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The Katie Kimono

Hey Everybody! How are you all doing out there? I’m doing well, but I have to admit, I’m feeling a bit nervous as I write this. I mean, I’m blogging on someone else’s blog, and not just anyone’s blog, a fabric store’s blog! Eeeeep! How cool is this? Anyway, I better get on with it, before the boss catches me gossiping by the water cooler.

When I was shopping on the CaliFabrics website for some fabric to blog about, I headed straight for the rayons. Much like Rachel, I have been having a bit of a love affair with rayon lately. If you’ve read my blog, then you probably know that I’m kind of afraid of rayon (and most slippery, shifty fabrics). I mean, it always looks and feels lovely, but I think sewing with it, and more importantly cutting it out, can be a bit tricky. But I have learned that with sewing, and with all things really, practice is the best way to get good at something. So lately, I’ve been branching out. Plus rayon is such lovely fabric to wear (and easy to care for), especially in the warmer weather.

When I spotted this particular rayon challis, it was pretty much love at first sight. I mean come on, a tribal print in beautiful shades of blue? Yes please! My original intention was to finally make a Sewaholic Saltspring Dress, a pattern I’ve been meaning to try for a year now, but one night, in a fit of sewing planning induced insomnia, a brilliant idea came to me: a rayon kimono. And not just any kimono, a special gift kimono.

You see, my good friend Katie, is having a baby (she’s pretty much due any day now), and I really wanted to make her something to celebrate the occasion. I had already sewn a blanket for the baby, but I really wanted to sew something that would make Katie feel special, and yet still be practical. And so, the Katie Kimono was born. Ya, that’s right, I drafted something and I named it.

By drafted, I mean I cut out and sewed a bunch of rectangles together. I didn’t use a particular tutorial, but I did read a couple that were helpful (here and here) and then kind of combined them to make my own pattern. Then a few days after I finished it, Kelli of True Bias made something similar with a free pattern she found, so check it out if you’re interested.

I decided to keep the sleeves short, to stick with the summery vibe, but also because I thought that short sleeves would be more practical for a new mom. I didn’t want Katie to have these awkward sleeves dragging into dirty diaper messes, or just generally getting in the way. I also thought pockets would be important so I added two patch pockets to the front.

I used my serger to finish any exposed edges, and the hem is just sergered, pressed up twice, and stitched down by machine. I used hem bands for the sleeves, and topstitched them down to keep everything securely in place. I also made a self-fabric belt, which may be too long, but I thought better too long than too short.

Anyway, I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I can report that Katie was very happy to receive it too. It was a quick and easy project to sew, and sewing with rayon really wasn’t that bad. I used a little spray starch when I ironed it, which really helped too. Once again, I’m not sure what I was really afraid of, because it all worked out just fine. Also, if you aren’t really into a robe type kimono like this one, it would be just as easy to shorten it to waist or hip length, and then you would have a nice light layer for throwing over tank tops and sundresses, and I have to say rayon challis would be perfect for that too!

Happy Sewing!

Heather is a self-professed sewing addict, fabric hoarder, and lover of pugs. She also blogs at

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