Traditional Japanese Kimono Pattern in Two Lengths
~~~~~ Assembly Diagram
I - Short Version (haori)
STEP #1: Measure the length desired from the shoulder down for the finished kimono. For a jacket style (haori), this generally falls just at the middle of the hips, but you can make it any length, shorter for a cropped look or mid-thigh as a spring/fall jacket.
STEP #2: Measure the bust and add 4 inches. If this is more than 52 inches you will want to make your body strips a bit wider than indicated in the pattern. The haori does not need to overlap much as it is generally held closed by frogs or a toggle and loop closure. If you want a belted jacket with a wide overlap, follow the full-length pattern instructions using the length measured in Step #1 above.
STEP #3: Determine how wide around you wish your sleeves to be. For a traditional style jacket, usually this will be 24 to 26 inches.
STEP #4: Make a swatch in your chosen pattern and yarn, block and measure. Any fairisle or tuck pattern will work. I prefer to do the body and sleeves in a coloured pattern with a solid coordinated trim around the neck and down the front, but I do tend to be a bit conservative. :-)
GENERAL NOTES: The body consists of two body pieces, equal sized rectangles, which are joined in a back seam along the long edge to the halfway mark, splitting to go around the neck. This can be done in one piece if you want, by casting on twice as many stitches then taking half the stitches off and working each side separately at the neck, but it is a) not authentic b) it is a pain in the neck and c) the knit seems to benefit from the stability of the seam down the back. Next come two identical smaller rectangles which form the sleeves, and lastly is a long narrow strip which forms the collar and the overlap. An optional piece is a sleeve edging. If you are really into seaming, or want a patchwork effect, you can divide each of these rectangles into as many smaller width strips as you like, as long as the total width for each finished piece is the same.
BODY: (Make 2) Using a closed edge cast-on (e-wrap or crochet cast on both work well) cast on however many stitches your swatch indicates you need to end up with a 14 inch wide piece. (If you are fluffy, see #2 above). Knit a length of fabric twice the measurement taken in Step#1 above PLUS 2 INCHES. (This extra is needed for the hem.) Bind off loosely. Block.
SLEEVES: (Make 2) Using a closed edge cast-on, cast on however many stitches you need to end up with a 14 inch wide piece. Warning: Do not adjust this width unless you have the arms of a gorilla. The sleeves are supposed to be loose and stop short of the wrist. Knit however many rows are needed for the measurement obtained in Step #3, and cast off loosely. Block.
ASSEMBLY: i) Fold each body piece in half width wise and mark the centre. This is the top of the shoulder. Right sides together, seam the 2 body pieces to the mark along the long edges. A sewing machine seam done close to the edge is just fine.
ii) a) Authentic Method: Fold both sleeve pieces in half width wise and mark the centre and 2 more marks 4 inches on each side of the center mark. Right sides together, match the centre marks of the body piece and sleeve. Seam the sleeve to the body from the 2nd set of marks to the end of the sleeve piece leaving the middle 8 inches of the seam open. Repeat for other sleeve.
b) No-Hole Method: Mark only the middle of each piece and sew straight across for the usual drop sleeve for a heavier garment.
iii) Fold the garment right sides together and starting at the armpit area seam down each sleeve to the wrist end, then seam from the armpit to the lower edge. Do not stretch the fabric too much or it will cause bumps along the seam.
iv) Turn up 1 inch around the bottom and hem. (I top-stitch with a sewing machine using a straight stitch.)
v) Using a tape measure, measure the length from one front bottom edge up the front, around the neck and back down to the other front bottom edge. This is the collar/overlap band. Closed cast-on enough stitches to arrive at an 8 inch wide strip. Knit a piece the required length PLUS 1 INCH for ease around the neck and cast off. Fold band in half lengthwise wrong side together and pin this onto the edge of the front and neck, sandwiching the body piece between the two halves of the band, making sure the bottom front edges match and easing it around the neck. Top stitch to fasten or hand stitch in place. Whip stitch the open ends of the band closed. This band can be worn flat, or turned back as desired.
vi) To finish sleeves, either make a 1/2 inch hem or knit a strip 4" wide and long enough to go around the bottom of the sleeve, and sew as in v) above, grafting the open ends of the edging strip together.
vii) Add 1 or 2 frog closures, or toggles or buttons and crochet or I-cord loops as desired. If you prefer a belted jacket, knit a 5 inch wide strip the desired length for a tie belt, fold right side together, seam and turn. Stitch ends shut.
Make the sleeve pieces 15 or 16 inches wide (Gorilla arms). When sewing the sleeve seams, round off at the sleeve end, leaving a more narrow opening for the hand. Trim the excess fabric on the curve. Finish the sleeve opening with a few rounds of single crochet to form a narrow cuff.
II - FULL LENGTH KIMONO or YUKATA:
STEP #1: Measure the length desired from the shoulder down to the ankle bone for the finished kimono.
STEP #2: Measure the bust and add 6 inches. Measure the hips and add 8 inches. If either is more than 56 inches you will want to make your body strips a bit wider than indicated in the pattern.
STEP #3: Determine how wide around you wish your sleeves to be. If you want very short, straight sleeves, follow the jacket sleeve instructions. For shortish sleeves, such as found in the casual yukata this will be about 32 inches. For really long, swinging sleeves like wings, go all the way, and use 60 inches!
STEP #4: Make a swatch in your chosen pattern and yarn, block and measure. Any fairisle or tuck pattern will work. I prefer to do the body and sleeves in a coloured pattern with a solid coordinated trim around the neck and down the front, but I do tend to be a bit conservative.
GENERAL NOTES: The body is basically just a longer haori. The main difference is how the sleeves are sewn and attached, and the width of the collar band, which allows for a much wider area of overlap when worn. The full length version can also be made with a more narrow band like the haori, and fastened down as far as the knees with your closure of choice to make a coat.
BODY - same as haori
SLEEVES: Closed edge cast-on enough stitches to make a piece 16 inches wide. (This should be long enough for almost any arm, and can be adjusted when you hem or trim the sleeve if needed.) Knit sufficient rows to obtain the measurement from Step #3.
OBI: (Wide sash - optional) Either knit a belt as for the haori, in the same colour, pattern as the collar, but possibly wider if you want, or, if you are really brave and have someone around to help you get dressed, make a piece of a beautiful colour, either solid or patterned to compliment the kimono, measuring about 12 inches wide, and about 90 inches long. Wrap around your middle, front to back, with the top just under your bust. Tie the back in the first half of a knot, leaving the ends hanging evenly down the back. To make sure it doesn't slip loose, fasten the two layers together right under the knot from underneath with a big safety pin.
i) Sew back seam as for haori.
ii) Fold both sleeve pieces in half width wise and mark the centre. Mark a point 13 inches from the centre point on each side. Fold seamed body in half along shoulder line and mark a point 13 inches down from the shoulder line on both the front and back. Right sides together, match the centre and 13 inch marks. Pin and sew between these marks with a narrow seam, joining the sleeve piece to the body and leaving the rest of the sleeve open. Repeat for other sleeve.
iii) Fold the whole garment right sides together. At the hand end of the sleeve, measure down 7 1/2 inches from the fold of the sleeve. Starting from that point, sew a narrow seam down towards the open edge of the sleeve. When you are about 2 1/2 inches up from the edge, start to curve the seam in gently to round off the corner, and continue seaming along the bottom edge. Turn at the corner and head back up to the armpit. End off where the body is attached to the sleeve. End off. Starting again at the armpit on the body, seam down the side to the hem. Repeat on the other side. Any small hole in the armpit can be caught up later with spare yarn.
iv) as for the haori
v) Using a tape measure, measure the length from one front bottom edge up the front, around the neck and back down to the other front bottom edge. This is the collar/overlap band. As this is quite wide, I try to use a pattern or colour that is not too strong a contrast with the body pattern, otherwise the band becomes the focal point, rather than the main pattern. Using a closed cast-on, cast on enough stitches to arrive at a 16 inch wide strip. Knit a piece the required length PLUS 1 INCH for ease around the neck and cast off. Fold band in half lengthwise wrong side together and pin this onto the edge of the front and neck, sandwiching the body piece between the two halves of the band, making sure the bottom front edges match and easing it around the neck. Top stitch to fasten or hand stitch in place. Whip stitch the open ends of the band closed. The collar is usually worn folded in half around the neck and down almost to the waist, where it is allowed to open out to create a wider overlap for the lower portion. The overlap should always be from left to right as seen by the wearer. Overlapping the other way is reserved for corpses only, and you will get a lot of very strange looks if you wrap the wrong way. (If you are having a bad day, and fall asleep in public, this could present a major problem.)
vi) To finish sleeves, either turn a hem to the desired length, or edge with a row or two of single crochet.