About one year ago I received a message from a musician I know. She sings in an ABBA tribute band and wondered if I could make them two costumes. I am always in for a good challenge, so I started figuring what they wanted and whether I could make that. Now, more than one year later, my creations finally shined on stage! Time to tell you what I made.
The question was if I could make two kimonos that looked like the ones ABBA wore back in the days. The client had a few pictures of what the kimonos should look like, but the original ABBA photo’s were not clear enough. Luckily we have the internet and I found a great example on the website of ABBA the museum.
I accepted the assignment and started this journey with a quest for the right fabric. There were a couple of requirements: it should look the like the original kimonos, should be not too expensive, and most importantly it should not be too sweaty, because the temperature gets reeaaally high on stage during a show. I wanted to work with artificial satin, but doubted very much if it would not be too hot and sweaty. In the end I went for it because I really like it’s shininess and drape. To improve the feel and moisture drainage I combined it with antistatic, stretch lining. I bought both types of fabric online at www.budgetstoffen.nl.
When that hurdle was taken, I started working on the pattern. I used a free Burda Style PDF pattern as a basis for the kimonos. To fit the requirements and measurements of the singers I adjusted the length of the pattern, and the width of the front pieces. I also added coloured plackets at the bottom of the side seams and placed gussets underneath to avoid exposure, since they would be wearing the kimonos as a dress. Of course I also had to change the sleeves of the pattern to get the typical ABBA look. To finish it off I made two matching belts using another free pattern. Thereof I adjusted the length of the strips to fit the waist measurements of the women and the intended knotting technique.
In the end, sewing these kimonos took me a lot longer than expected. First I was occupied by joining the Knipster sewing competition. Thereafter it turned out that sewing this synthetic satin with just a plain sewing machine was kind of dramatic. I wanted to do this right, so I sewed all French seams even though I fully lined the garments. I was just terrified that the seams would fray and tear open. The fact that the fabric is so slippery did not make that easy. Additionally, I had to find out how to make some of the parts, like the side split plackets and sleeves, all by myself. When I had almost finished the kimonos I bought my serger. That speeded up the process a LOT, haha! Luckily there was no strict deadline on this project, but still I wanted to finish and deliver my results asap of course.
When I had finished the kimonos, the only thing still missing was the embroidery. Since I did not have the ability and equipment to do that, someone else did that part. And in the past weekend it was finally time for them to show on stage! The band was really pleased with the result, so so am I! Now I just hope the kimonos will last a lot of great performances!