Kimono fabric.

I’ve been reading up on Kimono, and while I’ve found information on what proper fabric would be for something made in the style of the Heian or Kamakura periods would be, I’ve not really found anything explaining what the typical weave and style of silk for a modern men’s Kimono is. I’m pretty sure it isn’t one of the shimmery types that I’m sure I’ve seen in the bridal kimono.

One can buy kimono fabric from Japan, which is fine, but what would a kimono be made of if one had to buy the fabric from a non-Japanese retailer? Would it be Charmeuse? Broadcloth? Habotai? Jacquard? Shantung? Noil?

I can do some googling when I get home, but I won’t know how to translate the names of the weaves–so hopefully I’ll be able to find something that shows the specific weave, and you’ll be able to recognize it.

What sort of kimono are you going for? Yukata, wedding, furisode?

this site might help you out

I’m can’t tell you the names of weaves, but hopefully up close pictures can help. Reading around, there’s a lot of variety in the materials and weaves depending on price, season, and formality.

This page shows some cloth used for summer kimono. Some are pure silk, some are 85% silk, 15% cotton.

More formal kimono can be seen up close here and here. Both claim to be pure silk. This shows the Japanese Yahoo! auction category for male kimono, limited to silk. There’s plenty of detailed photos of cloth there.

Well, this would need to be made for Fall in northern California (although summer here is more like Fall in Japan, temperature wise anyway), and not a yukata (otherwise i’d just make it out of either Fuji broadcloth or pure habotai). It would be a typical men’s garment.

I’m wondering if I can get away with just a heavy grade of silk?

Thanks guys for the pictures. Some of those look to be made of either a jacquard type or something like a noil (going by the unevenness in the look of the fabric).

Whoops, sorry. It’s early. I meant to say dupion, not jacquard.

Really, you could probably make an ‘authentic’ kimono out of just about any appropriate color/pattern fabric - anything from poly to cotton to silk brocade. Which you would want to use would depend when and what level of formality you need. It is possible to buy bolts of genuine imported kimono fabric if you search around a little, but don’t stress about it, unless the event you want it for is very, very very formal.

I’ve made yukata, and for those quilting cottons work very nicely. I know someone who made a uchikake with a soft upholstery brocade and it worked out very well indeed.

Avoid, if at all possible, using a book called ‘Make Your Own Japanese Clothes’. The directions are very difficult and badly organized. I started out with the instructions from this book and ended up using the instructions from Folkwear’s kimono pattern instead. Folkwear’s pattern is good, but rather one-size-fits-all and might need adjusting.

Kimono aren’t really too difficult. There are a lot of nice, straight long seams - they’re a good project for a sewer with modest skills.

Well, my needs aren’t for anything but Halloween (I’m making this because the costumes you buy that are “kimono” are usually little more than bathrobes with square hanging sleeves, and are crap), this is more of an exercise in the process and design. So, I don’t need special kimono fabric, like you say. Also, I’m a bit too tall and with a wider arm span than your typical Japanese male, anyway (and a custom Kimono is out of the question, they are a bit expensive, except Yukata, which I’m not interested in right now).

I’ve heard of that book. Amazon has some of the pages online and it was confusing. I would definitely need to adjust a pattern to suit me. Like you say, they are all long, straight seams, and even I can sew those :). Incidentally, I’ve also made a hakama by searching online for guides and patterns. It’s not made after an authentic pattern, but it definitely looks like it should (getting those damn pleats even was the hardest part).

I was just in Japan and wandered through one of the monstrous Seibu stores. They had a rack of kimono fabrics on sale. Very, very expensive. About $300/yard. I assumed they were silk, but really the only thing I could read was the price tag.