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Baby Kimonos

Source: Martha Stewart Baby, Volume 6 2002


Kimonos are worn mostly on special occasions in modern Japan, but many features translate wonderfully to everyday baby clothes. Wrap shirts or dresses are ideal for babies, who dislike having clothing pulled on or off over their heads. Kimonos tie or button securely closed, and the fasteners are out of the way, so curious babies aren't tempted to toy with or nibble on them. And the double layer of material across the chest will add extra warmth where a toddler will need it most.

Our kimono is amazingly versatile. Basic and clean of line, it takes on different personalities depending on the length and the fabric it's made from. Short kimonos make lightweight, comfortable shirts. Longer kimonos can be dresses or coats.



  • Pattern paper

  • 1 yard of fabric

  • 2 yards of single-fold bias tape

  • 10 inches of thin ribbon

  • Sewing supplies


  1. Download and print our template, and use it to make a two-piece pattern.

  2. Use our pattern full-size for size 0 to 3 months. For bigger babies, enlarge it as follows: For 3 to 6 months, photocopy at 105 percent; 6 to 12 months, 110 percent; 12 to 18 months, 115 percent; 18 to 24 months, 120 percent; 24 to 36 months, 125 percent. If you are using a thick fabric, use the next size up.

  3. After you have assembled the pattern, lay the fabric wrong side up, pin pattern pieces on top, and cut out (a 3/8-inch seam allowance is included in the pattern). Mark dots on fabric pieces.

  4. Make ties: Cut 21-inch piece of single-fold bias tape. Open tape, fold in half, with right sides facing, and sew along crease parallel to fold. Trim close to stitching. With loop turner, turn inside out; press. Cut into three equal pieces. Lay main-garment piece flat, wrong side up, front toward you. Lift fabric at angled cut at the shoulder; pin two ties at dots, positioning as shown. Fold up sleeve hems by 3/8 inch twice, pin, and topstitch.

  5. Lay front-flap piece wrong side up; fold left side in by 3/8 inch twice; pin and topstitch. Place front-flap piece on main-garment piece over the right sleeve, right sides facing; align angled shoulder edges, sandwiching in ends of ties, and pin. Stitch along angled edges with 3/8-inch seam allowance. Zigzag edges. Beneath angled shoulder, fold side edge of main garment under twice by 3/8 inch; topstitch to hem. Fold kimono in half along shoulders, right sides facing. Pin along sides and underside of sleeves. On left side (with garment front facing you) at dot under the arm, pin a 5-inch ribbon. Hand stitch another 5-inch ribbon at dot on edge of front flap. (These provide inner ties.) Sew along pinned edges with 3/8-inch seam allowance, catching tie. Zigzag edges. In curves under each arm, make 5 cuts in seam allowance without cutting through straight stitching. Hem kimono as sleeves were hemmed. Turn right side out.

  6. Pin the third 7-inch tie at dot on angled edge of garment front, as shown. Cut 8-inch piece of bias tape. Open, pin to angled edge, right sides facing, starting at neck and aligning edges as shown; sew along top crease, catching tie. Fold tape over fabric edge, refold at crease, and hand stitch to wrong side of garment, sewing to end of tape. Press.

  7. Trim away point of fabric extending beyond angled edge of front flap. Cut a 12-inch piece of bias tape, and use it to cover the raw edge of the neckline as you did the angled shoulder, turning ends of tape under to hem. Press.

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