Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Fishtail Kimono by Chalk and Notch.

Today I have 3 versions of the same pattern so prepare yourself for a bit of photo overload but at least with different colors, textures and details to look at, ha.

As you can probably imagine if you are a regular reader of this blog and know my honest review promise and my super annoying (even to myself) critical eye, it is not very often that I open a pattern and actually start cheering. But I did when I opened the file to The Fishtail Kimono. 
It's not perfect but it is darn close! (and yeah I know perfection is very very subjective so I'm of course talking from my personal perspective!) More details to come along this post....

Let's start with the version that is the most close to the original. 
The pattern can be made both with knits and wovens which so rarely works but in this case totally makes sense because of the loose style and fit.

This one is made with a aqua cotton knit with silver spots from Fabric Depot.

My Janome cover stitch was again hard at work. You obviously do not need a cover stitch to make this style but it was very helpful for hemming, the back seam above the gathering (to stitch it down so it lies flat) and for the neckline and front opening rib.

So this is a near-perfect pattern to me I said, yes I did.
It is just SO full of information and not only information but the relevant kind of information.
Gabriela the designer has worked as a pattern maker before and that shows. The pattern pieces itself also have lots of information on them (e.g. hem SA info) which I absolutely love. Every time I don't have to look in the tutorial for info that I need to know to make the garment makes me a happy bunny.

I also loved the techniques she is suggesting in her tutorial, the use of fusible interfacing, the important notches are there and it is seriously just a pleasure to see such a simple style (nothing wrong with that just to be clear - they can be the hardest to design) be treated with this type of attention to detail!

The only time I was confused was when I tried to figure out the difference between neckband version 1 and 2. That information is in the tutorial but I had to look more for it than expected. Then when I realized that the difference basically was a matter of a button loop (but that very correctly does make a difference to how to cut and sew the neckline) I also understood why that information didn't have a more visible place in the tutorial. In other words this is a tiny detail but I thought I would mention it to avoid you coming in the same situation.

Let's move on to the version with a little twist.
 (Yes, the next version has a bigger twist.)

This one is made from this very soft and stretchy French terry and then with this beautiful neon coral crochet stretch lace from Mood Fabrics on the gathered lower back piece. And I know you are wondering why in the world I choose to put a similar color dress under this lace and make it so much harder to see....and I totally ask myself the same haha. 
I will say to my defense thought that the contrast between the neon lace and the red dress in real life was way more visible than on the photos, gah. But I have done what I could during the editing of these photos and I hope you get an idea of what it looks like!

Just a quick note about the red dress that is in fact handmade too but for unknown reason never blogged. It is the Celestial Tee by Figgy's extended to a dress.

For this version I didn't use my serger at all, only my sewing machine and my cover stitch. The reason for that was the lace. Since the lace is see through I would prefer to have the seams stitched 'away' from the lace so there is no chance of it being visible through the lace. So as you can see on the photo above, the seam above the gathered back piece is stitched up on the top back grey knit piece. And the side seam is stitched towards the front bodice. This is just me being very very detail orientated and you should not hold back making a lace version if you don't have a cover stitch machine, ok! You could just serge the seam and then use your sewing machine to stitch afterwards.

Okay, the last version and I'm literally giddy to show you......

Because it has faux shirt sleeves!!!!

I know you are suppose to be a bit more down to earth about your own genius ideas, bahaha but man I love this detail and one day I WILL make one for myself!

The smoky blue knit is a stretchy Rayon Bamboo French Terry from (the same quality as the red dress in the previous outfit) and the stripy woven cotton voile is from Mood Fabrics. This blue color looks like it is sold out but HERE is a link to the other colors. The quality is beautiful!

I knew very early on that I wanted to make a version that mixed knit and woven shirt fabric but it was only during cutting, when I realized that I didn't have quite enough of the blue French terry and had to cut the sleeves shorter, that the idea about adding faux shirt sleeves came.

The pattern drafting is very very simple because you only need two measurements. The width of the kimono's sleeve by the hem (which you measure on the paper pattern) and then the length of the faux sleeve extension. Make a rectangle with those measurements, cut two of those and you are in business.

I thought it would look the best if I sewed the faux sleeve to the kimono sleeve by the hem stitch and not at the very bottom of the kimono sleeve. So if you look at the photo above you can see those 2 cm of the very bottom hem of the knit kimono sleeve is not attached to the woven sleeve. Okay, this is super hard to explain but I think you understand, right!

I finished the woven sleeve with a bias covered slit and a bias tape tie band

For the front I used a knit rib that I cut a few centimeters shorter than the pattern piece (since the pattern piece is not originally drafted for a rib) and I knew the rib would stretch. Sewn on with my sewing machine and then stitched with the cover stitch.

 And can you believe that these denim Ash pants that I blogged about in June are already too short. Argh, kids stop growing!

Okay, so there you have three versions of the Fishtail Kimono. And I kind of feel like I want to make more. It is a fast (depending on details, ha) and fun sew and you are in very very good hands throughout the process.

Get your own version of The Fishtail Kimono HERE.

Thank you!


  1. These are amazing! I love every version and how you style each one so differently. The photos are lovely too. And W is getting so big and beautiful. All around perfect, as always!

  2. Oh my goodness - genius is right!!! While I love your first two versions (that lace is so pretty!), I can't get over the version with the faux shirt sleeves!!!!!! <3 <3 <3 I also love it with the rib knit. It's just all kinds of amazing that I cannot get over it.'re totally making me one, right? I'll send you my sizing information, ha ha ha ;)

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  4. Celina & Emi are so right, all three versions are amazing! I have been waiting to see the back details of the neon lace version. I just love the combination of the colors and textures. Can we talk about the faux unexpected and just perfection! Thank you Mie! I am off to sleep and guaranteed to have sweet dreams! XOXO

  5. These are all too perfect! That last one with the shirt sleeves is so good! I totally agree on the faux sleeves hem decision, it looks much better than if it was sewn right at the bottom of the kimono sleeve. And those details are all so perfect! <3 I really love the dress too, you're my hero! <3

  6. Those added sleeves are the perfect detail! All versions are so beautiful! I must restrain myself since I only have one girl and how many kimonos does one need! Ok maybe just one more hehe ����

  7. absolutely love all of these!! and your girls are growing way too fast!!

  8. I always appreciate your honest opinion about patterns! Lovely versions of the kimono, but I'm so bias towards the last one, so beautiful, feminine and clever idea add an interesting detail ������

  9. So lovely! Love all the versions, but my favorite (by a very slim margin)is the one with extended woven sleeves. Looks so cool and so unexpected!

  10. I cannot believe you made 3 versions!! It's so pretty!!

  11. Love all three Mie! The coral stretch lace one is my fave- so cool!

  12. oh these are the cutest I want one for myself!


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