Appliquéd Kokeshi & Winter Kimonos

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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Kokeshi Appliqué Waistcoat.
Back in the 70s my mother bought three appliquéd, quilted waistcoats while on a trip to America. She loves them and still wears them, so last Christmas I made her a grey one with silhouettes that represented her garden and the wildlife in it, then I made her another for this last Christmas, with chickens on it because she used to have chickens back in the 1960s and I remembered that, when I was a child, she painted little cockerels onto all her biscuit tins, so the waistcoat is a memento of those things. It will be her 96th birthday next month, so I made her one more, this time it represents my love of Japanese things. I bought a pattern for a small quilt from The Gourmet Quilter and adapted some of the appliqué items from that for my mothers new waistcoat.

Kokeshi doll waistcoat


kokeshi front.jpg

I also bought a couple of inexpensive kokeshi brooches for myself, as mementos of making her the waistcoat.

Yukata Times Magazine.

I wish this magazine was easily available in the UK. Yukata are ultra-casual, summer kimonos that are still very popular in Japan and worn by many to summer festivals etc. Further down this page you can see some fabulous, less informal kimonos for winter.


Tasuki are used to hold the long, swinging kimono sleeves out of the way while working wherever they might be a nuisance if hanging loose. You can get tasuki clips, like the beaded one in that picture (available on my wafuku.co.uk website), which threads through the obi and clips onto the sleeves, providing a very elegant option to hold them out of the way, or you can simply use a koshi himo (soft tie) to do the job, as you see in the diagram. I was sent the diagram picture by a friend, so don’t know who to accredit for it.



Winter Kimonos
Check out all the wonderful kimonos in this wa-art.net site’s display of winter kimonos – HERE. I particularly love the three below but there are many more at that link.




Want to see some stunning kimonos and fantastic kimono styling? Check out the Akira Times blog.


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


Rita Ora.
One of my vintage, silk kimonos, from wafuku.co.uk, modelled by the beautiful Rita Ora.


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Japanese Kokeshi Dolls – wafuku.co.uk – Vintage Japanese Kimonos

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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Kokeshi dolls
Kokeshi are traditional, Japanese dolls, with a very recognisable and specific style
. Originally whittled by men at work, to take home to their children. They are very simple in design, a head and a body, usually with painted clothing and features, and no separately carved arms.
Below you can see pictures of the favourite one I own; a very odd choice for a kokeshi doll, as it is a Christian nun and Christianity is certainly not the most common religion in Japan. I love it because it is such an anomaly

Another favourite of mine is the kokeshi doll below; a 1950s, nodding head, nesting kokeshi. The head is made to turn and wobble and the doll opens up to reveal a little boy kokeshi hidden inside. I bought a box containing about ten of these, kept 4 for myself, my daughter and friends and sold the rest.

There are so many different kokeshi dolls. made in every style thinkable, and now there is a craze for collecting Momiji Dolls, clearly based on kokeshi, as you can see from the photo of a Momiji Doll below.