Sew Caroline’s Florence Kimono was one of the patterns I chose for the Sewing With Knits class I taught at the Sewing & Stitchery Expo in February. I didn’t know it would begin a love affair . . . with the pattern . . . but it did. It was super easy and fun to make and I find myself constantly grabbing it as I’m going out the door. Definitely a win!
I’ve admired and made Kimonos before and never been totally satisfied. A square, box shape is not the best look on my apple shape and I always feel a bit like I’m wearing a grocery bag. Florence looked promising, though and I thought it would be good to show something other than a normal cardigan in my Knits class.
The Florence Kimono pattern is designed primarily for woven fabrics. Along with her favorite, cotton voile, Caroline does list “knit” as a suggested fabric. If you’re going to use a knit, I recommend that you choose one that is not super-stretchy – no more than 50% stretch either direction.
The Poly/Spandex Aztec Knit I chose from Pacific Fabrics was perfect with 25% stretch one direction and 50% the other. If you’d like to know more about checking percentage of stretch including a chart for your sewing spot, click here.
Florence includes three length options and, because I was looking for drama, I used the longest length. There are two size options, I chose the upper one and didn’t make any pattern adjustments. It is plenty roomy and, depending on fabric choice, I may try the smaller option, too.
Fringe is optional, of course, but really why would you not use fringe? It’s such a great trend right now, easy to add and it looks fabulous! I love it so much, that I recently purchased enough for the sleeves and will be adding that soon.
One of the things that drew me to Sew Caroline’s Florence was the curve she drafted for the underarm. It takes away the dreaded grocery bag look and adds to the flattering line of the Kimono. Such a simple thing, but so effective!
My Florence was totally serged except for the hems and it was sewn on my Snowy Sewing Retreat. I even attempted a few silly selfies and posted them here and there before Florence was even finished. My retreat companion, Rosie the Terrier, didn’t seem impressed.
Back home, I put a 2.5mm Schmetz Stretch Twin Needle in my Bernina and hemmed my Kimono. Since the Twin Needle was in and I like the look, I used it to top stitch around the front band, too. That’s my Walking Foot you see there on the machine. I sewed knits for years without one, but it’s my go-to now.
The fringe was attached with a second row of twin needle stitching once the hem was done. It made kind of a cool top stitched look along the hemline that I really like.
Florence is such a simple, quick sew that I could have made several of them in just a matter of hours. It was one of the nine garments I serged together on my retreat and was the quickest to make. It’s simple shape and loose fit make it marvelous for beginners, too!
We stopped by a Plant Nursery/Farm after church one Sunday for most of the pictures you see here. It was a fun spot for posing and a lovely Spring scene with lots of little lambs and goats. I may want them in all my sewing shots now!
I wore it that day with one of my four versions of the Grainline Studio Lark Tee. Watch for a post on those, soon. Such a great pattern, too!
Florence is such a simple, quick sew that I could have made several of them in just a matter of hours. It’s simple shape and loose fit make it marvelous for beginners, too! I usually have sewing tips and suggestions for the patterns I’ve made. But, Florence is so easy, quick and well-laid out that my only suggestion is . . . make this!
Moment of Further Truth: Pacific Fabrics sponsored my Knits class and provided the fabric and pattern for me. And, this post includes affiliate links, which means I may receive a small payment if you make a purchase using that link. Thank you if you do – it helps to keep The Sewful Life stitching along and I sincerely appreciate your support. All opinions are solely and truly mine and I only gush about things I love!