Sunday, January 31, 2010

Old Shoes

Comfortable but dull!

We all have them. A customer recently turned up at my KimoYes workroom with her favorite "dress" shoes that she was desperate to wear to an upcoming wedding and reception where she would be standing for quite a while. We looked at her stunning outfit with the rather sad shoes and came up with the following.

We started with this.........

black silk and vintage Japanese meisen fabrics (a taffeta like silk fabric produced in Japan between 1920-1950) to match her outfit and ended up with this......   


black silk kanzashi flowers backed with the contrasting meisen silk and finished with vintage silver tone filigree buttons.  

Another possibility was this........


reversal of fabrics with vintage black glass button, but we were both happy with the final outcome...

A little bit of hot glue and shoe clips finished the job.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

KimoYes Headquarters

Workroom, backroom, studio, the temple, Aladdin's Cave...........

By any name, this is where I spend most of my time these days. It's great fun rummaging around and finding lots of forgotten treasures. I store my KimoYes and other Japanese vintage fabrics, garments and other bits and pieces in this room and love having visitors to check out, feel and drool over KimoYes goodies, ask questions and get ideas. Visits are by appointment (I am located in Canberra) and contact details are on the KimoYes website   

Randy is a constant visitor to the temple (not too sure where that name came from!). Sinking deep into big baskets of silk offcuts is Randy's idea of cat heaven.

Friday, January 22, 2010

January 22, 2010

Toji Markets

Yesterday was market day in Kyoto. Despite the light rain, we made our way to the Toji Temple at sunrise and, as usual, it was an interesting and rewarding day.

One of my aims was to buy some girls' kimono as the demand for this colourful fabric has increased in recent months. We were lucky enough to find some reasonably priced ones at a stall near the entrance and despite the odd mark or two, they appear to have lots of usable fabric.

Even though its been a year since my last visit to this market, I met up with a few familiar dealers who offered me some well priced silk bolts. I was also tempted to buy a beautiful length of katazome cotton for my own textile collection, but I somehow resisted. I did, however, buy an unusual piece of woolen fabric which featured rabbits - moth eaten but charming.

I love to make flowers from kimono fabric. I'm always on the lookout for new ideas and Toji didn't disappoint me. I met the maker of the lovely flower bag and flowers below and look forward to adding clips to the flowers so that I can wear them.

I Love Off-cuts!

When we were strolling through Gion a few days ago I came across a shop that had a small basket of blue Nishijin silk offcuts - probably only enough to make a cushion but I'm looking forward to getting home to have some fun with these. I've already had them laid out on my hotel bed.

Other Fabrics

I promised my daughter, Claire, that I'd keep an eye out for some modern Japanese cottons for her. Fabric shops are few and far between in Kyoto, but we found a shop on Shijo Dori which met our needs. I'll have to ship these home Claire, so have a good look!


No, I'm still in Kyoto. We came across a shop called Chicago in the Teramachi yesterday and we went back today to have a closer look today. Downstairs is full of modern second hand clothing and the top floor is full of kimono. Yesterday we picked up a few interesting silk bolts and today we added a haori. I also visited a few vintage button and bead shops in the same area. The buttons and beads were beautiful but way outside of my budget.

We are going home tomorrow - leaving the current 3 degrees C and landing in a forecasted 38 degrees. Our daughter Jane has been at home looking after KimoYes, and no doubt she will be pleased to se us! Next week I'll have fun putting up lots of "new" KimoYes fabrics and garments on the website.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Welcome to the KimoYes Blog. This blog has been a long time coming and this has been "the week" to grapple with another side of Kimoyes vintage Japanese fabrics. Hopefully this blog with allow KimoYes customers and others to find out more about Japanese textiles, how they can be used creatively and what KimoYes has to offer.

After several short trips to Kyoto, we decided to extend our visit to this beautiful city to explore more buying opportunities and to come to a deeper understanding of the complex world of Japanese textiles. My husband John and I have been in Kyoto for the past week and have had a great time. Besides seeing the sites of Kyoto, we have had lots of "textile experiences".

We came across this weaving machine outside a clothing shop in Teramachi. It has been used to weave kasuri fabric and it was fascinating to see the pre-dyed threads still in the loom.

Our visit to the widely popular Handicrafts Centre was disappointing. It is a large retail space and the advertised demonstrations of doll making and print making were not apparent. Our visit to the Nishijin Textile Centre later on that day, however, was far more rewarding. We saw lots of weaving in action, kimono fashion parades and most of all, I had the chance to do a little bit of yuzen dying. Although this is a dying process with which I am familiar and I've handled many yuzen dyed silk bolts, I gained a greater appreciation of the time taken to perfect this painstaking process.