Friday, 28 February 2014

The Costume Museum and Vintage Shopping

Two outings to share today. The first was actually the vintage shopping which took place in Koenji. I have read that there are more than 70 vintage shops in this area and it is easy to believe while strolling up just one of the neighbourhood's  streets.
  Street of Vintage Shops
If you didn't know it was vintage mecca you would take it for a suburban neighbourhood with little old ladies and mothers with babies very much in evidence. I suspect it all changes at the weekend but as this was a weekday I was free to stroll around and browse at will. Shops varied from general...
Vintage Shop those covering a certain period...
Lover Soul Vintage Shop
Prices also varied from reasonable to astronomic, although some of the dresses were absolutely divine.

One of the things I am not sure about is what the well dressed Japanese was wearing in the sixties, which I will have to look into in more detail. I had hoped for some enlightenment at the Bunko Gakuen Costume Museum but as luck would have it I happened to time my first visit with a special exhibition of European fashions from 1800-2000.
Tokyo's Bunka Gakuen costume museum
It was almost as if I was in the V&A in London as I strolled around the beautiful but tiny outfits from 200+ years ago. As time spooled forward I noticed some familiar outlines and very familiar names. A Jean Deses draped evening dress from 1953 was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. No photos in the museum and I can't find it now on google. A purple Thierry Mugler jacket from 1988 was sadistically beautiful.
While a Balenciaga pink silk evening dress was a masterclass in pattern cutting. Like this one but floor length and cerise pink.
There were also a small number of modern Japanese designers represented which naturally must include Issey Miyake. The dress shown was a 'Rhythm Pleats' dress from 1990.
I ended up pretty much pirouetting around the dress as I tried to work out how it was constructed. Astonishing that there isn't any wire involved. The one I saw was red and yellow but otherwise the same with the neck and one armhole on one side (within one circle) and the other armhole on the other side. It must feel amazing to wear something like that - as if it's alive!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Sew One, Get Three

I realised that the Triple Zip Pouch Swap posting deadline is Saturday, and while I'd got the fabrics I hadn't done anything about putting them together. That is no longer a problem!
Triple zip round 2
Once again I uphold my reputation as someone averse to right angles. Everything about this is very slightly wonky but the fabric is lovely and the zips all work and the Japanese tortoise print on the inside will hopefully please the recipient! Now I just need to work out what to fill it with before sending. In case you want to make your own the free and excellent tutorial is here.

As I was getting ready to give it a final iron, I remembered two I had started last summer. I always meant to finish them but it was while the big packing and clearing mission was getting underway and they got packed and cleared. Happily, if perhaps strangely, I brought them with me. It turns out one was actually 100% complete while the other just needed the final seams doing. I must have been really struggling when I packed them up not to be able to do something so simple. Two minutes work and ...
Colourful QAYG Triple Zip pouches
Colourful QAYG Triple Zip pouches back
They are both for family members so I shall be despatching them very shortly, along with the greenyblue one.

I do love the quilt-as-you-go method and this particular example is really the only kind of quilting I can do with a borrowed and extremely basic machine. Not that I'm complaining - I'm very grateful to have it! But there's no free motion option and the stitch lengths and widths are fixed so there's limited options there too.

My attempts to lure the neighbourhood birds to the balcony continue. Having become a daily stopping point for brown eared bulbuls I've also achieved sparrows and, just this morning, our first visit by a Japanese white eye.
These tiny birds are maybe 15cm long and have only just appeared in the neighbourhood so I guess they have wintered elsewhere. The picture (taken by someone far cleverer than me) shows the shade of green but not their iridescence. They are so beautiful and, to me, amazingly exotic! I have only seen one once before on the way to the post office and it was pecking at half an orange so you will not be surprised to know 'oranges' have now been added to my shopping list. Tweet tweet!
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