Kimono are traditionally made from a single bolt of fabric known as a tanmono, which is roughly 11.5m long and 36 cm wide for women, and 12.5m long and 42 cm wide for men. The entire bolt is used to make one kimono, and some men's tanmono are woven to be long enough to create a matching haori jacket and juban as well. Some custom bolts of fabric are produced for especially tall or heavy people, such as sumo wrestlers, who must have kimono custom-made by either joining multiple bolts, weaving custom-width fabric, or using non-standard size fabric. Kimono linings are made from bolts of the same width.

Kimono have a set method of construction, which allows the entire garment to be taken apart, cleaned and resewn easily. As the on nearly every panel features two selvedges that will not fray, the woven edges of the fabric bolt are retained when the kimono is sewn, leading to large and often uneven seam allowances; unlike Western clothing, the seam allowances are not trimmed down, allowing for a kimono to be resewn to different measurements without the fabric fraying at the seams; for children's kimono, tucks may be sewn into the waist, shoulders and sleeves, which are then let out as the child grows, as even children's kimono are made from adult-width bolts.

Historically, kimonos were taken apart entirely to be–a process known as arai-hari. Once cleaned, the fabric would be resewn by hand; this process, though necessary in previous centuries, is uncommon in modern-day Japan, as it is relatively expensive.

Despite the expense of hand-sewing, however, some modern kimono, including silk kimono and all formal kimono, are still hand-sewn entirely; even machine-sewn kimonos require some degree of hand-sewing, particularly in finishing the collar, the hem, and the lining, if present. Hand-sewn kimono are usually sewn with a single running stitch roughly 3 millimeters (0.12 in) to 4 millimeters (0.16 in) long, with stitches growing shorter around the collar area for strength. Kimono seams, instead of being pressed entirely flat, are pressed to have a 'lip' of roughly 2 millimeters (0.079 in) (known as the kise) pressed over each seam. This disguises the stitches, as hand-sewn kimono are not tightly sewn, rendering the stitches visible if pressed entirely flat.


A number of different terms are used to refer to the different parts of a kimono. Kimono that are lined are known as awase kimono, whereas unlined kimono are known as hitoe kimono; partially lined kimono–with lining only at the sleeve cuff, the back of the sleeve, the lower chest portion of the dōura and the entirety of the hikkake–are known as dou-bitoe kimono. Some fully lined kimono do not have a separate lower and upper lining, and are instead lined with solid panels on the okumi, the maemigoro and the ushiromigoro.

These terms refer to parts of a kimono:

  • Dōura: the upper lining of a kimono.
  • Hakkake: the lower lining of a kimono.
  • Eri: the collar.
  • Fuki: the hem guard.
  • Furi: the part of the sleeve left hanging below the armhole.
  • Maemigoro: the front panels on a kimono, excluding the okumi. The panels are divided into the "right maemigoro" and "left maemigoro".
  • Miyatsukuchi: the opening under the sleeve on a woman's kimono.
  • Okumi: the overlapping front panel.
  • Sode: the entire sleeve.
  • Sodeguchi: the wrist opening of the sleeve.
  • Sodetsuke: the kimono armhole.
  • Susomawashi: lower lining.
  • Tamoto: the sleeve pouch of a kimono.
  • Tomoeri: "over-collar"–the collar cover sewn on top of the uraeri.
  • Uraeri: "neckband lining"–the inner collar.
  • Ushiromigoro: "back body"–the back panels. The back panels consist of the "right ushiromigoro" and "left ushiromigoro".