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Tutorial: Baby Kimono Top

When searching for an outfit to make for a friend’s baby, I came across this very cute baby kimono pattern at the Martha Stewart website. I loved putting kimono-style rompers on my son when he was a bub as you don’t have to worry about pulling anything over his head (which was always a challenge). However, there were a few comments complaining that it was difficult to follow the instructions, so I thought I’d put together a detailed photo-tutorial. Also, I decided to use buttons for the closure at the front rather than ribbons (which just seem too fiddly for me when you’re dealing with a squirmy or screaming baby!).

Note: I also didn’t follow the order of the instructions from the Martha Stewart website. I did it in the order that made sense to me, and helped me figure out how the pieces were supposed to go together.

1 yard Fabric (pre-washed)
2 yards of single-fold bias tape
Two buttons
Matching Thread
Sewing Machine

Step 1:  Print out the pattern from the Martha Stewart website. Cut out and stick pattern pieces together. Here are the notes regarding sizing from Martha Stewart:

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.

Step 2:  Pin the pattern pieces to the wrong side of the fabric, and cut.

Step 3:  Lay front-flap (smaller) piece wrong side up. Fold left side in by 3/8″ twice, pin and stitch.

Trim the overhanging triangle of fabric at the end.

Step 4:  Once again, with the wrong side of the fabric facing up, fold the hems of the sleeves in by 3/8″ twice, pin and stitch. The sleeves are at the pointy ends of the neck opening. Note: From a garment-construction viewpoint, the sleeves should be hemmed after the sleeve seams have been sewn (which will ensure the hem is even and is a neater finish). However, I find that way too fiddly for baby clothes, and prefer to sew the hem first.

Step 5:  With right-sides of the fabric together, pin and sew front flap piece to main body section across the split, as shown in the picture below:

Finish off your seams with a zig-zag stitch, by serging or leave as is, if you prefer.

Step 6:  Once again, with the wrong side of the fabric facing up, fold the hems of the front flap opening in by 3/8″ twice, pin and stitch.

Step 7:  With right sides of the fabric together, pin and sew the seam for the sleeve through underarm and  down the side of the top. Note: I start at the sleeve to ensure the sleeve lines up correctly, given it is already hemmed.

Finish of the hem as per your preference (eg zigzag stitch, with a serger, or not at all). Clip notches from the curved section at the underarms.
Step 8:  With the wrong side of the fabric facing up, fold the bottom hem in by 3/8″ twice, pin and stitch.

Step 9:  Attach bias binding along the diagonal section and around the neck opening (Sew to Speak has a great tutorial for attaching bias binding, including mitred corners here).

Step 10:  Mark and sew your button holes on the top side of the kimono. I just eyeballed where I thought was a good location for the two buttons, and used the automatic button-hole function on my sewing machine.

Use a seam ripper or craft knife to cut the button-hole opening. Tip: Place a pin at each end of the hole to stop you from cutting the stitching.

Note: I should have used a small piece of interfacing or stabiliser on the wrong-side of the fabric to avoid the puckering around the button-hole!

Step 11:  Mark and sew on the buttons on the underflap of the kimono. I sewed mine on by hand. Some machines have a button-sewing function you could also use.

Step 12:  Admire your finished product:

And maybe sew some matching diaper covers (using the pattern and great tutorial at MADE):


  1. Great tutorial – thanks! Just made one for our brand new nephew! Can’t wait to see it on him!

  2. I can’t help but think that you have saved me (brand-new sewer) so many tears! I will make these in the next few weeks for my sister’s baby shower GRATEFUL to people like you that have helped to grow and encourage beginners like me!

  3. That is great! I am featuring it on my blog (what can I say you have some great ideas!) on the 4th!

  4. I love this design!, I got a sewing machine for Christmas and have chosen this as my first project, but obviously I am very unexperienced and I just can’t get the sleeves right, every time I do ”Step 7” the sleeves are deformed at the armpits, I would really appreciate some advice from more experienced people to get this right! Thankyou!!

  5. @nadvanwyk It’s hard to tell what the problem is without seeing a photo. Is it puckered and not sitting flat when you turn it the right way out? If so, you need to clip the seam allowance on the curve so that the seam allowance can spread out and sit flat. Here’s a good explanation on clipping: http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/2011/10/the-hows-and-whys-of-clips-and-notches-sarai-mitnick-colette-patterns/

    If that’s not the problem, you can email me a photo (cookcleancraft AT gmail DOT com) and I’d be happy to try to work out what is going wrong.

  6. That link you posted is perfect, that is what I was doing wrong, my due date is in July (summer) so I realised that the longer sleeves will probably be too warm for my baby here in southern Spain so I have cut them a lot shorter, there is so much to learn about sewing but I am very excited to have this new creative outlet, even if I spend more time unravelling my mistakes than stitching at the moment! hahaha, will email you a photo once it is finished anyway just for interests sake, thankyou so much for being so helpful!

  7. Hi! I’m having trouble with step 6… isn’t that what we did in step 3? I’m just confused and I’d appreciate a little clarity! Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi Natalia,

      In step 3 I hemmed the edge of the small piece of fabric (that folds under the front) and in Step 6, I did the edge on the larger pattern piece (that folds over the top). You could have done both of them at the same time. Does that make sense? It’s been awhile since I wrote this tutorial 😉

  8. Hello there
    I just wondered what is the best type of fabric to use for this? Stretchy or cotton?



    1. I’ve used cotton for the ones I’ve made so far, but it should work fine with a stretch fabric. Since it’s a wrap-around style, there’s no concerns about head size and how to get it on and off, so it could really be made out of almost any fabric (that you think a baby would be happy wearing).

  9. I’m a bit confused about the bias tape binding. The materials section calls for two yards of it, but I only see where it is put on the little angled piece of the front and around the collar. Am I missing something? This is the first article of clothing I’ve made and also the first time I’ve made my own bias tape, so I’m trying to make sure I do it correctly! My first niece is due to arrive in about three weeks and I’m ecstatic! 🙂 Thanks for the tutorial and in advance for helping me sort out the binding issue!

    1. I used the pattern materials from the original pattern on the Martha Stewart website, and 2 yards is way more than you need, especially for the smaller sizes. It’s the maximum you’d need for the largest size (up to 36 months), and even then it’s still more than enough. Always better to have a bit more than you need, but you could still measure off the pattern to see how much you actually need, and then add a couple of inches to be sure! Good luck with your sewing. I’m sure your niece will look adorable in what you make!

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