A trip to Kyoto, Japan must surely be every seamstress’ dream. For there’s an abundance of wonderful fabric, quality yarn, original denim, delicate silks and kitsch material accessories to be discovered throughout the city.
The best place to find a wide range of one-off beautiful fabric and yarn stores is within the central shopping district of Kyoto’s left bank. This locale is a tangle of mini arcades and weaving back streets with a top mix of traditional eateries, boutiques and craft stores. Remember: Japan’s finest fabric prints and fibres are often difficult to source internationally. so if you’re in the market to purchase unique textiles then Kyoto is your go to destination.
Nomura Tailor is a tri-level fabric store filled with interesting laces, fashionable knits, fine linen, silks and a veritable smorgasbord of novelty cottons and zany metallic threads. The top floor has a wide range of crafting products such as needle-felting kits, bag-making accessories and buttons galore. explore the whole of this heavenly textile store, select from the dazzling array of fabrics on display and take your chosen bolt to the customer service desks (conveniently located on each level) where a welcoming assistant will cut and package it for you.
Nomura Tailor is an iconic Kyoto fabric shop whose stock will appeal to buyers seeking anything from ancient Japanese designs right though to modern hipster style material finds.
Address: 362 Naramonocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto Prefecture 600-8004 Phone: +81-75-212-8707
NISHIJIN TEXTILE CENTRE
The nishijin Textile Centre is situated in the centre of Kyoto amid the long famous nishijin textile area. it’s inspiring to see an active organization that continues to foster an ancient nishijin textile tradition aka weaving. This unique centre features a colourful fabric museum filled with an extensive display of the most valuable and outstanding textiles in the history of nishijin tradition.
Guests can even book in to try a hands-on weaving experience that allows you to create your own weave on a mini-loom using traditional methods. in pursuit of a show stopping Kimono? Good, because visitors here are welcome to try on beautiful kimonos, pose for pictures, purchase a favourite design or even rent one for the day. either option makes for an unforgettable and oh so silky excursion in Kyoto. note: nishijin Textile Centre’s souvenir store boasts a cool range of kitsch Japanese mementos to take home too.
Address: Horikawa Imadegawa Minamiiru, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Phone: +81 75 451 9231
TRADITIONAL FABRIC DYEING TECHNIQUES
Yuzen is a technique of painting dye directly onto cloth that originated towards the end of the 17th century and has since become the ultimate art of kimono dyeing. This practice is most famous for its use of distinctive patterns and vivid colours.
Yuzen dyeing’s technical superiority enables craftsmen to perfect extremely precise and thin lines as well as beautiful blurs and colour gradients. This, in turn, made possible the dyeing of authentic Japanese designs and motifs onto cloth; often as a reflection of the people’s admiration for nature and how it changes and evolves throughout the seasons. absolute hand made Yuzen is an extremely complex process (up to 26 stages until completion). This led to simpler methods for textile printing and pattern painting being developed. nowadays anyone can create a beautiful artwork on a variety of materials with Yuzen.
Why not attend an informative work shop held by master craftsmen Mr Marumasu Nishimuraya right in the heart of Kyoto city. For more info visit https://www.marumasu-nishimuraya.co.jp/en/
Aizome, or indigo dyeing, is the Japanese method of dyeing fabric courtesy of the Japanese indigo plant. This process is said to have been introduced to Japanese culture via Indian traders along the silk Road route. Records show the plant has been cultivated locally as early as the 10th century. aizome is characterized by a deep blue colour, also called “Japan Blue” because of its distinctly stunning hue. originally restricted to noble aristocrats and samurai, by about the 17th century it had become obtainable to everyday people and various household items were being dyed with indigo, including kimonos and linen bedding.
Interesting fact: indigo has antibacterial effects, is great for preventing odours and acts as natural insect repellent. Head to aizenkobo in the nishijin district of Kyoto, a third-generation family owned store that specialises in all things aizome. The allure of the colourfast indigo hued garments and accessories will be evident from the moment you arrive. For more information including products and shop location visit www. aizenkobo.jp
Overall, Kyoto is renown as the epicentre of Japan’s textile production. The city features many independent fabric stores, niche wholesalers and fashionable manufacturers. Plus a gathering of Japan’s wisest experts in the ancient arts of fabric dyeing. stroll throughout Kyoto’s blend of ancient and modern street lines and enjoy a pleasant textile lovers game of seek and you shall find.
By Roxanne Williams
Images; courtesy of Japan National Tourism Organization https://www.jnto.org.au