The Kimono – My new wardrobe staple?

 

 

The first time I wore my vintage kimono, I immediately knew I needed more kimonos in my life. Then I figured the fastest way to get started was to copy the one I already had and then make smaller alterations. At first I wanted to make a really long one from a thick linen fabric but then one evening I got the idea to use one of my wax print fabrics.

The kimono itself is not that complicated but it still took me forever to finish it, I had a lot going on in the late spring and then I was in Stockholm all summer. Now that I’ve made one, I have lots of ideas for different versions. I’ve been struggling to find cardigans in second hand shops lately so I think the kimono might become a new wardrobe staple of mine.

Photos by Johanna Boyd

 


A wolf, a rose and a silver dinosaur – embracing the weird and going with your gut

Ok, long title there but it is an unusual combination of items I’m talking about. When we popped by the Antique fair while visiting Habitare I was looking for the the ladies who usually have beautiful stands filled with vintage garments and accessories. I was hoping to find a small cross body bag or maybe a scarf. The ladies were nowhere to be found, their usual spots now occupied by other vendors selling furniture. So I moved on to the other items I always look at during events like this, glass objects and jewellery. We lingered at one  stand selling vintage rings with beautiful stones of all colours but their prices didn’t fit our budgets so we moved on to the lady selling bronze rings close by.

The minute she opened the lid to the box I picked up the ring with the roses. It’s no secret that I love flowers and I knew if I bought this ring it would be in constant use. While I was debating with myself whether it would fit on finger even when it’s swollen I was looking at the wolf ring. It’s not the kind of ring I would usually go for but I kept looking at it while trying on other rings to buy with the rose ring. I mean, i could go for cute and quirky animals like giraffes and owls but  wolves, not so much! When I finally tried it on it like “yep, I’m buying this one too”. When we went to another stand selling silver jewellery the same thing happened, I instinctively picked up rings with flowers or knots while looking at the dinosaur ring at the same time. Feeling emboldened by my purchase of the wolf ring, I bought the dinosaur ring. So in less than an hour, I bought three rings for 45€. The last time I bought several pieces at once was at Juthbacka a few years ago and those rings have been in weekly use.

Why am I telling you all this you may wonder? Because I like to overanalyse my purchasing decisions? Maybe. It was one of those moments where I wasn’t thinking too much if this is my style or not but listening to that gut feeling and going with it. As you know I’ve been trying to let go of self imposed rules and lately I’ve been all about embracing the weird. I’ve like I’m a weird person most of my life but now instead of trying to conform I’m learning to accept it. Sometimes embracing the weird means buying a rose, a dinosaur and a wolf ring, as corny as it probably sounds.


I should change my mind more often

Up until last winter I only wore skirts and dresses during the summer. I used to joke that my pants are not going anywhere until it’s at least 20 degrees celsius. It probably stems from all those new year’s celebrations in my youth where i was often freezing my ass off. Even though I now live in Southern Finland where it’s not as cold as in Ostrobothnia and the winters in general seem to be getting warmer (ehum, climate change!), that no skirts in winter rule stayed with me. That is until I was confronted with the fact that I was down to three decent pairs of pants I could wear to work and two of them were on the worn and kind of torn side. I didn’t have any money to invest in proper pair of jeans (you know, the well-fitting-thick-denim-fairly-produced kind of jeans) and I rarely find pants second hand, no matter how many pairs I try on. So I was left with the option to forget my “rule” and give winter skirts a go! I bought a purple knitted one and then a blue pencil skirt, two skirt types I had sworn to stay away from because I found them unflattering for my figure. Once I started using these skirts on a regular basis however, I wondered why I hadn’t done it earlier. I even wore a skirt when it was -10 degrees celsius and I didn’t freeze! Ok, a thick pair of tights and a very long winter coat were crucial in this case. So yeah, I’m glad I changed my mind on this self imposed rule!

I found this red skirt a few months back at a second hand store and it’s really become a favourite. I love the big pleats and the deep red colour. It’s a length I probably would have avoided in the past but once you start letting go of ideas of what suits your figure your mind opens up to all kinds of possibilities. Do you have any rules when it comes to clothing? Have you thought about reexamining some of them?

 


Green and Peculiar

I was going to call this post green goblin and then I remembered that he’s a villain and that stopped in my tracks. Interesting how there’s many “green” superheroes though. Green Lantern, Green Arrow and not to forget The Hulk!

Enough about superheroes and my weird ideas for blog titles. I found this odd green coat a while back at second hand store when I was actually looking for skirts. I call it odd because the fabric is basically as thin as a shirt fabric yet it has a hood, buttons and pockets like any other coat. It was again one of those garments that was somehow just a bit off that I just had to try it on. Since it’s a garment that was made in Finland the original price was around 35€ but I think I got it for 10€. Now, who doesn’t love a bargain?

Weeks later I found the turquoise fabric I got at a clothing swap at school and got the idea for this almost tone on tone photoshoot. The only problem? It was constantly dark outside and fabric was not really big enough to cover the background. I kept postponing the shoot until one Saturday morning I just decided to do it. It was one of those “done is better that perfect” moments. Now, should I have ironed the background fabric and the coat? Yes! But on this particular Saturday I just couldn’t be bothered. I was more focused on taking the pictures in a different way than I’ve done before. And I have to say I’m quite happy with them, despite the bad light and textile wrinkles. I can’t wait for the warm weather when I can wear this coat outside!


The Floral Invasion

Remember that top with the wrap shoulder I made a few years ago? Or is it a blouse? Ok, I need to get my definitions in order! Anywho, I’ve been using it quit often but unfortunately the fabric isn’t ageing that well. I got the fabric as a gift so I was never a 100% sure of the fiber content.
I really like the wrap shoulder details so I made the same top from a light cotton floral fabric I bought last fall. I altered the the pattern a bit and made the sleeves a bit wider and the hem curved. I seem to have thing for curved hems lately.
As you guys know, I’m a huge fan of floral patterns but I might need to pace myself. My summer wardrobe has experienced a serious floral invasion! So for my next sewing project I need to use some monochrome linen fabrics to balance things out.


The year-round scarf

It only took me a year! Well, it’s been finished for a month or so, I just hadn’t gotten around to taking pictures of it. Why did it take so long? I’m in a way new to knitting so my pace is quit slow. Also, I was crocheting all kinds of projects in between so this scarf always ended up at the bottom of the priority list.
The last (and first time) I knitted a scarf was in 7th grade. It was a navy blue garter stitch scarf that was very wavy because I was probably too impatient to care about knitting equally tight rows. I’m glad I took the time to knit this scarf properly. I wanted a thinner wool scarf that I could use all year round. When I took these pictures I thought I maybe won’t be needing this scarf this summer but then I went to an outdoor party recently and was glad I hadn’t packed it away with the rest of my winter clothes. Hopefully I won’t need to use it too often this summer!

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The oval upgrade – an embroidered cardigan

I’m one of those people who discovered the versatility of a classic cardigan pretty late. Up until design school my everyday style was overly practical, especially during winter. Most of the time I walked around with thick zip sweaters with as high collars as possible. “I refuse to freeze” was my motto, I hadn’t learned the art of layering you see.

I remember what I think was the first classic cardigan that owned. It was a very tight beige rib jersey number that I wore for special occasions, like my uncle’s graduation. But after internships abroad my changed a lot. I now wanted to look more “polished aspiring fashion professional” and less carpenter on lunch break. More classic cardigans now started finding their to my wardrobe. By the time I moved to Helsinki cardigans were such a staple, that they became the core of my work uniform.

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Over the years I’ve become so picky about materials and fit of my cardigans that I now feel I have a cardigan shortage. That’s why I’m always on the look out for them in flea markets and second hand stores. This red number I bought in a flea market in Vaasa a few months ago. I liked that it was a more cold red but felt it was almost identical to an orange one I already own. So I thought I’d elevate it a bit by embroidering something on it.

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I decided on such a simple shape as a circle since I hadn’t embroidered on a knitted fabric before. Getting the even circle turned out to be quit the challenge. I had an idea of randomly scattered polka dots in two sizes but what I got annoyingly aligned oval shapes. I kind of like the cochobon shapes now but I would have wanted to get a more random placement of them. What I’m really happy with though is the colour combination. I do have to stop myself though from buying any more red clothes. Ever since that coat, I feel the colour has taken over my wardrobe!

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Raindrops keep hanging on my ears

Ok, that was a bad title but sometimes I just have to take the cheezy route. Another option was Drop it like a pear!

I made these earrings months ago (probably at the same time as these ones) but forgot to post the pictures. I love the long drop shape and the colour of the beads. I got them last last year when I was in Copenhagen and I think the stone is jade. I’ve been using these earrings a lot since I made them.

I looked in my jewellery box and there are five pairs of drop shaped earrings in different colour and sizes. I’ve been trying to figure out where this love for this shape comes from but I can’t pinpoint where it started . Maybe it’s because of all those costume dramas I’m always watching. I will continue investigating.

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Parrots Calling

Category : Style
Parrots Calling

I’ve now accepted the slow pace of my Project Dream Wardrobe. I might be coming along with my handicraft projects but the sewing projects just take much more time. While I’m working on my patience, here’s one top I finished a while back. It’s an altered version of this top, the difference being the rounded hem. This is such a versatile garment for me so I’m gonna keep making different versions. Right now I’m eager to get started on a wrap version and later I’d like to make a sleeveless option.
I found the fabric last year and bought it without any specific garment in mind. There was something about the colour combination and the tropical theme that spoke to me. I usually go for the floral or abstract prints but this time the parrots were calling me!

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I still need to work on my “I’m so glad I finished this garment” face. I wonder where my mind wandered off to?

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I really love the unexpected colour combination of the fabric.

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Working on my creepy face. You never know when you’re gonna need it!

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Parrots!

 

 


Kimonos and awkward faces

It’s funny how one’s style evolves. Ever since that red coat, I’ve been reconsidering things that I would have never worn 5 years ago. I’m pretty much the same size, live in the same city and still consider comfort to be paramount when choosing clothes but my relationship with clothes has changed a bit. I’ve been reading Garance Dore’s posts on change and I guess fashion wise (and hopefully life wise) I’m evolving. I’m letting go of rules and ideas on what works for my body shape or what I need to wear in order to look “presentable” and going with my gut feeling. I’m welcoming the randomness and encouraging myself to really be more playful with what I wear.

When I went to Japan I bought a piece that I wouldn’t have known how to wear before. The shear size of it, the square shape and the length would have made me leave it where I found it. I had hopes of finding a yukata during my trip but once I found the vintage kimono stores I forgot about finding new ones. I found some incredibly beautiful silk kimonos but the more I saw the more I doubted if I would actually wear one. Then one hot Saturday we were in Harajuku and there was a man selling vintage kimonos on the sidewalk. There was oooohs and aaaahs over the floral prints and luscious silks but only when I saw this piece did I want to try something on.  It was pretty fast purchasing decision, I knew that this was I garment I was actually going to use. I really liked the pattern of the fabric and the rounded sleeves. The only thing I now need to figure out is exactly what kind of Kimono this is? Is it even a kimono at all? I’m also looking for a book about kimonos, so let me know if you know about any!

As I wrote in this post, I’m trying to get comfortable in front of the camera. There’s going to be a lot of awkward and weird poses before i get the hang of it so bare with me! This was a very quick and improvised shoot made possible by my friends Iana and Tong, thanks a lot guys!

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This is the “I’m gonna pull my hair to get ideas for more poses”

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“My braids are possessed!”

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“I’m gonna get really ambitious and try one of those high fashion poses with my body but have creepy look on my face” Apparently I learned nothing from Tyra Banks and Miss J.

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“The healthy way to deal with awkward moments? Laughter “

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“Me really like this kimono, guys”

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“Sayonara!”

 


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