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…

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…

Home again, with an extra suitcase or two

I left California two weeks ago with a half-filled medium-sized suitcase and a nearly empty duffel bag. I returned from Japan two days ago with those bags packed to bursting and added even more; a new, larger suitcase and a box, both filled with kimono, haori, obi, raw silk, furoshiki, books, obijime, yukata, and other…

Postcard from Ginza, Tokyo

It’s been a whirlwind of a tour here in Japan. From the picturesque mountain countryside of Gunma, to a lakeside hotel in view of Mt. Fuji, to the packed city streets of Tokyo, every day has been an adventure. I’ve been shopping at used kimono stores over the past few days, finding many treasures and…

Karinui Comparisons, part 2

In part 1 I disassembled an inexpensive kurotomesode (high formal women’s kimono) and gave you a peek at the inner workings, so to speak. This time we’ll be looking at a more expensive kimono and seeing how different the two can be. Part 2: The Hot Date Unlike the pretty, fast, and easy Cheap Date,…

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…

Winding down

We’re almost to the end of the KimonoMomo shop. When I started buying Japanese silk bolts and kimono in 2005, I had no idea how many times I would be moving house, or how many trunk shows, fashion shows, conventions, street fairs, antique shows, museum events, and classes I would be hosting, teaching, or attending…

Closeout Sale!

I’ve been talking about selling off KimonoMomo now for a loooong time, and now I really do need to get things out the door. To that end, instead of offering coupon discounts and such, I’m going to be listing whole bolts at a deep discount. I’m moving again and simply can’t carry so much stock…

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…

Hidden gems in your local library

Two of my absolute favorite books for kimono and kimono-related research are The Traditional Crafts of Japan, volumes 1 and 2 of an eight volume series on traditional Japanese crafts published by Diamond, Inc. in 1992. The volumes are rich with historical background and gorgeous color photos, and are eye-catching in their brick red slip…

Where did the time go?!

Is it really June already? I’ve been avoiding this blog for a while. Nothing personal, just been busy working on two different businesses; KimonoMomo, and The Word Sniper, my writing/editing business. Letting go of KimonoMomo has been my intention for quite some time now, but it’s an ornery process, one that keeps dragging me back…

Kimono Aid for Japan

Thanks to the earthquake and ensuing crisis in Japan, KimonoMomo has been getting a lot of publicity. It’s not exactly what I had expected and makes me feel uneasy, but if I can use it to help others, I certainly will. While I would like to offer 100% of proceeds from my sales to help…