Three shades of Kabuki

In London it is undeniably the season for long sleeves, multiple layers and cosy fabrics. This has shaken up my sewing plans and all the summery projects I didn't get round to executing have been reluctantly but firmly put on the back burner until next year. 

As soon as Paper Theory released the Kabuki Tee pattern I fell in love. I have a 1950s dress pattern in my stash that has a similar pointed sleeve insertion. I've always loved it, though the style of the dress itself is really not for my (pinched waist, huge circle skirt) and I've had in my mind I'd do a major hack to make it a blouse one day. But then the Kabuki came along and jumped right to the top of my 'to make' list.

I mentally toyed around with a few fabric options. I love the plain white version shown in the promotional photos. I bought this fairly thin cotton with a shirt in mind, but wondered if it would work for the Kabuki. I couldn't decide whether the sharp style lines would get lost with the busy surface design, and I considered maybe adding black piping to bring it out. That seemed to make the project quite complicated though, especially as I have never piped anything before, let alone a sharp point.

Then very clever and stylish creator of Paper Theory posted a sweater version of the Kabuki and everything became clear. I had three thick sweater fabrics in my stash, two shades of grey left over from this skirt I made for my book...

And some black recycled Thread International fabric left over from this sweater.

Alone, none of them were big enough to make a garment, but by combining their forces there would be plenty. I lengthened the sleeve piece by sticking some leftover paper scraps from the pattern at the end, extending it by 28cm in total. I cut the sleeve pieces like this, but before I sewed the under arm I trimmed them away so they were tapered rather than square. I need to add that alteration to the paper pattern now. I took away an extra 1 and 1/2 inches from each side (I love to use both centimetres and inches, why use one measuring system when you can use two!) so reducing the overall circumference of the sleeve end by 3"

I also diligently marked out the inverted corners of the front and back pieces, chalking them out on the wrong side of the fabric then sewing through the chalk marks so the stitches would be visible on the right side. I marked out the sleeve corners with chalk too, and really that's all I needed to have done, so I won't bother marking the body at all next time.

It's actually a really simple make and comes together very quickly. I had added an extra inch of length, but having tried it on I decided to crop that and more off the bottom and add a waistband.

I added a neck band (which I cut 6cm deep) and just hemmed the ends of the sleeves by turning them up. The result is pretty dreamy if I do say so myself.

And look at those corners. Not bad.

It wasn't really tricky at all inserting these sleeves so don't be afraid if you're feeling intimidated by them. I actually didn't snip into the corners to release them until after I'd done the sewing, I just pivoted at the needle bunching fabric to one side or the other as appropriate.

And I think this sweater is a winner. I was slightly worried the points would end up landing right at the nipples as I have a pretty high bust, but that isn't the case and I love the overall shape.

I think the crisp design and the understated tones mean that even though it is a comfy sweater I can wear it to the office.

I'm currently wearing these 'shoes' at work which really are more like slippers especially as they cause me to shuffle rather than walk, but I'm all about feeling as at home as possible in the workplace.

The corners on the back didn't come out quite as crisply as on the front, but who cares, it's the back and I never have to look at it!

This brick wall has never looked so colourful thanks to my monochrome sweater.

This was one of those serendipitous sewing moments where pattern, inspiration and fabric all fall into place at the right time. If all my winter sewing plans come together as smoothly and successfully as this I will be very happy.

Happy sewing everybody!


  1. Absolutely gorgeous. Totally going to check thus pattern out and love the contrast sleeves

    1. Thank you! I highly recommend it. I'll definitely be making a summery version when the time is right : ) xx

  2. Amazing! I love it. Thanks for sharing how you altered the pattern

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm kinda proud of myself for making a 'sensible' item of clothing! : ) xx

  4. This is great, the colours look so cool together! Am about to make a sweater version of this pattern, and wondered what sort of stitch did you use on the corners - did you use stretch stitch? Thanks!


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