Friday, September 4, 2015

Recycling Fabric - Kimono

I encountered a dilemma while on the "shopping adventure" this past weekend.  Our next to last stop was at a couple of used kimono shops next to each other.  I saw several beautiful kimonos in each of them and they were priced VERY reasonably, but I had decided I was done buying things for the day.

However, I did come across a couple of them, one in particular, that I wanted... for the fabric.

I've had my eye out a lot lately for fabric that I can use for Arabian costumes, particularly Native Arabian costumes.  This is especially true now that I have my study materials to try and make a full costume.

Well, one of these cheap, used kimonos looked like it would be perfect to make costumes out of -- a LOT of costumes.  The entire robe was this pattern:

I hemmed and hawed and carried it around the store with me almost the entire time we were all in there.  I'm all for recycling things and I certainly couldn't ever beat the price (about $4.00 - for what is equal to probably a few yards of fabric)  I finally decided to put it back, because... I wasn't sure about cutting up a kimono.  Is that an acceptable thing to do?  I just didn't know.

I ended up doing a bit of research the day after the shopping trip and discovered that, yes, recycling kimono fabric into other things is not only done, there are sites - in Japan - that sell the fabric from kimonos "by the pound" for use in other things.  I found websites and Pinterest boards full of recycled kimono items.  Immediately I regretted not buying that kimono.

I mentioned all of this to one of my new friends who had been on the trip and she said, "Ha!  I knew it!  We can go back tomorrow."  She had encouraged me to buy it in the first place and even threatened to buy it for me, but I had hidden it back on the rack so she couldn't.

We did go back to the store and not only did I buy the original kimono I had seen,

but I found another one that I think would work equally well and I bought it too.

I think they could be used as is, and I may make a costume or two that way.  However, my real plan is to use the pattern of the fabric as an aid for adding hand embroidery to make them "pop".  Also, to add in different colors, so that I don't end up with a ton of costumes that are identical.

I'm really excited about finding these, because I'm seeing several ways that I could cut each of them, thanks to the geometric nature of both patterns.  There are several squares and rectangles that I could cut out, getting a slightly different pattern on each piece.  Also, I can cut different sized pieces for different scales: Traditional, Classic, etc.  The fabric has a rough, "tapestry" type of feel to it and I'm thinking it will work out wonderfully for what I've got in mind.

Also...  I bought a kimono for me to wear AND two obi - the waistband part - for my new kimonos.  So now I have two; the fall colors one from the original shopping trip and my new impromptu purchase.

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