A while back I bought an antique kimono that I thought would match really well with my Ho-Ou Fascinator, because it also features a ho-ou (phoenix) design, and is in a very lovely shade of purple. The kimono just barely fit me, and I could have worn it as-is, but I prefer to be comfortable, so I started looking into the kimono remake movement; taking old kimono and making them into more modern pieces. This is really popular in Japan as kimono wearing is restrictive and requires a lot of practice; most young people nowadays will go to a kimono dresser for anything other than a yukata, and even then some people will rent kimono or yukata sets instead of buying them as kimono and all the accessories needed to wear them can be pretty cost prohibitive.
Anyway, this is my first kimono remake project - creating a dress from a 100+ year old antique kimono.
I kept the front pretty plain, but preserved one of the kamon (family crests) on the front as a nod to its history. The red piping and bias tape around the collar are both made from the original red lining of the kimono, which was very thin and worn through in places.
I wanted the back to be dramatic, so the main design from the kimono is actually on the back of the dress.
I wanted to use as much of the original fabric as possible, but there weren’t any large enough single pieces to cut the sleeves, so I made the sleeves from new chiffon I picked up at the local fabric store. I did have quite a bit of leftover fabric, which I used some of to make two box frame clutch purses that look like this:
The inside also has a a paulownia kamon, and they have a detachable chain. I’m going to keep one and use the other as a raffle prize for my World Builders charity ‘team’ (it’s me, I’m team) in December. World Builders is an organization of geeks doing good for the community, headed up by Kingkiller Chronicles author Patrick Rothfuss, if you were wondering. They do a big year end fund raiser and I’ve been accumulating items so that I can participate.
I’ve actually got quite a bit of this kimono fabric left - enough that I could make some small bags, omamori, or kanzashi - which I’m kind of planning to do all three of those things. We’ll see how far I get, haha.
Here’s a photo of the whole Phoenix Fashion Set.