Display Obis & Pretty Bags

wafuku blog aug 12 logo A

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my www.wafuku.co.uk Wordpress blog

Obi Displays.
I was asked about obis for display, so I formed a Nagoya obi with a repeat pattern of cute, Japanese Chin dogs and temari (decorative balls) on it and a lovely silk maru obi with phoenix feathers design. I tied them with Japanese, hand made, silk obijime (obi cords). For display I would probably hang them on bamboo rods.

The Maru Obi. Maru have pattern on both sides and are the same width along the entire length.

obi display maru 1A

obi display maru 3a


The Nagoya Obi. This one has an all over repeat pattern. Nagoya obi have pattern on one side only. There is lots of very pretty, golden metallic coated thread in this one. Most Nagoya have the sash section of the obi permanently folded to half depth and on the musubi (rear knot) section at full width, which is why the bow is less deep than on the maru obi.

obi display Nagoya 1a

Tied with a handmade, Japanese, green silk obijime.

obi display Nagoya 2A

Neither obi was cut to make the displays, they remain intact and wearable. Having photographed it, I untied and unflolded the maru obi before adding it to my website but the Chin dog one will be sold in its display form, along with the obijime cord tied round it but the hanger is not included.

I have very recently added some really charming Takekago Kinchaku bags to my www.wafuku.co.uk website;  bamboo baskets with drawstring interiors. They are such lovely handbags. Some of the styles can be seen here…

Sakura (cherry blossom & Snowflakes) on black.

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Flower Mix on red.
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Tsubaki (camellia) on black
hh iiI also have tabi that match the camellia bag.


You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.



One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me. I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 


No Posts For Months, Then 3 Come Along At Once

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my www.wafuku.co.uk Wordpress blog

Three posts in a row.
Suddenly there is no stopping me. It’s mostly, I suppose, that I had too much to put into a single post, so have divided it into three. I find it hard to get started again when time passes but I’m on a roll at the moment and want to add the last of my current thoughts to the blog.


Interesting shoes.
While browsing online the other day I came across these wonderful, leather shoes on a Japanese website called Sou-Sou. They are hand made to order, so the prices of about £275 to £350 ($390 to $499) per pair doesn’t seem that bad, even if a good bit higher than I pay for my shoes.







A pair of my own.
I own this pair of shoes, not actually Japanese but from Irregular Choice’s Japanese influenced range. I have only worn them once so far, though have had them for years. I so rarely wear heels nowadays but I love an unusual shoe. These ones are suede and canvas.



One of my kimonos featured in Beyond Magazine.
This is one of my antique tomesode kimonos, which was requested by Beyond Magazine for their World In Seven Objects feature. It is a lovely magazine, with beautiful photography and graphic design.

Beyond kimono

beyond cover


A bit more quilting.
My 94 year old mother owns and wears 2 boxy, quilted waistcoats she bought at a craft fair in America way back in the 80s. They are very simple in shape and comfortable to wear. She has one with poppies and wheat, a couple of butterflies and a little mouse appliqued on the back and one with a large moon, a hills and a frog. The applique is done in a mix of plain and small patterned fabrics. She is very difficult to select gifts for, so I decided to make her a new quilted waistcoat as her Christmas gift. The simple shape was easy enough to make a paper pattern from; there are no darts or sleeves or tricky bits to deal with.


I thought of something colourful, then opted for neutral, to go with almost anything, so I made the waistcoat grey and the applique black silhouettes. I chose things that relate to her own garden, her love of hollyhocks (though she only likes the single ones, not double blooms), the foxes and badgers she sees visiting her garden at night, the many, many crows of various kinds that nest in her trees and are fed by her, the owls we can hear at night (and are in the family coat of arms) and, of course, the squirrels. My mother lives in an ex-farmhouse, which has a decent sized garden and a 5 acre field. The top section of the field, visible from her kitchen window, was a solid mass of rosebay willow herb. It is a very, very tall weed with a pinkish purple spiked flower and fluffy, wind borne seeds. When it dies off in autumn, the tall, brown dead stems remain. It can be quite pretty when in flower but it is invasive and takes over and we grew to hate it. We also hated the week or so each year of the air being thick with its fluffy seeds. It is one of those opportunistic plants that grows anywhere, you see it on every piece of waste ground, every vacant lot, in every corner and crevice it can find and in roofs and drainpipes of tall, old buildings. When not in flower it is just ugly.  A few years ago my brother decided that, on his visits a couple of times each year, he would dig out the rosebay and turn that area into a wildflower field. It took him years to get rid of the stuff and the couch grass that tried o take over in its place. There are still the occasional bits of rosebay and tough grass being found and removed but in 2015 it finally came to fruition and was a mass of wildflowers for months. Mostly tall white daisies and yellow ones, with poppies, cornflowers, red campion and various others mixed through it. It was quite lovely. He and I have added loads more seeds, including hundreds of thousands of poppy seeds (I especially love poppies), so it should be even better this year. So, the cow parsley on the waistcoat represents my mother’s field because it has always grown in the field and a few bit hang on in among the wildflowers. She really doesn’t enthuse about gifts but she did enthuse about her new waistcoat, which was pleasing. She seemed to genuinely like it and its associations.

Above you can see it appliqued and layered with wadding and backing, ready to be trimmed and sewn together. It is the first time I have ever done applique.




The finished garment.


My brother at the edge of the wildflower field and my daughter in it modelling Japanese garments for my website.






Another of my kimonos.
This lovely furisode style, silk kimono has a wonderful pattern of butteries on it. It has been a very expensive kimono and they have gone to the added expense of including some butterflies on the inside of the lower fronts, even though they really aren’t seen. It is a kinsai kimono, which means it is embellished with metallic gold or silver; this one has gold lacquer work clouds. I really like the flowing water pattern in the weave.


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Finally, since David Bowie died this month, much to the surprise of most of us, I thought I’d post a photo of him wearing a Japanese yukata kimono. Sadly I was unable to find a picture of the actor Alan Rickman in a kimono, who also died this month.

bowie in yukata


You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.



One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me. I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 

Pacchiwaku – Japanese Textile Quilts

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my www.wafuku.co.uk Wordpress blog

Japanese Textile Quilts
Having taken up making patchwork quilts last year, I have now decided that I am going to use some of the many bolts of unused, traditional Japanese textiles I have, to make a range of quilts and cushions in Japanese rustic style.

A bolt of fabric for a kimono is called a tanmono (often shortened to just tan) and is always made in one specific size, roughly 35cm  by 11 metres. I have kimono bolts in cotton; woven for casual yukata kimonos, in silk; woven for more formal kimonos, and in wool; mostly made for men’s kimonos. Each type of textile will make wonderful quilts and, perhaps, a few matching cushions.


I am quite excited about creating a range of Japanese textile quilts. I have about a dozen bolts of indigo dyed, Japanese yukata cottons, in lovely, traditional designs. I also have a few other yukata cotton bolts, with floral designs. As well as those I have several yukata cotton sample books that I can use. Three of the sample books are quite old, although still very strong, good cottons, with white backgrounds and a variety of great, simple designs on them. The rest are much more recent cotton samples and are florals, mostly with black backgrounds, they too are vintage but only about 10 to 15 years old.

Japanese Cotton Textiles
Here are the indigo and white bolts of yukata kimono cotton, these were woven for men’s kimonos.

Chainlink designs are a very popular, traditional print in Japan




A woven lattice with geisha on senmen (the paper parts of folding fans)




The next one is a woven bamboo design.



A shaded chainlink mesh.


I especially like the bamboo pattern on the next bolt.




The next one has hanabishi dotted among a grid pattern hanabishi are diamond shaped flowers




This last bolt is rather like tatami matting.


I have done a few quick mock ups. I really ought to leave that for later and get some other sewing done first.






Japanese Yukata Cotton Sampler Books

1a (1)

1a (3)

2a (3)

4a (3)

5a (1)

The sample books above each have 5 different prints, each one metre long and folded in half lengthwise. The samples in the three books below are about half a metre each.

ebaysou20150109a 142

ebaysou20150109a 105

ebaysou20150109a 106

ebaysou20150109a 165


Japanese Wool Textiles
I have, as I mentioned, numerous unused bolts of extremely high quality wool textiles, a few more colourful ones intended for women’s kimonos but most for men’s wool kimonos. Men’s wool kimonos tend to have traditional, small, subtle patterns woven into them, they will produce fabulous quilts in a variety of muted blues and browns, very rural in style, like old farm-style, country quilts. The fine wool textiles will be extra warm and cosy.

Three made for women’s wool kimonos.







Now five for men’s wool kimonos.

sou20160107g 288

sou20160107g 280

The hexagon popular motif, based on the pattern of the turtle shell. It represents longevity.

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sou20160107g 256

sou20160107g 290

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sou20160107g 238

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In addition to all those I also have many unused bolts of kakebuton textiles, most with ikat weave pattern. Kakebuton are quilts made especially for Japanese futons and these bolts are woven specifically for making those quilts. These have traditional motifs and patterns that have been popular on kakebuton for over a century. Most of them have some ikat patterns; ikat is when the yarn is died with sections of it bound to block the dye, called resist dying because the yarn inside the tied sections resist being dyed. It may be dyed once, in which case it is most often indigo dye that is used, or it may be retied and dyed repeatedly, allowing it to bave more than one colour. When this thread is woven, with the undyed sections cleverly lining up, a pattern emerges. because the pattern is from the weaving of the threads, it does not have hard, crisp outlines. Ikat’s primary characteristic is that the designs have slightly fuzzy, soft edges. It is widely seen in kasuri kimonos, in cotton or wool, the style worn by farm workers, but it was very popular in the past, especially from about 1920 to 1950 when it was fashionable to wear meisen silk kimonos that had an ikat weave. Meisen is a sort of taffeta like weave silk and the patterns usually have that fuzzy edge too. I was also popular in the early part of this century in textiles wove for kakebuton.

Japanese Kakebuton Cotton Bolts

tc zabouton cotton (6)

tc zabouton cotton (2)

tc zabouton cotton (28)

tc zabouton cotton (8)
tc zabouton cotton (21)

tc zabouton cotton (25)

tc zabouton cotton (18)

tc zabouton cotton (20)

tc zabu1


Japanese girls lying on a futon under a kakebuton (futon quilt)


Silk Bolts.
I have some silk bolts too. It will be nice to make a few silk quilts. These Japanese bolts are fabulous quality silks and any quilt made from them would be very special. I have a few more than shown here.


sou20160108i 136







As with all my previous quilts, I will go for simplicity and use large pieces, letting the fabric do the talking. These Japanese textiles will make fabulous rustic style quilts that really echo Japan. I have enough Japanese fabrics to keep me cutting and sewing for a few years..


Pacchiwaku is the Japanese word for patchwork, made up of pacchi – patch and waku – frameset. It is pronounced pack – chee – wakoo. When I build up some stock of my Japanese textile quilts and cushions, which will take me a good few months, I will make them available on Etsy, probably with Pacchiwaku as my Etsy shop name, although I am also considering the name Tanmono because it simply means cloth, as well as meaning a bolt of kimono fabric.


I’m now way too tired to proof read this, so I will risk posting it and try to get back to check it tomorrow. It’s almost time to get up, so I must go to bed now.


You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.



One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me. I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 

A Quilting We Will Go

waf new year 2015

Welcome to my www.wafuku.co.uk Wordpress blog

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Happy New Year.
A slightly belated Happy New Year for 2016, the year of the Monkey. I was born on a year of the monkey too. Oh my, that was such a long time ago. I put a little monkey amulet on my Wafuku New Year’s logo above.

A quilting we will go.
Some time ago I wrote a post or two here about wonderful fabrics I had bought, especially Christmas themed ones, but I hadn’t got around to making anything with them. During the 8 months up to the end of 2015 I used some of those fabrics to make 6 queen sized patchwork quilts, two double (full) sized ones and one single (twin) bed quilt, which my daughter and I made together when she was recovering from a collapsed lung. The Peanuts one was the first we’d ever made. My daughter swears it will be her last but I went on to make the others. I had no choice, I’d bought all those fabrics.

We searched for and bought many Peanuts (Charlie Brown & co) fabrics while she was in the early stages of recovery, then we made a quilt with them when she was well enough to share that task. Her recovery took 4 months and the quilt was made during the fourth one. She loves it.

I made a Dr Seuss queen size quilt, which I gave to my daughter, then another one, called Comfort Food, made from all those fabulous fruit and vegetable prints, another called Ghastlies, with cartoon prints, and a Christmas prints one, all queen sized, those three for myself. I then made queen sized Christmas print ones for each of my two sisters, which I gave them when I visited them in July. Next I made two double bed sized quitls, from which my brother got to choose one at Christmas. He could choose between another Comfort Food one I made (I knew he had liked the fruit and veg fabrics in the one I made myself) or one that I called Along The Garden Path, which was floral print patches in among a pebble print fabric. Each patch represented something about our mother’s garden and the wildflower field that my brother has been creating every time he visits her, which this year looked lovely.

I have now decided to combine two interests, Japanese textiles and making quilts, by using the many bolts and sampler books of Japanese cottons and silks that I have, to make more patchwork quilts. I have to justify that new sewing machine somehow. My next post will be about the Japanese textiles I plan to use for quilts while this one will show you the patchwork items I made in 2015.

Peanuts Quilt.
This is my daughter’s, the one we made together when she was recuperating from an operation. She wanted one to snuggle up in when on the couch watching television.



The white backing fabric is from a Peanuts duvet cover my daughter found.



Ghastlies Quilt.
I loved the style of the cartoons on this fabric. It reminded me of the style of the cartoonist Ronald Searle, who created the St Trinians stories and cartoons, books which I loved when I was a child.



I do love the Ghastlie family’s cat.


Those bearded hipsters get everywhere, even the Ghastlie family hasn’t escaped them.




The backing fabric has a sort of optical illusion. Of course that means it doesn’t photograph at all well. In reality it looks really good.



A Christmas Quilt for For Me.
I absolutely love these Christmas prints. Every time I see my Christmas quilt it makes me smile. Most of the Christmas fabrics were chosen because they remind me of Christmas wrapping paper. Some is very like paper that I remember from my childhood in the late 50s and the 60s, some reminds me of wrapping my daughter’s Santa gifts in cheap Christmas paper so they bore no resemblance to the more expensive paper I chose to wrap the gifts from me in. 



My daughter loved a book called Santa Mouse, when she was a child, and one of these fabrics was chosen because it reminded her of that book.



I really like the pine cones fabric below. It feels Christmassy to me but also very Japanese. I have an exquisite, cream, silk, Japanese kimono with magnificent pine cones textile art on it. That holly print is a fabric I bought simply because I felt I should get one with holly on it and should get more green prints. Once it arrived and I really looked at it, it became one of my very favourite patches on that quilt. I love it and wish I could find a bit more of it.





A Dr Seuss Quilt for my daughter.
I found a good selection of Dr Seuss prints available for a while. My daughter and I both remember Dr Seuss books from our childhoods. The one I remember best was The Sleep Book. I made this quilt and, because my daughter especially liked the subject of this one, I gave it to her. This one will fit her bed when the nights get coldest.



The backing is a wonderful African fabric that I found. It was a bit of a pain to prepare for use because the colour ran, so I had to wash it many, many times to get all the loose dye out, and it shrank in the process, so I had to add borders at the back to make it wide enough but I absolutely love those huge paint tubes on it.





Comfort Food #1.
When I found a fabric with large, red skinned potatoes on it I at first thought, “who on earth is that aimed at? Who would want a fabric with potatoes on it?”. It seemed a ridiculous choice of subject for a printed cotton. However, it turns out that the company producing it knew me better than I knew myself because that fabric remained in my mind until I grew to love the oddness of it and then to feel I had to have some, That led me to discover there were a good many very realistic food prints out there and I now had to have them all. From that was born Comfort Food, my costermonger’s dream of a quilt. Those fabric designers know exactly what they are doing, they know the world is full of people like me who can’t resist a bright, pretty and, more importantly, very odd fabric print.


The strips around the sides of the big squares are called sashing and I decided I wanted a woodgrain print sashing for this quilt, so that the fruit and vegetables looked as though they were in crates at a market. It took me a lot of time searching to track down any woodgrain prints and, of course, the very few I found were only available in the USA, so postage to the UK and import tax made even the fabric for this quilt’s sashing very, very expensive. It’s bad enough that the fabric for all the squares in my quilts comes from America or Japan, since that means costly shipping and import tax making it all fantastically expensive, but usually I can at least use plain fabric bought here in the UK for the sashing and posts (posts are those little squares at the corners of the sashing). All my quilts have been very costly to make because of having to import the patterned fabrics but this one was even costlier because of the woodgrain sashing. I do, however, think it was worth it. I love the wooden box effect. I now have two or three other woodgrain prints, also from America, and two basket weave prints, one sent here from Hawaii and one from Texas, and can’t wait to see how Comfort Food quilts look with those as sashing.



I can almost smell that basil in the next one.


Here are those red potatoes that suckered me in to buying the fabrics for this quilt in the first place. I really love those courgettes. I want to pick one up.


Check out these Brussels sprouts. Aren’t they just great?


Those blackberries look so juicy you feel your fingers would stain purple if you touched that print.


Everyone who sees this quilt has said, “Oh wow”. I can’t really take the credit for that, it is purely the incredible prints in it. I have still to quilt the squares in this one, I’ve only quilted along the seams so far. I stopped at that point because I wanted to get quilts done for my siblings and, as I was visiting my two sisters in July, needed to have their two made by then, followed by other patchworks in time for Christmas.



A Christmas Quilt For Each Of My Sisters.
I offered my elder sisters a quilt each and asked them which of the above themes they would like. They both chose Christmas. I showed them all the plain fabric colours I had and my eldest sister chose green and red for around her quilt’s squares and my other sister chose purple. I wasn’t sure that purple would look right on a Christmas quilt but it was what she wanted and I have to say I liked the end result. I can never capture purple well in a photo. This cotton was called Cadbury’s purple, so, if you know the chocolate wrapper and foil, you know the richness of this purple.

Here are those two Christmas quilts.







And for the other sister…


She is very much a dog lover.



She had a favourite fabric in it but then realised that her favourite kept changing; it would be one print one day, a different the next, then another, then maybe back to the first and so on, so she took to looking at it each night when she went to bed over the Christmas period and choosing her favourite for that night..


The vehicles transporting trees in the next photo remind me of people coming to buy Christmas trees from my father in the 1970s, who grew some in the field to supplement his income at Christmas. People would leave with a tree sticking out of their cars or tied to their car roofs.


Nativity illustrations take my sister back to her youth. Me too. I remember in primary school at Christmas we would get cards to colour in, usually with nativity images on them. I had forgotten about those until I came across nativity print fabrics.


I can’t resist a good bauble print. I remember we only got one or two new ones each year when I was a child in the 60s. They were expensive things then and made of very thin, fragile glass. We would unwrap them each year and discover which had survived its year in storage and which had broken. Occasionally, when hanging them on the tree, one would fall and there would be that high pitched Tsss as it smashed. I can still hear that sound clearly in my head and remember the sadness when it happened, especially if one of my favourite baubles.


I adore snow, the look of it and the sound of footsteps in fresh, deep snow. I love to build snowmen. How could I resist this fabulous snow scene, with caravans and Christmas lights? How could I resist a fabric with an Airstream on it too?


I like using completely contrasting backing fabrics sometimes, then you can flip the quilt over and have one that is totally different.



Cushions As Christmas Gifts
I made my two sisters matching cushions as Christmas gifts and two more for some friends.


Glitter fabric! I didn’t add the glitter, just a few of the fabrics came as glittered ones.


My ex had a vintage Morris Cowley pick up that looked incredibly like this one, it was even the same colour. My daughter really loved this fabric because it reminded her of that vehicle from her childhood.



The cushions have envelope backs and buttons, though not yet added when that photo below was taken.





Mmm. Smell the peppermint…


Glittering snow globes. I love the few glitter fabrics I found.


The style and colours of this design take me right back to being 6 years old again. It is possibly my most favourite.


Such stylish Santas.

I particularly like the style of this fabric, with its cut paper look and black background. Very striking, very retro.



This last pair were for friends of mine. Just the covers shown here but I did provide them with the inner cushions as well.


I do love a Christmas tree bauble print. Check out the transparent baubles in the next photo.


An envelope opening and button fastening works well. I will put the buttons a tad closer together in future cushion covers. I have fabric cut out to make a further 26, which I will put on for sale on Etsy from around next August



Finally, the two quilts I made for my brother to choose one from at Christmas.
These two are double (full) bed size. The first one is called Along The Garden Path. My brother comes to Scotland a few times a year to visit our now 94 year old mother. She lives in an ex-farmhouse, with a reasonably big garden and a 5 acre field. The field has a small wood in it because my parents grew pine trees to sell at Christmas, to supplement their income. My father died in 1973, after which the trees were left to their own devices and have grown absolutely enormous. Locals call it The Forest. There was also a section of the field that had been taken over by various self seeded trees and left unheeded for some years. My brother has been cutting down and logging that copse of self seeded trees over the past 6 years or so, to let more light back over to part of the garden and to provide logs for my mother’s two open fires.

The sloping top part of the field, the bit most visible from my mother’s house, was a solid mass of very tall fire weed (also called rosebay willow herb) that had long since taken it over. In autumn the air used to be full of its floating, fluffy, white seeds. At first the patches of tall purple-pink flowers were pretty but once the entire top section of field was solid fire weed, we grew to hate it. For a few years my brother spent every visit simply weeding it out, over and over, until he got on top of it. He then scattered seeds but he made the mistake of including couch grass and other strong, invasive grasses that wild flowers could not compete with, so he then spent two more years digging out the grass and trying to halt its progress. He has got rid of most of it, though not yet quite all, but now the wildflowers are starting to thrive. The addition of lots of yellow-rattle seed may help deal with left over grasses, as it attacks grass roots and provides a rather nice yellow flower. We had lots and lots of yellow and white daisies all over that area of field this year and, among them, various other flowers including red poppies. I bought and scattered millions of poppy seeds out there last summer and autumn plus a very good quantity of other things, so I am really keen to see how it looks this coming summer. Luckily I live next door to my mother, in an ex-farm cottage, so I get to see the field every day. I do her gardening now that she is too old to manage it. She does plant the odd bulb and deadhead things now and then but the garden is pretty much left to me now.

Along The Garden Path is a quilt with fabrics that represent my mother’s garden and field and work my brother has done here and in his own allotment at home in England.

Although it is full of mementos which are meaningful, I knew he had liked my Comfort food quilt and thought he might prefer one of those, so I made two quilts and let him choose.

Along The Garden Path Quilt.
My mother insisted on adding fresh gravel to her path every few years for decades. She seemed oblivious of the fact that it raised the path’s level each time. I only managed to persuade her to stop doing it when I was able to point out that her porch used to have two granite steps up to it and it now only had one, the bottom one having been swallowed up by the many, many tons of gravel she had added over the years. Swallowed too were all the edging stones around the front garden and lawns.


My mother’s long dining room table has been a real boon when it comes to sandwiching the top, the batting (wadding) and the backing together on each quilt. I have nothing so useful for that task in my house. I hate doing the layering.



My mother has a lawn that is completely covered in crocus in spring, then replaced by daffodils. It looks incredible, especially when it is the solid mass of crocus, so one fabric square is all crocus and one is all daffodils, both representing that lawn, Another square has the lilies she and I keep adding to her garden each year because they flower for ages and add a much needed boost of bright colour here and there. Another square represents the hundreds of tulip bulbs I was given by the head gardener of a park in Glasgow in 2015 when they took them out the park’s gardens and were just going to mulch them. There’s also a square there with frogs because frogs spawn in the garden’s little pond every year.


There is a lilac bush, like the one below, and lots of squirrels here. I feed the squirrels and 4 now come to me when I call, knowing I will toss them quality nuts in shells.


Her garden has many huge poppies and we have planted dozens and dozens of clematis over the years, They climb up every wall and over fences.

The top patch in the next photo represents the copse of trees that my brother logged for my mother. It may seem a shame to cut down a nice mix of trees but they darkened the garden and there is no shortage of all sorts of trees here, over and above ‘The Forest’. The entire house and garden is edged with huge trees. These trees had taken over a section of the field because my father was no longer around to keep them away the way he did when he tended the field to grow strawberries in it, as well as the Christmas trees. The logs the trees provided, however, have been really useful to my mother.


The next photo shows the quilt top before it was layered and bound.



Comfort Food Quilt #2.
This one has a few fruit and vegetable fabrics that are not in my Comfort Food quilt and the sashes are plain brown with woodgrain posts, whereas mine is vice versa.





The quilt my brother chose from those last two was Along The Garden Path. He liked the associations in the prints and how it will always remind him of our mother’s place.

My brother in my mother’s field in July 2015.
It should look much nicer next year, there should be more flowers and more variety of them but 2015 was its first year of proper flowering and it looked fantastic for months. The photos don’t do it justice.




Next year there should be the addition of hundreds of foxgloves. There has been a lot of foxgloves for some years, ones that have self sown themselves over the decades, and one particularly large clump of them too but this year there were hundreds of new little ones all over the place. so if even a quarter of those come up and flower this year it will be spectacular. My one regret with the Along The Garden Path quilt was that I could not find a fabric with foxgloves on it.



In my next blog post I will show you the Japanese, vintage textiles that I have decided to use for making quilts. Very traditional Japanese prints, weaves and colours. I will go for a rustic look to those quilts, I think. They are still at the planning stage but I’m quite excited about doing some Japanese ones. I also have some appliquéd quilts in mind and a couple of those will be Japanese themed but lots of others to do before I get to those ones.


You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.



One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me. I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 

Time Has Flown

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Time Flies
It feels like just last month that I made my last blog post here but it has actually been much longer.

Tabi pumps
I found these Irregular Choice, hint of tabi toe pumps. Aren’t they sweet?




Odori kimono
This fresh green kimono is one available on my www.wafuku.co.uk website. It is an odori kimono, and one of the few kimonos that I have more than one of. They were made for a traditional, Japanese dance troupe (odori means dance) and are a lovely, crisp green with simplified, painterly kiku (chrysanthemum) design. It is made of synthetic textile, so is conveniently hand washable. Odori kimonos are often made of washable textile.




Three months have been filled with looking after my daughter. I moved to her flat to do that. She had a pneumothorax, which is a collapsed lung. She actually had four, as the lung kept collapsing, and, in the end, had to be operated on to fix it.


The first attempt to deal with it was done using a wide bore needle. This was to let out the air in the cavity that was pushing the lung flat. It only worked temporarily, after a couple of days of feeling better she steadily deteriorated and within the week had to go back and have that done again. Once more that failed to give lasting improvement, so she spent time in hospital with a chest tube. Even this wasn’t fully relieving the symptoms and, when removed, her lung soon collapsed again. It was decided that an operation to mend her lung was necessary, so another test tube was inserted for several days until she was moved to another hospital to have the surgery.


The Victoria Infirmary

The first hospital was the old Victoria Hospital in Glasgow, it was awful. Run down, wards with lots of patients, many senile. It opened on St Valentine’s Day 1890. The staff, I’m sorry to say, were rather inept and very unhelpful. The night she was admitted and had the chest tube put in, the doctor had omitted to say that she should have had strong pain killers through the night. She was in agony; awake, crying and whimpering all through the night but the night staff would give her nothing for the pain other than a couple of paracetemol. The doctor on rounds the next day was horrified. She had an important, time sensitive blood test to be done, arranged prior to the lung problem, and for days she tried to get the ward’s nurses to find out about arranging it while she was stuck in hospital. They kept saying they would but it was just lip service and the essential day came and went and it wasn’t done. She also had another prior appointment that she was not going to be able to attend, in a department in that same hospital. She asked nurses to cancel it so someone else could use it, since she couldn’t attend it. Each one said they would but not one did. She managed to find the phone number on the day of the appointment, called herself and learned that no one had bothered to tell them.  My daughter was told that she would be transferred to The Golden Jubilee Hospital for the operation, a hospital that specialises in heart and lung conditions and in orthopedics too. Two or three days before she was due to be transferred she mentioned something about it to the ward nurse, who then told my daughter that it might not be the Jubilee at all, it might be another really old hospital in Glasgow instead. Right up until she was put into the ambulance for the transfer, we couldn’t find out for certain where she would be going. It was so frustrating and she was more and more stressed by this. She was scared and the Victoria Infirmary was awful in so many ways but her one consolation was that her operation would be done in an excellent, well appointed hospital by a lung specialist.

I was also waiting to hear where she was being taken, so I could go visit her there as soon as she was transferred. The staff in the ward told me they’d phone me when she was to be moved. When she was being put onto the gurney to go to the ambulance, she asked a nurse in her ward to phone me, to tell me where she was being taken. The nurse said, “you just do it yourself”. She had to phone me from the ambulance, so relieved to be leaving the Victoria Infirmary, it’s awful staff, its inedible food, its weird, unfamiliar, creeping insects, it’s big ward full of other people and its complete lack of privacy or quiet. She was very relieved to learn that she was going to the Golden Jubilee hospital after all.

The Golden Jubilee Hospital

You can see the Golden Jubilee Hospital above, though it is only part of that huge building, the rest is the hotel and conference centre. Compared to the Victoria Infirmary, it was like chalk and cheese; The Golden Jubilee Hospital provided spaceous, private rooms with en suite toilet and shower room, efficient, helpful and pleasant staff and the best of modern equipment. Not only that, the food was out of this world. Food we’d happily pay well for in a restaurant. Her room provided a television and free wifi. The only thing that had made her previous hospital endurable was a cheap, crappy tablet I have, with a crack in the corner of the glass, which allowed her to watch films and tv shows and shut out the rest of the ward, her pain and her fears. The Victoria Infirmary had provided no television and no wi-fi. I had regretted buying that tablet some time back, because it wasn’t good quality and I didn’t really need it anyway (I’d bought a very cheap one just to see if I would actually use one) but I was now so glad I had it because it kept my daughter sane during her two or so week stay in the Victoria. It had cost only £69 and had suddenly become a very useful purchase. When the nurse got her into bed at the Jubilee, he asked if she wanted her television switched on. She declined, saying, “I’m getting enough pleasure just seeing that there actually is a tv in my room”. Shortly after that I got a text from her saying that they gave her a cup of tea in a real, ceramic cup! She was struggling to breathe, in pain but her spirits were raised and she now felt cared for and a bit less scared. By the time I got there, she was groggy and getting oxygen; her operation would be the next day.


My daughter had been warned that the operation was a very painful one, post op, because, as you can see above, the talc causes the lung to become inflamed. She had a camera inserted into the chest, into the cavity around the lung, then whatever they use to for the keyhole surgery, then a wide tube was put in through her ribs at the bottom of the lung and attached to a small machine that she carried when she was eventually able to briefly get up. In the Victoria the tubes were connected to portable jars containing water and they looked for bubbles, in the Jubilee it was a very fancy machine with digital read-out, various electronic sounds and lights. This tube was even larger than the previous ones and caused much pain. She had a button that released painkiller but she had rather overdone it before she found that out she shouldn’t just keep pushing that button. It reduced the pain a lot but did not get rid of it, so she was pressing it every 15 minutes. She now knew what they meant by saying it was a painful operation and it remained extremely painful for a very long time.

She got home from hospital the evening of the day after the operation because she had someone available to look after her full time. I drove her home as slowly as I could because the tiniest hint of a bump was agonising. Once home, she couldn’t do anything, weeks of recovery were required. I moved into her flat and cared for her for several weeks. Her fiance cared for her at weekends and took time off work now and then, so I’d go home at those times, but most of the time he had to be at work during the day, so I stayed at their flat. She is not quite 100% yet and a tiny bit of her lung has not re-inflated but she has been told that is inconsequential. There is still some healing to be done, some swelling to go down and she has damaged nerves causing severe discomfort down the  right side of her chest,which happened during the first treatment she got at the Victoria Infirmary (insertion of a wide bore needle, then a tube) and no one knows if that will ever go away but the lung is apparently fixed. Good news, since there was a 5% chance that her lung would collapse again after the operation. It seems unlikely the repair will fail now.

Southern General Hospital – Glasgow

The Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow is now closed. The Southern General Hospital at Braehead has been rebuilt (see image above) and is now huge, incorporating four Glasgow hospitals, the other three of which have now been permanently closed. Not a moment too soon as far as the Victoria Infirmary is concerned and no doubt those other ancient ones too. Some newspaper recently printed a complaint, by someone in England, that Scotland had got this big, new hospital but they didn’t take into account that this is one that was rebuilt and three others were shut down. Those three were also old Victorian buildings, with severely run down, now unsuitable buildings and old, out of date equipment.this new one isn’t an additional hospital, it one new one in place of four very old ones.

The Royal Jubilee, where my daughter’s operation was done, is a fantastic hospital but that is sheer luck. It is part of a building that is a hotel, a conference centre and hospital. It was built in 1994, as a private hospital, built by Abu Dhabi Investment Company. The initial cost was £180 million. The venture proved unsuccessful in private hands and the hospital was purchased for the National Health Service, at a vastly reduced cost of £37.5 million in 2002. I think the kitchens may prepare food for the hotel, conference centre and hospital, which is why the food is so darned good.


Ally Hilfiger Haori
I was watching something on television about Sears in the USA. It showed Ally Hilffiger, daughter of the American clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger, wearing a vintage Japanese haori.


Ally Hilfiger




I also spotted pictures of Daphne Guinness wearing a kimono and a haori.



Daphne Guinness in a Japanese haori
Worn with an ultra-deep belt


You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.



One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me. I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 

Kimonos Are Not Only For Japanese Purists

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Mr Selfridge.
I was watching that television show (ITV, UK) and noticed a lovely furisode kimono in the window display. The picture is poor quality, as it is a screenshot from the ITV iPlayer and they reduce quality for streaming but it does let you see the kimono. The show stars Jeremy Piven as Mr Selfridge, the man who opened the store Selfridges that still exists in London. He is good in it, just as he was very good in his role in Entourage.



Are kimonos only for the purists?
I read a comment on Reddit the other day, in which a Japanese woman said she felt that only Japanese people should wear kimonos and only those who applied all the strict Japanese rules about how they are worn, with obi etc., and wearing the correct kimono for the occasion and person’s age. She felt that no one other than a purist/traditionalist should be allowed to wear them, particularly those wearing them as house robes; she even said it was offensive (her word) to see the pictures of Rita Ora wearing one of my kimonos or to see anyone wearing one as a robe like that. The woman who said this is the only  person I have come across to say this, all other people I have spoken with or read comments by, including many Japanese people, do not think that way at all, in fact, quite the contrary. Needless to say I did not agree with her. To me, what she said is exactly the same idea as saying that women should not wear trousers because they were originally designed only for men to wear.
I felt she should also bear in mind that haori were originally meant to be worn only  by men but, many years ago, geisha broke that rule and started wearing these men’s jackets, after which, they became popular among other women and only then did haori start to be made specifically for women, so you now get many women wearing them. If that rule had not been broken, the women of Japan would not have haori to wear over their kimonos. If that rule could be broken in Japan, there is no reason not to break other kimono wearing traditions, especially when they are worn in The West, where kimonos are not worn as day to day, outdoor clothing and haoris not worn over them.
Since kimonos are rarely worn the same way in The West as they are in Japan, with obi or as outdoor clothes, it seems very pedantic to think that they should not therefore be worn there at all or that the Japanese traditional rules, dictating the styles and patterns for certain ages or occasions, should be adhered to by absolutely everyone who chooses to own and wear one either in or out of in Japan.
As you can see in the two pictures below, this Japanese man, in Japan, wears a kimonos with braces on top, attached to the obi, giving the traditional kimono wearing a slightly more contemporary look (photos from Akira Times). If Japanese people like him may break the rules and do that, why may others not just wear a beautiful kimono as a house robe, regardless of tradition? Why restrict them to only those who wear them the traditional way, with obi, and applying the strict age, occasion and colour rules?

The woman also thought that, if worn as a robe, it was appalling that it meant that the kimono would be worn frequently and the silk would touch the skin and therefore need cleaned more frequently than one that was rarely worn and only worn the traditional way on top of a naga-juban, so not touching the skin. She seemed to insist that they only be cleaned using the araihari method, which is a traditional one of completely dismantling the garment, cleaning the individual pieces, then remaking it, traditional method that resulted in rarely cleaning them, whereas I believe that careful dry cleaning is an acceptable alternative for a kimono that is used frequently as a robe.
Most vintage kimonos would become nothing more than moth food or be cut up and destroyed or would just sit in a box and never see the light of day and be appreciated if many were not re-purposed as robes or worn in some other non traditional way. Their being worn has to be a good thing, regardless of how they are worn, rather than all of them being hidden away, unappreciated for the majority of the time simply so they don’t get worn out or dirty.

Without a doubt, that woman would not approve of haori being worn in The West over yofuku (clothing that is not traditionally Japanese), such as you can see in the picture below. What a loss that would be. The haori is such a gem when worn with western world clothing.


Even in Japan nowadays, young people are sometimes seen to be wearing kimonos in deliberately non-traditional ways. The traditional rules are fine for kimono purists but I do not believe it is fine to say that they may only be worn by the purists and in the ways the purists dictate. I am very glad the old kimono rules are still maintained in Japan by some, whom I admire for doing it and keeping those traditions alive, but that should not be allowed to stop their use by those who choose to not follow those rules. I really do admire any person who abides by all the strict kimono wearing rules in Japan but do not feel they should be reserved only for them. Kimonos are clothing, not religion, not part of only some private club, so should be worn and enjoyed whatever way one chooses, as long as they are worn and loved and their beauty seen and enjoyed.

No doubt she would be utterly horrified to see my sister wearing a girl’s kimono open over western clothes, as a pretty evening coat, or, as you can see below, my daughter wearing this child’s antique kimono as a dress.


There is room for both purists and non-purists to wear wafuku (traditional Japanese clothing). It does not matter how one chooses to enjoy wearing it, it only matters that one does choose to do it and that their beauty and the work of the skilled Japanese artisans can be seen and appreciated.



Cable companies want to slow down (and break!) your favorite sites, all so they can profit. What we have now will slow to a crawl, sites taking forever to load unless we pay a premium to get extra speed. This is what cable companies are pushing the government to give them.

FIGHT THEM now or regret it forever. It is up to US. Click here to take action.



You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.



One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me. I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 

Fight Cable Companies Right To Slow Our Internet – NOW

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Cable companies want to slow down (and break!) your favorite sites, all so they can profit. What we have now will slow to a crawl, sites taking forever to load unless we pay a premium to get extra speed. This is what cable companies are pushing the government to give them.

FIGHT THEM now or regret it forever. It is up to US. Click here to take action.



You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.



One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me. I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 

Randoseru Schoolbags and the Met’s History of Kimono

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA) had an exhibition called, “Kimono – A Modern History”.
It ended on 19 January 2015 but you can read about it on their website HERE.

On that page there is a long and very interesting video, full of information about kimonos and their influence on the West. As I said, though, it is long, 1 hour and 22 minutes long, so get comfy and soak it all in. It is worth the time.

The video is full of examples of how Japanese kimono influenced western fashions, such as this coat by Worth in 1890, with its slightly westernised version of Japanese textile art.


And it mentions these clothes made from kimono textiles, from 1875 and 1880 (images from the Met’s video)

met kimono dress

There is lots more information about kimonos and their influence on the West in the video HERE.


The latter half of that video shows how the obi is tied on some different formal types of kimonos (houmongi, furisode and shiromuku – white bridal kimono). The picture below is a screenshot from the video. The camera work doesn’t show the process as clearly as one would hope but you get an idea of how to tie this style of obi.


The finished fukurizume musubi (puffed sparrow knot).

fukurizume met

She also shows one like a huge flower, a more standard square, taiko knot and a bride’s bunko style knot and accessories.

She explains why the standard obi knot is called a taiko knot (otaiko). As I mentioned a long time back in a post here, most people, including the Japanese, say it is so called because it looks like a taiko (a Japanese drum) but that has always infuriated me because it is not the reason at all. It was named after the Taiko Bridge where, at its opening ceremony, some geisha tied their obis in this brand new, never before seen style and, as was usual with anything geisha wore, it immediately became the fashion among all women, so the knot is named Taiko after the bridge, and it has remained the most popular obi knot ever since. It is really more folded than tied but we still call it a knot, the Japanese call it a musubi, so it is a taiko musubi.

The screenshot below shows the examples in that Metropolitan Museum’s video.



There is also an interesting  Metropolitan Museum of Art blog post called, “Waves, Waterfalls, and Whirling Water on Japanese Kimono”, HERE

The New York Times had an article about the Met’s kimono history exhibition, which you can see HERE

The bottom of that article has a link to a previous article they did on Kimonos, in mid 2014, mostly about Western, contemporary takes on the kimono but it also featured a photograph of Rita Ora wearing a kimono from my own website, wafuku.co.uk, taken in 2014. It is the black and white image in The New York Times’ trio photo below, where Rita Ora is wearing a vintage, pure silk, Japanese kimono; it’s a furisode style kimono, with those wonderful, almost ankle deep sleeves.

It was quite a surprise to just chance upon one of my kimonos on The New York Times’ website and find that it had also been shown in the July 3, 2014, Fashion & Style section of the The New York Times print newspaper, with the headline, “For Spirits That Can Only Be Tied Down by a Sash”.


Randoseru Schoolbag
I weakened and bought myself a traditional, Japanese schoolbag backpack, known as a randoseru. Mine isn’t real leather because leather ones cost a fortune. The one I really want costs around £300, plus delivery and import tax, so this one, which was by no means cheap, will have to suffice. Randoseru have this very specific shape and are generally well made, long lasting bags. I like backpacks as my ‘handbags’, with the choice of carrying in my hand, over my shoulder or, for any long time, on my back. I haven’t seen it up close yet, it is still winging its way here from Japan.

Red is the traditional colour for girls randoseru and black for boys. Nowadays a big variety of colours and two-tones are available, though many of the more conservative Japanese schools dictate the colour to be used.

This is mine…


I found some information about Randoseru on Wikipedia

The use of the “randoseru” began in the Edo era. Along with a wave of western reforms in the Japanese military, the Netherlands-style rucksack called “ransel” (Japanese: ランドセル randoseru) was introduced as a new way for the foot soldiers to carry their baggage. The shape much resembled the “randoseru” bags used today. In 1885, the Japanese government, through the elementary school Gakushūin, proposed the use of a backpack as the new ideal for Japanese elementary school students. At Gakushūin, the practice of coming to school by cars and rickshaws were banned, promoting the idea that the students should carry their own equipment and come to school by their own feet. At this time, the bag looked more like normal rucksack. This changed, however, in 1887. The crown prince of the time was given a backpack upon entering elementary school (at Gakushūin). To honour the soldiers of the country, the shape of the backpack resembled the backpacks used in the military, in other words a “randoseru”. This quite immediately became the fashion, and the shape have continued to become the “randoseru” used today. However, at this time most of the Japanese people could not afford such an expensive bag. Until the dramatic rise of economy in Japan in the past-WWII period, the main school bag in Japan was simple shoulder bags and furoshiki (square folding cloths).

It is a popular saying that the metal clip on the side of the “randoseru” was used in the military to carry grenades. However, this is not true. The metal clip was introduced in the past-WWII period, as a means to carry lunch boxes, change of clothes for P.E., etc.


Most randoseru production is carried out by hand. A randoseru is constructed of a single-piece body and around 200 fittings, a combination of die-cut materials and urethane backing plates. Assembly involves crimping, machine-sewing, walnut-gluing, drilling each shoulder strap, and riveting. The bag’s materials and workmanship are designed to allow the backpack to endure the child’s entire elementary education (six years). However, the care usually given to the randoseru throughout that time and afterwards can extend its life and preserve it in near-immaculate condition long after the child has reached adulthood, a testament to its utility and the sentiment attached to it by many Japanese as symbolic of their relatively carefree childhood years.

A typical randoseru measures roughly 30 cm high by 23 cm wide by 18 cm deep, and features a softer grade of leather or other material on those surfaces which touch the body. When empty, it weighs approximately 1.2 kilograms (2.6 pounds). However, due to demand for a lighter, more robust randoseru, as of 2004 approximately 70% are made from the synthetic leather Clarino. Also, in response to Japan’s revised curriculum guidelines from the fiscal year 2011, there is a growing demand for bags large enough to hold A4 standard paper files without bending. Manufacturers are divided as to whether to support an increased bag size or not.

The randoseru’s durability and significance is reflected in its cost.

This site sells the ones I like best. I would love to own one of those, possibly the pink or a lime green one. They make them to order, out of high quality leather.

randoseru best

And their two tone Randoseru are gorgeous.




You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.



One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me. I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 

Fabulous Fabrics – I Must Learn To Love Quilting

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The Chore Joy of Patchwork.
Ages ago I discovered a range of fabulous fabric by Alexander Henry, with a design I particularly liked. The range is called The Ghastlies. The Ghastlies are sort of Ronald Searle style, slightly Addams Family type people, in various settings. I wanted them all and the only excuse I could think of for having them was for making a patchwork quilt. I bought the majority of them.

Here are the lovely Ghastlie fabrics.

cat (5)

There are also prints made up of details from the cartoons, like the ‘bramble’ print you see below, the trees and the curly Romanesque flowers.

bramble GhastlyBrambleinsmoke

Reunion il_fullxfull.323750957

My picture isn’t clear enough to show it but the print below shows family portraits, so gives the name of each character.

ahg (8)

I have several of them in 3 to 5 background colour versions, as with the one below the one below.

ahg (7)

I rather like the various ‘wallpaper’ ones that are in the Ghastlie set. I didn’t buy all available, just a few, including these two.

ahg (1)

I like the muted colours used in them. The pattern is busy but the colours are calming.

night ahgh0640

The next is Sebastian, the Ghastlies’ cat. I love that print. The different coloured versions don’t differ in scale, that is just in my picture, the print is the same size in each colour.

Ghastlies Sebastian

I love the style of drawing. It reminds me of Ronald Searle’s work. Ronald Searle created St Trinians, with the wicked, badly behaved, raunchy schoolgirls, with stories that were eventually made into movies, my favourite being with the wonderful Alistair Sim as the headmistress.

a1 copy

Ghastlies graveyard il_fullxfull.271959092

The trees below are also in the picture above.

r forest


However, the fun was in the selecting and buying of them, making a patchwork is not my idea of fun and I have never made one before. I put it off for well over a year but recently came across the fabric again and felt guilty, especially as I didn’t stop at Ghastlies; my search for them led me to Dr Seuss fabrics and Christmas fabrics and I bought those too. Most of the Christmas fabrics I chose are ones that remind me of Christmas wrapping paper from my childhood and from my daughter’s childhood. I used to wrap her gifts in standard wrapping paper but wrap all her ‘from Santa’ gifts in cheap wrapping paper without any decorations added, so she would not think they looked like the gifts she got from me, so many of the Christmas fabrics I bought are ones that remind me of that cheap wrapping paper. I also learned that I can print my own fabric on my home printer, so I have an idea for patchwork made from printouts, though that one may have to be a panel because, due to the special fabric one prints on and the ink used, those patches will be expensive to produce and then there is the fact that you can’t wash these home printed fabrics too many times without them fading, so not ideal for bedding, better for something that won’t need washed or will only rarely need washed and can be washed by hand. However, they aren’t like the iron on tee shirt patches, which are sort of plastic in texture. If I ever do make that patchwork, I’ll show it to you but I’ll keep the subject matter of it to myself for now.

Here are my Christmas fabrics. I warn you, there are a lot of them.








This next one is my favourite Christmas fabric. It makes me feel about 4 years old.

£14.68 yd etsy

The one below, with the penguins and the tree one below it actually has glitter in it. Glitter, I tell you! It may only last a handful of washes but that will do me. I got those because I remember as a child in the 60s having Christmas wrapping paper with glitter on it that I really loved and made me excited about Christmas and thrilled by that pretty wrapping paper. Back then, paper was carefully removed from packages and saved to be re-used year after year and I cherished the glitter papers. Each year the saved wrapping papers got a little smaller, as the damaged edges were trimmed off, ready for re-use.



This red one with snow people reminds me so much of cheap and cheerful wrapping paper.


I was born in the 50s, so had to have this next one.


My daughter liked this next one a lot, it took her back to her childhood.


Nice touches of gold on this poinsettia one.



I really like rodents and my daughter went mushy over the next two because the mouse reminded her of one of her favourite childhood books, Santa Mouse, where a mouse helped Santa and was eventually given a little Santa suit by him.



Festive, fun loving dogs.


Snowmen printed to look as though they are cut out of newspaper.


The floating Santa heads are, again, like cheap Xmas paper


I grew up in the time of individually hand blown glass baubles. They were expensive, precious and each year a few would smash and a few new ones would be bought. One didn’t have the option to buy unbreakable and very cheap ones like one can nowadays, so they were very special, treasured items.

bonefulllcfabricsboutique ebay

This next two, with strings of lights, are actually a Peanuts/Charlie Brown one.


christaquilts  ebay


Can’t have too many baubles!

DesignsByDona etsy 1yd

More cute little rodents. I’m a sucker for those.


Of course, there are a couple of Grinch Who Stole Christmas fabrics in my collection. They will also go in the Seuss patchwork.
fabric-angel ebay

Flower Fairies. Had to have those.


I find this snow scene very charming


firesidefabrics co uk 1

firesidefabrics co uk 2


Any nativity ones and angel ones I have are to remind me of typical Christmas cards and especially of ones we used to get at primary school at Christmas that were just outlines that we could then colour in. I can remember them surprisingly clearly and seeing one in my mind momentarily makes me feel exactly as I did when I was given a pristine, uncoloured one in class.

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Some rather odd, scrawny, little Christmas trees, each with a big red light bulb.


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Something about tin soldiers just says, “Christmas”.


The soldier in this next one is a bit creepy, though. His mouth reminds me of those scary, biting dolls in Barbarella. I didn’t notice before I purchased it.


A cute little Santa, unusually, not in red clothing, in three versions, each with a different coloured background.

The red and green gifts is another that reminds me of 1950s-early 60s magazine artwork. It has the style of a graphic in an old Homes and Gardens type magazine. It is both the colours and the style of drawing that evokes that.


I especially like the style of the next two.






Time for some more baubles.


I remember lights just like these one when I was little. They never worked two years in a row and it was murder to find the dud bulb. Bulbs were glass and really expensive. In this print, I especially like that you can see the filament inside each bulb


I live in a house that has a garden and, around one side and along the bottom, a 5 acre field. My father, who was a teacher,  planted pine trees to sell each Christmas, digging them up to order and selling them complete with roots. He died in 1973 and the trees were then left to their own devices. They are now huge and locally it gets called ‘the forest’, though is actually no more than a tiny wood, so this fabric and one other are to represent that.





This next one makes me think of 1950s and early 60s women’s magazines around Christmas time. This is the style of illustration one might see decorating their baking pages or their crafts page.




Another to remind me of ‘the forest’ and my daughter whose name means small star. I find it a little odd that the trunks look sort of threaded through the branches.


Another two Grinch prints.



These faces in the next two turned out to be huge, which I didn’t realise until the fabric arrived. A 9.5 inch square is almost filled by one face.


More in cheap wrapping paper style.

il_fullxfull.382850084_6ue5 etsy MySewingNook

There is something pleasing about old style caravans in the snow.





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This pine cone and branch one is exquisite up close. I had to buy a yard because that was all that was on offer and they only had one. It reminds me of Japanese designs as well as evoking thoughts of ‘the forest’ in our field. It would make a fabulous dirndl skirt

Over the raibow on Etsy £10.32 17 dec 14

The next four are more delightful Peanuts ones.



I have the Peanuts nativity in these two colours.




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This holly one is especially effective. It wows me each time I see it.

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More baubles but nicely stylised.

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Juicy looking little lights.

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A very 60s feel to this next one.

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This next one, with Santa Claus, reminds me of Christmas cards.

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It looks as though someone shook up and poured out a container of elves.

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Just in case I need some small baubles…


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and just in case I don’t have enough baubles after all…


That is most of the Christmas fabrics, around 100 there, though I have a handful more still to arrive from the USA, part of my gift from my daughter, so I don’t yet know which ones.

Anyway, one thing that put me off, after I cut out loads of squares of the lovely, printed fabrics, was the thought of cutting all the strips that go round them as an outline, called sashing. Over Christmas, my daughter borrowed a pair of cordless, electric scissors from the wardrobe department at her work and cut the plain black fabric for the Ghastlie patchwork’s sashing into lots and lots of strips for me. The navy blue strips for the Dr Seuss quilt are cut too but the plain, bottle green fabric for around the Christmas quilt is not yet cut at all. I then went on the hunt for good, electric, cordless scissors. I did very well, I got a pair of Black and Decker ones quite cheaply. The ones my daughter brought home cost about £115 and that would have been out of the question.
I’d worked out the size of sashing strips needed for my patchworks, which have 9.5 inch squares (giving 9 inch squares when sewn), so it all got cut into 2.5 inch wide strips of two lengths. I started sewing the sashing around the top and two sides the Ghastlie print squares but, after I’d used up all 141 strips, I realised that not only should I have only sewn them onto the top and one side of each square, not both sides, I also had a size wrong. I now have to unpick 94 side strips and do it without damaging the very expensive fabric used for the squares. Because I back-and-forth stitched about half an inch at each end, to make it extra secure, it means that about half a cm at each end of each strip an utter nightmare to unpick. On top of that, it is black stitching on black fabric, so my 58 year old eyes don’t like it and struggle to see it with any ease and the patterned side has too much black in it to make it easy.
Of course, I have now gone and looked online at sites and videos about making patchwork. I know I should have done it before starting. Before buying too, I suppose. This woman, from New Zealand ‘s gourmetquilter.com, is particularly good and I am now going to do the sashing like she does in this video tutorial, with the separate squares in the corners (called sashing posts), though my sashing and posts will be all one colour. Using corner posts is how it is generally advised to do sashing, for beginners especially, because, when sewing strips of sashed squares together, lining up the seams on those little corner posts helps ensure the correct positioning, so all squares line up, which can otherwise be rather trickier than one might expect. This video she did about sashing is one I find very helpful.

Making a patchwork quilt is certainly not quite the quick and easy thing I thought it would be, not even when using big, 9.5 inch squares. By the way, I am using inches in my quilt making, instead of centimetres, because some of the templates I am using came with just inches on them, probably because that is all they use in the USA and the templates I have are mostly aimed at that country’s quilters.
It is rather a labour of love and very time consuming, even if sewn by machine. Sewing is just one part of it, there is so much more to it. It is brain melting to try to calculate how many pieces are needed, it takes a lot of careful planning, a ton cutting , sewing and ironing and that is just the patchwork layer. I have to add a layer of batting (wadding) and a cotton backing layer, then cut and sew binding all around the edge and a king size quilt has a long, long edge, then I need to actually quilt the darned thing.
I knew it would need a backing, I vaguely had an idea that it might need a layer of something in the middle, I had not for the life of me thought it would need a bound edge or that I’d have to quilt all over the thing to hold the layers together and that job is something I am dreading on king sized quilts.
I also didn’t think about the stuff I’d need to buy; that batting is horribly expensive and, of course, I want to make king sized quilts (which I actually have no real use for), not dinky little wall panels or bags or ornamental fancies, which are not my kind of thing at all.
I’ve also had to buy a new cutting mat, a rotary cutter, quilting pins, lots of thread, the metres of cotton sashing fabric, the expanse of cotton for the backing, acrylic templates and rulers, scissors sharpener, seam ripper, £50 worth of thread (5 colours) etc. Luckily, my daughter is going to make me a neat, square, table top ironing mat, so I only need to buy a heat reflective cover for that, and she will cut me a few acrylic templates so I can eventually cut smaller squares from the left over fabric, for other quilts.

A few of the purchases can be seen in this photo. On the bottom row you can see a double cone thread holder, this is required because thread is cheaper bought on cones and I will need a lot of each colour but cones don’t fit on the sewing machine, so a cone holder is required. Luckily, this one was surprisingly cheap. I saw many at 5 times the price. The last thing in that picture is a tiny ironing mat that one threads strips of binding fabric through, which helps one iron them accurately folded. I will need to make miles of binding, so it seemed worth buying.

stuff bought

Bear in mind as well that almost all these printed fabrics had to be purchased from America and I am in the UK, so shipping was very, very costly, sometimes more than doubling the cost of the fabric in the package and often I got hit with import tax too and, on top of each import tax bill, there was the delivery company’s £8 fee for passing my payment to the Customs’ payment department for each package requiring customs duty payment and it amounts to quite a few packages, to say the least. Annoyingly, the Customs charge is not calculated just on the value of the contents of each package but also on the cost of the postage, which is the bit that really cheeses me off. Anyway, this all made the fabrics exceedingly costly. These are going to be very, very, very expensive quilts.

Before I continue, I may as well show you the Dr Seuss fabrics I have. Not nearly as many as the Christmas ones, of course, though there are about 6 more I’d like to get. Fortunately, unlike Christmas ones, there is a limit to the number of Dr Suess ones available. These fabrics are often produced in relatively short runs, not made year after year, so you there are never all that many of this theme around and some are no longer available anywhere.




























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On top of that, I have more fabric than I need, a lot more. A fat quarter is a sort of quarter yard in that it is a half yard that is then cut in half width-wise, so, rather than being a narrow strip that is a quarter of a yard in length, it is a more squat rectangle of fabric. A fat quarter will give me two of the big, 9.5 inch squares I want for my quilts and leave enough for two smaller ones as well, but several of the fabrics could only be found in half yards or metres and some in full yards, so I have enough to make more than one quilt of each range of fabrics. Since the subject of the fabrics and the need to get around to getting these patchworks made, came up a couple of weeks before Christmas, my daughter asked if I’d like a few more fabrics as one of my Christmas gifts. I immediately went looking for ones for her to get me and, of course, not only found some for her to buy, I also ended up buying many more myself, mostly Christmas ones, an absurd amount of Christmas ones. Way too many for one quilt. I think I could easily make two King size quilts without even repeating any of the Christmas ones. I will certainly have enough to make several Christmas quilts.

This means I really have to make more than one and try to sell the extras to recoup some of the money that I spent and have been too scared to work out the total of. I don’t even want to make my own quilts, let alone extra ones. I am hoping that once I make one I will have got the hang of it and it will have become quick and easy, so I won’t object to doing the extra ones.

I now underestimated the knowledge required, so realise that I have not planned well. Actually, have not planned at all, so now that I have learned more about it, I have to unpick all those flipping strips, iron all the pieces flat again, carefully work out sizes and numbers and start again properly but I must not use that as an excuse to put it off for another year or two. I MUST get these quilts done.

Now, while my daughter told me, “Don’t by any more fabrics!”, when selecting a few for a Christmas gift for me, she found herself sucked in by the Peanuts character ones she kept coming across and then she ended up buying herself a big selection of those,so that I can make her a quilt out of them (I offered, she didn’t just presume). Like mother, like daughter.

So here are my daughter’s Peanuts fabrics.

A Wee Bit Irish St. Patrick's Snoopy Woodstock Doghouse

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Happiness is Peanuts Characters Marbled Green

Happiness is Peanuts Snoopy and Woodstock Red


Hugs for Heroes Peanuts Snoopy Squares Green

Hugs for Heroes Peanuts Snoopy Stars Grass Beige

Nativity Scene Peanuts Gang Charlie Brown Snoopy Lucy Christmas Program Blue


Peanuts Gang Easter Fabric Snoopy Colorful Eggs


This aloha one was especially expensive, I guess because it is out of print now.


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There isn’t a season, a festival or celebration that isn’t portrayed in a Peanuts fabric.

purple halloween

snoopy autumn

Now, my guilty secret is that during my most recent browsing, when both my daughter and I selected and bought more Christmas fabrics for me, I also bought six with a Japanese theme to them, which means that, eventually, I will have to buy several more so that I can make a Japanese themed quilt.

I get somewhat obsessive when it comes to things like this, I lose all self control and common sense. This is why I went from wanting a kimono, to obsessing about them to having so many that I simply had to go into the business of selling them.

I will finish this blog post with the three Japanese ones I have so far. I really ought to be making practise pieces, instead of blogging, so I can get all these made into big patchwork quilts. Maybe tomorrow evening.

Etsy Fabrics4Kids 1yd Fuji Afternoon 01 jan 2015

Etsy Fabrics4Kids half yd Oriental Traditions  01 jan 2015





Oh, and just before I go, a rather random one, a cotton print of potatoes. Who wouldn’t want fabric with a potatoes on it? Not what usually springs to mind when one hears talk of a potato print. I’ll tuck it away and, if I do get into making quilts and not hating it, I may make a fruit and vegetable based one, as there are lots of fruit and vegetable prints like this one.



You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.



One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me. I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 

Happy 2015 + Cool Cushions & Kimono Artisans

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my www.wafuku.co.uk Wordpress blog


 Happy New Year.

2015 is the year of the sheep. It is also called year of the ram and, sometimes, year of the goat. I guess I should really have given my sheep some horns.

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I lost the login details for my Wafuku Facebook page, so I have just started another called Wafuku Kimonos, you will find it here.



Cushions I covet.
I found these great cushions on Etsy.

I love this Astro Boy one from the seller Morondanga.


and these great ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ cushions, including a delightful soot sprite, from Homderful.


and this No Face one, also from Morondanga.


Morondanga also offer this nice geisha cushion


An onigiri one


and, away from the Japanese theme, this Lieutenant Uhura cushion that I rather like, though I do feel it should have her ear-piece. Did you know that the word uhura is Swahili for freedom?



Yuzen kimonos are ones with hand painted textile art. They are, not surprisingly and quite justifiably, vastly expensive. Here are some pictures showing yuzen work in progress, by Takesi Goto. He has drawn the colour sketches, applied the outlines to the silk and tacked the pieces together to check the alignment. The next stage is to paint the design with textile dyes and touches of gold, all expertly done by hand, of course.

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Outlines on the tacked together pieces of the kimono



The colour sketches of the artwork for the kimono


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Another kimono he has outlined ready for painting. I don’t have colour sketches for this one.


Here are some fantastic stage costumes also done by Takesi Goto.


Check out the sketches on the wall behind them too. Stunning work by a great master.


Ypu can see some more of his work on his website here


and more here


and more here



I came across this cover of Tokyo Journal magazine, with a photo of Gene Simmons, of Kiss, wearing a kimono.  He is actually wearing a women’s kimono. You can tell by the sleeves. It also looks like it may be a female’s odori kimono (a traditional dancer’s kimono). I think the lightning strike was probably appliqued onto it for the photo shoot, as it looks added.



There is a kimono tailor in Japan, by the name of Lyuta, who is making lovely, contemporary kimonos and haoris. His website is here and he is also on Facebook as ‘Kimono tailor LYUTA’.
I’ve added some photos of his garments below. A few are for women but most seem to be men’s garments.


Reversible, men’s kimono



A men’s kimono made of Marimekko fabric



I think this is my favourite of his garments.



A women’s kimono with pairs of cats
on an ichimatsu (checkerboard) and bokashi (shaded) background.



Multi-tone, men’s hansome ensemble



Pigs & Polkadots


Note the contemporary detail of a mobile phone pocket.
Traditionally, kimonos have no pockets. Inro and  kinchaku (drawstring)
pouches held by the obi, with the help of netsuke, were used instead, with
small, light things also carried in the sleeves, now and then. Nowadays the
mobile phone demands a pocket.



Cat-tastic Men’s Kimono



A two tone denim, katamigawari, men’s kimono.
Katamigawari means half-and-half.



Samurai motifs


Close up of the haori fabric.



Big dots on bold, bright green



Oatmeal denim men’s kimono
another with the unusual addition of pockets for that ubiquitous phone, tablet etc.
Notice that, like most good quality kimonos, these appear to be hand stitched.



A denim kimono for a young girl
who chose these fabrics for her kimono



Arabesque pattern, above and below.


The tailor himself.
I think that is in his shop



Reversible- Pinstripes & Polkadots.


The spotty side, for those less subdued moods



Heart Fancy, men’s kimono



Lots of labels



Military style kimono for a man.



Delightful daisies haori

An old murayama-(oshima-)tsumugi with red lining, as a male kimono.

 An old Oshima tsumugi kimono relined in red textile.
More often than not, these Oshima tsumugi kimonos are lined in
indigo dyed cotton. I really like the red replacement in this one.

Those are just some examples of Kimono tailor Lyuta’s creations. I love his style


You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.



One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me. I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it.