Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Clever Creations

I was delighted to receive some photos from a KimoYes customer a few days ago. Debbie Ives of Queensland is this month's winner of the KimoYes Mailing List $100 silk pack prize and when I gave her the good news she responded with a few photos of some of her creations made from KimoYes fabrics. Debbie exhibits and sells some of her gorgeous bags at a local art space and has the ability to turn small pieces of kimono silks and cottons fabric into something really stunning. The bangle bags above were created mainly from cotton yukata fabric. Some of the bags below blend linen with kimono silks.

Thank you Debbie for sending these to me. It's always satisfying to see recycled fabrics look so beautiful. Chloe O'Reilly, another kimoyes customer, sent me details of her blog today where she showcases her gorgeous creations, including some using kimoyes fabrics. Check out Chloe's blog, especially the red quilt!

We are having another KimoYes sale tomorrow. This will be a great opportunity to get 15% off all Kimoyes fabrics and other products along with free postage. Keep an eye on your emails for more details.

Friday, April 30, 2010

KimoYes Fabric Swatch Card

Fabric Swatches

I'm often asked about the different types of Japanese fabrics that appear on the KimoYes website. The world of Japanese fabrics is extensive and often mysterious, but there are some more common weaves and dyes that I frequently encounter. In response to the many emails that I receive, I've put together a swatch card of examples of some of the more common Japanese fabrics on the KimoYes website.  

If you would like one of these handy cards, keep an eye on your emails over the next few days. It's almost time for the KimoYes Mother's Day Sale and these cards will be included with all KimoYes purchases next week.

April Mailing List Winner

Congratulations to Monika Short of Canberra who is this month's winner of the $100 Silk Pack. Don't forget that you have to be on the KimoYes Mailing List to have a chance to win this monthy prize.

Hippy Haori

Wearing Haori Jackets

Haori are hip length coats traditionally worn over kimono for warmth and they come in various weights. They are becoming increasingly popular in western society because of their flowing style and beautiful silk fabrics. I have a number of them on the KimoYes website which customers buy to wear either formally or informally.  Unfortunately westerners are often larger than the Japanese women for whom these lovely garments were made and this week I was given the challenge of adjusting a haori to fit a local customer.

Haori are constructed with narrow side panels which are visible in the above photo. The haori in question fitted well across the back but not at the hipline. I simply unpicked the hand stitched side panel to the waistline, cut it off and hand stitched around the edges to catch the lining. The photos below tell the story.  

The result was a haori that fell straight at the front and back and which floated over the hips. Very flattering!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ada's Quilt

Ada's Quilt

Little Ada arrived in March and I have finally managed to finish her quilt. Ada is the new baby daughter of Ema and Chris who live in the US.

The quilt is made from a variety of fabrics. The base fabrics are black and white patchwork fabrics which have been hand appliqued with stunning circles of silk fabric taken from girls' kimono. I took Martha Birch's advice and chose a bright yellow border. The border fabric is a cotton yukata, #8373 from the KimoYes website and I finished it with a backing and binding in one of my favourite Japanese cotton patchwork fabrics from Addicted To Fabric in Canberra. Canberrans are very lucky to have such a wonderful supply of patchwork fabrics at a2f. I'm very happy with the result and am always pleased to be able to successfully combine vintage and modern fabrics.

Martha, I'll be sending you some of the lovely yellow yukata fabric in thanks for your excellent suggestion!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Shibori Bag

From time to time, customers send me photos made from KimoYes fabrics. This is always a thrill and I hope to share some of these creations with you over the next few months. One thing better than receiving these photos is receiving the creations themselves! I was lucky enough to be given this lovely little bag made by a valued and talented customer and made from one of the KimoYes shibori bundle packs. These packs disappear from the Kimoyes website very quickly and are handy to use as feature pieces or thrown together to make something beautiful.

The lining is a KimoYes remnant which finishes off the bag beautifully.

I'd love to feature your KimoYes inspired creations on these pages. Email me with details and photos if you want to showcase your designs. Jill

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Sorry about the long break between posts. Last week my dear dad passed away and this very sad event has had a big impact on both me and the rest of the family. He was a lovely gentle man, a great father and grandfather and he will be sadly missed. Jill.

Have a look at this stunning piece of shibori dyed kimono fabric that I put on the KimoYes website this week. It is a soft pale mauve silk with a woven geometric pattern. Some of the spaces between the weaves are dyed a deep plum colour and pink shibori dots decorate the junctions of the woven designs. Imagine this fabric in a flowing scarf.

I'm also including some older cotton shibori pieces in our very soon to be announced Easter promotion. If you are interested in kimono fabric - wool, silk and yukata -  off the roll and picking up a few extra free pieces of fabric with your next KimoYes order, keep an eye on your emails! You might be able to pick up promotional pieces like these vintage cotton shibori.......


The winner of our KimoYes Mailing List silk pack is Janine Kingston of Manning in Western Australia. Congratulations Janine. A silk pack which includes a panel of the beautiful mauve shibori silk along with with many other gorgeous pieces, is on its way to the west.  

All you need to do to be in the running next time is to be on the KimoYes Mailing List.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Meisen Quilt

Scrappy Creation

I made this meisen silk quilt several years ago. It's not my favourite quilt, but at the time I was keen to "show off" some of my favourite pieces. It is machine quilted and my intention was always to hand quilt some of the flowers and other shapes.  I occasionally look at it and make plans to get out the quilting cotton but  I guess unless you absolutely love a quilt it is always easy to find other, more interesting projects. Some time soon I'll get out my other meisen scraps and have another go! I love the vibrant colours, large patterns and subtle sheen of these silks and I also like quilts with lots of different fabrics, but it is difficult to come up with a design that accommodates all three factors. Any suggestions?

You can find other meisen silk fabrics by performing a fabric search on the kimoyes website.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Meisen Silk

One of my favourite Japanese fabrics would have to be meisen silk - which probably explains why there is so much of it on the KimoYes website! I have my own personal stash of it and one day plan to keep a record of all of the meisen fabrics that I have collected over the years. Customers and others seem to either love or loathe it.

Meisen silk  is fabricated by weaving pre-dyed threads using the tie-and-resist ikat technique.
"Silk or cotton, are first stretched on a frame. Selected design areas are tightly bound to prevent the dye from penetrating and the hanks of threads are immersed in the dye pots. The bound portions of the yarns resist the dye and when woven, as a result of the threads not being perfectly aligned, create shapes with charmingly uneven edges". (Meisen silk)

On my last visit to Japan I was lucky enough to pick up some cotton and silk threads that had been prepared for this process. The first photo below shows prepared cotton threads and the other, silk.

Meisen silk became popular in Japan between 1920-1950, but most of it appears to be from around the 40s and 50s. It was popular because it was cheaper than many of Japanese silks, was "modern" and used many colourful designs. I love it for its vibrant, rich clours, charming designs and because it holds its shape so well when used for making such things a s kanzashi flowers and bags. I also marvel at the complexity of the process and the beauty that comes from it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Omiyage by Kumiko Sudo

Even though this is not a new publication, I couldn't resist buying this delightful book this week. I love all things written by Kumiko Sudo and this book has a special charm. Omiyage is the Japanese word for "gift" and this book is full of tiny fabric gifts, complete with instructions. In her introduction Kumiko Sudo describes gifts made of fabric as "the most intimate I can give."

Just have a look at some of these gorgeous creations....

And the real beauty is that these small gifts take such little fabric. If you are on our mailing list you'll receive a KimoYes newsletter within the next 24 hours which tells you how to qualify for a free silk kimono remnant along with another fabulous offer - just what you need to get started on one of these small projects.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ema's Baby Quilt

Pram Quilt With Kimono Fabric

Some time ago Paul, son and KimoYes webmaster, asked me to make a small quilt incorporating kimono fabric for his friend, Ema. Ema lives in the US and is expecting her first baby to be born some time this month. As usual, I've left this project to the last minute and spent some time last night thinking about what Ema might like. I can't image Ema going for fuzzy animals in pastel colours, so decided to try something a bit different.


I remembered a pile of 8 x 8 inch black and white cottons that I've been hoarding for a few years with the intention of experimenting with these in combination with Japanese kimono fabrics. The time seemed right!


I know that black and white are not traditional colours for a baby quilt, so decided to incorporate colourful circles of fabric from children's kimono. I had a few "special" pieces put away as these fabrics are becoming very difficult to buy. Out with the freezer paper, CD as a template and needle and thread. I hand appliqued a few of the circles last night and look forward to finishing the quilt this week.

The quilt will be 3 x 4 squares with a border. Any suggestions about a good colour for the border would be appreciated! 


Friday, February 26, 2010

Yukata Cottons

Casual Cottons

Yukata not only refers to Japanese stenciled and dyed cotton fabrics, but also to the cotton kimono worn after a bath or when relaxing at home. These fabrics are great for quilting as they are colourfast and soften with age. Traditionally yukata fabrics are blue and white but occasionally you come across some real stunners.

Yesterday this gorgeous yukata fabric arrived in a KimoYes shipment. After resisting the temptation to put it aside for that special "one day" quilt,  I reluctantly handed it over to my husband to be photographed and admired by many!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sample Book

Fabric Samples for the Royal Court

One of the many joys of collecting and buying lots of vintage Japanese fabric from lots of sources is the opportunity to pick up some really interesting related objects along the way. One of my treasured  "pick ups" is a large book containing Japanese fabric samples.  These fabric samples were randomly cut and pasted in this book by a fabric merchant or factory owner and presented to the royal Japanese court for its consideration and selection. I've been told that the sample book dates back to the late 1800s.

All up, the book contains about 150 fabric samples and the variety and intricacy never fails to amaze me. 



Some of the samples have a definite French influence, especially the fine silk brocades.

One of my favourite pieces, however, is this gorgeous piece with a traditional Japanese design.


If you ever get the chance to visit the KimoYes studio and workroom, ask me about it. I'd love to show it to you.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Antique Japanese Fabrics

Historical Materials Room at the Nishijin Textile Centre

The Nishijin Mill in historic Kyoto is well known and more information can be found on the centre's website. One of the more interesting features of the centre is the Historical Materials Room. This is a mini museum which traces the development of Kyoto textiles over the past few hundred years. These two kimono were especially impressive examples local weaving  and dying processes.

As a quilter,  the wall hangings around the centre were also of special interest.  The fine weaves and sublte colours of modern Nishijin fabrics lend themselves well to these exquisite pieces





I can't wait until my box of Nishijin silks arrive from Kyoto!