Kimono sleeve dress with tulip skirt & pleather trims | RTW COPY

Kimono short sleeve dress dress with tulip skirt

I don’t know about you guys, but I find it quite hard to define my style in a few words. I try to go for modern minimalist, but not sure if that always comes across.

However, I can easily tell you what my signature look is. Anything with a little bit of pleather on it.  Man, I love faux leather and I could literally add it on to anything! Case in point, the pleather sleeves here and here, the pleather chiffon dress here, more pleather inserts here and more sleeves here.

So you would have thought that I got this pleather sewing down to a T.

Well, you would be wrong! I only realised last week that I have been making my life harder than it needed to be for no good reason.

Let me tell you what I learned that changed it all!

This little dress is nothing too complicated. It all started with my sister asking me to copy an old H&M dress for her, back in June. The hard part was copying the pattern, so I saved it so I can make more versions for her, she loves it so much. When I went over to Denmark in August, I whipped up a quick winter version in my most beloved fabric, the ribbed poly knit from Abakhan. But I still had some fabric left, so I thought it would be an easy project to make a version for myself as well. Trouble was, there was only enough fabric for a long sleeve version for her, so I had to improvise on my one.

Enter pleather! I wanted to make the sleeves out of pleather, and so it also needed a bit of a trim to make the whole thing more consistent. So I decided to add the bias bound neckline and waistband to keep with the theme. After sewing the whole thing on, I realised that the pleather remnant I thought I had was not the same type as what I just had painstakingly sewn on, so I did not have enough for the sleeves. Grrr! Serves me right for not pulling all the supplies together before starting!

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I already made numerous projects in this ribbed poly knit (the green sheath Burda dress, the green Astoria jumper, the navy V9186 tunic and the navy Burda cardigan), so you might be getting bored with it by now. Don’t worry, none left and no more projects in this fabric to be blogged either. Even though it’s exactly the same as the green and navy, somehow this one seems a little bit flimsier. Or maybe I am just getting a bit sick of it.

I also added the pleather trims for the stash. I have to say that I love this particular pleather, as it feels really good quality, more like real leather that the more rubbery stuff I normally use. I’m so annoyed I can’t remember which Goldhawk Rd. shop I got this from, I really want to go get a few meters to have in the stash. As you can see, it never goes amiss.

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This is a simple kimono sleeve shape, with short sleeves, a v-neckline both in the back and the front, empire waistline and a tulip skirt, with pockets. It has a seam in both centre back and front. I think the original was a size 38 in H&M. My sister loves anything with pockets and she particularly likes the tunic length that can be worn over trousers or with leggings, so this pattern delivers on all accounts. I can see where she is coming from.

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No changes from the previous version, other than adding the contrast trims.


This was constructed mostly with the overlocker, but I used the sewing machine to insert the neckband, as well as turning down the finished edges, as I could not be bothered to pull out the coverstich machine.

I haven’t sewed pleather in a while and I was pretty convinced that I have absolutely no issues with any type of it, especially this really nice one I was using. How wrong I was! I could not sew the neckband with the ordinary presser foot for neither love nor money. Experience has taught me that it’s better to at least baste the neckband to the neckline by machine before overlocking, so I haven’t even tried attaching it directly. Still, it would not work, it just did not want to slide through the machine. I tried putting tissue paper underneath, I tried foil, I tried putting selotape underneath the foot, I even tried my rolling foot. Nothing worked. Not sure if it was me, the machine, the pleather or all of the above, but it just won’t sew. So I put the whole project in a bag in my UFO box and sort of let it stew for a while, while I was picking up other, more pliant projects.


Still, in the back of my mind, I was thinking that there must be another solution. So I chatted to my friend and sewing machine guru, Steve from Stitch Again, who is a Pfaff dealer and sewing machine repairs engineer, and he recommended the Teflon foot. I ordered one and he brought it to me at the GBSB live and I ended up giving it a go after recovering from the madness.

And lo and behold, MAGIC!

It really does make an amazing amount of difference! The bias binding went on in no time and thanks to the IDT dual transporter on my Pfaff Select, I managed to get the edges really nicely aligned. Next time I might omit the centre front and back seams and just sew the neckband like a v-neck t-shirt, but this time I managed to get it right.

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I am so glad I made the investment, as I’m sure the Teflon foot will come handy on many more projects in the future.

The waistband channel has pleather on the outside and self fabric on the inside. Initially, I didn’t think about adding the elastic, so I only joined the pleather part to the bodice and skirt, but it was not sitting right, so I added a band of self fabric and sewed it to the seam allowance, to form the channel, then added 1” elastic inside.

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Other than the fact that this was the first project I sewed with my new Babylock Enlighten overlocker (*swoon!* – but about it in another post), nothing too spectacular to report. All seams were overlocked, the edges overlocked and turned over by 1/4”, then topstiched down with the sewing machine on a very shallow zig-zag. I just could not be bothered to change the treads in the coverstitch machine and it’s all black on black, so you really can’t see it anyway.


Wear & Style

I haven’t worn this dress yet, except for the photo shoot, but my sister loves hers and wears it all the time. I think the lack of long sleeves might prevent me from wearing it too much in the colder weather, but I am planning on making a few turtlenecks for layering, so this might solve the problem. Or maybe I can find the pleather again and I will add the long sleeves. It’s also a bit thin for truly cold weather, so might not be coming out too much until spring.

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What are absolutely mandatory are the coloured tights. I just can’t bear all black, so I need a bit of colour to break up the monotony. In this pics, I was matching my tights with the background, I do hope you have noticed that!

Overall, I’m not sure how I feel about this dress. Maybe not quite my style, but I will refrain from passing it on to my sister until I have given it an honest go.


Details recap:

Pattern: Copied from RTW, original garment size 38

Fabric: Poly knit ribbed jersey from Abakhan

Notions: None

Alterations: None

Next time:  Remove centre back and front seams and lengthen by at least 10 cm.

Other versions: My previous version here.






  1. PsychicSewerKathleen
    23 October 2017 / 8:57 PM

    Beautiful dress/tunic. I haven’t sewn with pleather before but it does add some extra pizzazz I must say! Next time I’m near a fabric shop I’m going to pick some up – especially for the neckband. Gives it such class 🙂 I use that teflon foot all the time – it works GREAT when sewing knits.

    • Alex
      6 November 2017 / 7:00 PM

      Thank you, Kathleen! I haven’t tried the Teflon foot on knits, but I will surely give it a go. And you really should try the pleather, but make sure to buy good quality one, it really makes a difference.

  2. 24 October 2017 / 8:06 AM

    Cute! This is such a timely post; I’m sewing with pleather myself at the moment and struggling a bit with it. I’m going to check out a Teflon foot for my machine; thanks for the tip.

    • Alex
      24 October 2017 / 9:08 AM

      Oh good! I can’t wait to see your project, I am always so inspired by your makes!!

  3. 24 October 2017 / 8:09 AM

    This is a lovely make. I have one of these feet for my Bernina but I’ve only used it a couple of times. I must get it out!

    • Alex
      24 October 2017 / 9:11 AM

      Thank you, Sue! I must admit I am looking forward to what you would make with pleather. Not sure if you listened to Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow on Love to Sew podcast, she talks about sewing dares. Well, there is your dare on pleather, should you choose to accept it 😬.

      • 25 October 2017 / 10:25 AM

        Challenge accepted but it will be leather.

  4. 26 October 2017 / 9:47 AM

    Great dress! And yes, I noticed the matching of tights to the leaf colours in the background….lovely!
    I find myself wanting a teflon foot now, especially as I have that goldy/bronze pleather that I bought at GBSB.
    PS. Could you layer a sleek long sleeved top under your dress to make it Winter friendly?

    • Alex
      26 October 2017 / 10:19 AM

      Thank you, Diane! I took the pics during Ophelia, with the weird yellow skies, I think everything matched the tights, ha ha!
      Yes, do get one, it made a massive difference, especially for top stitching and zippers and stuff.
      And yes, I am planning a few turtlenecks for layering. I’ve only got black jersey for now, but I do want some coloured ones to break to the black.

  5. 1 November 2017 / 3:33 PM

    Such a lovely, comfy looking dress. I need to sew more knit. I have sewn with pleather before, a entire dress…..dodgy choice but It was when I was just starting out. I have learn now that not every idea needs to be followed through. Your dress is lovely and the yellow tights? High and edgy class!

    • Alex
      6 November 2017 / 6:59 PM

      Thank you, Ghislaine! What funny things we made in the beginning :). I went through a shirring phase when I first started sewing. I can’t say I touched the elastic thread since :).

  6. Geo P
    5 November 2017 / 11:51 AM

    I thought of getting one but then noticed the blind hem/edge stitching foot that came with my Pfaff had a teflon-like backing. I used that to topstitch my pleather sleeves in the reversible jacket and it worked great. The guiding bit on the foot made it easier to keep things even stitching in such a long narrow sticky tube.

    • Alex
      5 November 2017 / 11:52 AM

      I’m rushing to my machine to check it out. I have a Pfaff too.

      • Geo P
        5 November 2017 / 11:55 AM

        Let me know, I’d like to know!
        Also, forgot to say your dress is really nice. 🙂 It lools really easy to wear, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of opportunities when spring comes.

        • Alex
          5 November 2017 / 11:59 AM

          Thank you! Here’s to spring! 😁

      • Alex
        6 November 2017 / 6:57 PM

        I checked and nope, the blind hem foot is metal. What model is your machine?

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