Kimono Quilt
Maneki Neko  


Kimono Quilt - Front
(click image)

This is the quilt I made for my daughter for Christmas 2003. The design started with her request that she would like it to look like a kimono lying on a bed. I collected Japanese and "Asian" theme cotton fabrics for about a year and worked out a design for piecing the kimono.

Originally, I wanted to do the kimono in red with the noshi pattern top and bottom like a girl's furisode, but one of the fabrics I especially wanted to use did not work with a red background at all. So I decided to make it like a woman's formal black tomesode kimono, except that in "real life" the upper noshi would be on the front not the back.

The kimono is almost life size, each piece being about 14" wide, and made like a real kimono with a seam down the back and each piece sewn separately. It is shorter than life-size to maintain proportions.

The pattern of a clutch of ribbon is "noshi" in Japanese and indicates a gift, or any happy occasion. I adapted Eastwind Arts noshi pattern, which is a combination of Sashiko and fabrics, to a design using fabrics only.

Noshi (click images)
Lower Noshi   Upper Noshi

The design is in the tradition of yogi, which is actually a kind of quilt made in the shape of a kimono, but not meant to be worn, and also in the tradition of mounting antique kimono fragments on screens, arranging them as if there were a whole kimono draped over a rack.

After deciding on placement of the noshi, the pieces were partially fused down, and the edges turned under, pinned, and pressed into place. I zig-zagged a metallic gold thread around all the edges—most of the fabrics used also have "gold" highlights. A narrow border of gold-printed Indian cotton was added to the red background and a larger black border completed the front. The red fabric, "Quilter's Pima," has a satin face and was especially nice to work with.

Back of the Quilt (click image)
Kimono Quilt - Back  

I thought as long as I was making this quilt and had so much fabric left over, I might as well make it reversible. So the back is a simple grid of the red pima cotton and large, 12" squares of some of the various fabrics I'd collected. Four of the green squares are from a fabric called "Viva Frida" (Alexander Henry), as my daughter is a fan of Frida Kahlo. One of the squares includes the words "Te Amo Mucho."

The fabric used for the binding and for the squares forming the interstices had a "Western-view" Japonesque scene and looked silly with the authentic Japanese designs, but in the small (4") squares and the binding strips, the pattern disappeared and only the attractive coloration and gold highlights remain.

© 2016 Susan Fatemi