Vintage Kimono Fabric Yo-Yo Skirt

cute way to recycle vintage kimono fabric scraps

This pleated skirt was a thrift find that I couldn’t resist. The color is such a dreamy coral and accented with an unexpected wood grain pattern. It gave off a feeling of pastel mori girl the minute I saw it. The trouble? While very long it was 2 sizes too small at the waist. That didn’t put me off as the price, color and charming pleats were all too good. At the time I was very inspired by Grimoire and dolly kei style with its east-meets-west approach to reinventing vintage western clothing.  This skirt was made in Japan so I though maybe a west-meets-east concept would be fun by reversing the style using eastern pieces in dolly way. The challenge was not how to make the skirt fit a larger size but how to decorate it without losing the beautiful pleats. Then the idea came to me… a floating apron… made from kimono scraps. (more…)

Saturday Style: Wa-Lolita in the Park

mix and match of various lolita and kimon styles

Want to treat you today with a Saturday Style post – even though it is Sunday. Surprised myself last week when I realized it was my first time attending Japan Day in Central Park. There had always been one conflict or another keeping me from it in the past. Being determined this year, the minute we confirmed attendance, I knew exactly what to wear. In another moment of realization, I was bummed out to think it has been two summers since I made it. According to the metrics for my blog it is my top project post of all time. So here it is back by popular demand – the wa lolita yukata blouse.

Many dear readers have asked for the pattern and I am sorry I’ve had to disappoint. I dream of taking classes at FIT one day to help advance my self-taught skills. Until then, if you know of anyone in the Tri-State area who knows how to create a PDF pattern from a designer’s muslin – PLEASE LET ME KNOW (∗ᵕ̴᷄◡ᵕ̴᷅∗)՞

jane marple paper doll necklace

I’ve said it before, styling wa lolita is tough. It can go really wrong really quickly. In the week before Japan Day I poured over copies of Kimono Hime and Googled Lolita Kimono variations. A Jane Marple necklace of all things was my muse for the look. It has a paper dolly and her dress. The vintage feel and color became my jumping off points. To match the yukata fabric I mixed in a neutral skirt from Fan Plus Friend and a peter pan collar blouse. The orange obi was a Kyoto find during last year’s trip. All that was missing was a statement hair piece.

Wa Lolita Straw Hat

straw boater hat remade into a kitchy kimono accessory

Its been insanely hectic at work so I didn’t really think making something was an option. But thanks to speed and efficiency of hot glue, managed to make a new straw hat to complete the look. The rule of three is something I stick to often. The obi and necklace had orange in them so this hat needed to as well. I pulled some of my favorite scraps of kimono fabric to make circular medallions instead of a traditional hat band. Backed each one using a think interfacing so that the hot glue hopefully will not damage the delicate fabric. From a preservation perspective, given more time, I probably would have sewn them directly to the hat instead of using the glue.

The yukata ume blossoms have been in a drawer for ages. Luckily, a few years back I had a spell where I made hundreds of them, which made this a huge time saver for the project. All I needed to do was add a few orange seed beads to create harmony. Mix in some laces and some faux flowers and Bob’s your uncle. Project complete.

Japan Day

A lot of people had to back out from the meet. The festival falls on Mother’s Day which I am sure was the challenge. But a few of us still found each other amongst the massive crowd. We spent a lovely afternoon chatting away about everyone’s background in the arts. It was the most relaxed afternoon I have had in ages. While I might have graduated from art school 2 decades before the rest we all had a common bond that brought the conversation together. There is even talk of getting together for a sketching meet later this summer. What a charming idea.

relaxing on the hill in central park

Top Right Photo by Adel | Bottom Photo by Lucy

P.S. Apparently my coordinate was a big hit. So many people asked for photos. Found out that a snap of it ended up in a local Japanese paper called the Daily Sun!!

Handmade: Collegiate Letter Badge with Kimono Fabric

personalized collegiate letter handmade badge

It took my better half a fair amount of time to understand that even though something has sat in my trims and fabric stash for awhile its not time to throw things out yet. I had several of these iron on school uniform like badges in my trims box for a very long time and was debating if he was right, would I ever use them? Then an explosion of school style pieces started showing up in the late winter and early spring J-fashion magazines. Inspiration struck.

This little badge was whipped up in a matter of hours before my flight to Japan back in March. My friend Asumi and I always exchange cute little gifts when we see each other. I really love our tradition because it is so much fun trying to figure out what to give her next. Sometimes I find cute store bought trinkets, but every now and then I like to throw in something handmade.

sporty cute kimono fabric pin accessory

To take the school patch in a whole new direction, silk kimono fabric in a traditional print along with tiny lace, velvet ribbon, pearls and a satin rose bud all came together. I think it is a very unexpected and playful combination. And the bridge between the Western alphabet with the Eastern fabric is a nice reflection of our friendship – the two coming together and having fun.

details back of pin pearls and charms

Might make a couple more of these with different styles of fabric. Not sure yet. Do love items that can be completed quickly between more ambitious projects.  Keeps me motivated to have that sense of accomplishment as a push to tackle the big stuff.

Project Update: Applique Taking Shape

kimono pillow applique

I like to look on the bright side of things.  So thanks to Hurricane Sandy I am making fantastic progress again on my Anthropologie-inspired, kimono applique pillow!  Was really happy to have a hand-sewing project ready and waiting when I was stuck indoors for three days with no place to go – or rather no way to go anywhere.

I folded the base fabric in half and made a finger press to indicate the center.  Used this as the basis to line up the first row of chevrons.  I pulled out the pattern to make sure I got the angle right.  And then I held my breath and went for it.

anthropologie pillow diy

Two rows are complete and the third is pinned down ready to go.  Applique is not something I do very often, so am please thus far with my progress.  There is one piece that is driving my nuts and I most likely will rip it out and redo it.  But for now I am going to keep on with the rest of the pieces first and see how everything looks once I have more done.

I would love to be able to give the piece a good ironing… but that will have to wait when we have our power restored.  They aren’t giving out great estimates yet; I have heard anywhere from 6 to 10 days. As the weekend is upon us, that means I have two more days to sew away.  Let’s see how far I get in that time.

Update 4: Applique Pieces Basted
Update 3: Ready to Begin Applique
Update 2: Finalizing the Pattern
Update 1: Pattern for Perfect Corners
Kickoff: Anthro & West Elm Inspiration

Project Update: Ready To Begin Applique

kimono fabric ready to applique

Making progress on the pillow.  The past couple of nights all the applique chevron pieces were prepared.  First step, iron the fusible interfacing pieces to the kimono fabric.  The best part about this is selecting which designs and colors to use.  My better-half knows all too well that I talk out loud to myself.  He kindly put up with a lot of, “if you place it this way on the fabric you get the gold flower, but over here you get the teal leaf.”

Once all the interfacing was ironed securely to the silk, moved on to trimming each piece. I left a generous seam allowance to begin with.  Once I see how the appliqueing is going I might adjust it and try to work with less.  Choose to use pinking shears in order to keep the silk from fraying and ensure the pieces still lay flat when sewn to the pillow base fabric.

Update 2: Finalizing the Pattern
Update 1:  Pattern for Perfect Corners
Kickoff:  Anthro & West Elm Inspiration