My Pumpkin Spice Kimono

In my ongoing obsession with kimonos, I decided to try the Indygo Junction Contemporary Kimono with fabrics from my stash. The colors are marvelously Fall-friendly and definitely convey the flavor of Pumpkin Spice!

Every Fabric Has a Story

Years ago, I fell in love with and purchased a stunning Yukata Cotton fabric from local purveyor of Japanese lovelies, Okan Arts. Owner, Patricia was participating in the annual Fiberfest Sale that benefits our local La Conner Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum and brought several tables full of amazing fabrics. Very dangerous! Orange is not my usual mode of sewing and wearing, but I do love Fall and this Yukata was singing my song.

But, what do you do with fabric you love, that’s just not “your” color? So, it languished in my CCFS (Carefully Curated Fabric Stash) for several years waiting for the perfect inspiration. Not neccessarily a bad thing, right? And, down the road, the perfect complement appeared at a Japanese fabric booth at the Sewing & Stitchery Expo. The equally stunning print grabbed me and, although the Yukata wasn’t with me, I was pretty sure it would be a great pairing. Sometimes, magic happens and indeed, it was just the right Fall colors.

Fabrics & Pattern

Released From the Stash

Last month I attended a four day retreat hosted by my local chapter of the American Sewing Guild. It was just the right opportunity to try out the Contemporary Kimono pattern and sew up my Japanese fabric-in-waiting. A plan was born!

I knew I wanted the Yukata to be the bands and a focal panel down the back of the kimono. This worked well since I had just two yards of the 45″ wide Japanese print and two yards of the 15″ wide Yukata. Tricky, but I really enjoy the challenge of making do with what I have.

Back without insert

Once I had assembled the fronts and back of the kimono, I pinned it together for fitting and design assessment. What I found was that the back was a bit narrow and I didn’t care for the width of the Yukata back panel. Sigh. . . .  Frustrated, I set it aside to revisit the next day and moved onto another project. It was a four day retreat after all!

top of back close-up

I’m Dreaming of a Kimono Solution . . . 

Proving that I really am kimono obsessed, I actually dreamed about this one that night and re-designed it several times in my dreams. Is my world totally filled with sewing? Why, yes it is – day AND night! The result was that I woke up with a plan that solved both problems.

After further consideration and consultation with my new retreat attending sewing friends, I boldly split the Yukata straight down the middle of the back. There wasn’t much of the Japanese print left, but I managed to squeeze out a narrow strip that I inserted. It was just enough to make the back a bit wider and break up the “too wide” look of the Yukata back panel. Hurray!!

Pumpkin Spice Served With Earrings

I’m so pleased with my “years in the making” Pumpkin Spice Contemporary Kimono! It’s very different than any of the other kimonos I’ve made and I know I’ll enjoy wearing it. For my Fall forest pictures, I layered it with a heathered charcoal turtleneck and loved that. I’ll probably wear it with a white tee or black turleneck, too. And, I think it would look great with the mustard linen Easy Top I made last year. (It was Day 31 for Me Made May in 2017.)

My son and DIL gave me the perfect Fall earrings to wear with my Pumpkin Spice Kimono. I’m not happy without earrings and own a drawer (or two) full of them. I am very blesseed to have a DIL who understands my earring need!

front in trees

Bold and Flexible

There were a few other solutions that had to be made along the way, due to the minimal amount of fabric I had.

  1. The front/neck band was lined with the print as there wasn’t enough Yukata for both sides. This is actually kind of cool, because if I turn back the band at the neck, then the print shows as a great contrast.
  2. A small rectangle of the print was sewn into the center back of the neck band, again because I didn’t have quite enough length in the Yukata. It looks like I planned that, right? Well, kind of . . .
  3. I did the same thing at the top of the sleeve band. It echoes the back of the neck if anyone is thinking about it and again, solved the “not quite enough” dilemma.
  4. The side seam pockets offered in the Contemporary Kimono pattern were a definite must, but there was no fabric left for those. So, I pretended that I always like using a soft fabric for my pockets and stitched them out of a soft shiny black lining. They feel great and guess, what? It may be that I do like always using a soft fabric for my pockets!
Contemporary Kimono back cover
Image Source: Indygo Junction

Contemporary Kimono Joy

The Contemporary Kimono is more of a slim fit than other kimonos I’ve made. I like them roomy and may go up to the largest size next time. There are two lengths in the pattern and I’m happy with the longer length that I used. In my rush to get the pieces cut out for the retreat, I skipped the “always-do-this-to-avoid-fitting-disasters” step that I preach. I didn’t measure the pattern and compare that to my body measurements! That’s how I wound up with a back that was a bit narrow and I definitely know better. Fortunately, it worked out this time.

Contemporary Kimono cover

The pattern is simple to sew as most kimonos are and I don’t actually have any construction tips for you. You’re just not going to need any! But, here is what I do want you to do – play with your fabric!! There are SO many possibilities in the kimono shape and who knows what you can come up with. Don’t be afraid of fabric that isn’t quite enough and take a look at your scraps or small collected treasures for inspiration. You may find just the right spot for that vintage piece you adore, but haven’t used. Remember – it’s just fabric!

black forest.jpg

Thanks for dropping by! I wish you a glorious Fall filled with Pumpkin Spice and everything nice. And, of course lots and lots, of fabulous, stress-free sewing. See you soon!

Annette signature

Moment of Further Truth:
The Contemporary Kimono pattern was provided to me by Indygo Junction and I am very grateful! This post includes affiliate links and 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!


7 thoughts on “My Pumpkin Spice Kimono

  1. Annette – this is just beautiful! Even if you don’t think this is your color, it looks amazing on you.

    Karleen Sewing Studio

    Sent from my iPad


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