On Thursdays I often head out East to London’s Spitalfield’s Market to meet with my dear friend Sue Kreitzman and have a coffee and wander around the delightfully eclectic flea market. If you haven’t been, you really must , if you like a good treasure hunt.
This time was going to end up with me taking home the most delightfully camp fabric ever. Sue was gifted this fabric by one of the stall holders who has been one of Sue’s biggest fans for a long time. ( Sue is our goddess, if you meet her, you’ll understand) Here is the lovely stall holder holding up the fabric in question.
See what I mean? It was an absolute confection of sequin fabric, in shades of turquoise , pink and purple with a touch of black and silver. Very heavy, I wondered what Sue would do with it. Well, Sue gave it to me and asked me to make her a kimono out of it. Hmm, this was going to be different to the usual kimonos.
I decided I was going to use the sequin fabric for front and back of the kimono and team it with Dutch Wax print in my stock for the sleeves , trim and pockets to make sure it was comfortable to wear. Sequins are sparkly but they can be awfully scratchy if you get them on a seam.
I had no intention of putting any image on the back of this one. After all, it was so sparkly to start with. I didn’t want to overdo it , did I? As soon as I had these thoughts , I laughed out loud to myself. I had to remember I was making something for Sue, who coined the phrase ‘More is More’ . So I found one of Sue’s gorgeous embellished paintings of an angel cat sitting on a woman’s head ( well of course)
and decided that the colours would work really well. I couldn’t completely replicate the painting as it was covered in buttons and buttons and sequins would make this garment far too heavy to wear, so I decided to make a version of my own, using Sue’s artwork as the inspiration.
I could have painted my version on fabric and then appliqued it , but my eye caught some very glittery black lurex in one of my fabric boxes in the studio and an idea started to brew. I was going to use the sparkliest fabrics in my collection to create this image. i reached for the gold holographic fabric, the deep orange gold fabric, silver and purple holographic, took out my scissors and began to cut out the shapes, drawing with the scissors as I cut. Instead of rows of yellow buttons for the hair, I used strips of holographic gold fabric and made them into radiating rays . I sewed them all down (breaking a few needles in the process) and embroidered the details in a deep pink. So here is the result:
The applique process left a charming drawing on the inside of the garment:
Here are a few detail shots
The strange thing that happened with this kimono is that with the addition of other sparkles , it toned the original sequinned fabric right down. How odd. I love how rich the kimono ended up . I gave the kimono a deep base border in neon lights Dutch Wax print to make sure it didn’t end up scratching the legs or catching on tights; beautiful and practical.
I can’t wait to see Sue wearing it!