Saturday, July 30, 2011

intricate iris

This bolt of yukata fabric is hand-dyed with an incredibly detailed pattern of iris blossoms, stripes and a scrolling wave.

The variety of line work creates a rich texture on the simple white cotton.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

intriguing geometrics

There is no shortage of geometric yukata cottons. They were produced for men’s summer kimonos and, well, half of Japan’s population is of that persuasion.

I have a huge collection of indigo and white geometrics. What I have learned over time is that the quality of cotton rolled onto small round cores is much finer than cotton in folded bolts.

Knowing that these fabrics are great “fillers” for quilters, I keep my eyes open for unique designs. The top pattern is crisp with high contrast while the second one is sketchy and subdued. Both will have a place in a future quilt, I’m sure.

Monday, July 25, 2011

can you see the butterflies?

This absolutely refreshing yukata bolt features bright flowers in the white butterfly forms. Butterflies, a royal motif in Japan, are often incorporated in yukata cottons.

The background is cobalt blue—dyed with indigo to a few shades lighter than navy.

poetic posies

Vines and flowers intertwine across this vintage cotton. The graphic elements are colored with two tones of each color—taking more time and attention during the hand-dyeing (chusen) process.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

graphic flowers and fences

Here’s a vintage bolt with over-sized golden blossoms and a fun green lattice on a dark indigo background.
    I like the juxtaposition of the organic shapes with the rigid geometric shapes.

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    woven vases

    The pattern in this bolt is woven not hand-dyed. Instead of being made for a summer yukata, the cotton was manufactured for a daytime kimono.

    The bolt has two dramatic designs that flow from one panel to another. What an unusual kimono it would be!

    lightweight muslim

    This vintage bolt is sweet as can be.

    Although the fabric is too see-through for quilting, it’s great for little girl sundresses and sheer curtains.

    charming obi bolts


    Stiffer than yukata cottons, these lush obi bolts are perfect for specialty projects—placemats, totes, clutches or runners.

    I really like the clarity of these patterns—clean and bright, traditional yet modern.

    An obi bolt holds about 6 yards of fabric—half the amount of a yukata bolt. The designs are always stunning as they are an accent accessory for a kimono ensemble.

    Like a flower to a butterfly, an obi is the eye-catching detail for a young Japanese man to notice on his lovely lady.

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    luscious silk

    This vintage bolt is for a deluxe silk kimono with a rich pattern of two greens. I like its swirling patterns—peonies and arabesques.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    picnic stripes

    There’s nothing more refreshing than summertime blue and white stripes. The indigo used in this woven cotton is not midnight navy but instead a casual denim color.

    This fabric is used for making a day kimono and not a bath-time yukata.

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    juban bolt

    Worn under a formal kimono, a juban keeps the silk from becoming dirty or stained. This delightful bolt is lightweight and translucent—shall I say radiant?

    Traditionally a juban was made of white cotton. Today colors and patterns abound for this undergarment.

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    flower burst

    With colors reminiscent of the Southwest, this woven bolt repeats with a green flower and then a golden orange flower. In between is a completely different motif of roasted red pepper, turquoise and adobe colors.

    Textiles from Japan, especially the woven fabrics, are sublimely crafted.

    simple stripe

    This woven cotton bolt is sweet with its fine pink and wide lime green stripes. From the packaging, I can assume that this vintage bolt is from about the 1960s.

    I keep all the paper labels. If they are bent, I actually give them a quick press. They are great for scrapbookers who appreciate older Japanese graphics.

    Sunday, July 3, 2011

    brown tsumugi bolt

    Tsumugi cotton fabrics are known for their distinctive yet subtle textures. Piece-dyed shot cotton, this bolt is woven with a range of dark and golden brown threads.

    woven grapes

    Beautifully woven, this cotton kimono bolt features grapes and leaves that flow from panel to panel in autumnal colors.

    rich daffodils

    This woven bolt flips between two daffodil motifs—a gold on gold repeat pattern and large red blossoms. A fine golden line separates the motifs.

    exquisite obi bolt

    An obi wraps around a kimono, from below the breasts to the hips. Made out of a stiff fabric, it essentially hides the shape of the woman.

    This dyed cotton obi bolt is approximately 6 yards long and decorated with botanical motifs.

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    joy to the world

    I like the pure energy in both these colorful bolts. Plus, bolts by JCC (Japan Cotton Center) are always high quality.

    glorious bursts

    These fall-time colors on a white background are Japan’s pride: chrysanthemum blossoms.


    This vintage bolt, rolled onto a large core with only 6 yards of hand-dyed cotton, is for making a young man’s yukata. The pattern reminds me of windows.