When I discovered kimono silks I was blown away by their strength and their drape. Strong enough for my piecing, appliqué and beading, but, and this was where I found them so appealing, they were soft. They hung and draped beautifully. They were the perfect fabric for my designs.
At first I chose the ones with subtle weaves and patterns, I didn’t want anything that looked like it came from Japan. I only used the silks with quiet little dots, nubby textures or artisanal brushstrokes.
But, gradually, over the years I was seduced. The gorgeous cranes, pine trees, cherry blossoms, ocean waves and bamboo, I could not resist.
It started when I bought a gorgeous kimono covered with classic Japanese designs and hung it on my wall. I bought another and then another. A collection developed. Those in good shape went into a pile for display. The damaged ones with tears or spots were taken apart and cleaned. The torn and stained parts were discarded and the usable pieces were rearranged and sewed together into new jackets and coats.
Like this one, ‘Royal Cranes,’ pictured above and below.
Most kimonos have only enough fabric for one jacket or coat. But some have more, like the kimono I used for the trench coat below. It was covered with beautiful classic Japanese designs. After I pieced the trench coat there was enough fabric leftover for a jacket. The trench fell together with ease, the jacket, not so much. I posted a story about making the jacket here.
Cranes, pine trees, cherry blossoms, bamboo, all representing good fortune, long life and happiness. The original kimono must have been made for a wedding.
The detail below shows the drama and vitality in these designs. Gorgeous!
I have so much appreciation for these amazing fabrics. They are beyond beautiful. From the tiny dots and subtle textures to the wild and spectacular.
What a lucky place I landed! Believe me, I am so very much aware of how fortunate I am to have discovered Japanese kimono silks!