Yukata Disassembly – indigo shibori

We live in an era of mass-produced, off the shelf clothing. That which was novel a century ago is now commonplace. To make clothing by hand is no longer a necessity, but a novelty. That’s great for saving time, but where is the love? In vintage, of course. Hand sewn garments of decades past can…

Vintage Katazome Comes Clean

Meiji era katazome cottons have a special place in my heart. I started collecting them years ago, back when I could barely afford to, and now it’s become something of a joy and an obsession. The fine dots and designs that remind me of having henna painted on my hands when I was 12 years…

Kimono Disassembly

I’ll be back to posting the Caterpillar to Kimono series very soon. In the meantime I’ve been taking apart several kimono I picked up on the Japan trip, and it’s been an interesting experience. Back when I first opened KimonoMomo in 2005 I spent a lot of time taking things apart. I am fairly adept at…

Karinui Comparisons, part 1

I am a fan of karinui, those incomplete kimono that require expert tailoring skills to make wearable. Why? Because when it comes to disassembling a kimono, it doesn’t get any easier than tearing apart basted-together karinui. When purchased new, kimono are made to order. The weave, design, dyes, and family crests (depending on the formality…

Meet Sue, our new Tansu

I didn’t name him. Thomas did. And yes, I think of the tansu in the corner as male, unlike my sewing machines, which are always female. So far as Thomas is concerned, according to Shel Silverstein and Jonny Cash, Sue can be a boy, too. After looking at tansu in antique shops for years but…

Shakespearean showstoppers

On my trip to London in November 2012, I took the tour at the new Rose Theatre in Southwark, right on the Thames. It is a beautiful tour showcasing the amazing craftsmanship and dedication that went into building this replica of the original Rose. After making a total ass of myself by throwing in several…

Another tabletop Singer? Of course I’ll take it.

Rambling around the Alameda Point Antiques Faire this winter, I found this lovely Singer standing front and center of an antiques booth. She was a bit raggedy, but the dealer insisted that she would run just fine. I took a gamble that he was an honest man, especially after I noticed the throat plate was…

Octopus or Jewel?

Flipping through reference books while looking for examples of goldwork embroidery, I stumbled onto a page in Flowers, Dragons, & Pine Trees that made me pause, somewhat concerned, and turn the book upside-down. The image, plate 77 on page 234, is credited as an indigo dyed Kasuri Futonji from the 19th or 20th century. From the text,…

A Danish textile, and updates for spring

February was a busy month, and between four different conferences (only two of which had anything to do with textiles), I didn’t get around to posting. To make up for the time I took off, I will be posting more frequently about the amazing textiles I viewed last month, and trying out my skills at…

Vintage Doll Accessory Packs now on in the shop

As promised, vintage doll items are back in the KimonoMomo Etsy shop. Sending out one or two little fans or tabi at a time was a major hassle, and as I’m getting down to the last of my supplies, I’m offering 8-10 items plus a meter of vintage kimono fabric in each pack. If you…

Defining styles: Arabesque

I had one of those slap-upside-the-head moments a few days ago while reading through a magazine on mid-century architecture. Looking at a page of beautiful gardens, there was an ornament described as being “Arabesque” and resembling something distinctly Arabic in design. Entirely logical, you might say, but to me, “Arabesque” has always meant either a…