10 December 2012

Why I love Kimono - Reason 6

They say variety is the spice of life and kimono is always full of variety.

Whether it is the designs available or the way you style your outfit, there is so many things you can do with kimono and this is especially true for the obi!

Of course these ones are for special occasions like the Coming of Age ceremony where the flashier the musubi the better!

But even the humble otaiko musubi has variations as well.

This is the standard version which I normally tie when I am casually wearing kimono with my friends.

However this is not the only way to tie a otaiko musubi.

Here are a couple of more ways to tie it.


This one is actually very cute and I must try this one day!

So as you can see, this is another reason to why I love kimono!

27 November 2012

Why I love Kimono - Reason 5

Now my next reason for liking kimono has it up side as well as it down side.

I love the fact that I don't have to wash them!  I have over 20 kimono and not one of them have been cleaned.  Granted I haven't worn them much so the chances of them getting dirty is very low and whenever I wear them I am careful not to drop my dinner on them.  However whenever I wear a white shirt I have to wash it after a couple of wears because of the collars.

In addition, when you wear a kimono, you always have at least two or three layers underneath which will prevent sweat from getting to your kimono.

There is a good reason why you can't wash kimono especially the silk ones.  First the dyes used are not fixed so as soon as water touches it, they could run!  This is not good if you have something like this!

I hate to think what this would look like if the orange ran.

And secondly, although the outer layer of the kimono maybe polyester sometimes they use silk lining!  This is actually very annoying when you brought a kimono which you want to be washable.

This kimono I know is polyester but I am pretty sure the lining is silk.  Oh well so long as I can't see the dirt on the outside I don't care.

Of course in saying I don't have to wash kimono does sound like I am a mucky thing (which I am not by the way!)

20 November 2012

Why I love Kimono - Reason 4

I am one of those people who will only buy another new clothes if it fits into my existing wardrobe.  I am not talking about physically fitting in my wardrobe, if I want something to fit into my wardrobe I will always find space.

No I am talking about mixing and matching my clothes.  There is nothing worse then finding out that you have  a top that does not go with anything in your wardrobe.  Which means you have to go out and buy something else so you can wear it.

Originally I started buying kimono without considering my fundamental rule because I never thought I will be wearing them outside.  I am live in the UK and it is cold!

However now I love wearing my kimono with my western wardrobe and whenever I go shopping I lookout for items which I can wear with my kimono and western clothes.

My latest co-ordination was for the Sisterhood of the Travelling Kimono.

Rather then wearing a juban under the kimono, I opted for a shirt, tie and black full length skirt.  It was very comfortable and if I have to say, very chic!

Another way of adding a western touch to a kimono outfit is with shoes!

My favourite shoes are my boots!  They are comfortable and in the UK they are perfect for wet and cold weather.

Here are my white boots which are actually my wedding shoes.  I really should wear them again.

Then there is the outer wear.  You can not go out in the winter without a coat (well cape in this case), scarf and gloves.

So much choice and so much possibility!  This is my reason for loving kimono ^_^.

12 November 2012

Why I love Kimono - Reason 3

I'm one of those sort of people who wears what suits my body shape.  If fashion just happens to coincide with what I like then all the better but most of the time I just buy what takes my fancy.

As such I have a habit of buying clothes in different colours but with the same basic shape because I know it will work and this is why I love kimono.  I can buy different colours and patterns but not worry about size.

If I buy kimono with measurements that will fit me and I like the look of it then I can buy it without worrying about it.

Happily, I am only 5'2'' which means a lot of second hand kimono will fit me however this is very bad for ones wallet.

Just look at the three kimono below.  These kimono are exactly the same expect the fact there is three different colours and as such I knew I could wear the kimono. Well so long as I can coordinate it.

The blue one I wore way back in 2011 and I wore it with a pale yellow obi with a winter flower.

The green one I wore for the Christmas 2011 KDJ in Birmingham.  I thought green would be a great colour for Christmas.

And the pink one was the kimono I wore for the first KDJ UK!  Happy memories!

6 November 2012

Shoes for Kimono!

There are certain obstacles one needs to get over when they are wearing kimono in the UK.

One of those obstacles is footwear.  The UK is not known for its warm weather that is suitable for zori and geta.  Even when one is wearing tabi it is still cold and if one is walking about a lot then you will feel the pain.

Not that I don't like wearing zori, there are many advantages to wearing them like being able to slip them off when you are in a restaurant and give your feet a rest without looking too slobbish.  

However sometimes you want to wear proper shoes especially when it is cold.  My current favourite is my CAT tan boots.

When it looks like it is about to rain, these are the shoes that I grab when I wear kimono as they seem to go with a lot of my kimono.

I even wore them when I appeared on TV.  I love them!

However these are not the only shoes I would wear with kimono.  I do have a pair of lovely white boots with stiletto heels as well.  I have only worn them once because I can't walk very far in them but they are gorgeous.    

Then it got me thinking what other shoes would I love to wear with kimono? 

Lately I have been thinking of getting a pair of retro style shoes like Mary Janes or T-bar shoes because I have a feeling they would look really cute!

Deva Dolly by Clarks
This pair I have actually tried on and they are very comfy.  Not sure about the patent leather because although I love the shine of it and they look funky they will make coordinating tricky!

Then there are these ones!
Sherbourne by Van Dal
Again in patent leather (hmmm I think my sub conscience is telling me something) but this shoe is a lace up!  I have not tried these one on but I know the brand is very good so they should be fine for me.

Or how about these!

23 Skidoo by American Duchess
I love the look of them and I know these will go lovely with a white, orange and gold yabana kimono that I want to wear again!  I can also imagine wearing them with other elements of my wardrobe so a good all rounder shoe I think.

And at this moment American Duchess are holding giveaway for a pair of 23 Skidoo!  For full details you can follow the link below!

I think I will enter just in case!

5 November 2012

Why I love Kimono - Reason 2

Since I was 18, I have been bouncing around the UK.  Living in cities and towns for no more then 2-3 years and as such, I have gotten pretty good at packing.  

One of the things I spend most of my time packing is my clothes.  Everything has to be fold neatly so that when they arrived at their new location I can just hang them out or place them into draws without messing about.

And since kimono are stored all nicely folded, it makes moving them really easy and this is another reason why I love them!

Okay it is a weird reason for liking kimono but for a neat-freak like me kimono are perfect for someone who like to efficiently pack their wardrobe. Why???? So I can buy more kimono and clothes of course!

This is where the majority of my collection is living at the moment and when I move again, I will simply need to take them into the van.

If you are wondering why they are left stack in my lounge well that is because my husband is using the boxes as a standup table for when he is thinking about maths.  Which is fine by me as it make coordinating outfits easy.

Kanzashi bouquet - part 3

As soon as I have started a bouquet I get crafter's block!

Last week I had this in my hand.

It was pretty but it need something else.......maybe more flowers and made in a different colour as well.

Well I settled for teal because it is the one colour that went well with the dark navy blue that I had.  Then my mind went blank!

How was I going to decorate the bottom of the bouquet?  I didn't want to use lace as I didn't want to introduce another fabric into the bouquet and I really wanted to use the same white organza that I used to make the little dainty white flowers.  But how was I going to do it?

This sat in my mind for 3 days and it was very annoying.  I want it to be light and fluffy to contrast against the bold kiku that I made but everything I tried just didn't work for me.  Not fluffy and stiff enough for my liking but then yesterday it struck me!  Why not try some musubi folding techniques?

I spent so much time learning how to tie my obi that something must be suitable for finishing my bouquet and it came to me, make a series of round petal folds with the organza and voila!  

Well I am glad to report that it worked and here is the result.

I rearranged the original bouquet I found the rotational symmetry was not pleasing to the eye.  Normally a certain amount of symmetry is attractive but since all the flowers I made are all symmetric, I didn't want the bouquet arrangement to be the same.

A little bit of asymmetry adds a little bit of excitement.

I am also happy with the size as well, it is a nice round bouquet which will sit nicely in a bride's hands.

Here you can see how the organza round petals nestle the bouquet.  It makes the bouquet look softer.

And I can't resist a closeup of the flowers.  

This bouquet will be appearing in my etsy shop very soon and it is a truly one off piece. The chances of finding another scarf like this one is going to be impossible so whoever buys it will be acquiring a unique kanzashi bouquet.  I think I will be pricing it around the $300 if you are interested.

30 October 2012

Kanzashi bouquet - part two

I have the main flowers for the bouquet but I need something else to fill in the gaps.

How about some little flowers!

They are not made using the tsumami technique because I wanted to add a little bit of "fluff" to the bouquet so I made pom-pom style flowers.

I tried to take a picture to show how large the bouquet is relative to my hand but unfortunately it didn't quite work out.  I had my hand spread out to support the kiku on the edge.

Now to think about adding a layer of leaf like creation along the bottom to set it off.  What should I do?

29 October 2012

Why I love Kimono - Reason 1

You may be wondering why I am writing about my reason for loving kimono.  Well it occurs to me that I never really answered that question.

I have so many reason why I love kimono that I thought it would be a nice idea to say why.

So the first reason why I love kimono.

I love the simple design!

My favourite yukata

Here is a typical kimono or in this case yukata design.  If I was to describe it then the best description I could give is that it is a robe like dress with rectangle sleeves.

That is it!  Yet it has survive the ages and the construction of this garment has not changed a great deal.  I suppose the design appeals to me because I like uncomplicated thing.  Not that I do not like other forms of clothing.  I mean I am also a fan of corsets (I own 4 at the moment and I want more) and they are one of the most complex piece of clothing engineering around.

Kanzashi Bouquet

So tsumami kanzashi are synonymous with making flowers therefore the next stage in kanzashi making is always making bouquets.

Now this is not a new thing for me.  I made one for my own wedding just over a year ago.

Well I have been meaning to make another bouquet for a while because they are very pretty and I am a sucker for things that are pretty.

But what material to use?  

Then it dawned on me what to use.  A couple of years ago I went to a vintage kilo sale and brought 5-6 scarves for the purpose of making kanzashi from them.  How about making a unique bouquet from one of those scarves?  

So the scarf I choice a navy blue and cream dotty one.  

I was a little bit eager with the rotary blade so I forgot to take a picture of the original scarf but the black and white one shows you the size of the one I used.

Now I had to decided on the the type of flower to make.  Normally I make medium size five petal flowers but this time I wanted to go all out and make kiku or crysthanamum.  However not one large but seven little ones!

I had to find out what the seven kiku look like so I make a casually arranged them into a bouquet to see what they look like.  The look very pretty!

With some extra white flower and accents this will turn into a lovely unique bouquet!

Here is a closeup of one of the flowers.

28 October 2012

Spreading the kimono love!

One of the best thing that has come out of my kimono obsession.........sorry I mean collecting........... is the number of people that I have connected online!

It really feels like I am part of one big happy family of kimono lovers which makes me very happy.

One of the many people that I have connected and would love to meet whenever I get to Japan is Yukiko Tanaka.  She is one of the many people who is re-designing the kimono so it is more accessible to everyone and if you are interested in her clothes then she has a etsy site!


She etsy site is particularly good for us practising our kitsuke because she sells some handy kitsuke items which are hard to find like this.

This is an obi clip, you either love or hate it but for me this is a lifesaver when it comes to tying obi early in the morning.  

She has also posted a entry on my blog!  

22 October 2012

Looking for participant for Sisterhood of the Travelling Kimono Round 2

If you have been following my blog then you noticed the last two entries were about the Sisterhood of the Travelling Kimono!

Well my friend is sorting out the second round and we need more people!

So I am calling you kimono fans, would you like to take part in this truly international event?  

If so, follow the link below.

Make sure you have read the rules because this is important for the smooth running of the group and if you can agree to them then sign up!

The adventure is all reported on facebook so once you have registered then you can join our little group and you will see who is taking part.

And if you are wondering, of course I have signed up!  Another excuse to go mad with kitsuke, hell yeah!

21 October 2012

Sisterhood of the Travelling Kimono - 4th Stop

After I had my week with the travelling kimono, it was the turn of my friend Liz to give her spin and what did she go for?????


Isn't it fab?  She was posing at St James Priory in Dudley.

These are the front and back photo at the moment because she needs to find the time to photoshop the others but if I know her, they should be funny.  

At this moment in time I can't get Spongebob Squarepants theme tune out of my head.

Well the next person on the list is April, she is also in Birmingham but where will she pose???

16 October 2012

Being on TV!!!

So back in August I went to Jinney Ring Craft Centre in Bromgrove to film my segment of the Paul Martin's Handmade Revolution and today it was shown on BBC2!!!

I decided to watch myself on tv because when am I going to see myself on TV again and overall I am glad I came over not like a nervous wreak that I must have been on the day.

My friend took a picture of my on tv.
I was not the judges favourite but I do not mind.  It was a fun experience and I got a chance to show off my kanzashi on national TV which I never dreamed would happen when I started making them 6 years ago.

Time to get back to making more!

If you happen to want to watch the episode and you live in the UK then you can click on the following iplayer link.


15 October 2012

Sisterhood of the Travelling Kimono - 3rd Stop

It doesn't take much persuasion for me to take part in a kimono dressing event so when one of my kimono friend asked me whether I would like to be part of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Kimono I said yes on the spot.

Well the principle is simple.  One kimono is selected and it is then sent to all the participants of the Sisterhood to co-ordinate as they wish.  Of course, photos will need to be taken of the front and back of the outfit as a minimum and it is suggested that you take photos of the place where you live.

Well the kimono has already visited Cambridge and London and this week it was my turn in Sheffield.

I decided to go non-traditional and wore the kimono with a shirt and tie rather then with a juban.  I do have a black skirt underneath so I would not flash any leg while I was walking but I love the outfit.

The hat was a last minute addition because I always wanted a hat and that morning while I was shopping with my friend, I decided to buy this one and it just happen to go with the outfit.

The outfit has a strange mix of masculine (shirt and tie) and feminine (kimono and obi) aspects which I love!  

Well now the kimono is at it next participant in Birmingham and I can't wait to see what the girls are going to do.

You can see the whole set of photos that I took here.

Kimono Friday!

I normally try to wear kimono every month because it would be a shame to have such pretty clothes sitting in boxes and never seeing the light of day.

So when The Birmingham Japanese Society organised a lecture from the author Lesley Downer I would not resist!

Since April was a native of Birmingham she gave Lesley the guided tour of Birmingham.


As normal, I forgot to take photos of my own outfit so I have to rely on Lesley and April.  

The kimono that I am wearing was the very first kimono I ever brought and I think I have only own it a couple of times.  It is not the most fanciest kimono in existence but the beauty of the kimono is when you look at the pattern.  It is made up of tiny hexagon and tiny dots which can only be seen from close up.  

The obi is one that I brought off a good friend and I have been dying to wear it since I saw it!  It is a cream obi with green, dark red, blue and yellow ovals dots all over it.  It is a tricky obi to co-ordinate because it is so busy but it went wonderfully with this kimono. Since the red oval dots match nearly perfectly with the red on the kimono.

It is these lovely coincidences that I love the most when I am collecting kimono and obi.