Tuesday, July 12, 2011

In store...for our Winter Sale

Some of the things that I've brought out and/or discounted for our winter sale (which ends this Saturday)...

These are old hand-stitched 'zokin' cleaning cloths. It's very traditional to recycle old fabrics by stitching them into cleaning cloths. Some were beautifully decorated with traditional sashiko designs and others more simply stitched into humble pieces like this.  I've had some of these in the shop for a while and I find most people want to use them for table centres or place mats - but they make terrific, sturdy cleaning cloths as well.

I've got lots of discount bundles of new quilting fabric fat quarters. Even though we specialise in old fabrics we always have a selection of new cottons in the shop as well. 'What's a fat quarter?' is one of the common questions I hear in the shop. Most of these fabrics are a standard 110-112cm wide and  if you cut a standard quarter of a meter you get a long skinny piece.  So instead,  to get a more useful 'fat quarter' size (50cm x 55cm) you cut a half metre piece in half lengthwise. All our new quilting fabrics are Japanese designs, made in Japan:

We have a big basket of traditional donsu damask. Some are silk but many of the ones that aren't silk have a beautiful silky feel and appearance as well and most of them are in lovely soft subtle colours. I talked a little bit about donsu in one of my earlier posts -  they are  traditionally used on scrolls or for tea ceremony items but they are lovely for more everyday uses like cushions and bags.

To make room for our recent shipment of kimono fabric I pulled out a lot of old rolls of silk that were nearly finished and I'm selling the pieces at half price. Another common question in the shop is 'what do people use the silk for?'  The answer is probably endless.... quilts, scarves, blouses, hats, bags, cushions, dolls and dolls' clothing, jewellery, skirts, wall hangings, table runners....

We always have some of these kashigata sweet moulds in the shop. Some are used for colourful decorative sweets for festive occasions and others are for various sweets to be had with tea.  My customers usually buy them just because they're interesting and beautiful objects  but at least one person is using smaller ones very successfully for shortbread.

This is as-new, not very old yukata (cotton summer kimono) fabric. This cotton is 40cm wide  which is a good example of how kimono fabrics have needed to grow a little over time. Our 19th century fabrics  may be as narrow as 31 or 32 cms  up to 35cm  and then through out the 20th century from 35 up to 37cm. In this last shipment for the first time I had a silk which was over 40cm wide.

I've put  these little novelty Daruma out for the sale. Daruma is a common figure in Japanese culture. He represents the founder of Zen buddhism, Bodhidharma, an Indian  priest who went to China in the sixth century where he sat for nine years attaining enlightenment but losing the use of his legs. He often looks very grumpy...
And as always we have lots of kimono remnants...

...and baskets of textiles to rummage through:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

1935 kimono illustrations

These are some of the colour illustrations from the 1935 kimono sewing book which I used to illustrate my current newsletter.

On the left is a semi-formal houmongi 'visiting' kimono and on the right is a black patterned long-sleeve 'kuro furisode' bridal kimono:

Next is a formal kuro tomosode kimono set worn by family members at a wedding with a red nagajuban undergarment and a formal maru obi.

A haori, a girl's kimono, a baby's omiyamairi kimono (omiyamairi is a baby's first official shrine visit, equivalent to a Shinto christening) and a Nagoya obi:

The last two pages are kimono for the 'Shichi-Go-San ' festival. Shichi-go-san, literally 'seven-five-three', is a Shinto festival hating back to the Heian period (794-1185) for girls who are three and seven and boys who are three and  five.   First, seven and three year old girls' kimonos and a seven year old's obi:

And finally,  shichi-go-san items for a five year old boy: haori, long kimono and hakama.