25 April 2013

Making a Dress - Funky Kimono

So February was a kimono month and March is another one!


I have always love the trendy and funky look of Yumi Yamamoto kimono.  They feel modern and fresh and so.........cute ^_^

Yumi Yamamoto
However I am on a budget and maybe one day I will be able to buy one of her original kimono but first I must start lower.  So what sort of printed fabric should I use?


What about this?

I brought it from a ebay seller called Retro Riot shop but you have to be quick because she only sells fabric that she no longer needs.

Anyway this is perfect!  A printed cotton fabric which means it will be perfect for a yukaka.

Design Process

Like the last kimono I followed the standard measurements.  The one thing that I did change was the length of the sleeve.  I decided to make them around 75cm long because I did not want to waste fabric and also I don't have many kimono with long sleeves.


Same as previous post expect as I am using a western fabric I had to cut it into 36cm strips which is strangely tricky.  However with some careful folding and then some even more careful cutting I did it without too much error.

So after 3 days of sewing, yes 3 days I can be very slow!  It is done.

Lots and lots of water melon!

 Rather then the standard 50cm length sleeves that I normally make, I decided to give this kimono 70cm ones.

And here is the collar.  It looks like I have set it further back then normal but I followed the normal measurements.  Well if I accidentally set it back further then normal at least I will not have to worry about the collar creeping forward.

Kimono Kanzashi Fabric Flower - Set of 2 Hairclip - Ivory and Red

Kanzashi hairclips made from vintage kimono are always a treat for me to make.

 ---Kanzashi Description---

* One of a kind 
* Colour - ivory and red
* Size - 6cm (wide) by 6cm (height) by 2.5cm (depth)
* Mount - 3cm alligator clip
* Suitable for all hairtypes and hairstyles

Made from two different pieces of vintage kimono, these kanzashi can be worn separately for everyday or as a pair for a more dramatic effect. Either way, it is up to you.

---Other information---

If you have questions about this kanzashi, please feel free to contact me, I am happy help you.

Like this kanzashi then why not visit the rest of my store http://www.etsy.com/shop/kittykanzashi.

I accept custom orders for all sort of accessories (like fascinators, hairbands, brooches, etc), please convo me for requests.

23 April 2013

Kanzashi Fabric Flower - Set of 2 Hairclip - Green

 A pair of lovely green kanzashi hairclips that will bring you closer to nature.

---Kanzashi Description---

* One of a kind
* Colour - green
* Size - 5cm (wide) by 3cm (height) by 1cm (depth)
* Mount - 3cm alligator clip
* Suitable for all hairtypes and hairstyles

These dainty little hairclips are perfect for any age so long as you love flowers.

---Other information---

If you have questions about this kanzashi, please feel free to contact me, I am happy help you.

Like this kanzashi then why not visit the rest of my store http://www.etsy.com/shop/kittykanzashi 

 I accept custom orders for all sort of accessories (like fascinators, hairbands, brooches, etc), please convo me for requests

18 April 2013

Making a Dress - Retro Kimono

So in January I completed this lovely 50's inspired lolita dress.

What shall I do next.....well it had to be a kimono.


Last year, I brought a wonderful retro wool kimono bolt from a friend.  As soon as I saw it, I fell in love with it.  It was blue with huge yellow and red flowers what is there not to love!

So rather then turning it into a western style dress, I thought I should make it into what it was destined to be......a kimono.


A gorgeous wool and synthetic blend kimono fabric!

Design Process

None as I am making a kimono.


Making a kimono may seem pretty straight forward but there is a lot of technical elements and the most difficult part is the collar.  It is hard to describe the challenge involved because it is really something you really have to try.

Whenever I make kimono I cheat a little bit by using the sewing machine to sew the long straight seams and then handstitching the hems and most of the collar.  I know a sewing machine is not authentic but it saves a lot of time and the time saved means I can concentrate on areas that are more complicated.


I really can't wait to wear it as it feels lovely and soft.

16 April 2013

Dark Red and Brown Kanzashi Barrette,Flower Hair Clip

A kanzashi with a modern twist for all you people who love to be different.

--- Kanzashi Description ---

* One of a kind
* Colour - navy blue and white base with dark red flower and silver tassel
* Size - 7cm (wide) x 43.5cm (height) x 3cm (depth)
* Mount - barrette clip
* Suitable for all hairtypes and hairstyles

There is a lot of fun mixing textures and materials in kanzashi making and this is a result of one crafting session. Taking a piece of vintage yukata to make the base and then adorning it with a flower made from a vintage scarf and a silver tassel, what you get is a unique barrette hairclip.

If you have questions about this kanzashi, please feel free to contact me, I am happy help you Like this kanzashi then why not visit the rest of my store http://www.etsy.com/shop/kittykanzashi 

--- Other information ---

Hana Kanzashi translated are flower (hana) hair accessories (kanzashi). All of mine are made using the Tsumami technique which involves pinching squares of fabric into individual petals and then arranging them into wonderful flowers. The only limit to tsumami kanzashi is the imagination of the crafter.

I accept custom orders for all sort of accessories (like fascinators, hairbands, brooches, etc), please convo me for requests.


14 April 2013

American Duchess:Historical Costuming: GIVEAWAY: Win a Pair of "Highbury" Regency Shoes!

Since I am in the middle of making a regency dress, wouldn't these shoes be brilliant!

American Duchess:Historical Costuming: GIVEAWAY: Win a Pair of "Highbury" Regency Shoes!: It's giveaway time again!  Up for grabs this time is a pair of "Highbury" Regency Slippers , in dyeable satin, OR an AmericanD...

13 April 2013

Lilac Tsumami Kanzashi Hair Clip by Kitty Kanzashi

Look what I have found in my finished kanzashi box!

I must have made this wonderful kanzashi and left it in my finished box secretly keeping it for my own pleasure to look at but alas it does need a good home.

As you can see these are medium sized kanzashi and you can just wear one for everyday or two if you are going for something fancy.

In fact these will be perfect for a bride who wants something simple yet stunning at the same time.

They are attached onto alligator hair clips which have been road tested by myself and I can safely say these will not move an inch unless you want them too.

So why not head over to my etsy store if you are interested in them.


11 April 2013

Kanzashi experiments turn in reality.

Remember back in February I was experimenting with the tsumami technique to create regency style flowers?

Well one flower I played with was this one.

which the tsumami version of a lilac.

Pretty close in petal shape would you not say and you can read all about the design of this flower in the following link.


Well it was about time I actually make them properly and give them to my partner in crime for this project.

I was so eager to send them to her that I completely forgot to take pictures for myself to these are her photos that she took when she received them.  I only made two of them to make sure that she liked them and lucky for me she absolutely loved them!

Now to make a few more for her to enjoy and maybe I will supersize the flower to make a bouquet out of them.

3 April 2013

Why I love Kimono - Reason 7

So you would have thought making a kimono is this complicated process but in reality it rather easy.

All you are working with is strips of 36cm and 18cm wide cloth and since nothing is wasted, you don't even have to trim the excess fabric.  Instead you just tuck them away to give a neat appearance.

Here is one of the few photos I take when I am making my own kimono.  As you can see it is a lot of rectangle pieces of fabric which are just sewed and folded into a kimono shape.

Of course there are some technical issues which need to be mastered like attaching the collar is quite an art form but it is amazing what you can get away with.

And once you got the general idea of making kimono you just repeat the process.

Here is my latest attempt!

There is one issue with this kimono in the fact that outer collar is a bit  short but you will never notice with this pattern and I would prefer to have a proper fitted kimono then one that has been compromised just to make it technically correct.

2 April 2013

Making a Dress - 50's inspired Lolita Dress

Lets kick off the "Making a Dress" series with this little number.  Oh dear not the most flattering photo but nevermind.


There are two inspiration for this dress.

The first one is that I have always loved 50's styles dresses because I love the full skirt.  What girl doesn't like to twirl around in a skirt that flares out.  And then there is the fitted bodice as well which shows the lovely waist.  Well I have an hourglass figure so for me this style just seems ideal.

Dig For Victory
However I am also a sucker for lolita dresses which is my second inspiration.  For those of you who are unsure of what I am talking about, lolita is a fashion style from Japan where people wear clothes that have been inspired by the Rococo and Victorian periods.  It is all about being elegant and having fun!  My dream brand is Mary Magdalene and Innocent World!

Mary Magdalene
Innocent World
So I wanted a dress that combines these two styles.  Something that has a vintage feel but with the playful and youthful look of a lolita dress.


Since I wanted to give the dress a vintage feel what better way then to use some vintage fabric.  Buying vintage fabric is very expensive and since this was going to be a everyday dress I didn't want fancy looking fabric but I want it to be sturdy.

Then it came to me, why not find an old and tired looking kimono?  Kimono are often made from high quality fabric so if I can find a wool kimono that would be perfect.  

Well one of my friends was giving away this kimono.

It had a weird stain on the collar (it was a dark red colour so I did not investigate further) and lots of tiny hole along the armholes so it is a perfect candidate.  

Design Process

There are plenty of patterns out there which would give me the dress that I want but I never do anything the easy way and I decided to draft my own pattern!  

Actually there was another reason for drafting my own pattern.  Kimono fabric are only 35-38 cm wide so cutting a bodice will require a bit of planning.  

So I started off with the bodice.

Something nice and simple I thought because this is my first handmade dress and I didn't want to over complicated things.

The back of the pattern.  

And here is the completed draft pattern.  The skirt is a simple gathered skirt because this is one way of creating the classic bell-shape skirt that you often see in lolita fashion.


I don't have a lot of pictures here because I forgot to take them but the first thing I did was wash the kimono which I had to be careful because I didn't want to accidentally destroy it.  Lucky it was stronger then I first thought but I still have to be careful not to make it fray even more.

Then once it was dried and ironed I began the cutting the piece!  This was the most scary part because there was no room for mistake so measure once, twice and three time before cutting.

Once over the scary part it was a case of sewing it all together and adding come bias binding to all the raw edges.


I even added a huge bow at the back to give it one more element of lolita which I love.


Hopefully for you seasoned seamstress you are not offended by my attempt.  Now where is summmer?