I never imagined I would sew a kimono, I’m just not a kimono kind of girl. I never even had a RTW one in my wardrobe. And yet, I’ve now made two Seamwork Almada robes in less than a month as gifts. Maybe one day I will actually end up making one for myself…
All sewers have a go-to handmade present that they pull out of the bag for birthdays and Christmases and such. It used to be tote bags when I first started sewing, then infinity scarves, then asymmetric clutch bags. And now I have a new favourite, you guessed it, kimonos!
It all started in Chicago. I only got a chance to see the inside of two fabric shops, which can only be a good thing for my already unhealthy stash. I love visiting fabric shops when I am travelling and I try to get at least a small piece to remember that place by. But with my new-found love for minimalism and frugality, I find it really hard to justify getting something I don’t have at least some sort of a plan for.
So, when I was going through this insanely huge fabric shop in Chicago, I kept trying to figure out what kind of project I could get my souvenir fabric for. And then I had a brainwave: I could make something as a present. I was going to Romania in July so I decided to make a kimono for my two best friends that I was staying with while over there. I already had the Almada kimono pattern, so it seemed like a perfect match.
I wanted something quite drapey, silky even, but I could not find what I liked, there is just too much stuff in that shop. Just as I was about to give up, I saw this really interesting bolt. When I unfolded it, it had a lovely shimmer and a bit of a drape. In fact, it had a metallic thread woven into cotton that gave a bit of firmness to the lightweight fabric. It came in two colourways, green and blue, so I decided to get both of them. I was sure my friends would love them.
As usual, life gets in the way and I managed to only make one kimono for my visit to Romania, and I barely managed to finish it before I travelled. I did not get a chance to take pictures, which was really sad, as I was really happy with the way it came out. It was my favourite colour of the two, green, and it was really hard to part with it.
Unfortunately for one of my Romanian friends, there was only one kimono to go around, so I still had the blue fabric left. And what do you know, I got invited to a friend’s surprise birthday party. What to give her? Well, you guessed it: a kimono from the remaining fabric. Queue smugness for the unselfish sewing. Twice in a month. Go, Alex!
I know it it doesn’t look like unselfish sewing, as I’m modelling it, but trust me, it got wrapped right away after this photo shoot and it’s on its way to its rightful owner as we speak.
Right, so enough story telling, let’s get down to business.
Seamwork Almada Review
Pattern Description: Almada is a kimono-style robe that will instantly elevate your loungewear. There is plenty of ease for movement and comfort in this soft, flowing robe that falls at mid-thigh. A wide tie finishes this unique robe.
Have you tried the @Seamwork Almada? Check out the version made by Alex from @Sewrendipity.
This is a PDF pattern and I have to give a massive shout-out to Print Your Pattern service. I find their prices very reasonable, super speedy delivery and it’s all so worth it so I don’t have to stick together dozens of A4 papers.
Pattern Sizing: XS – 3XL
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, very much so, thought my fabric had a bit more body than the pattern sample.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. I made this two times now and the second time I did not even glimpse at the instructions. It’s quite a straightforward make and should be simple enough for a beginner. I only had to check how the ties were attached when I made it the first time.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the overall shape and the ties. Be warned that the sleeves are very loose and you get a proper view through them all the way to your hips and thighs.
Fabric Used: I used a cotton fabric with metallic thread inserts. It looks slightly grey in these pics, but it’s actually a nice light blue with shimmery stripes. It was from the Chicago Fabric Outlet (you can read my review and all the details for the shop in my Chicago Fabric Shop guide).
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None. I sewed all the seams as French seams, as the metallic thread is very itchy if not properly encased. I guess you would want to do that anyway if your fabric is sheerer. For more matte fabrics, I would just overlock. I also made a baby hem on the bottom, though I think it could have benefitted from a wider one in this particular fabric.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I’ve already sewn it twice for gifts and I think I might just have to make a third version to keep for myself as well.
Conclusion: It’s a nice pattern, but as per my usual complaint with Seamwork patterns, it’s by no means a one-hour sew. It took me about 6 hours in total (incl. cutting out), even the second time.
Final thoughts on Seamwork Almada
I really like this pattern and as I said, I’m half tempted to make it again. However, in the spirit of building a meaningful wardrobe, I am considering it really hard, as I already have two robes for colder weather. One of them, a short terry one, I use daily, the other is a big fluffy one for when I need a fabric snuggle. The terry one was a killer in this insane hot weather, and I really wished I had a breezier one to keep me cool. But then again, how many more summer days have we got left this year? Summer is usually short and unpredictable in the UK, so I am really considering if I’ll get 30 wears out of a summer kimono. Maybe one for next year…
However, I was considering if it could be suitable for a dress instead. I would probably reduce the circumference of the sleeves, as you can see my underwear if I’m not wearing a slip. This idea has been buzzing in my head for a while, so there must be something in it, but I think I need to sew something else for a while, I’m a bit Almada’d out just now.
In the meatime, here’s more pics, where I enjoy a cuppa, as you must do in your kimono, right? Notice the cats :).
WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO HANDMADE GIFTS FOR FRIENDS OND FAMILY? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.