Sew your own: kimono-inspired dress with a choice of sleeves

Taking inspiration from the stunning kimono in our Japan collections and the way in which these iconic garments are worn, we have collaborated with pattern cutter, designer and educator, Monisola Omotoso to create an exclusive set of patterns for a kimono-inspired dress with four different sleeve options.

Four different dresses in different materials on a white background.
Four different kimono-inspired dresses based on the downloadable pattern. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London / Monisola Omotoso

This kimono-inspired dress is a contemporary, versatile, and very wearable design that will suit any shape. The faux-wrap front of the dress references the left-over-right rule of dressing kimono, while the folds of the sleeves are a nod to the Japanese art of paper folding, origami. The easy-to-follow, downloadable patterns cater for a range of skill levels and offers ideas for adapting and altering the design to make something truly individual. The instructions cater for UK sizes 10 – 24 and are available in both A4 and A0 page sizes.

The A4 page size can be easily printed at home and then assembled. If you'd rather work from a single pattern sheet, Monisola offers an A0 pattern printing service.

Four different styles of sleeves in a variety of fabrics and colours on pink backgrounds.
Four sleeve options for the kimono-inspired dress. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London / Monisola Omotoso

Having immersed herself in the fashion world for over three decades – as fashion writer, designer, lecturer, and most recently as a creative pattern cutter for Alexander McQueen – Monisola decided to concentrate on becoming an educator, setting up Pattern Cutting Deconstructed, so that she could share her wealth of creative knowledge and experience with a new audience. She has also worked with the V&A to deliver engaging pattern cutting workshops to students.

Each element of the kimono-inspired pattern has been tested by a pool of talented creatives – some who chose to closely follow the instructions, and some who have added their own unique twist! Take a look at some of the beautiful and varied designs created by our pattern testers:

Composite image of lots of different dresses in a variety of colours and patterns modelled on people.
Thanks to all our pattern testers: Emma, Pauline, Lisa, Marisa, Katie, Michelle, Melissa, Juud, Eugenia, Karol, Liz. @ Victoria and Albert Museum / Monisola Omotoso

If you've enjoyed creating your own kimono-inspired dress and want to try some more projects inspired by our collections, check out our other Make & do activities.

Background image: Monisola Omotosa working on one of her designs. © Victoria and Albert Museum / Monisola Omotoso