Vintage Japanese Kimono
It started out normally enough. You know those Japanese craft books....the ones with all of the brilliantly illustrated ideas & tutorials on basically ANY craft? Weeeelllllllllllllll.....
Check out these amazing books!
Aren't they fun? Look at the little toys & purses (called chirimen & kinchaku).
I made these out of various kimono scraps.
Her fan is made from a bit of filigree paper, pasted to origami washi.
And this little saribobo is supposed to be holding the fish, but I haven't stitched them together just yet.
Ugghh ~ something went wrong with that envelope doll, her head is just a titch twisted, more like she's hiding, eh?
Too cute for words, right?
Sort of like all those pretty little felties, only, ~GASP!~ you make them out of fabric.
And not just ANY fabric, either. In order for them to look right, you must make them out of bits of vintage kimono.
So of course, I set out procuring some vintage kimono to make these out of.
My first BOX of haori.
(Haori are like a jacket to wear over kimono)
Now, there-in lies the rub. Because unless you buy already-deconstructed kimono pieces, at some point, you will buy a kimono or haori, & it will simply be too utterly gorgeous to take apart.
softest pink Silk Haori with silver threads detail
At some point, you may say to yourself, "Self, this fabric is SO lovely, but this garment is even LOVELIER!" And then, well, that's when the downward tumble into the depths of kimono-love begin.
The stunning silk haori with silver & gold threads in action.
Because I wanted a large selection of fabrics, & because I am something of a (ok, OK< I admit it... a REAL) fabriholic, well, it only makes sense to actually buy in bulk, right? I mean, if you could find vintage silks, wools, & rayons in good, use-able shape, you should OBVIOUSLY get more than just ONE, right? ESPECIALLY if each piece is an original, possibly hand-painted, hand-dyed, hand-embroidered, sometimes hand-woven, even hand-STITCHED work of art. Because let's face it ~ if you are a Japan-o-phile (it MUST be a word! ;-D) you know just how much effort they put into every beautiful thing they create.
Hand painted water-fowl, with gold couching detail on formal black 5-crest tomesode kimono.
The camera cannot begin to capture the beauty of this.
So... back to the large selection desire. I just KNEW that somewhere, somehow, there must be SOMEONE that sells more than one of these lovely items at once. You know ~ in BULK.
In some cases, this word can be your friend. obviously, the word BULK has gotten a bad rep when it comes to topics of say.... waistline, or stitching....or even thighs....(Wood Genius would like to add the word ~ hoarding~ in right here....but I just added the words ~wood~ & ~tools~, & he has quieted down a bit. ;-D)
HOWEVER..... the word BULK can be your friend when used in context with ~fabric~ specifically ~kimono!~
17 of one of my box of 20 kimono from Yamatoku
Who knew, right? But I DID suspect ~ yes, it is true ~ kimono can be purchased in BULK!
A seller named Yamatoku is my very favorite source. She sells out of Japan, in box lots of 10 & 20 haori or kimono, & while it is all used, MOST of the items in every box are completely wear-able.
At first, this "wear-ability" wasn't really of interest to me, since I was purchasing the fabrics for the main purpose of chirimen, kinchaku bags, & even silk & wool quilting. But I have a daughter who seems to fit almost every kimono I own.
pink silk kimono from Yamatoku box of 20
And then once you do that, you just HAVE to put them on RIGHT. And then, wellllllll, then you HAVE to get all of the little accessories to co-ordinate properly, and well, you can see it's a bit of a problem.
And so, without further ado, here are a few of the stunning pieces from Yamatoku. All of our obi are from her as well, I might add. (Obi are the large silk belts tied into many different styles about the waist.)
At first, we weren't very good at it.
No nagajuban, bad collar, etc. (What's nagajuban?! Only your entire kimono foundation!)
Too tight on the collar this time, obi melts into kimono, melts into obijime, melts into obiage, juban sleeve is hanging out, (at least we now know what juban IS, just not how useful it can be) & kimono in general is too small. (But it is GORGEOUS, we HAD to put it on!!!)
Now we are working at perfecting little things (& some major oopsies!) here & there. And it's pretty fun!
This little pillow of genius is called an obi makura. And the red shibori tie that is holding it in place is called the obi-age. Both very important for keeping your obi perky all day long.
You can see that we still don't have any tabi or geta. Those are coming on the slow boat from Japan...sigh.... literally. Veeerrrrryyyy slooowwww boat. Because we had to order a few things from a place called Shinei. Unfortunately, their stuff takes forever to get to you, even if you pay an arm & a leg for the supposed FAST shipping option they give you. The truth about Shinei ~ they make serious money off of the shipping. It maddens me enough that I keep swearing I am NEVER buying from them again.
Incidentally, this beautiful silk meisen kimono, as well as all of our obi, came from Yamatoku, & her boxes of silk kimono, mixed kimono, & obi lots.
Because Jess was such a wonderful doll for me to dress up & let me take pics of her in the beautiful kimono, I took her out to Red Robin, all dressed up, of course!
(still didn't understand the importance of the eri-shin at this point. But it came to us, eventually, lol.)
Eri-shin is a MUST! (it's a collar stiffener, you put it in your nagajuban collar, & it helps keep all the other collars in line & looking decent.)
I have a number of vintage brooches that seem to work rather well as obi-dome. Also, how do you like the green parachute cord we used for obi-jime? It matched so nicely ~ little on the small in diameter side ~ but I don't have the real obi-jime here yet. (Again, with that sloooowwww boat!)
This kimono looks a bit like my mom's vintage tablecloths, but the colors are so pretty, & the fabric looks to be a tsumugi silk. (Nubby, but amazingly soft.)
We're still working on our kitsuke (that pretty much means dressing) skills.