I have a friend, in France, who loves all things Japanese and goes there quite often and has ‘contacts’ and returns with beautiful vintage kimono and fabulous fabrics.

She took a fancy to an old livestock bell I had in my vintage shop because it was made in the village where she lives.

She wanted to know if I would do a swap.  The animal bell for some Japanese fabric.  So I went round to her house and had a rummage and this is what I ended up with.

Japanese silk Orange

Some gorgeous orange textured silk

japanese kimono silk

 Apparently the  wavy lines are picking out the movement of water flowing in a river. Traditionally, this motif symbolizes the passage of time, and the course of a lifetime.  Well, there you go – I just liked the colour and the ‘bobbly’ bits.

Japanese cotton

some circa 1970s kimono cotton

15.06 (7)

with a lovely handle and soft, slubby texture

Japanese Indigo Cotton

and these two indigo cottons which I am going to fuse together somehow for an infant’s outfit.  The dark blue one is sort of ‘corrugated’ – if you know what I mean – so I think it might look like shirring  and would make a cute top to a summer dress with the other fabric as the skirt.

Antique French Animal Bell

Here is the animal bell which is pretty gorgeous in its primitive state and becomes especially special if it was made in the village in which you now live

French Cow Bell

Now my dilemma is, what can I do with beautiful fabric that is only about 14 inches wide?

I’ve got around 2.5 meters of the orange and 2m of the pink and I’m thinking of  some sort of tops but I think  they would have to be in panels.  Any suggestions?  Is it possible to make anything other than a scarf?

The indigo prints are easier – I think I will be able to make a really cute baby dress from those.  I haven’t been promoting my baby dresses because I haven’t been pleased with the photographs.  I don’t have a baby to model the clothes and my dogs wriggle too much and struggle with the bloomers 😉  So, not having enough vintage mannequins in my house already(!), I found a child-sized mannequin on Ebay which used to grace a shop in Paris and plan to take a whole new set of photographs using this display model.

Baby Mannequin

 Is it me or is this just a tiny bit creepy?

Thank goodness it hasn’t got a face.

In other breathtaking news – I have finished my Simplicity 1803 dress for the Outfit Along – just need to hem it – and will reveal it soon.  The other part of the Outfit Along – the Myrna Cardigan – is one-armed at the moment but I hope to have it completed by the middle (or end) of next week.  I am pleased with the dress but the cardigan will probably end up as another ’round the house’ knit.  We’ll see.  I might try the method of using petersham ribbon behind the button and buttonhole bands for a neater and stronger finish as there is quite a bit of negative ease in this cardigan (hark at me getting all technical!) and it might look as if it is pulling a bit across the girls otherwise.   A tutorial for such a method is outlined here and I will report back if I decide to go along with it.

I am girding my loins to attend a vide grenier (boot sale, yard sale, flea market) as a seller rather than a buyer this Sunday.  Mlle. Tialys the elder and myself will be attempting to sell some of  the results of an over enthusiastic clothes buying habit formed over the last 5 years in her case and many more years in mine – and making room in our wardrobes for our new passion for lovingly hand made clothing.   I’ll let you know how we get on but be prepared for some grumbling about that group of people known as ‘the public’ which we will be miraculously disassociated from on Sunday as we attempt to sell to them.  Example scenario ” a euro for a vintage leather handbag – are you mad? – I’ll give you 50 cents” .   Maybe it will rain…….

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  1. #1 by katechiconi on June 21, 2014 - 00:26

    You’ve got enough to make a top from the orange wavy fabric if you follow the same principles as they use to make kimono out of the 14″ widths. The back will have a seam up the centre, the front can either wrap or have a fastening, and you can probably get short sleeves out of it too. If you google ‘kimono pattern’ you’ll find images of the fascinating jigsaw pattern they use to make an entire kimono out of these narrow strips.

    • #2 by tialys on June 22, 2014 - 18:58

      As soon as I finish my current projects (!!) I will definitely google some ways of doing things with this sort of fabric.

  2. #3 by Jan Marriott on June 21, 2014 - 21:26

    Oh yes, I swap all the time, specially at the farmers market. One food vendor is giving me a wonderful breakfast every Sat for a year in return for an antique blanket he ‘ bought’ for his wife at Christmas.
    let us know what you make with the 14′ fabric, I have a length but I don’t like it very much….too kawaii,

    • #4 by tialys on June 22, 2014 - 19:00

      It’s a lovely way to do business isn’t it Jan? Although it can be embarrassing if somebody asks you to do a swap and you don’t really fancy any of their stuff. What has your fabric got on it – little deer, some hello kitty faces or similar? 🙂

  3. #5 by lovelucie1 on June 22, 2014 - 08:05

    I love that orange fabric. It is crying out to be a dress if you have enough at that width.
    The child mannequin is perfect to show off your dresses. It might look a little less creepy if you left it with a dress on.
    Looking forward to hearing about your exploits at the sale!

    • #6 by tialys on June 22, 2014 - 19:03

      I haven’t got enough for a dress but, I’ll do some research as Kate (above) suggests and try for a top of some sort.
      I’m just grateful the mannequin hasn’t got a head. I find dolls really creepy in general (I prefer teds) and don’t get me started on ventriloquist dummies 😮

    • #7 by Jan Marriott on June 23, 2014 - 02:56

      at the cabin but will look at that piece when I get home…..kinda bright, if I remember.
      How did the v\g go? My bets response to a ridiculous offer is ” thank you for your interest”

      • #8 by tialys on June 23, 2014 - 08:31

        What a great response Jan and so much more polite than the one I would like to use 😉

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