Kirsten Kimono Dress Hack aka Balletmono

In the spirit of Gillian’s Better Pictures Project the Manfriend and I took advantage of the nice evening on Saturday and went for a walk to try to get some more interesting photos of my latest dress. The result was a bunch of over and under exposed photos – sometimes in the same photo. So that needs some work…

I took a few in the garden once we got home, which typically came out the best of the lot so I can still share my dress. After my successful kirsten kimono tee and floral ballet dress I decided to mash the two patterns together and see what happened. I’m calling the resulting kirsten kimono dress a balletmono.

kirsten-kimono-dress-sosban
This one isn’t in my garden, obviously. This is a fancy restaurant in an old pump house. Absolutely beautiful building.

I wanted to keep the fitted waist and flared skirt look so I traced around the bodice pieces for the kirsten kimono and then overlaid the ballet dress bodice pieces lining up the top of the shoulders and the centre line then traced around that and blended the lines where they met. I also slashed and spread the skirt piece in three places to make it fuller, which I love.

Swooosh
Swooosh

The fabric I used is a cotton jersey from Calico Laine (that might not be the same one, I bought mine towards the end of last year) and I’m not really a fan. It was mega curly at the edges and it seems to crease easily and iron badly – a winning combination.

balletmono-green
Windy

I accidentally cut out a neckband with the ballet dress pattern piece before I remembered that I was meant to draft one and I don’t know if that’s to blame but the neckline is a bit rubbish. It’s not puckered as such but there are loads of little pulls from it, which you can sort of see in the photo above. So I don’t know what’s to blame there as I thought I’d sewn it quite well. Could it be too short or too long?

kirsten-kimono-dress-garden

I was thinking about leaving the hems raw as I quite like that but looking at these photos I think I will hem them. I think I need to fiddle with the fit again before making another kirsten kimono dress there seems to be a bit too much fabric above my bust, especially there at the armpit. The bodice itself is a tiny bit too long too, not sure if that’s due to the weight of the fuller skirt pulling it down or something that happened during my shoddy hack.

kirsten-kimono-dress-sulking
Sulk

You can’t really see the detail of my face in this one but I am pulling a full on bottom lip out sulky face in it because none of the photos were going right. It tickled me when I saw it so I had to include it. I don’t really have much more to say about the dress really. It’s alright. I’m not in love with it but I’ll probably try again with different fabric, a new neckband and a few tweaks to the pattern.

I’m on my way to London for a course at the moment and I’m hoping to get a chance to pay the fabric shops of Goldhawk Road a visit while I’m there. It will be a flying one if I do but fingers crossed. I have a list of things I want (knits, interesting neutral wovens and some chambray) so I’ll be a woman on a mission. Wish me luck!

Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee

As I think I mentioned in a previous post, Manfriend’s lovely mum recently gave me her overlocker. It sat in my sewing room glaring at me intimidatingly for quite a few weeks before I worked up the nerve to even attempt to thread it.

Toyota overlocker
Menacing

But it turns out if you just read the instructions and follow the coloured dots it’s really not that difficult. I did it in the wrong order the first time but the second time went fine. Chuff knows if I have the tension right but the stitching looks fairly balanced to me.

I decided that the Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono tee – which is a free pattern by the way – would be a good one for my first knit project as it doesn’t have sleeves to worry about.

Kirsten Kimono tee

I went on a bit of a knit fabric sending spree on Minerva and used this diagonal striped jersey. It’s very slinky and I think it would make a lovely drapey dress. Normally I trace my patterns but I seem to have started just cutting out pdf patterns. I suppose because I can just print them out again if the fit is wrong, though it would mean taping the pesky things together again and I’m not sure what’s worse, taping or tracing.

I use a rotary cutter for cutting out my fabric so cutting out was no more difficult than cutting out woven fabric and this wasn’t a particularly curly fabric so I think I had a fairly easy go at it for my first knit garment. I cut a straight size medium but I sort of wish I’d graded out at the hips.

Kirsten kimono tee back

For some reason I expected it to fit more like the Deer and Doe Plantain. No idea why as none of the photos I’ve seen of other people’s versions do. But for my for my next version I will grade out a couple of sizes at the hips for more of a floaty look. Or maybe slash and spread somehow to avoid reprinting and taping the pattern.

I didn’t bother stabilising the shoulder seams (can’t remember why) and it all went together really quickly. I struggled with sewing the neckband and it’s a bit of a puckered mess but it doesn’t really bother me too much. I’m sure I’ll get better with practice.

Kirsten kimono tee neckline
Pucker up!

I got this far and the t’shirt sat, unhemmed and unworn, waiting for me to figure out my sewing machine walking foot and twin needle. Which my sewing machine was having NONE of. I broke two twin needles and when I tried using a zig zag stitch that wouldn’t work either. But I recently upgraded my sewing machine and it handled the twin needle easy as pie. In fact, since having my new machine I’ve started to wonder if my original one was just a bit broken all along.

Anyway that’s all I really have to say. I wore it last night to go see Avenue Q in Swansea with Manfriend and a friend from work and her husband. Avenue Q is brilliant by the way and if this touring version of it is going anywhere near your town you should definitely go and see it as it’s hilarious. Puppets with no bottom half having sex is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen Better Off Ted.

Here’s one last creepy picture Manfriend took of us after taking these photos. He had his phone on beauty mode so we look bizarre and blurry faced.

Creeeeepy
Creeeeepy