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Yukata – The Summer Kimono of Japan


August is the hottest month of the year in Japan. Not only is the temperature high, so is the humidity. Summer kimonos, known as yukata, are a common sight in Japan during these steamy summer days.

Yukata summer kimonos

Yukata are informal, festive clothing that are worn to outdoor summer events.


Tanabata Celebrated Across Japan

Yukata are extremely popular today. Perhaps because they reflect a nostalgic reminder of summers past in Japan.


As with kimono, the general rule is that younger people wear bright, vivid colors and bold patterns, while older people wear dark, matured colors and dull patterns.

Summer Kimono Festival In Himeji

A child may wear a multicolored print and a young woman may wear a floral, while an older woman would confine herself to a traditional dark blue with geometric patterns. Men, in general, wear solid dark colors.

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The fabrics are cotton,  beautifully hand stenciled and dyed, with the designs showing on both sides. Traditionally, yukata fabrics were primarily made of indigo-dyed cotton, but today, a wide variety of colors and designs are available. The fabric is a standard kimono width of 14 inches. The fabric has a slightly crisp, but soft touch, and ranges from black to dark navy to indigo for the classic tones. The colors and designs will immediately draw you in!


Yukata Fabrics 5

Since the late 1990s, yukata have experienced a revival. Not only with the fashionistas . . .


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. . . but  with those passionate about unique textiles–including yours truly. Which leads me into my story for this week!

Vintage Japanese Yukata Cotton


Yukata Fabrics 2

These remarkable fabrics are from Okan Arts of Seattle Washington. My newfound obsession happened while attending a lecture and workshop with Patricia Belyea, owner of Okan Arts. Her 550-bolt-strong collection is a kaleidoscope of vintage Japanese yukata.

Yukata Fabrics 3

The beautiful green roll in the center of the photo above was the one that hooked me. I loved the free flowing brushstrokes of dark indigo, lavender, and gray.

Patricia is making it her mission to share this collection with others. Lucky us!!!

Yukata Fabrics 4

On Friday, I will chat with Patricia about her passion. I will also share a sampling of blocks created in the workshop I attended with her, plus photos of the beautiful quilts she has created to showcase these very special fabrics. Be sure to stop by to meet Patricia!

_________________________________________________________Correction: A few quilts were forgotten or mislabeled in last week’s post on the Indie Modern Quilters Challenge. I wanted to be sure to share them with you. My apologies for the error.

Patty Flynn

 See you Friday!


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