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How wide is kimono silk?

Between about 34 and 36 centimetres

why is it narrower than other fabrics i sew with?

Traditional weaving looms were smaller than those used in modern industrial factories. Many other cultures, not only the Japanese, used narrow looms.

How Old is your reclaimed kimono silk?

Most is between 60 and 100+ years old.

What is the difference between “antique” and “Vintage?

Generally, the term “antique” refers to an object more than 100 years old – that is, made prior to about 1920. “Vintage” refers to an object at least 40 years old. This takes it back to before the 1980’s. As most of our kimono were collected by us from dealers in Japan in the early 1980’s and were already old, that takes them well into vintage territory and beyond. Clues as to age can be found in weave, patterning and such details as sleeve length.

What is the “Unpicked Silk”?

As you see in our galleries we offer whole, wearable kimono haori and michiyuki. However, if we source a marked or stained garment we undo the hand stitching and cut out the damaged sections. The undamaged pieces are then measured and packaged for sale according to length. Some of our customers buy whole, perfect kimono to unpick themselves. This takes about 2.5 to 3 hours. Our workshops are very helpful for learning tips and design techniques for sewers interested in using recycled kimono silk for new clothing or other projects.

Can these silks be cleaned?

Yes – but not with soap or detergent and water! This would result in the traditional dyes running, and also cause shrinkage – ruining the piece. Instead, clean using “White Spirit” which is available in hardware stores. If you don’t want to do it yourself, find a good dry cleaner who uses white spirit and discuss the issue with them before leaving your silk item.

How do the japanese clean their kimono? They didn’t have dry cleaning in the old days!

Even today, a dry cleaner in Japan won’t agree to cleaning a kimono. Instead, it is sent to a special artisan who unpicks the whole thing and streches each piece on a frame. These pieces are then hand sponged with a by-product of tofu before being dried and re-stitched into a garment. As you can imagine, this whole process is very expensive and time consuming.

How much Kimono silk do i need to make a top?

Allow from 3 to 4 x metres

How much Kimono silk do i need to make a dress?

This varies according to design, but 7 to 8 metres should be plenty.

How much fabric is in a traditional full length kimono?

This varies a little according to sleeve length, but is a minimum of 11.5 metres.

How do I know if it’s real silk?

The easiest way is to try the burn test. For this you need to cut off just a tiny sliver of fabric. Do not set fire to the whole piece – that could be very dangerous! Natural fibres like wool, cotton and silk will extinguish quickly.  But as synthetics are oil based they will keep on burning. Silk fizzles out almost immediately leaving a black residue, and has a smell like burning hair.