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DIY Japanese obi Panel Skirt

DIY Style Dec 4, 2012

People sometimes ask me about what inspires my DIYs, and I think most expect that I get ideas from the runway, streetstyle, or designer collections, and naturally I find inspiration in all those places. But to be honest, more often than not I get ideas for projects from the materials I can get my hands on, regardless of how random they are (remember this? and this?). This skirt is the perfect example of that. My friend MISCHA recently held a party for the 4th anniversary of her brand, where I hosted the press preview with a super fun crafternoon. In the process of deciding the type of DIY we wanted to do during the press preview, she shared with me all these insanely intricate pieces of vintage Japanese obi fabric she had collected in japan when sourcing for her first series of handbags.  For those of you not familiar with obi, it’s traditionally used as the sash part of a kimono and is tied in a multitude of different knots at the back of the kimono. From what I understand many of which are used to indicate the availability or situation of the female wearer. I was immediately taken with the rich colours and hypnotic hexagons used in the patterns of the obi, and knew a few pieces would be the basis for a clothing DIY. The hard part was choosing the nicest piece of out so many including these! I decided to make a super simple obi panel skirt, by now you’ll know how much I love skirts and I think that when you have something as amazing as this piece of obi you don’t want to complicate its presentation.

You need:

  • A piece of obi fabric
  • A black skirt (or a skirt that matches the background of your obi fabric)
  • Scissors
  • Black thread
  • A sewing machine

Click below for the full tutorial

Instead of buying a ready made skirt I picked up a super cheap midi length skirt from my local secondhand store (ahem, $1.50) and turned that into a mini. I love to do this because it allows you to choose your perfect length, and in this way this project is also a before & after, because you all now how much I love a good before & after. You can also just buy one ready made too though.
1. To create the base skirt, I laid a skirt I own over the top of the midi skirt to check the right length, and then cut if off a few inches below to allow for the hem.
2. Iron and then sew the hem to create the perfect length for you.

3. Pin the obi fabric to the front of the skirt, making sure it sits symmetrically, and then sew all the way around the edge. I folded the top edge of the obi fabric over the top of the waistband of the skirt so it looked more complete.
And there you have it. Such a simple way to create a standout garment for your wardrobe. When I wore it to the event you won’t believe how many people wanted one for themselves – the power of the obi no doubt!
Wearing: DIY obi panel skirt, Madewell silk shirt, Zara booties, Mischa hexagon box bag, DIY pom pom bag charm, Coach gold boyfriend watch.
Thank you Mischa for the lovely pieces of fabric!
Tags Before and after DIY Instructionals Japanese sewing Skirt Skirts Tutorials

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