BBC Documentary: 'The Kimono' (Handmade in Japan)

June 30, 2017 1 Comment

BBC Documentary: 'The Kimono' (Handmade in Japan)

If you have access to BBC iPlayer and haven't yet seen BBC 4's wonderful documentary 'The Kimono', from their superb 'Handmade in Japan' series, treat yourself for half an hour before it's no longer available (1st August).

The film takes the viewer to the small island of Amami Oshima in southern Japan and follows the handmade production of a traditional Japanese kimono - showing the incredible levels of craft, skill and dedication that goes into each stage of the process from the design, bundling and starching of the silk threads, the binding and dyeing the pattern (using local wood and river mud) to the weaving and tailoring of the finished piece. Each process is undertaken by a specialist master/mistress artisan. Awe-inspiring.

Sadly it's only viewable in the UK, but anyone who can watch it and is interested in kimonos should watch it it before it's no longer available on the 1st August. Incidentally the other episodes in the 'Handmade in Japan' series are also excellent.

Below are some screenshots from the programme - all images ©BBC Scotland

Kimonos handmade in Amami Oshima

Kimono fabric design on paper

Silk threads being spooled and bundled

The starched silk is separated and hung to dry

The silk is expertly bound before dyeing

Wood dyed silk being dyed black with river mud

Once washed & dried the silk is carefully woven

The kimono fabric design begins to take shape

An expert seamstress carefully assembles the kimono

Each kimono takes up to a year to produce

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Sizing Chart

Please use the size charts below to help you determine your size. As sizing and cut can vary greatly between brands, use the charts as a general guide to compare sizes and the measurements for listed item to ensure a good fit. If you need assistance selecting the right size, please contact us at or +44 (0) 207 6866807.

Women's Clothing Size Conversion  (source: Wikipedia)

UK 8 10 12 14 16
USA 6 8 10 12 14
Europe 36 38 40 42 44
Japanese 9 11 13 15 17
Bust 34" 36" 38" 40" 42"
Waist 26" 28" 30" 32" 34"
Hip 37" 39" 41" 43" 45"


Shoe Size Conversion


UK Sizing US Sizing AUS Sizing Europe Sizing
2.5 5 3.5 35
3 5.5 4 35.5
3.5 6 4.5 36
4 6.5 5 36.5
4.5 7 5.5 37
5 7.5 6 37.5
5.5 8 6.5 38
6 8.5 7 39.5
6.5 9 7.5 40
7 9.5 8 40.5
7.5 10 8.5 41
8 10.5 9 41.5
8.5 11 9.5 42


Vintage Sizing and Measurements

Vintage sizing and modern sizing can be very different. Because of this, we provide detailed measurements of all vintage clothing to help you determine whether or not a garment will fit correctly. An assessment of the estimated modern size will be noted, as well as any sizes on the tag, but please refer to measurements to best determine fit.

A good way to determine fit:

* Find a similar item in your wardrobe.
* Measure it according to our measurement guidelines.
* Compare your measurements to those of the vintage item you are interested in.
* You're done. If it's a good fit, make it yours!

We do occasionally pin clothing to fit our models, so please read all measurements carefully. We do not accept returns for vintage merchandise that does not fit. If you have any questions about our sizing/measurements, please contact us at

Measurement Guidelines

All bust, waist, and hip measurements are taken straight across while garment is laid flat. Please double bust, waist, and hip measurements.



Shoulders Shoulder seam to shoulder seam
Bust Armpit to armpit, and sometimes stretched for strapless or form-fitting pieces
Waist Measured at the smallest part of the waist
Hip Measured at the largest part of the hip, straight across
Sleeves Shoulder seam to cuff; for dolman sleeves, measured from collar
Length Top of garment, from shoulder seam to hem
Rise Taken from crotch seam to top of garment
Inseam Taken from crotch seam to ankle
Swing Taken across bottom hem of garment, then doubled




Length Sole of shoe, from toe to heel, measured on the bottom of the sole
Width Measured at widest part of the sole of the shoe, typically at ball of foot
Height From bottom of shoes (including heels) to top
Heel Taken at the very back of shoe, from floor to top of heel








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