The familiar danky smell of old, used clothes traveled up my nostrils. In the last 30 minutes spent combing through the racks, I had not found anything to take home without the risk of having to return it a few days later. Soon, the store will be closing, and I would have to try my luck another time.
I scanned the thrift store one last time from the shelf of mismatched shoes to the glass miniatures laid out haphazardly on top of each rack. My eyes landed on a rack of Halloween costumes and dresses lined up against the far right wall. It was oddly set out of place near the furniture and away from the rest of the clothes.
Not to be defeated, I made my way through the maze of loveseats and couches. In a race against time, I sifted through a few random pieces. As expected, most were oversized wedding dresses and costumes that had seen better days.
A curious design peaked out at me from between two voluminous dresses. The tag identified it as a men’s 3 XL shirt by Natural Issue. Perhaps it was the black and gold print or the white etchings, but an odd image of a Samurai pacing in his home on a warm afternoon popped up in my mind. Everything seemed to connect, and I knew what I wanted to make next.
This idea truly came on a whim and it is so quick and easy, it can be completed in 30 minutes or less!
Oversized button-up shirt
2 ½ Yard decorative elastic
1 ½ Yard fringe
Basic sewing tools
Many button-up shirts are thin. When choosing your shirt, look for a material that is on the heavier side and not prone to wrinkles. This will help to hold the shape of the kimono better, and you can avoid having to iron it each time you want to wear it. If you are lucky enough to find one that flows and drapes nicely, that’s even better!
STEP 1. Put on some music. Dance like nobody’s watching.
STEP 2. Remove the collar.
Cut close to the seam that holds the collar base to the shirt. Take care to remove only the minimum amount of fabric. If too much fabric is removed, the final neckline will be too big, and the kimono will hang off the shoulders instead.
STEP 3. Draw a diagonal line from the neckline to the bottom of the center front. Try to keep the transition as smooth as possible. Cut along the line.
STEP 4. Remove any remaining fabric from the shirt placket.
The shirt placket is the fold down the center front where the buttons and buttonholes sit. Depending on the shape created in Step 3, there may be fabric remaining from the placket.
STEP 5. Attach the decorative elastic. Pin with the decorative part facing away from the edge. Secure with a zigzag stitch.
STEP 6. Remove any excess elastic.
I like to have more trimming and fabrics than what the measurements call for. This gives me some wiggle room if I make a mistake. At the end of the step, I simply remove any excess and move on.
STEP 7. Fold the edge under, allowing the decorative part to peak out from beneath the fold. Secure with a straight stitch. Do no stretch the fabric or elastic since this will create a gathered edge.
STEP 8. With the fringe still intact, pin it along the bottom of the kimono. Leave ½ inch of extra fringe at the beginning and end.
STEP 9. Fold the ½ inch of fringe over the raw edge of the kimon. This will cover the raw edge and prevent the fringe from unwinding. Secure with a straight stitch.
STEP 10. Sew a second straight stitch below the first to secure the fringe. This part is optional and is an extra measure to keep the fringe attached to the kimono. You can also double stitch in Step 9 and skip this step altogether.
STEP 11. Remove the wire thread from the fringe. Shake it out and gently comb through the fringe to loosen it.