Make a Kimono Style Beach Cover Up
Are you planning some beach time this summer? I surely am :-)!
I just added this wavy DIY kimono to my summer wardrobe. It protects you from too much sun and you can quickly wrap yourself in it and run to the ice cream parlor. It might also make you feel more comfortable. It surely does for me :-) I personally don’t like running around and playing with our kids on the beach in my bathing suit all day. My skin is definitely more sensitive to sunburn than it was when I was younger.
This kimono is very easy to make! That is why we are sharing this “how to” with our lovely customers and the whole sewing community for that matter. This is a free tutorial without a pattern to print out. There is no pattern printing involved because all 4 pattern pieces are rectangular so you can just measure and cut them right out of your fabric and follow the steps below. As with most of our projects, this one is also very beginner-friendly. All seams are straight and most hems are too, except for the back neckline.
The best fabrics to make a beach cover up are lightweight and flowy fabrics like linen, chiffon, lightweight cotton, viscose, polyester or rayon. There are some things to consider before buying fabric for a beach cover-up. When you are a beginner, avoid chiffon. It is very pretty but not the easiest fabric to work with because it moves A LOT while cutting and sewing. Natural fibers such as cotton and linen will give a more classy look. The downside for these two is that they take longer to dry and they wrinkle more easily.
This pattern is easily adaptable to different sizes. My finished kimono is 34 inches wide and 38 ½ inches long, the sleeves are 11 ½ inches in diameter. It is oversized for a size M-L so I think it will fit a lot of sizes.
If you want a longer or a shorter kimono, just add or remove some inches. You can change the width of the sleeves. You can add facing on the neckline instead of a hem. You can also add trims or lace in between the seams to upgrade this kimono but in this tutorial I'll just explain the easy peasy kimono for a beginner. Or instead of a kimono, you could also make a dress and not cut open the front part entirely. Make a small V-neck in the front and just hem the neckline.
My fabric piece was 56 x 80 inches and I almost used it all. Besides fabric and thread, you need some twill tape or interfacing tape to reinforce the shoulder seams.
Measure and cut
- 2 pieces for the body : 40 by 36 inches (we will cut the FRONT panel in the next step)
- 2 pieces for the sleeves : 10 by 24 inches
Fold the 2 body panels in half, right sides facing, so you get 2 fabric pieces in front of you of 20 by 36 inches.
- Take the back body panel.
- Put a mark with a temporary fabric marker on the fold 1 ½ inch down from the top.
- Put a second mark on the top edge 4 inch to the side.
- Connect these 2 marks making a curved line.
- Cut on this line to make the back neckline.
- Take the front body panel.
- Put a mark with a temporary fabric marker on the top edge about 4 inch from the top corner where the fold is. If you want to make changes on the neckline, it is important that this mark matches the mark to the side on the back body piece. That is the most important thing to keep in mind here.
- Connect this mark with a long slightly diagonal line to the bottom edge corner fold.
- Cut off this triangular piece (with the fold) to make and shape the 2 front panels.
Assemble the Kimono
Before you start sewing I would suggest you stabilize or reinforce the shoulder seams with stay tape (a type of interfacing) or a twill tape. Shoulder seams are prone to stretching and sagging as time goes on. Stabilizing them prevents this. I just use fusible tape and apply it on the wrong side of the back fabric panel on the line where I am sewing the seam.
Finish the edges of the shoulder seam of the back and the front panel. I’m using my serger but you can also use an overlock stitch with an overlock foot on your regular sewing machine. I did a blog about finishing your edges with an overlock foot a while ago.
Pin and sew the shoulder part of the 2 front panels to the back panel, right sides facing. Stitch, making sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end of each shoulder seam. When finished, press the seam open.
Open up and lay your body piece on your work surface wrong side down. Pin and sew the sleeves to the side of the body piece, right sides facing, and make sure the middle of the 18 inch side matches the shoulder seam you just stitched. Make sure the shoulder seams are open. You pressed them in the previous step.
Finish the edges of these newly stitched seams with your serger or an overlock stitch.
Now sew the sleeves closed using a straight stitch. When you get to the corner, change direction and continue sewing down so you attach the front and back panel under the arms. Do this on both sides. Also finish these edges with your serger or overlock stitch.
Now your project is assembled. Check if the size is how you want it before you start hemming the sleeves, neckline and bottom edge. You can take it in a little, if you want.
Hem the kimono
If you don’t want the edges to show, your best option is to use a double folded hem, but you can also finish the edges with a serger and fold the edge over once.
To prepare the hemming, move to your ironing board, grab a ruler and start pressing the hems. The hot hem ruler has made this process a lot faster. You can measure and iron on the ruler.
Start with the neckline. That one is the hardest, especially on the back neckline, as it is curved. Fold the fabric in about ⅜ of an inch and press over the entire length of the neckline. You can make a few little snips on the curved edge. Fold in another ½ inch and press again. Secure the hem in place with pins or clips. Sew all around ⅛” from the edge of the hemline.
Hem the sleeves. Just like the front hem, first fold ⅜ of an inch, secondly, fold ½ inch and sew down on the edge of the fold.
Lastly, hem the bottom part. I made this hem a little wider: first fold ½ inch, second fold 1 inch.
And that’s it. Iron your hems flat and you are all set for some summer beach time!
Sewing enthusiast for MadamSew.com