Jul 3, 2018

Upcycling kimono fabrics

I’m the first to admit that I’m not very skilled when it comes to crafts, but I seem to have quite a few friends that are! One such friend is an American that I met here in Japan, who started to find unique ways of upcycling kimonos that she would find at recycle shops like Hard-Off and the like. 

One of my favorite ways that she repurposes the kimonos is by making them into infinity scarves. I have several of her creations and she usually designs them so that one side is made with soft jersey cotton, and the other side is made with a coordinating kimono fabric. I’ve always received compliments on the ones I have when I wear them - and each piece is really one of a kind!

Upcycling kimono fabrics  photo

Here is an example for you - one of her beautiful scarf creations! I love all of the bright colors, and the mustard knit fabric on the back makes it the perfect accessory for the fall months - but you could wear it anytime, of course!

As well as the gorgeous infinity scarves that she makes, my friend has also branched out into making kids headbands, bow ties, and even coin purses using kimono fabrics. I really think it’s such a clever and unique way of upcycling a garment.

Upcycling kimono fabrics  photo

Kids headbands with a kimono bow, and coin purses are other things she’s made!

Oftentimes she has mentioned that kimonos she bought were super cheap because they had marks on them, which would mean that they probably weren’t fit for their original purpose anymore - but utilizing the unblemished parts of the garment and making them into something brand new to be enjoyed is such a fun idea. To me it’s the epitome of turning one person’s trash into another person’s treasure. 

If you’re handy with a sewing machine, have you ever thought about a craft project using kimono fabric? Have you attempted or completed any other fun DIY’s here?



After spending the last several years in the beating heart of Tokyo, I will be spending the next three in the countryside of Japan. I adore this country and all it has to offer - and I'm always learning more and more about life here as I go along!


  • BlueButterfly

    on Jul 3

    I also like to use olt kimono fabrics and create something new. I already made a skirt and many bags for friends with those fabric.

  • edthethe

    on Jul 3

    I have several things from old kimono. One bag in particular gets tons of compliments

  • helloalissa

    on Jul 3

    Thought about it for sure, but don't really have the patience or skill for sewing. There are super cheap kimono and accessories in recycle shops! I've seen them as cheap as 100 yen and get ideas... but hold back.

  • genkidesu

    on Jul 3

    @helloalissa oh gosh that resonates with me too...I am not patient in the least, and I feel like that's almost a prerequisite when it comes to sewing!