Amanda vs Asaka Kimono

Happy new year, y’all!

I’m not sure how you guys spent your festive break but mine was chock full of hanging at home with my peeps, jigsawing like a boss and watching all the Harry Potter movies back to back. Pretty much the best time ever. But after a few days my sewing hands got twitchy and it was time to knock up a festive gift for a friend. But what pattern do you chose when you are 1300kms apart and can’t do fittings, have diametrically opposed clothing styles and want to make something a bit fancy? Three words people: super. rad. kimono.

Disclaimer: yes, this is the kimono I made for my friend and she is cool with me sharing it before it gets posted because I am a big show pony like that. Neigh!

This is the Asaka Kimono by Named. This pattern is an open front, relaxed fit kimono with the most epic sleeves in existence. Think wide cut, two pieces and a bananas crazy long vent. Seriously awesome. And also seriously fabric hungry, but no bigs! I am also going to flag at this point that my friend’s version being worn here is four sizes smaller than the size Named would have me make for my measurements. After wearing this size for the photos and getting a feel for the relaxed fit I think the one for me will be a size down from the recommendation. But I digress – due to my impatience to get this made up I went with the PDF pattern version and ended up having to print all the pieces out twice due to the universe hating me over the festive season and running out of tracing paper. Ugh. As a result printing, taping and cutting a couple of hours. Learn from my mistake, peeps. Be patient and order a printed copy to trace OR have a sewing helper monkey trained to assemble and cut your PDFs for you… Actually, that is a tops idea! I would call my helper monkey Hugo and pay him in bananas and hugs… But I digress…


The fabric is a super drapey and slippery rayon from Joy’s Fabric Warehouse and unfortunately it is all sold out now. Boo! The floral pattern is perfect for a kimono and it feels absolutely luxurious on your skin. Real talk – this was my first time sewing with rayon and there were lots of rookie mistakes made. We’re talking cutting on the fold not on the flat so sides were seriously uneven, draping bias cut pieces over the back of the couch overnight so one sleeve head went all mutant shaped and not putting in a fresh needle to start resulting in the machine eating my first seam attempt. Ugh! Just because you have been sewing for a couple of years does not mean you don’t make epic fails anymore… On the plus side, as it was holidays I could go sulk and rewatch Jessica Jones with a gin!


So let’s talk construction. Whilst the Asaka is rated Intermediate I believe a confident beginner (armed with cotton rather than silk/rayon/slippery fabrics of cheekiness) could whip this up and have a tops garment. One thing to note is the pattern doesn’t specify French seams as the standard, which is odd given that the recommended fabrics are all slippery suckers. The seam allowances for Named are 3/8” and made for the smallest French seams I have ever done. I ended up using my walking foot to help feed the fabric evenly, took it slowly and it was so worth it in the end. The insides look absolutely smashing! The instructions were easy to follow which hypothetically lends itself to straightforward construction. Unless you cut fabric on the fold and let it stretch out and then have to ease extra sleeve head in even after you try and trim it down but then you sew that irksome sleeve inside out because you are tired and grumpy and now the misshapen sleeve head is fraying from your unpicking efforts. UGH! Needless to say we got there in the end  with our good friend the seam ripper. The moral of this story, folks? Spend Boxing Day rubbing your belly after eating your Christmas feast and jigsaw-ing like it is hot and don’t try to sew up slippery fabriced numbers!


What I liked about this pattern:

  • The sleeves. They make me want to swoon with their fabulousness!
  • The lack of fitting required. When you are gifting for someone 1300kms away it is tops to have something that you don’t have to toile.
  • Pretty much the whole dang thing, really. Maybe it is all the festive champagne talking but this whole pattern rocks out hard.

What I would change for next time:

  • How about we start with the obvious one and make one for myself? Because from where I am sitting that would be a seriously boss move!
  • Cut the pieces on the flat. Gah! Such a rookie mistake. Is there some form of sewing world hazing? Because if there is I feel like it is my time to undertake it…
  • Lengthen the belt. I know this is four sizes down from what I would wear but I want a super long belt!

The Deets

Pattern: Asaka Kimono by Named

Fabric: 3m of floral rayon from Joy’s Fabric Warehouse, interfacing from the stash

Notions: thread (lots of. especially if you are going to French seam this puppy)

See also: Closet Case Files, Lindsay Woodward, What Would Maude Wear


Overall, I am super happy with how this turned out and crazy sad this kimono is being sent onwards and not residing at Chez Bimble + Pimble! The Asaka has achieved the highly coveted two thumbs up rating with a special mention as a pattern for when you want to make a luxe gift for a friend and don’t have the means/energy/locale for fittings. I can’t wait to make one for me – watch this space! But more importantly check out these bananas crazy awesome sleeves…


Total Kylo Ren level of awesome right there. And yes, I totally slipped a Star Wars reference in at the last minute. Were you expecting anything else? 😉


  1. Wowza! 1). It looks like a great fit as is. Why size up? 2). Could you cook with these sleeves? (I can never cook in a kimono. But I apparently want to.)

  2. Thanks, Lodi! The answer to your questions…

    1. Fit wise, I need more room in the waist to have some wrap around happening (had to turf a bunch of photos due to gaping at the waist) and the sleeves begin about an inch in from shoulder bone so not the most comfy fit.

    2. The sleeves would totes get in the way. It is like being part of an interpretive dance troupe with the amount of twirling action that goes on with this 😀

  3. I love the Kimono and am looking at it for myself. I do have one comment regarding the “print” on your blog. Is it you or the program you are using (I’ve read a few other blogs that are the same) that renders the print in a medium shade of grey? True, I am older, and my eyes are older also, but reading blogs in lighter print is very difficult and even hurts. This may be beyond your control and I do not mean to offend in any way as I enjoy your blog. It is just something I’ve been noticing lately.

    • Give in to it! Is is so much fun to make 😀
      And thank you for feedback regarding the text colour – it’s always good to know what is/isn’t working 🙂 The font colour is what comes with this theme – I’ll look into whether it is possible to make it darker. Eye strain is the worst – ugh!

  4. Gorgeous! 🙂 I have this on my plans to make this month, just trying to decide what fabric. Also trying to decide if I make it with the amazing and fabulous sleeves, or let practicality get a look-in instead… Hmmm….

    Also, Kylo Ren as awesome? Lost me with that one – i would put him far down the awesome stakes. (Nice sabre though 😉

    • The fabulous sleeves are totally impractical but so much fun for twirling purposes 😀

      And boo hiss to Kylo but yay to his amazing outfit. The sleeves totally made me think of all the layers in his coat. It is so awesome I kinda want to cosplay it!

  5. My goodness. I am in a total state of lust. I want this bad!!! I even have the perfect 3m of rayon from Darn Cheap to make it with. Wonder if I can justify a new pattern??? Seriously gorgeous!

  6. Gorgeous – fabulous match of fabric to pattern. I had a similar idea and made my Mum the tessuti tokyo jacket in rayon for xmas. Think I’ll now do one each for the birthday’s of my mother in law and sister in law (shhh, don’t tell them!)

  7. This is absolutely gorgeous! I’ve been lusting after this pattern for some time, but can’t really justify it for my totally non-posh lifestyle. (Although, come to think of it, the delivery man caught me in my gross old terrycloth bathrobe just this week, so maybe I should upgrade!) But, one of my dearest friends is getting married at the end of the month, and this seems like the perfect gift for her to take along on her Caribbean honeymoon! Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Canadas, ayy? What is 3m in yards? The prices at Joy fabrics, is that dollars? In reagrds to bthe kimono — AWESOME SAUCE!!! Love the print, OMG. I would love to add this to my list of projects for 2016. I may have to give real consideration but how difficult would it be? Is there a translation factor? French seams. Do you have to add fabric to compensate for the folds? I tried to do and the make felt tight.

    • More like Aussie 😉
      I think it’s about 3.3 yards of fabric and Joy’s prices are in AUD.
      I think a confident beginner could do this if they use a cotton and did not French seam.
      If you do French seam with this pattern and have not done so before I would recommend adding 2/8″ to seam allowances to bring them up to the standard 5/8″. The 3/8″ French seam is doable but fiddly. Always check your SA before starting your French seams so they don’t end up too tight 🙂
      No translation issues for me – this pattern is in English.
      Have fun making it up!

  9. I can’t count how many times I’ve bought fabric or patterns to make something for someone else, only to make it for myself… you’re a saint to give this pretty up! And I’ve so been there cutting rayon on the fold.

    • It is my one generous act of the year, Morgan. From then on I will be Gollum-ing everything I make.
      And so glad to hear someone else got suckered in by the rayon. I felt like such a dolt!

  10. OMG THOSE SLEEVES! I am in love! Also deeply, deeply bitter that that fabric is no longer available 🙁

    And how great is Jessica Jones? I watched the whole thing in like, two days!

  11. In reply to Vicki: Google is your friend. Type in “AUD to USD” and Google will translate. (Assuming you’re American. ) So goes meters to yards: “3 meters to yards”. Google says 3.28084. So 3 1/3 yards should do it.

    And Amanda, You obviously now have a world of friends, not just 50! OBVIOUSLY every woman on Earth needs a kimono or two. If IS read this, women could shed their birkas and you could create world peace! Sometimes I crack me up! But really, why not?

  12. I just found your blog and now I want to make ALL THE THINGS. I have finally gotten brave enough to start sewing my own garments, and here you are with a similar style and size so I can see how things may look. Plus, I love how your photos aren’t all “bloggy” and boring! YAY! So, thanks for sharing!


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