There are a few styles of kimono jackets and I would like to show one of them which is called HAORI, very elegant and sleek to my taste. We can have it long or short, colourful or otherwise and enjoy combination with what you wear underneath as your main garment such as dress, kimono, etc.
To purchase it may be difficult as each kimono (jackets incuded) is made by hand and is in different size. It is not mass produced in Japan. I love using vintage or old kimonos. Japanese people are not familiar with second hand clothes and many are exported to US and Europe from Japan. Or, if you visit Japan you will see a few kimono shops selling old ones cheap. Of course new kimonos are still being produced in Japan.
For those who would like to buy or have it remade one I can help source it for the required size, colour, etc, either in Japan or in the UK. I have one supplier in each country and they are both reliable. Most difficult step is for you to decide what to wear with it. Consult your friends and family who know you well and of course I can give you my honest opinion, too.
These photos are copies from magazines for reference.
today, 28th october 2017, after 14 hours of flight, one short night stay in a hotel in tokyo, 2.hours and a bit of bullet train to kyoto, 40 minutes of express train to Nara and 25 minutes of taxi ride, i was at the wedding of my niece Sara. she and her partner yasuo chose the classic style wedding at Isonokami Shrine near Nara city, the oldest capital of Japan.
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 was thinking about making a light weight coat, loose fit for layered garments underneath, for coming warmer weather. I was browsing Jeannie’s web site, veravenus.com, and found her Blanket Coat in the free pattern offer page. The design was very close to what I had in mind and decided to have a go at it. Hence the blog title ‘aspire’.
I have a similarly loose fit woolen coat in light grey which usually receives a compliment when I wear. It goes well with my light grey hair, so I looked for some kind of grey again. What I chose here is striped wool and linen mix suiting fabric. It is very light in weight and has slippery texture. I wanted to add lining to this coat to have a collar showing bright colourful patterns. As it happened it can be worn reversed.
While sewing I had an idea: what it would look in kimono fabric? I had a silk/viscose or polyester mix kimono in Chirimen-like texture. Dull dark pink and white colours seem to go well with my hair, so I decided to have a go for the second time. It was very hard for me to decide on the contrast colour for the collar. I visited John Lewis, Liberty’s and Berwick Street in London. I was so surprised these shops had decreased the space so much for selling fabrics. Rather disappointed I gave in to purchase rather expensive taffeta. I loved the colour. It will give an accent for the soft flowering-like coat, I hope. And to my rather sleepy face! The rest of the lining is from the light silk kimono. It will not be worn reversed.
Now looking at my stock kimonos I am inspired to make more of this by changing pockets or length of the coat, etc. I aspire to sew forever! Thank you Jeannie for inspiration and here is the link to her web page.
Ali exercises with us in Laurie’s Gyrotonic studio in Brighton. She is a multi talented actress who spends time training, teaching, and working as….
I have asked her to help me develop the Kimono to Dress website in return for a kimono scarf that I made. She liked the fabric of my own scarf and I made it very long as requested. Lining is in Habotai silk.
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.