Kate was my first VICTIM for a handmade kimono by me. She showed a keen interest when I showed her my purchase (kimono) in the Gyro studio. Of course i had to ask if she would like one made to measure. A kimono to wear as a gown.. (See Photo A)
To make a kimono has been one of my projects. Of course a handmade kimono will be difficult to wear in the UK, however, what I wanted was to make either a kimono jacket or kimono night gown. Sewing by hand will be far too time consuming and I thoght of using sewing machine partially. Kate has never worn kimono before and I thought of using Karinui fabric, rather than unpicking second hand kimono. Karinui is roughly stiched up kimono, fabric already cut and ready to try on. The online shop from Japan that I regularly use had quite a few of them and I picked some for Kate to choose before I purchased.(See Photo B)
The fabric used was meant to be for Houmongi, special occasion kimono, and was in rather heavy weight silk. The stitches by sewing machine were able to keep the seam lines straight and taut. Howeer, the lining silk fabric that was taken off from a second hand kimono couldn’t hold the machine stiches very well, so it was sewn by habd. The beauty of kimono, one of its characteristics, is the use of colour edges in the lining fabric. A peeking of contrasting colour by the main fanric, especially around wrist and front closing area, is a gem. (See Photo C)
The blue dress was made from kimono fabric that was roughly sewn into kimono – KARINUI. It is like western costume term TOILE. As it wasn’t made into wearable kimono the fabric remais clean and unworn. Easy to unpick and wash. This fabric was meant to be a FURISODE, which is worn on top of under-garment, hence this elaborate design and the silk is robust.
It has taken me a few years to finish this light jacket/dress. It was a very old UCHIKAKE kimono. the background colour should have been off white, however due to its age it was discolooured to almost beige that attracted me when purchasing. UCHIKAKE is worn on top of layers of undergarment on the wedding. I show you below how similar kimono is like if newer:
I finally finished it! It has taken me a good few months since I started.
I met Laura a few years ago in the local gym. We are both keen swimmers and while getting dressed after the swim we used to talk about dresses we are making and our future dreams. She is English, in her 20’s, slim built and tall with fair smooth skin and dark hair. She is very particular about what she likes and wears. She likes colours black and gold. Well, are there any kimonos in these colours? At first I thought No. Then remembered I DID buy a Michiyuki (light kimono jacket/coat) in black silk with woven patterns in gold and other colours. I bought it from Japan (Ichiroya.com) online, hoping I could make some accessories for special occasions.
Bingo! She liked the fabric which made me decide to make my first dress for her. I have been making a few for my own use but sewing for a friend is more challenging. It was really for me to MAKE not for her to WEAR. Sorry Laura! Or, she may be relieved knowing she doesn’t have to wear it. No matter, here are some photos which she happily posed for me in THE dress. I have changed the design in the course of making due to the amount of fabric available from the original Michiyuki jacket.