Kirsten Kimono Dress Hack aka Balletmono

In the spirit of Gillian’s Better Pictures Project the Manfriend and I took advantage of the nice evening on Saturday and went for a walk to try to get some more interesting photos of my latest dress. The result was a bunch of over and under exposed photos – sometimes in the same photo. So that needs some work…

I took a few in the garden once we got home, which typically came out the best of the lot so I can still share my dress. After my successful kirsten kimono tee and floral ballet dress I decided to mash the two patterns together and see what happened. I’m calling the resulting kirsten kimono dress a balletmono.

This one isn’t in my garden, obviously. This is a fancy restaurant in an old pump house. Absolutely beautiful building.

I wanted to keep the fitted waist and flared skirt look so I traced around the bodice pieces for the kirsten kimono and then overlaid the ballet dress bodice pieces lining up the top of the shoulders and the centre line then traced around that and blended the lines where they met. I also slashed and spread the skirt piece in three places to make it fuller, which I love.


The fabric I used is a cotton jersey from Calico Laine (that might not be the same one, I bought mine towards the end of last year) and I’m not really a fan. It was mega curly at the edges and it seems to crease easily and iron badly – a winning combination.


I accidentally cut out a neckband with the ballet dress pattern piece before I remembered that I was meant to draft one and I don’t know if that’s to blame but the neckline is a bit rubbish. It’s not puckered as such but there are loads of little pulls from it, which you can sort of see in the photo above. So I don’t know what’s to blame there as I thought I’d sewn it quite well. Could it be too short or too long?


I was thinking about leaving the hems raw as I quite like that but looking at these photos I think I will hem them. I think I need to fiddle with the fit again before making another kirsten kimono dress there seems to be a bit too much fabric above my bust, especially there at the armpit. The bodice itself is a tiny bit too long too, not sure if that’s due to the weight of the fuller skirt pulling it down or something that happened during my shoddy hack.


You can’t really see the detail of my face in this one but I am pulling a full on bottom lip out sulky face in it because none of the photos were going right. It tickled me when I saw it so I had to include it. I don’t really have much more to say about the dress really. It’s alright. I’m not in love with it but I’ll probably try again with different fabric, a new neckband and a few tweaks to the pattern.

I’m on my way to London for a course at the moment and I’m hoping to get a chance to pay the fabric shops of Goldhawk Road a visit while I’m there. It will be a flying one if I do but fingers crossed. I have a list of things I want (knits, interesting neutral wovens and some chambray) so I’ll be a woman on a mission. Wish me luck!

6 thoughts on “Kirsten Kimono Dress Hack aka Balletmono”

  1. I think your photos are fun! I’m so pleased that you were inspired to go out and about. My camera struggles with exposure when there is full sun and shade in the same shot, so I usually just try for all one or all the other. Maybe you can train Manfriend to check for consistent light? (That’s the one part of photography my husband has nailed – the aiming, well, that’s a work in progress! 😉
    That red is fab on you! Sassy and I like it a lot!

    1. Aww thank you. I do like red even though it seems to make me look really pale.

      Unfortunately Manfriend has no interest in photography and claims not to be able to tell when a photo is good or bad. I feel guilty getting bossy. I think I’ll be brave and take my tripod next time.

  2. Balletmono; nice. LOVE the colour! I mostly avoid red because of my hair colour so am envious of others wearing it. Can see the long bodice being the fabric pulling. I read that interview with Heather B just today and it was quite motivating as I often get fed up and sulky with photos not turning out right. That one of you outside the old pumphouse is great! And yay for twirling photos. I’d like to do more outside, in-public photos but just a teeny bit worried someone might run off with my iPhone neatly tucked into a tripod halfway down the street or across the road.

    Anyway, hope you manage to get to the fabric mecca that is Goldhawk Road (and the course goes well!); a wonderful but dangerous place. Also CHAMBRAY! I desperately want some. Do show us what you manage to pick up if anything.

    1. I’m sure I’ve seen redheads looking ace in red, I bet you can carry it off better than you think you can.

      I worry about a stolen phone or camera too. I think quiet areas should be fine though. I’m going to try the same place as these photos for my next finished item I think but braving the tripod and looking like a dick.

      Full skirts demand twirls!

      Hopefully I should manage Goldhawk Road before my train home on Thursday. Only about an hour if I’m lucky though.

  3. Wow, I really like that dress! It looks great on you.

    I find reds really hard to focus, and they through the colour balance and exposure out. I’ve heard other people say this so it’s not just me! I wonder if that’s exaggerating any exposure issues that were already there in the photos? I think the photos look good and you can see the dress well, anyway, though.

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