Sunday, 17 February 2019

Silk Double Georgette Kimono - Zero Waste Sewing

Elbe Textiles are one of my favourite indie pattern discoveries of last year. They produce women's, mens and unisex patterns (I love Lauren's thoughts on gendered clothing in modern western society) alongside a few accessory designs. Their designs have a chic, modern, minimalist vibe and are effortlessly wearable. Just what I need in my life. Their samples are all made up in lovely tactile natural fibres and I'm drawn to their sustainable sewing ethos.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Elbe Textiles Zero Waste Kimono in Silk Double Georgette from The Fabric Store

A few months back owner Lauren posted a tutorial for a Zero Waste Kimono Pattern and it was the first thing I thought of when I realised I needed a lightweight cover-up for my holidays. Zero waste sewing (using up every scrap of your fabric for a project) is increasingly drawing my attention. I hate waste and I'm sure a lot of you, like me have been appalled to learn more over the last year about the impact of the clothing industry and waste from it on our planet and the people on it. How I can change my own sewing consumption and practices has been on my mind a lot recently. I get frustrated when patterns over estimate the required yardage on the envelope, leaving a hard to use up 1/2 to 3/4 of a metre left over. I have often taken to laying out my pattern pieces before purchasing fabric to see how much I really need and am delighted when I come across fabric stores where you can purchase in quantities of 10cm rather than half or whole metres. This is a simple thing that more stores should do to reduce waste.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Elbe Textiles Zero Waste Kimono in Silk Double Georgette from The Fabric Store

In zero waste pattern cutting working within the confines of using all the fabric you have can produce some really wonderful creative designs! What I love about this kimono tutorial is that you can easily adapt it a little to use up smaller pieces of various scrap fabrics and end up with a bit of a patchwork design. In the tutorial sample you can see they have used a contrast fabric for the bands to beautiful effect. I might have something to use all those left over half metres for after all! Lauren is currently working on a zero waste dress pattern which you can find sneaky peaks of on Instagram.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Elbe Textiles Zero Waste Kimono in Silk Double Georgette from The Fabric Store

I do have to hold my hands up and admit that because I wanted a slightly different kimono to the one in the blog post the garment I've made is not strictly zero waste. But in the interests of sustainability I did put all scraps to good use! I had a large piece left at the end of the fabric which was full width I hemmed it on all four sides to make a beautiful sarong. Also, as I wanted the ombre-type print to run down my garment I had to cut my body down the length of the fabric rather than on the cross as instructed in the tutorial. Cutting my hem and sleeve bands alongside this left me with a long 12cm strip which I hemmed to use as a headscarf which is proving immensely useful in the heat.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Elbe Textiles Zero Waste Kimono in Silk Double Georgette from The Fabric Store

This stunning 100% silk printed double georgette is from The Fabric Store. I don't often sew with georgette because it is sheer and I don't like to have to wear a slip. However, the double weight version is much more opaque whilst retaining all the gorgeous qualities of a regular georgette. In fact the added weight seems to enhance them. It is still slightly translucent and I wouldn't want to use it for a dress or skirt without lining but it is well suited to a top or lightweight jacket like this. The item listing on the website describes it as fluid and that it is! It has the most wonderful movement like liquid and using it for a loose fitting garment like this with limited seams really allows it to billow and show off. What I really do like about georgette as opposed to some silks is the matte slightly crepe finish.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Elbe Textiles Zero Waste Kimono in Silk Double Georgette from The Fabric Store

The more I've sewn the less print I seem to work with but this lovely non-descript abstract design is right up my street. The pattern is screen printed which gives the colour a wonderful density that is slightly stronger on one side than the other. I initially thought I would make a dramatic full length kimono as in the tutorial; how beautiful would that have been with the drape and print of this beautiful textile?! But ultimately decided that a jacket length was going to be much more practical and useful in the wilds of Southern Africa. Plus the tutorial is for fabrics 140cm wide.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Elbe Textiles Zero Waste Kimono in Silk Double Georgette from The Fabric Store

To make a shorter version I simply omitted the wide bands at the hem of the robe and reduced the length of the neck band appropriately. I had ordered 3 metres of the silk and had one metre left to make my sarong so if you'd like to make a short version like me you'll need 2 metres of narrow width fabric. If your fabric is wider you may be able to cut more creatively and get away with less. I let the repeat of the print down the length of the fabric dictate the length of my main body piece. I wanted the band of black to cross the body at the same height front and back. As the front and back of the kimono are one piece that sits over the shoulders my shoulder line needed to be the mid point between two black bands. My finished kimono is 85cm long from shoulder to hem.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Elbe Textiles Zero Waste Kimono in Silk Double Georgette from The Fabric Store

The kimono is really simple to put together, lots of straight seams, and would be a great project for a beginner as there is no fitting involved. The front band and cuffs are cleanly finished with topstitched wide bands which I really like. One thing I will say is that as I had such lovely delicate fabric to work with I wanted to use french seams but that proved problematic with the triangular 'gusset' pieces at the underarm. Things got a little messy there but I got there in the end and as always french seams turn out to be worth the hassle. If making again in a fabric suited to french seams I would omit the under arm triangles.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Elbe Textiles Zero Waste Kimono in Silk Double Georgette from The Fabric Store

I'm delighted with my kimono and really enjoyed the process of making this. Cutting out rectangles of fabric to create a garment from felt so free and creative. I'd love to play around with the concept a bit more. Expect a summer wardrobe made of squares and rectangles!

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this review and the pictures. I've been reading about the zero waste kimono, but on the Elbe Textiles website there's only one pic so it's hard for me to see what the finished garment will look like.

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    1. Yes I did want a couple more photos before I gave it a go too, mainly so I could see how the different fabrics and panels worked together but as I was using one fabric and adapting it anyway I just dove right in! It is a great little design, very clever

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  2. Thank you so much for the lovely post! I love how yours turned it. It looks beautiful xxx

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    1. You're very welcome Lauren! I loved the process of making it and it was so useful on my travels!

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  3. Super kimono! The fabric is beautiful - I wasn't ware tat double geogette existed. Totally with you on the required yardage on the backs of envelopes. Drives me crackers - I tend to line up my pattern pieces to get a better idea of the quantity required, because I have huge amounts of left-overs of about 0.5 metres - too small for another garment, but requiring lots of imagination to team up with another fabric. Think I might need to look into the world of zero-waste patterns.

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    1. O double georgette is wonderful! It has all the drape and movement but a little more weight and the added bonus of not having to worry too much about lining!
      0.5m is exactly what I end up left with too! Sooo frustrating! Laying out your pattern pieces before buying the fabric is a great plan

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  4. Supper cute! I am going to Florida next week on vacation and have wanted a kimono for a while. I might omit the French seams to get it done in time. Thanks!
    Lucy

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    1. Hope you have been having an amazing time in Florida and that your speedy kimono has been coming in useful!

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  5. This is lovely, and I definitely agree about envelopes overestimating. I find that I can usually squeeze the main body of an Ogden cami (without facing) from half a meter. I've now got more reversible tops than I could ever possibly need though :)

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    1. Yes I've done the Ogden from half a metre, loosing just a tiny bit of length. As much as I love that pattern though there are probably only so many I need in my wardrobe and I'd rather have just the right amount of fabric for the original project and then spend my time sewing something else I love rather than trying to use up my scraps!

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!