Upcycling Kimonos and Obis

My collection of old kimonos and obis
Some of the old kimonos and obis I collected

I spent some time in Japan 20 years ago and brought back several old kimonos and obis. (You could probably call them vintage or antique, but since I cut them up, it feels better to call them old.) Obis are the very long pieces of material, folded and worn as belts with kimonos.

Like my mother, I just can’t help buying anything unusual and unique, even though I have absolutely no use for it whatsoever. That is why her cupboards, bookshelves, windowsills and attic are absolutely jammed full. Mine are getting that way too. So once I had rediscovered my Japanese treasures, I decided that I had better find a use for them.

We moved into a new house (which is how the kimonos came to light again)  and we were in urgent need of art to decorate the walls with. So I thought I’d try and make something. In an ideal world, I’d commission a textile artist to do something vast and beautiful. But in the real world, I browsed the charity shops for frames and got hold of my dad’s staple gun.

I found three very cheap frames, which had flimsy board pictures glued into them. They measured 30cm x 30cm and cost me about £1 each. I removed the board pictures and used these to back the fabric, cutting the fabric to fit and sticking it to the board on the reverse with double sided tape. Then I put a dab of glue onto the frames and slotted the boards, now covered in obi fabric, back into the frames. No staples needed.



I didn’t have a plan, and I certainly hadn’t imagined it would be that easy. But it was! OK, the quality isn’t amazing, but hopefully the beauty of the fabric speaks for itself.

Any ideas what I can do with the remaining fabric? Your kimono upcycling ideas would be welcome…



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