Skymeadow Kimono



David Shield

(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Photography by Stephen Scott (yet another creative)

Outline the story …

The Skymeadow Kimono.
Gazing up from the trees to see a slash of clear blue sky, you wonder if it is the faintest whisps of clouds you see, but actually, it is a meadow of flowers floating above your head, waiting to cover you in an ethereal gossamer. Clouds can take all sorts of shapes, from simple to amazingly complex and with the light weight silk of this kimono, you will feel like you're wrapped in nothing but clouds themselves. Unlike ladies' kimono, men's kimono are surprisingly easy to move in and are very billowy, swishing this way and that as the wind catches the sleeves, will you soar like an eagle through this meadow in the sky?

This Kimono was inspired by the fabric itself. At a distance appears to be a solid sky blue, but on closer inspection is a complex design of white plum blossoms, bamboo leaves and pine needles. Japanese culture has always had an eye for nature and natural beauty so with this was a traditional roll of fabric it was only right to make a kimono using nothing but traditional Japanese methods. It was also a perfect way of appearing to adhere to gender colour norms for men's kimonos while gently subverting them with a more feminine pattern making a perfect outfit to be worn to tea ceremony or a traditional music recital. Just bold enough without going too far.

Outline the construction…

This project was not easy The fabric is Edokomon pattern pure Japanese silk which is by far the slipperiest fabric I have ever seen Everything had to be pinned, tacked, and pressed multiple times prior to stitching I live in the subtropics so I've left the kimono unlined as is sometimes the case but I have followed the Japanese principle of 'the stitching should be invisible as possible, even on the inside ' This is a performance kimono for my next koto (Japanese harp) concert which mandates that alll performers wear kimono's so the sleeves were deliberately made fractionally shorter to stop them from interfering with the strings of the instrument and were then reinforced to hold my sheet music and picks The stitches are 100% hand-stitched using traditional stitching methods, silk thread and Japanese needles only The project had multiple problems the cutting went arry and there was no leeway in the roll because of my height So significant piecing had to occur and be concealed to make the kimono the right length without any additional seems being visible inside or out Fortunately, this went very well Due to this though, I had to use the harder method for the collar and make it out of three pieces instead of one and its a hard angle at the best of times.

I am very grateful to my elderly Japanese friends for providing me with advice via skype on this project Their teachings and advice got me through




  1. Avatar Steffi Wee on May 10, 2023 at 10:36 am

    Congratulations on working with such a complicated fabric! The construction of it turned out divine

  2. Avatar Lowana O\'Shea on May 20, 2023 at 6:38 am

    This turned out so well David! A gorgeous choice of fabric and I love that you pushed yourself with all the hand sewing 🙂

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