The EGL Community
For Gothic & Lolita Fashion. Hosted by LiveJournal.
Super Easy Tutorial: Making a Wa Lolita Outfit From A Yukata 
14th-Jun-2008 11:45 pm
sakura l'arc
With summer here, it's festival time in Japan. In July and August, tons of Japanese women and girls dress up in yukata (cotton informal kimono) to go to these festivals and see fireworks, eat yummy food, and generally look cute.

A lot of yukata have Lolita-friendly patterns and colors, and they're easier to find this time of year on Ebay/in Japan through shopping services/Yahoo Japan auctions and so on. So I thought I'd throw together a tutorial on how to turn one into a simple Wa Lolita outfit. Novice sewers welcome! :)


-Kimono are always worn left over right (a "y" shape to people looking at you). Right over left is for corpses only (though many young Japanese don't realize this due to a lack of exposure to wearing kimono in modern life).

-If you're a larger girl in the chest, you may need to wear a tank top underneath as yukata are all pretty much the same (smaller) dimensions.

-Be sure your yukata is colorfast or make it so. (See my tale of woe below.)

-Real yukata are 100% cotton. Don't buy anything that is made of polyester, is labeled with sizes or has belt loops or pockets. These are fake and not real yukata (or kimono, for that matter).

- EDIT: Measure very carefully and remember that if you are over 5'3" or 4", you will almost certainly need to add a ruffle in another fabric to get the skirt long enough.

The tutorial:

Me in one I made:

(I'm not a fan of the geta (and man, was it cold and windy out there, as we shot this in February in New Jersey) but I didn't have any cute white boots or shoes to wear instead.)

The backstory on mine is that I made it hoping to give it away in a charity raffle, but since I didn't colorfast it, when I washed it the lace went pink. I haven't been able to fix it, so oh well! It was the very first yukata I had made for me when I was living over there, so I'll hold onto it anyway for sentimental reasons, but probably never wear it. This is the sort of thing I usually prefer. ;)

Anyway, hope this helps give people some ideas. Thanks for reading!
15th-Jun-2008 04:44 am (UTC)
Wow thats amazing. You look really good in it & it looks really well made. :)
15th-Jun-2008 05:02 am (UTC)
Thank you very much!
15th-Jun-2008 04:52 am (UTC)
Cool, and thank you for posting this. I'll add it to the memories. ^_^
15th-Jun-2008 05:04 am (UTC)
Oh, cool. I hope it helps people get some ideas going.

And thank you! :)
15th-Jun-2008 05:00 am (UTC)
Wow you are so cute in it! Thanks for the tutorial! To tell the truth, I was looking at yukatas yesterday night and I was wondering if they were supposed to be 100% cotton and etc. I don't know much about them, but luckly you gave some pointers. Now if only I knew how big they usually are. I'm kind of small so it might look funny.
15th-Jun-2008 05:09 am (UTC)
Thank you!

And you're welcome. :) Actually, as they're designed for the classic slender, short Japanese woman you probably have nothing to worry about. For the top, you just fold the front sides over each other more to make up the difference and make it tight enough.

As for sleeves, as you can also see on me (I'm 5'7"), the sleeves come an inch or so above the wrist, so if you're shorter they'll just be longer and probably to your actual wrist.

Feel free to ask if you have any more questions, and I'll help if I can.
15th-Jun-2008 05:10 am (UTC)
This is really excellent. Thanks so much for posting this.
Btw, the other image you did you make that's GORGEOUS. You have extraordinary style!
15th-Jun-2008 05:18 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! :) And you're welcome.

That was actually a mod of a favorite coat I already owned. I used the hem pattern from a kurotomesode (formal black kimono) that was faded along the top due to sun damage and handstitched it on to the coat.

I wanted to create a "Wa Aristocrat" style to accompany a Wa Lolita. :) If you'd like to see/read more, here's the original post in sew_loli.

15th-Jun-2008 05:19 am (UTC)
I wish I was better at sewing so I could make this D:
15th-Jun-2008 05:22 am (UTC)
Don't worry! I'm hardly an expert myself. :)

It's all straight seams, so you could even handstitch it if you had the patience for it but didn't have a machine.
15th-Jun-2008 06:06 am (UTC)
this is amazing, thanks for posting it!!! (^_^)b
15th-Jun-2008 02:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
15th-Jun-2008 06:43 am (UTC)
... ... pink is the lace? Because I want you to go back to your original plan of raffling it. XD

I put this in my memories so I'll get to it one day and hopefully make something as nice as yours!
15th-Jun-2008 02:43 pm (UTC)
lol Thank you!

Well, it's a very pale pink cast, just obvious enough to notice in good light, and it's in faint areas along the lace, not a solid color all the way across.

What size are you in the waist? If you live in America (domestic mail), you don't mind my uneven topstitching and the lace showing underneath, i.e. if you flip the skirt up you'll see the top of the lace on the wrong side, (this was one of my first sewing projects) and think you could rehabilitate the lace/colorfast it yourself I'll pare down the elastic to your waist size and drop it in the mail for you for free. :)

I'd rather see someone wear it and enjoy it than it sit in my closet forever, as I had a lot of good times and memories in it when it was in its original yukata form. (The obi won't be included, though, so you'll need to make or find your own.)
15th-Jun-2008 02:48 pm (UTC)
Oh wow! I'm a 33" waist.

<3s and <3s. Send me an email whenever. ^____^
17th-Jun-2008 03:00 am (UTC)
Cool! I won't have to alter it at all, I think. (I'm 30".) I'll drop you a more detailed mail tomorrow or so. :) And thanks! I'm glad to see it'll go to someone who gets to use it.
15th-Jun-2008 08:59 am (UTC)
I made something similar a while back using this pattern as the base.
Simplicity 4080
Your way looks a lot easier!
15th-Jun-2008 02:51 pm (UTC) - Edited to change link

And about that pattern (get ready for Back When I Was Young ;) )... I was amazed when I saw it. I'd been out of the country for several years, and when I got back and started flipping through their catalogue my jaw about hit the floor when I ran across it.

It's not entirely accurate (the obi is way too thin on the white kimono outfit) but it's greatly improved over what used to pass for their kimono pattern. ;) (Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see it... it's a satin bathrobe.)

Thanks to Memoirs of a Geisha, I guess?

Edited at 2008-06-15 02:54 pm (UTC)
15th-Jun-2008 10:40 am (UTC)
Dude. Wa-ristocrat. DUDE. 8D

And I <3 this tutorial! So cute and simple, and a great idea! You rule. ^^v
15th-Jun-2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D

I never posted those shots on EGL because I thought I might catch flak as it's different than what you normally see... you think it'd be ok to post here as an Aristocrat shoot?

And thank you again! I'm all about making things easy. :)
(Deleted comment)
15th-Jun-2008 02:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

That sounds cute. Do you have any pictures? :)
(Deleted comment)
17th-Jun-2008 02:59 am (UTC)
Those are super cute. :)
15th-Jun-2008 04:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for posting this! *needs to go find a yukata now*
17th-Jun-2008 02:24 am (UTC)
You're welcome! :)
15th-Jun-2008 08:27 pm (UTC)
wow awesome i so have to have a go at this

17th-Jun-2008 02:25 am (UTC)

It's fun remaking stuff, I think.
16th-Jun-2008 04:38 am (UTC)
Cute! I love Wa Lolita. Thanks for sharing!
17th-Jun-2008 02:25 am (UTC)
Thank you! And you're welcome. :)
28th-Sep-2008 11:03 pm (UTC)
Wow, you look great! Your yukata dress is awesome. I have a similar yukata I seldom wear, hmmm... but I'm too afraid to destroy it o_O
29th-Sep-2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I hesistated too, but anymore I'm very much in a "use it or get rid of it" place, so I figured rather than leave it sitting in my closet forever I'd give it a redo. :)
29th-Sep-2008 10:25 am (UTC)
Oh wow, that's awesome. Thanks so much for providing this, I'm going to Japan in a few weeks and I think I'll keep my eye open for good Loli-able prints!
29th-Sep-2008 11:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much!

It's a good time of year: with the festival season just over this month you might be able to score some at discounted prices. Good luck and have a fun trip! :)
2nd-Feb-2009 01:32 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad to have found this post again. All the other tutorials I could find are for making wa-loli dresses from scratch, and they just do NOT look right, IMO. I'm very excited to try this with the flea market kimono I picked up yesterday!
2nd-Feb-2009 02:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you, and glad to be of help!

(If you're over 5'4 or so, be especially careful in divvying up the kimono as it can very easily end up short, which it may somewhat anyway. You can add a contrasting ruffle or long lace, but as for me, I'm 5'7" but just pulled the skirt to sit lower on my hips (with the obi on top of it you can't tell anyway).

Good luck with yours! :)
2nd-Oct-2009 09:10 am (UTC) - thanks
Wa lolita is more of yukata, kimono is too lavish and too oriental for lolita. I did mine from scratch xD I got the pattern from a sewing book I borrowed from the library, but the project was entitled Kimono. It doesn't resembled of a kimono sadly xD But hey still, I made adjustments to make the wa lolita version.
Ouch the lace was drenched in pink? >.< I don't know, sometimes it could look cute and cherry blossomy with the red yukata.
I always see pics of lolita fans wear boots when donned the wa lolita look. Is that really customary? My boots are not that perfect (suede brown wedge boots--- a bit too western?).

Aharh~! Wa-ristocrat! Thats a brilliant word combo b(^_^)d
7th-Jul-2010 11:22 pm (UTC)
thanks for posting this. the result looks really good but i dont think i can get myself to cut my yukata to actually make this. ill keep it in mind for later tho.
6th-Aug-2010 01:29 am (UTC)
good job. who's the guy in the top hat
13th-Jun-2011 12:44 am (UTC)
I know this is old but did you ever create a tutorial for an obi?

I really want Wa Lolita and this gives me an idea on how to make one as I only have one Yakuta and do not want to cut into it. (though it's blue and white and I really think it's a Yakuba...)
30th-Nov-2012 04:15 am (UTC)
I wanted to try this but um. I don't know if the squares were supposed to be pictures but if they were, not showing up/links are broken :(.
This page was loaded , : m GMT.