I like fashion, but I will never be a fashion blogger.  For one thing, I may not be the last to get in on a trend, but I am never the first.

Actually scratch that.  Sometimes I AM the first.  But not because I latched on to a trend early.  Because I latched on to something I LIKED, and then it LATER happened to become a trend.

All that to say–I don’t buy into what’s “in style” unless I actually like it.  And a lot of times I *do* actually like it. But not all the time.

The kimono trend is a trend that I do actually like.  I’m a big fan of layering; in fact, it’s gotten to where I don’t know how to dress myself without putting layers together. This becomes a problem during the spring and summer months, when it’s warm enough outside that you really shouldn’t be wearing layers.  The kimono fixes that problem, because so many of them are light-weight, made with flowery fabrics, and flowy. Thumbs up from this gal.

However, I don’t like the price tag.  Every kimono I have been able to find in stores was at least 21 dollars or so, but usually I say them at 30 or more.  And while we aren’t hard-pressed for money, that’s just most expensive than I was willing to pay for that type of garment.

So, one day, I was browsing store specifically keeping an eye on the price tags for kimonos.  It just so happened that as I was browsing Rue 21, I found a few shirts that were flowy, made with prints that I personally would have liked on a kimono, they just…weren’t kimonos.

I thought to myself…surely there’s a way to make a shirt into a kimono…and there is!  I looked up “DIY kimono” on Google, and there are TONS of Youtube tutorials showing you how to make a kimono from shirts, scarves, and loose fabric.

Did I mention that the shirt was on sale for $5?

How To

  1. Find a shirt

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2. Cut the shirt down the front

3. Hem the edges

4. Viola! A kimono

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The Nitty Gritty

Now, I have to warn you.  There’s an easy way, and there’s a hard way to do this. And the problem is they both look easy.

For example, the shirt that I picked up had actually be sewn right down the front, which is where you’re supposed to cut.  I thought this would make things easier, since I would know right where center was.  However, I didn’t have a seam ripper, so I had to use a big pair of scissors to cut through the thread. It took way longer than expected.

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Finally open in the front. Took way longer than expected.

Also, tutorials will say you can do this by hand or with a sewing machine. While technically that’s true…use a sewing machine.  If you don’t have one, find a friend who does.  This is not a hard enough design that you wouldn’t be able to figure it out if you hadn’t used a sewing machine before.

I stitched my kimono by hand.  First of all, it’s way harder to stitch in a straight line than you might think.  It doesn’t look particularly bad, but it also doesn’t look particularly great, in my personal opinion.

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Here’s my rockin’ awesome stitches by hand! Not. I DO like how the black thread turned out; I purposely used it, thinking it would look good and stand out (in a good way) on the purple while matching the center of the flower design.  Of course, it would look better with a steadier, more talented sewing hand.

Second of all, stitching by hand also took way longer than expected, AND gave me a back ache from hunching over trying to get it right.  Both of these things are things I did to my own self, but still.

Conclusion

Anything upcycling or DIY is going to take more time and effort than just buying something made the way you want it.  But by doing this with a shirt I bought for $5, I saved $15 from the cheaper versions of this style, and $25 or more if I had splurged on the higher end of what you see kimonos going for.

Plus, I actually like the print on this fabric and the fringe better than any kimono I found in-store.

Is it worth the extra time and effort? For me, absolutely.

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Do you like the kimono trend? Have you tried to make your own? How did it go? Let me know!

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