This Stunning DIY Open Abaya-Kimono Is Super Easy to Make

Creations by Shey
by Creations by Shey
10 Materials
3 Hours

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to make a DIY open abaya from scratch. This gorgeous open-front abaya is an easy sewing project for beginners, as well as a classy and chic addition to any wardrobe.

What is an abaya?

An abaya is somewhere between a cloak and a robe-like dress. It's a long-sleeved, floor-length overgarment worn by Muslim women in North Africa, Middle East, and the Arabian Peninsula.

An abaya is typically dark in color and worn closed, but here, I'm going to show you how to make an open abaya out of sheer fabric, which is a little bit like an open-front kimono.

Tools and materials:

  • 60-inch wide fabric
  • Silk fabric
  • Elastic
  • Ruler
  • Chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Thread
How to make an abaya pattern

1. How to make an abaya pattern

Taking a 60-inch wide fabric, fold the fabric in half and half again. Use an existing kaftan as a guide; position this on the fold, as shown. 

Cutting the fabric for the DIY open abaya

When cutting by the arm area, extend the arm measurement significantly, by at least 7-inches. This will be for the puff sleeve effect. Then, continue to cut around your existing kaftan. 

Marking the center of the abaya with a pin

Fold your open abaya in half, and mark the center of the neckline with a pin. 

How to make an open abaya

Then, choose one side of your kimono, and fold this in half. This will be for the front of the open abaya. Cut the front section in half, up to where you positioned the pin. 

How to make your own abaya

Fold it back in half again, and cut 3.5 inches from where you placed the pin. 

Cutting the neckline of the abaya

Now, measure from the neck down, 15 inches, and cut diagonally, as shown.

How to sew an abaya kimono

Your "kimono" should look like this. 

Pinning the sides of the open abaya

2. Pin the open abaya

Pin the sides carefully. Remember, since it’s an open abaya, the front piece is open, in half, so pin each half on either side of the back piece. 

Measuring the garment

3. Measure the borders

Now, with a measuring tape, measure the front of the kimono to determine how much material you’ll need for the border. 

Folding the silk border fabric

4. Make the border pieces

Fold your border fabric in half to 4 inches wide. Here, I am using lovely neutral silk fabric. Cut as many as you need to fit the front of your open abaya. 

Pinning the border pieces together

Pin these pieces, by the short ends, right sides together. 

Stitching the border piece together

Then stitch, so you land up with one long piece. 

Sewing the abaya

5. Stitch the sides

Stitch the sides of the open abaya. While you’re at it, go ahead and hem the bottom of the open abaya, too. Fold the raw edges over twice, and stitch. 

Pinning the border fabric to the abaya

6. Attach the border

Fold the border fabric in half, wrong sides together, and pin it on the front of the open abaya. 

Pinning the short ends of the border fabric

To finish the short ends of the border, fold the fabric right sides together, and pin. Then, stitch these sides together. 

How to sew an abaya

Once you’re done, open it up, and you have a lovely end to your border fabric. 

Sewing the border fabric to the abaya

Carefully stitch the border on the abaya all the way around. 

Stitching elastic at the wrists

7. Attach elastic to the wrists

Cut two pieces of elastic that measure the circumference of your wrist. Then, create a fold on the wrist area of your DIY open abaya. Make the fold wide enough to accommodate the elastic. Stitch the fold leaving a 2-inch opening. 

Feeding the elastic through the tunnel

Next, feed the elastic band through the tunnel. Use a safety pin to help you. 

Sewing the elastic ends together

Stitch the ends of the elastic, and then stitch the opening of the tunnel, too. Be sure to repeat this on the other side. 

8. Make the belt

For the belt, cut a piece of silk fabric that is 8x50 inches wide. Fold the fabric right sides together and stitch around the short ends, and the whole length, too. Leave an end open so that you can turn it inside out afterward. 

Turn the belt inside out, fold the raw edges of the open side, and stitch. 

Tip: You can also wear the belt as a long scarf. 

DIY open abaya

DIY open abaya

So, the DIY open abaya tutorial wasn’t complicated, right? Sure, it’s not an effortless project in terms of the duration, but would you just have a look at the result? Totally worth it! I love this so much, and I cannot wait to wear it out and strut my sheer open abaya!

Suggested materials:
  • 60-inch wide fabric
  • Silk fabric
  • Elastic
See all materials

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Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Shuganne Shuganne on Aug 28, 2021

    Oh, wow, that is gorgeous! I love how shear the material is. It adds a great touch of glam to any outfit.

    Could I make two small suggestions, please? Since the fabric is so sheer, it really needs french seams for the side and sleeve seams. This will encase the raw edges so they are not visible, and while I didn't see any raveling, sheer cloth is notorious for that. French seams will also prevent that possible problem.

    Since you have such little sewing to do, and since the fabric is, again so sheer, could you please flat lap the elastic? Where the ends meet, just let them overlap flat. Then you could stich horizontally at the first end of elastic, sew vertically down the center of the double layer of elastic and finish with a last horizontal seam at the final end of elastic. This will prevent any lumps where the elastic ends meet.

    You have created such a beautiful garment - and without a pattern - such a delightful video! Thanks for sharing!!