Monday, August 23, 2010

Tsumami Kanzashi: Attempt One

This was my first try at making a kanzashi. Tsumami kanzashi is a japanese technique of folding fabric to make petals, which are then joined together to make flowers. These are traditionally used for hair ornaments, but they are now being used in all sorts of applications. I've seen them used for pins, purse embellishments, dress embelleshments, on shoes, and more.

I've been wanting to learn how to make them for over 5 years (off and on) and researched the "how to" of them a couple years ago. Then, when I found out I that I'm pregnant with a daughter, I wanted to make her some items with these flowers on them, using baby clothes that we were given or saved but can't use (or won't use). A nice way to recycle them, especially the items that are not in good enough condition to donate. Originally, I wanted to make some for a LARP character I had, a dark fighter who wore geisha style make-up and various styles of asian clothing (in dark tones). Then I thought I'd make them to use for bellydancing and for my steampunk outfit. Wouldn't dark blue, purple, and grey ones look fabulous on a top hat?

Last night, I decided to just go ahead, brush up on what I learned that last time I looked into it, and get started. It helped that I had recently found some patterned cotton scraps my older sister gave me years ago. I remember I was going to use these scraps (rather large ones) for making a bag or being part of a gypsy style patchwork cloak, but that never happened. So I cut 7 squares off the fabric, measuring 2.5" each. I reviewed some of the "how to" sites, some being clearer than others, and jumped in. After I tied off the petals (which ended up making the base flower), I found a pearlescent button and some dark aurora beads and stitched them on top. I then stitched the flower onto a hair elastic from a packet I bought a few days ago, and voila!

It seems a lot of people use glue to attach the decorative center (and possibly to attach the base attachment, like hair clips and such). There was no way I was going to use my glue gun with my son climbing all over me and grabbing at these things. Besides, I'm not really sure where it is! *laughs*

The petals aren't holding the shape I was hoping for. either there are too many petals, the material isn't stiff enough, or the thread holding the petals together was tied too tightly. I'm thinking it's more that I didn't starch the cotton, but I chose not to for two reasons: expediency in this first attempt and also to figure out if I can stiffen the material after the flowers are made. The latter would then allow me to actually wash the items or even not worry if they get wet (in the rain or just from my daughter being goofy). Of course, if I had added a few more petals, than the unpressed look would be fine for this ponytail holder.

I have a better picture I took this morning, but I left my camera cords at home, so I'll have to add it later.

I hope to try making a few more tonight. My mother is taking my son for a few hours this evening, so it might be a good time to pick up some hair clips, cut smaller squares, find my glue gun, and try making a couple kanzashi hair clips. Same dated cloth, but hopefully it will look better on a smaller flower. (I honestly didn't think it looked dated until I decided to make it into this. Go figure!) I'm also thinking of ways to make the flower shape remain the way I want without using a starch or interfacing. Perhaps a backing, but only for ones being used on pins and such. We'll see where this all takes me.

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