Posts Tagged ikimono


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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Maggie at Ikimono

maggies kimono
Vintage Silk Kimono Jacket

My friend Maggie has always been passionate about fashion, design and sewing which led to a career as a fashion buyer for Marks & Spencer.  Inspired by a family wedding which took place in Japan, Maggie has been collecting kimonos, both vintage and new for over 10 years.  She has become very knowledgeable about oriental culture and as her collection of kimonos grew so did her understanding and appreciation of the traditional symbols and images used on them.

This  knowledge of Japanese imagery and silk textiles has developed into an unusual “day job” as a kimono interpreter. It is so interesting listening to Maggie explaining a particular image or design and if, like me, you are tempted to become the owner of one of these beautiful items, it makes it even more special to know a bit about the culture behind it.  I have a silk haori jacket which I wear belted and also a garment which is more like a coat but I wear that belted as a dress as I love the beautiful silk,the designs and the sleeves but prefer a fitted look.


Cotton Yukata Fabric

Cotton Yukata Fabric



Maggie fulfilled a long-standing dream last month and visited Japan where she met with suppliers and enjoyed the beauty of  the kimono in its own surroundings.  She has been newly inspired, made some new contacts , strengthened relationships with existing ones and returned with some more beautiful silks and yukata cottons in her luggage (excess baggage had to be paid of course!!)

Maggie has a shop in which she offers vintage kimono, Japanese silk and cotton fabric for use in dressmaking or crafts and also some items she has crafted herself by adapting the oriental culture to fit in with the western lifestyle.


Scarf made from Vintage Japanese Kimono Silk



I always find Maggie’s enthusiasm about Japan so infectious and I’ve encouraged her to start a blog because she has so many interesting things to say about Oriental culture in general, and kimonos in particular, that I think people will really enjoy reading it.


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