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Kimono Fabrics

Kimonos are made of a single bolt of fabric, called tan, which is only about 12 m long and 35 cm wide, and it is used entirely to make one garment with almost no waste left. The fabric is cut into four main parts, two panels for the body and two for the sleeves, the width and length of which are defined then by the fabric itself. Therefore, the design of a kimono begins long before the actual garment is sewn together, as fabric patterns have to be meticulously planned and executed with incredible precision in order to result in the flawless elaborate motifs on exquisite kimonos.

Fabric for a kimono is rarely produced more than once, what makes kimonos be so unique and expensive...

Traditionally, kimonos are sewn by hand and even machine-made modern ones require substantial hand stitching. Kimono fabrics are frequently made and decorated by hand, involving great variety of traditional techniques and sometime over 100 different steps. Furthermore, the color and motifs of the pattern determine in which season a particular kimono should be worn. For example, sakura (cheery blossoms) or butterflies should be worn in spring and water designs in summer, when autumn designs often include momiji (Japanese maple) and matsu (Japanese pine) or take (bamboo) are for winter.

Every motif on a kimono has seasonal significance, as well as it indicates the grade of formality and social status of the wearer...


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