Blackcabbit's World

Bit by bit, the Blackcabbit crafts its nest of DIY handmade art and illustrates a kingdom of doodle critters to beautify the world she lives in.

Wa-Nuno (Japanese Fabric)

For the past few months, my life is nothing short of excitement (ya, and stress). With all the hustles of migrating to a new world with numerous culture shocks; surviving on my stagnant & pathetic Japanese; being a novice housewife learning how Japanese sort their garbage; surviving my first winter (brrr!)… Ah, all that is enough to zapped my soul and sent me into hibernation!

Woken only after spring is almost over, the artist-entrepreneur in me started to bud. I want to create stuffs and sell them. As I grew intensely fond of handiwork made with Wa-nuno (Japanese fabric), I treaded into the unfamiliar world of fabric handicrafts. Fortunately for me, I stumbled upon many wonderful craft books that provided me with the possibilities of producing a wide range of Wa-nuno goodies (e.g. hair accessories, purse, bags, home interior products etc.). Hopefully, I can have my store up and running soon.

Though my love affair with Japanese designs or patterns (和柄 Wa-gara) goes way way back, my interest in Japanese fabric is relatively new. As I diligently seek out suitable textiles in preparation for my Wa-nuno projects, I came across many types of Japanese fabric. The following list is by no means exhaustive, so feel free to comment if you have more to share. ^_^

Wa-nuno’s terms & types:

Aizome (藍染め): Indigo-dyed fabric using natural plant dye from the leaves of the indigo plant (Ai – 藍).
Chirimen (縮緬): (Silk) crepe with crease-like, slightly uneven surface.
Donsu (緞子): Damask (silk); satin damask.
Kasuri (絣): Ikat; splashed / dyed pattern; using pre-dyed fibers to weave patterns into a fabric.
Kasuri Tusmugi (絣紬): Splashed patterned pongee.
Katazome (型染め): Stencil dyeing method, used to decorate fabrics (e.g. linen, silk).
Komon (小紋): A fine delicate patterns (on kimono material).
Meisen (銘仙): Interesting decoration made by pre-dyed threads.
Obiji (帯地): Obi (kimono sash) cloth material.
Omeshi (お召し): High quality silk crepe (fabric).
Oshima Tsumugi (大島紬): Pongee in variety of brown shades; a product of Amami Oshima (奄美大島) in Kagoshima prefecture (鹿児島県).
Oshima Tsumugi
Rinzu (綸子): Figured satin.
Ro (絽): Silk gauze.
Sashiko (刺し子): decorative stitching or embroidery; commonly using white cotton thread on indigo-dyed fabric (See aizome).
Shibori (絞り): Using tie-dyed methods such as pressing, folding, stitching, twisting etc., to creating the fabric with slightly raised and wrinkled surface.
Syusuori (繻子織): Satin weave.
Tsudureori (綴織): Figured (hand-woven) brocade; tapestry.
Tenugui (手ぬぐい): A (hand) towel; face cloth.
Yuzen (友禅): Kimono dyeing technique with intricate patterns that are hand-drawn and dyed; invented by Miyazaki Yuzen Sai (宮崎友禅斎) in the Edo period.

Some of the above mentioned textiles have a high reputation of craftsmanship, while others are extremely rare. Hence, they can be overly pricey for any craft project. Fortunately for us who love wa-nuno, there is a reasonably priced alternative that also has a strong “Japanese feel” – the Wachyou Momen (和調木綿) – cotton printed with japanese designs/pattern.
Cotton Printed Japanese Designs

Alternatively, if you are in Asakusa (Tokyo) or Kyoto, do check out any store that sells kimono or wa-nuno handicrafts. You may find packs of kimono scraps with assorted designs and colors. A pack may cost around 500–1500 yens, which is pretty reasonable for good quality kimono fabrics, and is sufficient for any small wa-nuno project.
Asakusa 桐生堂
Kiryudou (桐生堂) – One of the stores in Asakusa, selling a good collection of wa-nuno handicrafts as well as fabric scraps. Here is a link with a list of such stores (in Japanese).


Blackcabbit’s Handmade Adventures

Wa-project – featuring a vast horde fabric collection (lots of pictures too).

Great online resource on “Dyeing & Weaving” categorized by Japan regions (English version available).


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This entry was posted on June 18, 2009 by in Craft / DIY Projects, Places / Travel and tagged , , .
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