Kimono-Dress in patchworks – fabric upcycling process.
Kimono-Dress patchwork, lined. Lace-up decorative front expands to fit bust 36 – 40 inches. Length: below knee.
Gorgeous patchwork colours form treasure trove arrangement. Generous fit up to 40 bust: Sleeves are kimono style loose, starting from below bust line. Lace ties ensure fit under bust. Back bodice top is already fitted to body, with gathers below
To buy ‘Purple Shimmers’or to commission similar, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Purple Patchwork Kimono-Dress – Creation Journey
Three or four plains and three to four prints, with maybe another contrasting plain works well. At least 7 different fabrics are needed for a good patchwork result.
When cutting up garments for patchwork, cut up along the sides of all seams. Sometimes cotton and linen seams can be ripped undone, and more fabric saved. Overall, unpicking is not worth the time it takes.
Sometimes there is fabric strain near darts or side seams as there were in this blouse. In such case, don’t undo the seam where stitches have pulled. This blouse had strain around the front dart seams. Due to inherent weakness in the loose weave, this fabric will be quilt-machined onto a thin cotton backing, to ensure it stays firm.
Many parts of a garment can be recycled into a different new garment, such as this lace-styled neck. It won’t be included in the kimono, but it will form the start of another dress, likely to be with navy, if only the lace is used, or navy and pink if the print is kept.
This top is from a stretch cotton fabric, so will be quilt machined onto a cotton, for firmness, to be similar in weight to the linen and taffeta. If used only in its stretch state, it may cause a slight ‘baggyness’ in parts of the patchwork.
To buy ‘Purple Shimmers’ or to commission similar, please email email@example.com
My bundles kept overnight, steamed next day; allowing time for dye impregnation.
My sample, after steaming; strong madder and hollyhock dye colour on thin silk.
Thicker silk gives less strong colour results; lilac, purple, ocre, using the simple method. The seed remains are visible before washing. Silk sampling is with ad-hoc arrangement of colours. If fabric had a resist paste or melted wax in some places, the dye would not penetrate and that would make a design left in white.
Plant dye workshop I attended to make my samples was run by Flora Arbuthnott at Forde Abbey Garden Festival 2017. Details of flora’s work and workshops below:-
Recycling Shopping Mall provides a NEW ENTICING INTERFACE: better than dump-off-your-stuff at the city tip – have it recycled properly. As the original writer describes – city dumps with a circle road to piles of stuff – aren’t easily in a position to encourage recycling. Furniture and clothes are the obvious ones. Even half empty tins of paint are useful for something. Unfortunately there are still folks who will only buy ‘new’ and a place like this one in Sweden could make recycling the ‘norm’, rather than something to be frowned upon. It is the WAY FORWARD to the CIRCULAR ECONOMY.
Rude Record’s local Melborne council are creating more landfill !!!! Oh dear.
There is very little that cannot be recycled! Even broken furniture could be wood chips for garden earth cover and paths. ALL plastic should be recycled.
‘Love Never Dies’inspiration taken from autumn floral printed T-shirt patch, used in dress centre front. A second version ‘Love Never Dies II’ is available, same patches, lined, with white fringed hem.
Bandeau top inspiration: slice cut from ethnic printed skinny stretch dress.
Patches made and joined in strips of three, then join those to make a length as shown in picture on floor.
Patchwork section attached to stretchy cotton bandeau top, by hand stretch back stitch shown in MAKING INSTRUCTIONS below.
Seams are overlapped one quarter inch – one half inch, and zig-zag machined to avoid bulky inside seams. 6 different patchwork fabrics are used making up a large rectangle of 11 patches x 3 patches. Keep adding strips (here strips are 3 patches long). Make strips until there are enough to join up around hips: add 2 extra patch widths to create fullness when attached to bandeau top.
NOTE: black lace patches are made by fixing over lighter fabric base. There are possibilities of using different backgrounds for lace, for more subtle effects.
When choosing fabrics, 6 seems to be a good number of alternative fabrics. They can be either contrasting, as here, or similar in tone. Dark – Medium- Light is a good mix.
Muted schemes are more satisfactory and versatile than multi-rainbow colour themes. The size of fabric areas cut from garments, dictates the size of the patches. In this instance it was the ‘Love Never Dies’ T-shirt print I started from, giving me two patch lengths when cutting.
I was originally going to position the patchworks in diagonal formation over a bias cut lining, but they weren’t cut square so it would look odd. I therefore turned it to straightforward vertical arrangement. Recycling 6 different garments, and cutting at least 8 patches from each, is a good start. I cut more if I like a scheme and want to make another similar.
These patches are 12.5cm x 18cm cut (approximately 7″ x 5″). Decide the length of garment skirt section needed, from seam under bandeau top, then divide by three for length of patchwork strips: to be either 3, 4, or 5 patches deep. 3 is enough for this short dress.
To buy ‘Love Never Dies’ or commission new one please email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
Close up of back, shows butterfly prints, and zig-zag seaming flat overlaps.
Zig-zag machining of patches: overlap quarter inch,
making two rows at each overlap (note it is flat,
no folded seams).
Pinning patchwork length equally along bandeau bottom
on the inside.
The patchwork top folded over and pinned in place,
ready for stitching by hand.
How the pinning looks after pinning one section to sew.
More to follow.....
Hand stitched back stitch which gives full stretch result.
Photo of stitch process omitted but IS SHOWN BELOW when
attaching lining to this seam join. (Note: I could have
machine-tacked lining to patches first, then stretch
stitched them both together, but I needed to experiment)
Outer view shows small hand stitches (stretch back stitch)
showing through. Quite acceptable appearance;
could even be larger, as a feature.
Stretch back stitch: holding work this way, each needle
insertion is towards you, hand underneath can test for
flexibility of stretch, to ensure same stretch as patches
Working left to right, back-stitching into patchwork
section above, and lining section below. This lining
(taken from a dress), is on the 'bias' which aids
stretchiness. It would need to be same width as
patchwork section sewn to, to give equal stretch.
Needle comes back to lining back stitch from upper
stitch. Needle goes in right to left, but stitches
complete to the right.
Finished stretch stitch: inside of dress, just below
where dress patchwork attaches (also stretch stitch)
Join strips of lace for hem trim. I used a neck
frill and sleeve edges from a lace dress (4 cut
lengths). Press quarter inch in then pin to dress hem.
Machining lace edgings to dress hem. Zig-zag.
Finished lace trim attached (inside view).
NOTE: dress fabric was turned under and pressed
towards front beforehand.
Finished lace trim showing front and inside back.
Fabric hem sewn to inside lining:
to sit behind black lace.
Top of bandeau is folded over and narrow elastic
inserted. Stretchiness is preserved by using
stretch backstitch instead of machining.
To buy ‘Love Never Dies’ dress/skirt please email: awhile Shamanic Nights Online shop is under reconstruction.
Shamanic Nights makes a personal commitment to hand crafted ‘slow fashion‘. ‘Up-cycled couture’better describes my craft work, as each garment is very carefully hand made from cut up recycled clothes found in Devon Charity Shops. Results show how recycled textiles can still be beautiful, worthy and robust when discarded prematurely.
We do not need any more ‘fast fashion’, where profits come before material resource depletion: particularly water, cotton (film ‘White gold’) & silk as well as human energy waste where internationally based workers are paid lowly for many hours hard work just so someone can buy many things cheaply, only to cast them out after a short while, due to fashion dictates.
Good quality fabrics can last many years. The only fabric which will not wear well is mixtures with acrylic or polyester, as the acrylic polymer threads always ‘catch’ and ruck up bobbly, making a garment surface look ‘worn out’ and certainly undesirable.
My unique colourful one-off bespoke casual leisure garments are available to buy online. Online Shop
Update 2018: First Sunday in the month April – October, I shall be on Exeter Quay under the old fish market as part of Inside Outside Markets.
Some Shamanic Nights garments have painted silk designs by Amelia Jane Designs on my other site, where you can find textile designs – paint on paper – remaining designs from 1990’s international freelance textile works.
Inspiration started with the sumptuous velvet! It started life as a large scarf. Then I spotted the wool skirt with a lilac tone in and envisaged with wool cummerbund due to the lilac/beige colour harmony.
Floral voile insets also chosen for colour harmony. An experimentation challenge with ‘V’ shaped cummerbund (lined) and cutting skirt sections to hang from the diagonal.
‘Plum Velvet’ Skirt No. 1 has 4 small triangular inserts, forming a fully circular skirt (great for dancing), and dark butterfly print hem frill.
‘Plum Velvet’Skirt No. 2 has 2 triangular insets front and back and cream frill.
‘Plum Velvet’ Skirt No. 3 is made of many flared lilac and beige pieces (photo not showing).
‘Plum Velvet’ skirt No. 2 side insertion of invisible zip.
The velvet was cut to allow for 8 pieces, 4 in each skirt,
(2 back, 2 front). Velvet piece positioned to cummerbund
on dummy, gathered, using straight edge, allow to hang,
then cut straight hem at base. Remove and cut 3 more for
Once they were all cut, I placed the second group of
4 velvet pieces the other way up, i.e. placing the bias
along the cummerbund edge, allowing the straight edge to
become the hem. (It was necessary to use straight edge to
begin with to allow natural fall before cutting
fabric at hem).
Below are two pieces after cutting shapes (from hanging
on dummy), laid out with triangle gap, to cut inserts out.
Cutting triangle insert for velvet front backs.
Triangle inset: lace detail (strip cut from blouse)
is stretched with zig-zag stitching to make flared
edge then machined to inset side.
Then join inset to main skirt part:either zig-zag on
top of right side or make seam with right sides
together then press flat well.
Machining right sides together, joining inset to velvet
Cummerbund front and back - cut and darted.
Measure your waist or dropped waist above hip,
at position required: (e.g. 26") then allow
1.5 inches extra for waist darts on each piece,
(which allows for dart take-up). Machine, press.
Lining also cut on bias and darted.
Iron-on interfacing won't need darts if just 2
inches deep. Lay on and cut curved shapes.
Machine half inch at waist. Clip waist.
Press lining inwards leaving seam space for
closed side and zipped side. Finnish waist machine
line into fold/seam edge point of lining fold.
Snip inside waist top seams including stiffening.
Machine both side seams along wool seam and
lining seam all in one go.
Press seam flat, (snip waist seams as above),
then fold lining inwards and steam-press flat.
Cummerbund lining pressed inside. One side
left open for zip when skirt
section is attached.
Velvet and insets skirt section all joined:
ready to pin and tack to cummerbund,
tacking before machining.
All skirt sections joined. Top of lace strips are
folded in and excess cut off, then machined
down while top-stitching with zig-zag
around inserts to avoid bulky seams.
Hand gather between pins, after positioning
velvet to cummerbund, right sides together.
Machine along gather line,
removing pins as you go.
Zig-zagging hem, pulling slightly,
to create slight flare.
Attaching frill behind skirt(underside view):
Join strips of satin, silk, or polyester lining
fabric (best cut on bias) twice length needed.
Press over top edge quarter inch,
pin to inside of skirt, half inch above hem.
Zig-zag machine frill to skirt,removing pins as you go.
Zig-zag frill hem from front.