Sunday, September 27, 2015


This is a yukata stencil (katagami) from Kasuri Dyeworks. It's very large, about 4 ft long. 
This is a Perry Ellis Vogue pattern I've had for years (possibly decades) I always wanted to make it in some linen that's also been in the stash quite a while.
 In one of Diane Ricks' classes, the project was to print on fabric with resist and thickened dye, and then make a shirt out of it.  I don't have pictures, but this is how it goes. You lay down your fabric on a sheet of plastic, put your stencil on top of that, a blank silk screen on top of that and then squeegee Cleanline resist (or whatever you're using) through the screen and the stencil. Repeat the procedure until the design is the way you want it. It helps to sketch out placement before hand. I cut my yardage into 3 pieces: front, back, and a piece for the sleeves and collar. There was very little waste.

 The fabric has to dry thoroughly before the next step. You can use the time to mix your dye. We used Procion, I think I mixed Navy blue and Better Black. The thickener is sodium alginate. Don't forget to add the soda ash! You can soak your fabric in soda ash solution beforehand and let it dry, or add it to your dye mix directly. Then lay out your thoroughly dry fabric and start painting on the dye over and around the resisted areas. I used a big foam brush 
just brushing it back and forth, up and down. 
Once it's painted to your satisfaction, you lay another big sheet of plastic on top, and roll the whole thing up. Stick it in big plastic bag and let it cure over night. 48 hours is even better if you can wait!
Then you wash it out, dry it, and cut out your garment.
I didn't have enough yardage to make the very wide facings, so used some cotton kimono lining I dyed with the same dye. (detail above)
 I found a nice nautilus shell button and used it to accent the patch pocket. And that's my shirt!

All the products--dyes, resist, soda ash, etc.--came from Dharma Trading. I do wish I had thought to take a photo of the finished yardage.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Kenneth King had an article in Threads magazine issue 161 called
The idea is that you can make multiple shells for your dress form to use if you sew for other people. Great idea, but I used it to customize the Uniquely You form I've had for some time.  Sadly, we are no longer the same size. 
I used the same techniques as for Henri (see below) with the addition of a lot of fusible fleece and fusible batting. The cover is a smooth chintz -- it still needs a lot of work --I may make her one with a zipper.  Emma is very shy and embarrassed about her size, so I could only get a couple of photos.  She nearly disappears against the white background ...


Saturday, September 19, 2015


My old website has been completely overhauled. I'm not selling anything from the site any more, it's strictly informational and has lots of photos of work I've done in the past, many using Japanese textiles. The bibliography has been updated and expanded and includes movies now. 
Check it out:  Oh Noh! Kimonos!

Process of Making the Tote bag

I used a Joann's tote bag as a model, about 14 x 18 x 6". I lined the chambray fabric from the apron with a thin layer of fleece, which gives it a nice hand. 

The lining is a piece of vintage cotton, the bottom re-inforced with Timtex. I added a large zippered pocket, on one side, a smaller pocket on the other, and a gathered pocket for a water bottle.

 One side has the original apron pocket:

The other side has one pocket made from the top of the apron, with a small square pocket on top of that.

The straps are made from the apron ties. 
And it's done!

Friday, September 18, 2015


I wasn't going to write about the tote yet, but I forgot to take a photo before I cut up the apron.  The only one I could find online required me to download it RIGHT NOW. So here it is.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Henri Gets an update

I've had "Henri" for a long time, and I've been wanting to fix him up a little. He was originally meant to sit on a department store counter to display shirts or other man things.  I traded someone a kimono for him maybe 15 years ago.  He had a short little stand, so my son made him a new stand out of an old fan stand and some hardware.  He's a sturdy molded papier mache form covered with a now-ratty grey jersey.  Never very pinnable.

First layer added is fusible fleece to soften up the surface a little, and give me something to pin into.

It's just regular fusible fleece about 1/4 inch thick.  Difficult to fuse to all those curvy surfaces with a steam iron especially in the middle of a heat wave.  I took the form off the stand and lay it on my table, still awkward but less strain on me.  You can only do an area the size of the iron every 10 seconds or so, so it takes a while.

 While I had him on the table, I filled in that awkward hole in the front. A piece of cereal box and duct tape on the inside to start with, another layer of fleece on the outside and then muslin on the inside held with spray adhesive.

And here he is, all nicely covered with a comfy layer of fleece. Next is the muslin cover ...

I started by trying to pin-fit on-grain muslin; this wasn't meant to be a removeable cover so no zipper or anything and I couldn't make it work for me.  Oh Duh! Turn it on the bias!  Bias muslin is moldable enough to smooth over the curves and look tidy.

This is where spray adhesive comes in.  I was going to hand sew the cover together over the form. Did I mention the heat wave?  I did do some hand-sewing around the neck, but the rest of it is basically glued to the fleece and the seams are spray-glued.  Here's the front, not quite finished.

This was new, clean, washed and ironed muslin, but I still got some areas that look like water staining, whether from the adhesive or the hard water. But it's mostly OK!

Side view

Back view

Henri isn't mean to be a fit dummy.  He's to "wear" things I want to photograph, maybe for displaying scarves or something, and also to drape with fabric, pin swatches to, etc. like a design wall. I'm very pleased with the finished product for now, and plan to tidy up his cover with some hand stitching.

Next time I will write about where this idea came from and how I made a fit dummy for myself.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Shibori baby quilt

I actually finished something: a quilt for a baby shower.  The squares are 14", roughly the width of kimono fabric.  The light blue swirling patterned fabric is indigo-dyed cotton from west Africa, as is the dark blue fabric with "smoke rings".  The 2 pieces with what looks like small dots are Japanese yukata fabric, and the one piece with a floral pattern may be Chinese.  All are hand-dyed indigo shibori.

The African indigo-dyed textiles are "Adire", Japanese is "aizome".

The back of the quilt is vintage cotton kimono fabric, and the binding is cotton lining from another kimono. The batting is some red cotton flannel from the stash, just enough for this project.  After washing and dryer-ing the flannel, it didn't seem to shrink, but it did full, so even better!

Detail of front

Back of Quilt
Detail of back

The quilt was well-received!  On to the next project ...