Customer Showcase: Michael Kannisto USA on YokoDana Kimono

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Note about this page:

We like to post on our web site when people have creatively used our vintage Japanese kimono fabrics in their work. Michael Kannisto recently sent us a lovely email following his receipt of a fabric order from us. His email included some sample pictures of how he uses our vintage kimono fabrics in making bow ties. We are happy to share MIchael's story along with his pictures here:

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Michael Kannisto
Morristown, New Jersey
USA

Dear Ms. Lewis,

I wanted to thank you very sincerely for shipping my order so quickly, and especially for generously including such beautiful pieces of extra fabric!

I work in the fashion industry, and took a class in fashion design a few years ago. As part of the class, we had to select a fashion theme and sketch some original designs. I picked "Tokyo in the Showa Era" for my project; I loved the photos of women in mini-skirts sharing the sidewalks with women dressed in traditional kimono. I became more interested in the kimono as I sketched, and wanted to learn more about them. As I am sure you know, the best way to learn about clothing is to take it apart. I certainly didn't want to spoil an intact kimono, so I ordered a vintage kimono sleeve.

I will never forget the day I sat down with that beautiful kimono sleeve. First, it was hand-sewn of course. That's something you don't often see, and I was so impressed with those tiny, even stitches. Then, when I opened the seam, what did I find? A lovely silk liner! I couldn't fathom the idea of using such a beautiful patterned piece when it was never meant to be seen again. Finally -- I noticed the lovely slip-stitching gently attaching the liner to the outer fabric. The thread was so fine, and someone's skilled hands had caught only a loop or two of fabric as they attached the pieces.

I called several people the next day with questions. They told me that there are many of these kimono available at present because they come from the last generation of brides that received them as wedding gifts, and that these women are starting to pass away. They also told me that the kimono were often not stored properly because they weren't very practical gifts (one person called them the "fondue pot of Japan"!), and that is the reason many sleeves are available. (I don't know if any of that is true, by the way.)

I thought about the bride who had received the kimono that was now sitting on my sewing table, making her way to her new home, storing her beautiful kimono away, and then forgetting about it as she worked or had children or took care of her own family. I decided to do something with that fabric to honor her.

So, I made a bow tie! (I used the silk liner as interfacing, keeping the two fabrics together in their next life). I loved wearing it, so I made another one. And another. And another. I started making pocket squares, too. And ladies' brooches. I have even made masks during this current pandemic. I began looking for vintage fabric on eBay, and through other channels. I do not sell my items -- it doesn't feel right. But I give lots of gifts, and people compliment the ties all the time.

Please forgive this long note, but I wanted to you know how much these beautiful fabrics have come to mean to me, and I wanted to tell you how I plan to use them.

(I have included some photographs.)

Thank you again for providing such lovely fabrics. I look forward to ordering more.

Michael Kannisto

bowtie 1
bowtie a
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