the way the fabric was dyed.

Another fun thing about this dress is that it's just as cute turned around!  Little Sister and I couldn't decide which way we liked it best:

This dress is easy enough to wear any day, but the fabric and the details turn it into a really special dress for me.  Not in a special-occasions-only type way, but in an "I'll save it for my grandchildren" kind of way.

Little Sister had fun showing it off, too!

We found this narrow pathway where cars can't drive near our home, so it was nice to let her run around for photos!

And unlike the park, we don't have a bunch of people in the background.

Although there was one little neighborhood boy who kept poking around to see what was going on!

She's beginning to move away from wearing all dresses, all the time, so I worry sometimes that my time is running short for making lovely dresses for her.  Until she gives them up entirely though I'll be making the most of it!


  1. Beautiful dress! I love the color and how you showed the dark color edges. The fabric is perfect for Hanami pattern...is it silk or cotton? Looks perfect for the layered button closure.

  2. Thanks for sharing that's post. I likes your idea for hanami dress. you stitched perfectly. I found very usefull as well as interesting post. I will come back read more...


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