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My Vintage Kimono Workshop

May 3, 2011

Last Monday I was a happy student at a Vintage Kimono Crafting Workshop!

Kimonos became rare in the streets, unfortunately.

These traditional exquisit garments were once worn in daily life. Today there is only a little group of admirers left. Weddings, visits of temples at New Year or the Kabuki Theater give reasons to wear a Kimono.

No wonder that the Kimonoweavers, taylors and dealers have become small in number.

I was always interested in a small Kimono shop in Setagaya-ku (I’m not supposed to display the name…) and got very lucky: the wife of the owner, who creates amazing animals and dolls from vintage kimono fabric, showed me some ancient secrets and techniques during our morning workshop!

In almost 4 hours of highly concentrated crafting, every stitch by hand…

I finished this little carnation! It is made of 7 red rectangles for the blossom

and one green rectangle for the calyx.

The calyx has a lining and can be closed with a string. It is a cutle little

case for a ring, ear pierces or other small things.

The fabrics we used were not chirimen, a textured cotton that is nowadays used for

small crafts. We used a fabric from about th 1930’s, that was worn as 1. the lining of

the Kimono (in ancients times always red) and 2. the collar piece.

By the time that passed and the understanding that the fabric is so delicate and has many year
been taken care of, I understand now that these animal dolls cost sometimes a few 10.000 Yen!

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