Portfolio: 1880s ‘Japonisme’ ensemble

The Idea and Inspiration:

To create an outfit inspired by an 1880’s Parisian ensemble made from a kimono, now in the Kyoto Costume Institute.  My ensemble would also use vintage kimono fabric, to better recreate the joins and patterning that the narrow widths of kimono fabric would require the seamstress to use.

Fabric and Materials:

Underskirt of nougat pink silk shantung, overskirt and jacket of vintage kimono silk, appliques of vintage obi fragments, vintage buttons from my grandmother’s stash.


The lilac corset

A full petticoat bustle

Research and Resources:

Janet Arnold, Patterns of Fashion 1860-1940.  Skirt and overskirt based on the 1872 afternoon dress

Jacket adapted from extent 1880s patterns

The Dress Diary:

Introducing the fabrics and design

The ensemble at the Capturing the Mode talk

Wearing the (mostly finished) ensemble in San Francisco

Shell in the Japonisme ensemble

With magnolia blossoms in the Wellington Botanical Gardens

A photoshoot in the Wellington Botanical Gardens 


2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Oh, how very beautiful you are in your gorgeous dress in such wonderful surroundings! Lovely!

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Meet the Dreamstress

Leimomi Oakes is the Dreamstress, a textile historian, seamstress, designer, speaker and museum professional. Leimomi is available for educational and entertaining presentations, textile and fashion advice, special commissions and events. Click to learn more

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