Friday, 21 July 2017

Sumptuous scarf

It's been a while since I've added to my scarf collection, but I've been quietly sewing away in my design studio and have finally created a few more! The first to be added to my store is this sumptuous red scarf which is made from vintage Japanese silk kimono fabrics in shades of red, pink and cream. It's long and thin and can be draped around the neck several times.

The reds are my favourite colours as they add such drama to an outfit.

My favourite part is choosing which fabrics are going to be used for each scarf.

I love the classic stork design, found in so much Japanese art and design. The stork is the symbol of longevity and good luck.

Some of the designs I have used show the traditional Japanese blossom design or a more stylised version of chrysanthemums.

You can find this stunning scarf in my store here.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Incredible ikats

Last week I posted an image on my Instagram account of some beautiful ikat fabrics I bought a while ago in the bazaars of Istanbul. I already have a few stunning clutch bags made from these fabrics, but recently decided to create some handbags too.

I love the characteristic blurred effect of the deign of the ikat fabrics, but also love the stunning bright colours that can be created. The blurred effect is caused because the design is dyed onto the yarns before the yarns are woven.

This pink bag is made from a stunning magenta pink design and I matched the base colour and the lining to the colour of the ikat silk colour.

I included a hidden magnetic closure on each bag to help keep items safe. The magnet is hidden inside a cotton flap on either side of the bag.

This blue bag has hints of turquoise in the ikat design and I matched the cotton base of the bag with that turquoise colour. The lining is the same colour turquoise and the canvas straps are a blue to match the blue in the ikat design.

Both bags are lightly padded using a wadding called Dream Green which is made from recycled plastic bottles!

I also have this stunning ikat clutch bag in my store which matches the handbag. It has an antique gold clasp and detachable chain handle that can be worn over the shoulder or across the body.

You can find more incredible ikat finds in my store here.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Beautiful Balenciaga

On Friday I was very excited to go the Balenciaga exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Balenciaga was one of the most innovative and influential designers of the 20th century and had a unique and forward-thinking view of female beauty. Many of his clothes could be seen as conventionally unfeminine in their style, but he still managed to create garments that were stylish and attractive.

The stunning green dress above is a good example of redesigning the female form. He does not follow the contours of the body, but the dress is still feminine and stylish.

In his later life, Balenciaga continued to simplify his garments, using few seams and minimal decoration, like the dress above.

Balenciaga's training in tailoring set a high standard for his workrooms. Even an outfit that looks relatively simple has underlying detail that took hours to perfect. Many of the exhibits have an X-ray image behind them to show the detail that goes into each piece.

Balenciaga was influenced by costume from many cultures and the Japanese kimono was one of them. In the jacket above, he uses a t-shaped kimono cut which has been manipulated into dramatic folds by an invisible ribbon which runs the length of the sleeve and holds the gathers in place.

The dress above was also influenced by the Japanese kimono. It uses a kimono sleeve style, where the sleeve is cut from the same piece of cloth as the shoulders. He also adopts the obi-style belt.

The stunning red dress above was one of my favourite pieces. I loved the colour, but also the amount of work that went into designing it. Behind, you can see an X-ray image of how the dress was constructed and next to the exhibit is an amazing film showing the work that went into making it.

The exhibition continues upstairs where you can see the fashions of designers who have been influenced by Balenciaga in recent years. The outfit above was designed by Gareth Pugh who, like Balenciaga, likes to experiment with shape and volume, often using materials that are difficult to work with.

Emanuel Ungaro apprenticed with Balenciaga and his first collection consisted of understated shift dresses, inspired by the style used by Balenciaga.

Like Balenciaga, Issey Miyake also embraced innovative textile techniques and played with shape and volume.

Friday, 14 July 2017

There's not mushroom in here....

....just enough room for this lovely little mushroom combo! It consists of a coin purse and a card case made from a fab purple and pink mushroom fabric.

The coin purse is big enough to fit small change or can be used as a headphone case.

Each item has a bright pink and white polka dot lining that matches the pattern on the mushrooms.

The card case can be used for credit cards, business cards or as a travel card holder.

You can find both items in my store here.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Little sweetie

This little sweetie has just been added to my store. It's a handbag made from a woven Japanese medallion obi fabric in shades of burgundy, emerald green, light pink and metallic gold. The purse has a pretty wooden bobble detail on the clasp.

I love the green colour in the design and decided to match the lining to that colour.

The handbag has a long detachable chain handle that can be worn over the shoulder or across the body.

You can find it in my store here.

Friday, 7 July 2017

5 a day

Get your 5 a day with these fun vegetable-inspired card cases! We love a novelty print here at Cheeky Leopard and I couldn't resist these home grown fabrics that I have been hunter-gathering.

This card case is made from a modern green and white fabric with a stylised design of vegetables. It has a contrasting black and white spotty lining.

Each card case can hold up to 8 credit cards.
They could also be used as a business card case or a travel card case.

This card case is made from a fun tomato fabric which is a Japanese furoshiki fabric that I bought in Tokyo. I decided to give it an orange and white spotty lining.

You can find them both in my store here.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Bling it on!

I've recently added these blingy beauties to my store. Both are clutch bags made from stunning vintage Japanese obi fabrics. The obi is the 'belt' that goes around the kimono and often comes in bright colours and is heavily woven, which lends itself perfectly to creating unique clutch bags and evening purses. Because these are vintage fabrics, you are unlikely to find anything similar to this anywhere else.

This clutch bag is made from the same fabric as the tote bag in my store. It's a vibrant combination of multi colour and metallic gold.

I used a bright red cotton fabric for the lining and a flap closure, held closed with a magnetic snap.

The clutch bags are a different style to each other.

This clutch bag is a simple envelope design. It's made from a stunning red, black and gold decorative Japanese vintage fabric.

It also has a bright red cotton lining, and a snap closure at the top of the bag to keep things safe.

You can find them both in my store here.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Green and black

 I've just added this green and black beauty to my store. It's a handbag made from a vintage decorative Japanese kimono fabric and you can find it in my store here.

The design has been created using the Japanese kasuri technique, where the fabric has been woven using threads that have been dyed with the design before the fabric is woven. This creates the blurred effect of the design, which I love.

The lining is also made from a green kasuri fabric, taken from an outer kimono.

The handbag can be held in the hand or worn over the arm and comes with a detachable chain handle which means it could also be used as a clutch bag.

This bag beautifully matches my summery green trousers, but it also looks just as good with a little black dress.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Something fishy

Yesterday I mentioned some fishy little sweets I'd been given. These inspired me to make some fishy items for my store, and here they are! It's a coin purse and tissue holder combo, made from a gorgeous little Japanese cotton blue and white fish and bubbles design. I decided to give it a contrasting red and white spotty lining for a flash of colour.

Can you spot the little red fish amongst the bubbles?

I decided to give it a contrasting red and white spotty lining.

You can find them both in my store here.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Japanese sweeties

Last week my Japanese friend Tatsuya was in town and we met up for a drink in London. He is always very generous and brings something tasty and interesting from Japan. This time, he gave me this beautiful fish-inspired offering. At first it was difficult to work out what they were, but I soon realised they were fish encased in some sort of jelly mixture.

Each one is set in a little bed of blue tissue paper.

They were packaged beautifully, and even though I couldn't understand the label, I loved the little fish designs decorating it.

Even the cardboard underneath the jellies was decorated with a fish design.

Each jelly globe has two fish in, and the jelly makes them wobble around like they are alive!

Simply pull off the plastic base, and then you suck the jelly out!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

A new addition

I've recently been playing around with the idea of making a glasses case that has a metal closure and here is the first addition to my store! It's lightly padded and made from a fun blue and white stylised flower design, with a metal kiss clasp closure to keep the glasses safe.

I've added a fun multi colour leaf lining.

This case is big enough to fit large sunglasses like the ones shown, but could also be used as a makeup case, pencil case or as a gadget pouch.

You can find it in my store here.

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