Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cut and sew

The large waterfall of silk (see posting below) was not enough fabric for a kimono but I did have enough for a long vest. This would be a good starting place anyway since it has been a long time since I used the techniques from "Make Your Own Japanese Clothes" by John Marshall. It is a wonderful book. I do not believe it is still in print.

The Japanese way to take measurements and then create the patterns is fascinating. Putting the thing together is a mental fete at first. Quite a bit like origami actually. One wonders how the heck this thing is ever going to come together and then all of a sudden- bam!- there it is.

Above is a picture of the paper laid out to start drawing the pattern.

One other reason for making the smaller, less complicated vest is that most kimono have a seam up the back. Japanese fabrics in days of old were 36" wide or less, necessitating the seam. Also- it was thought that if there wasn't a seam, evil spirits could come "get" you. With this intermediate vest making step, I hope to see if there is a way to side step the back seam when I get to the bigger and more ambitious kimono. I see that I can do it now without a seam so that answers that question....Plus...I learned about Semori which literally means "back protectors". They keep the wearer from evil influences, not that I would need one, right? I like the thought that they would "have my back" but I have a Higher Power already doing that for me- can I get an amen, anybody?


All the pieces plus lining fabric cut. Now the sewing begins. It went fast and smoothly with only one seam needing ripping out and redoing. Not bad.
Last thing to do is sew on the collar and I'm done. More pictures later.
Until then- I got your semori!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Waterfall of silk

I thought you might like to see how I dyed a 3 yard run of Crepe Backed Silk Satin that I will eventually turn into a kimono.
First, I hung up a large sheet of plastic and then put the silk on top of that and secured it all with some patio candles. It's very important that you use patio candles for this, by the way. It adds a certain- I don't know- excitement to the process because you don't really know if a great gust of wind will come up and take the whole thing down at any moment. You could use push pins but that would eliminate the element of surprise.

Next I poured blue dye from top to bottom.

Then some Turquoise and a bit of Cayman Island Blue came next.
Finished it off with some Fuchsia Red poured VERY conservatively here and there. The dyes were allowed to pool at the bottom. The silk then sat for 2 days. The top part dried within 2 hours and the bottom part never dried.
At this point, a big gust of wind DID blow down the top but I left it sitting in the very old dye on the bottom for another half a day before rinsing.
I'll show you how it looks next week. It really is lovely with just the effect I was looking for- long streaks for the front and bunched up color for the back.
The plan is to start cutting and sewing Friday. Wish me luck.

The other things I have going are three very large orders via Fabric Designs.com consisting of two wedding dresses made of hand dyed silks, and an order for every color I make in raw silk. You can see the progress on that order in the picture above. 21 more pieces to go and I'm there! Fun stuff but time consuming.
So what are YOU doing these days?

About Me

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Woodland, California, United States
I am a fiber artist. I am a teacher. I am a Reverend. I teach, I create, I counsel, I listen.

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