Kirsten Kimono Tee and the skirt that fought me

This should have been a real simple skirt. But nooooo.

It’s a self drafted 1/4ish circle skirt – I say ‘ish’ because since my waist measurement is relatively large, drafting a 1/4 circle means making a large pattern piece, and it gets hard to draw the lines in straight because everything is far away from everything else, and you have to tape all these pieces of paper together… instead I drafted a 1/2 circle skirt and slashed and folded out a bunch of the width.

I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted – a simple skirt with a flared shape and some drape. Foolishly I followed the instructions that had me add wearing ease. I should know by now that wearing ease in a circle skirt is a recipe for disaster. I had to take it in a bunch of times, including  removing an inch from each side of the front (but not the back), sewing the pockets shut because they gaped out, and resetting the zip about three times to take a wedge of about an inch out of the back. And as a result, the zip does this:


So this is not the skirt I had in mind, really. And it took me about a week. I could have sewn two dresses in the time I was wrestling with this! I’m especially bitter about it because sewing time is precious at the moment. I have a reasonable amount of free time as I’m on summer holidays. But the only air con in the house is in the living room. As a result, if the temperature is over about 36C, it’s too hot after 11am to be sewing in my room. Although that may have contributed to some of this skirt’s issues – heatwave brain makes poor sewing decisions.

That back seam is a MESS. To be honest, I’m not sure that a back zipper is ever going to sit totally neatly, though. My but has a lot of different curves going on. Perhaps a side zipper would be better? Part of the problem is that the skirt slips down to sit at an angle, and that distorts the zipper even more. That’s just how skirts are going to sit on my waist, as a function of how it’s shaped. I’m just not sure how to work with that rather than against it. It’s a bit disheartening, tbh. I love dresses but I’d like the option of separates, without looking sloppy.

The fabric is a light denim from spotlight, with a mild stretch. I have enough to recut the back but not I think to recut the whole skirt. But honestly, I think I’m done with this thing. I might just buy some more fabric and make another one, fresh. This will probably get worn as a gardening skirt or something. I didn’t even bother pressing it for photos.

I cut it on the bias, but looking at these photos, I think next time I’ll cut the front on the bias and the back on the straight grain.

Those lumps make me angry to look at.

The top is a bit more of a success! It’s the Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee. I had avoided this because I previously didn’t like cut-on sleeves. But recently I’ve made a few things with this kind of sleeve, besides seeing it all the time in RTW, and I’ve come around. It does mean inevitable armpit wrinkles, for those of us with busts, but I don’t really care about that.

I took some closer photos wearing leggings to hopefully show you the length a bit better

I only printed the pattern pieces and not the instructions, so didn’t realise you’re supposed to add seam allowances. This worked out for me though! I made a 2XL. First up I muslined it out of an old, holey jersey bedsheet. I didn’t watch my placement and ended up cutting it with a hole right on the boob, but that’s ok because it’s fast become my favourite sleep shirt. So soft!

There is some back pooling but not too much – especially when I’m not twisting weirdly.

To make the black version, I added 1cm to the front neckline, although I think I didn’t need to – in this less drapey fabric it makes it sit a bit high and pull backwards. I think all I need to do is actually add the correct s/a to the shoulders. I won’t add it to the sides, though, I’m happy with how they fit. I sewed it all up with a lightning stitch, and broke out my walking foot to so the hems and binding. I bound it using this method which worked really well but I only used 1.5″ binding – next time I’ll make it thicker, because it was hard to get it neat when there wasn’t much width to work with.

I didn’t do the back join very neatly, but it was my first time with this method and I have some RTW shirts just as badly done so I can live with it. It’s also already covered in cat hair…

I finished the arms with a lightning stitch, which is a bit wobbly. I also found it quite long on me – I like a long shirt for tucking but it means it’s ridiculously long if I don’t tuck it. I could probably lose an inch or two.




5 thoughts on “Kirsten Kimono Tee and the skirt that fought me

  1. I actually like the shape. Next one why not just skip the zipper and go for some wide elastic. I took the on the bias class from Craftsy and the skirt we did was kind of the same shape and she taught us a really easy way to put in elastic.Just slip the whole thing lined and all over your elastic and tack in a few places to keep it from moving around.PS. I enjoyed reading your journey.

    1. Thanks Bonnie! I have been contemplating elastic, I have a couple of knit circle skirts with elastic that I love. I have another couple of circle skirts that I never wear, because they are just faced with no waistband and they just move all over the place! I need to fix them and I’m thinking of making a woven waistband with elastic inside. I think that would fix a lot of the issues with it sitting funny at the waist because it moves around when I sit down and stand up. I guess I’ll experiment on the ones I never wear, first! The technique you describe sounds really interesting, I think I’ll have a play with it. Did you make a skirt using that method?

      I hope I can work it out, because I love the shape too and I keep coming back to it.

Whadya reckon?

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