Sunday 13 August 2017

Completed: Sointu Kimono Tee

This was one of those fabrics that you fall in love with, think about all day every day, then cave in and buy. Only once it arrives you realise you have absolutely no idea what to make with it. It's a viscose, but not a challis, more of a medium weight, which would make it suitable for a dress, but it's still a little transparent and I'm not a light coloured dress person. So into the stash it went.
I had a few ideas - there is a whole "window pane check" period in my Sewing Inspiration Pinterest board, and came across this Madewell top, which I really love, but then I discovered the Named Sointu tee and a plan was born. This was all some time ago, and it wasn't until more recently that I realised the pattern was designed for stable knits, not drapey wovens!

However, kimonos are made in drapey wovens, and the pattern has lots of ease, and if you Google Image (that's a verb, right?) the pattern, you will see that loads of people have made it in wovens, so all good. 

I whipped this top up in a couple of nights. It would have taken less time if I hadn't had to pattern match and cut flat. After the first night, when I had sewn the front and back together and added the belt loops, I HATED it! Even taking into account that it was meant to be belted, it just looked awful. Massive, too baggy, shapeless and dull. Even though I'd had this pattern and fabric matched in my head for a while, I'd had a last minute wobble about whether the pairing would work, and at this stage I started to think I should have listened to my gut. However, after a night off, I went back to it. I ignored the given construction order and made the belt first, thinking that I'd try it with that before investing any more time in finishing it off. I tried it on with the belt and it just worked! It still wasn't perfect though - cutting off the belt loops helped with that. I found them to be clunky and too low and they just looked wrong. I figured that I could go back and make thread chain loops if I needed them (like I did for my Sway dress), but having worn the top once I don't find I need them. 

I think other than the fabric and the belt loops, I made the rest as per the instructions. Oh no, there were a couple of other things. I took a slightly longer hem, so I could do a double turn - the instructions have you overlock the raw edge and turn once. Fine for a knit, but not great on a woven, IMO. So, my version is about 1cm shorter than drafted. And I cut the sleeve bands on the bias, because it was going to be impossible to pattern match them. The sleeve band has no shoulder seam, so it was never going to match up at both front and back. I like it with the bias detail, and kind of wish I'd made the belt on the bias too now. I think it's a nice contrast. 

But otherwise, as per instructions. ;)

I think this is a fabulous pattern, and it's deceptively simple. I wore it to meet a friend for dinner and Festival shows last night, and she commented that it must have been quite challenging to make - and she sews (albeit not clothes). But it's such a simple shape under that very long belt (designed to be worn wrapped around twice). The rounded v neck is a little tricky to get neat, as it's finished with bias binding, but perseverance gets there. I would suggest stay stitching the neckline though, if you do use a woven in this pattern. The instructions don't suggest it, but it's worth doing.

But the sign of a good pattern is how many more versions you immediately start planning, isn't it? I think this would be absolutely perfect in silk and lengthened to dress version. I'd also like to try it in a knit. I think it could be a great basic in a solid colour, but could be amazing in a really bold print - imagine a large scale floral on a dark background, or a watercolour type print? It's a bit of distinctive shape to be a true basic, and there is a lot of volume going on, so you need to think about what to balance that out with (it's far better with skinny jeans, than the straight leg ones I am wearing in these photos, for instance) but I think there is definitely room for another version or 3 in my stash!

Also: I had my hair cut! Not sure I love it, but time will tell. 


  1. Love it. I have seen one of these made up in jersey and I really liked that too. Haircut is great as well!!

  2. I love the fabric too. The final garment looks really stylish and sophisticated. Nice work there!

  3. I agree with Caroline - "sophisticated" is the word to describe this top on you! Gorgeous!

  4. This is just so stylish Helen! You've such a good eye for matching patterns and fabric. That's interesting how much the belt changed your view of it - thank goodness you didn't give up before you'd tried that! Your hair looks great too.

  5. Great top! I sewed one in a woven and also found it was *gigantic* at first. I hacked it down to size quite a bit and am happy with it now.

  6. The fabric is really lovely and it your top looks perfect!


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