The Greatest Showman: my review

Last Friday a girl friend and I watched The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, and Zendaya. 

I really enjoyed it! I love walking out of a cinema and feeling happy and entertained. This movie did just that. The music was great- catchy and exciting! I think when I compare the soundtrack to something like “Moulin Rouge”- where I recognized every single song in it, to the fact that every song in this movie was an original- and I enjoyed it just as much, that is something quite special.

The costumes were lovely. The choreography was good and the scene with Zendaya and Zac Efron dancing with the trapeze was interesting.

I think it was well casted, and every person did a good job. I love Hugh Jackman in so many roles, he is always so very watchable, as he is here. 

Would I say this movie is a great movie? Destined to one day be a classic? No. However it is highly entertaining, funny, and makes you feel good as you are walking out.  

I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys musicals, singing, dancing, to anyone who loves Hugh Jackman, it’s the kind of movie you could take your teenager to, but also your parents to. A good family movie that has a little bit of grit to it too. 

Check it out on iMDb here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1485796/

Check out the trailer here: https://youtu.be/AXCTMGYUg9A

My New Workroom: My Sewing Room Renovation.

Recently I renovated my workroom! It has made such an improvement to my daily work life... I had no idea how happy I would be until it was done. I am now so inspired and so much more efficient!

Before the renovation I had this massive industrial cutting table, which took up 70% of the room, even though I only used half of it. The room was a continuous mess since I didn't have a perfect spot for anything...

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Above and below are the before pics... 

 

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The chaos above! 

And now witness my beautiful, organized room below...

The new smaller cutting table has cupboards underneath to store my fabrics neatly and keep things in smaller boxes. Before I was storing fabrics in very large boxes that were so bad for my back. 

The new smaller cutting table has cupboards underneath to store my fabrics neatly and keep things in smaller boxes. Before I was storing fabrics in very large boxes that were so bad for my back. 

We put hooks on the wall for fabric rolls to be stored on. The old cutting table had space for more fabric rolls. The new table has no fabric roll space- but I think it's rather pretty having the rolls displayed on the wall anyway!

 

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We also added a small shelf on the shorter wall to keep all of my cutting and patternmaking tools together and out of the way when I am using the table. 

 

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Next it was a mission to tame this wild beast above... my wall of fabrics. We managed! And it is now looking beautiful like this:

 

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I had to cut out cardboard for each and every piece of fabric that is on this wall, but it was so worth it. Since they are organized I can now actually fit more! This display is so much more inviting, and I have a feeling there will be a few of my regular customers who will love even more now looking at the fabrics!  

Now I can now invite my tea party customers into the room and show them my wall of fabrics, and all the other fabric and trims I room have bursting at the seams. This makes it a more personalized experience since they can choose the fabric and trim together with my recommendations, and then receive something which is just for them!

I now have two clothes racks permanently in my room displaying my current collection of designs. Before I never had room for this, so I had to set up a display every time a customer visited.  Now it's so easy! 

I now have two clothes racks permanently in my room displaying my current collection of designs. Before I never had room for this, so I had to set up a display every time a customer visited.  Now it's so easy! 

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Then I needed to worry about my sewing table. I am really happy with this one I found in Officeworks since I love the bamboo top and the white steel frame makes it really sturdy. 

 

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My new sewing table holds both my sewing machine and my overlocker. I can happily sew using both side by side, which makes my life so much easier compared to the set up I had before. 

 

Apparently we also really enjoy our masterfoods mustard!!! All of those red lidded bottles have been collected over the past few years! They have come in handy to hold my odd buttons, small pieces of trim, and I am sure I will find many uses as we collect more.

 

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Eventually I would like to have a few trolley drawer units for each side of my sewing table, rather than the boxes I have pictured here. It will make the smaller items like threads, scissors, machine accessories etc much more easily accessible.

 

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I had a very small wall area that could still be utilized and I knew I could put an IKEA Kallax unit there- it fit perfectly- by about 5cm! I filled the kallax unit mainly with boxes that I then filled with items like orders I am working on, paper patterns etc.

 

 

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And here I am working in my new workroom! It's amazing what a bit of planning, time and a little bit of money can do to a space that was once so cluttered and disorganized! The room itself is very small- only 3metres by 2.5 metres. It's tiny! But living in Sydney means that it's ridiculously expensive to buy a bigger place just for a work room... so I had to use whatever space we had... and I am very pleased with the results! 

 

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I now have a really efficient work room with everything I need in it, and even enough room to swing a cat! I actually have space to move. Thank goodness for that!  

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above, Leanne trying on her custom made coat, and she is my first customer in my new workroom!  

 

All I need to do now is complete my wall of inspiration and favorite things! This will go above the fabric wall and it's going to the fabulous!!!  So that is it... my sewing room is now such a wonderful space to work in, and I cant wait to create some new designs (I have been sooooooooo busy with orders recently)! 

All I need to do now is complete my wall of inspiration and favorite things! This will go above the fabric wall and it's going to the fabulous!!! 

So that is it... my sewing room is now such a wonderful space to work in, and I cant wait to create some new designs (I have been sooooooooo busy with orders recently)! 

More fantastic vintage finds!

I recently inherited some vintage fabrics, through my husbands Russian family, look at previous posts for that... and now I have inherited a big collection of vintage buttons too!  They are simply amazing! 

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Honestly, getting this treasure trove of buttons is so much more exciting for me than getting an unlimited budget in a jewelry shop! I always say to the hubby, don't buy me jewelry- buy me fabric!! (I have a feeling I am not normal! )

So I can't wait to add them to my coming creations! I definitely will be using some of them on some bolero jackets this coming autumn and winter. I think some skirts and pants and maybe even a few blouses too. If only there were more hours in the day!  

New vintage fabrics added to my collection

I have recently acquired some new-to-me but vintage fabrics. Lots of customers ask me, where do I get my fabrics from? Honestly, it depends which fabric we are talking about, but a lot of my vintage fabrics I inherit when a family member or friend of the family has given up sewing or has passed on. It's a great way to delight and show the person who gave it to me, how much I appreciate the fabrics when I have a finished design to show off to them! 

The below collection of fabrics have come from my Russian in-laws side of the family. They are all vintage Russian fabrics and trims. It's amazing to think that these fabrics have traveled half way across the world a long time ago, and now they will be part of my collection of designs soon! 

 

I have loads of this fabric. It's a very unique print- something you don't really see in Australia much!  

I have loads of this fabric. It's a very unique print- something you don't really see in Australia much!  

This fabric looks and feels like a wool crepe and has a beautiful soft drape. I am thinking perhaps a pair of flared pants or a full circle skirt or dress might be on the cards for this!  

This fabric looks and feels like a wool crepe and has a beautiful soft drape. I am thinking perhaps a pair of flared pants or a full circle skirt or dress might be on the cards for this!  

These are all hand crocheted and I think bobbin-laced collars. Either way they are very intricate and detailed. Perhaps they might look nice on a skirt hem? 

These are all hand crocheted and I think bobbin-laced collars. Either way they are very intricate and detailed. Perhaps they might look nice on a skirt hem? 

Hot off the press! New Designs!

I have a sneak peek at some new designs I just finished yesterday and today!  These designs and all of my current collection of designs will be at The Rocks Markets this weekend, Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th October. I am really looking forward to seeing what people think of these!  

 

The Pastel Kimono, handmade from a mint green, cream and gold cotton fabric and a vintage pink and gold trim.  

The Pastel Kimono, handmade from a mint green, cream and gold cotton fabric and a vintage pink and gold trim.  

The Pastel Kimono. I decided to create this since my other Kimono print is extremely bright, and I realize that this brightness isn't always for everyone!  

The Pastel Kimono. I decided to create this since my other Kimono print is extremely bright, and I realize that this brightness isn't always for everyone!  

A closeup of the Jade Pleated Skirt with A vintage "Venus" Print.  

A closeup of the Jade Pleated Skirt with A vintage "Venus" Print.  

Detail of the vintage button on the Brown, Gold and Black Pleated Skirt. 

Detail of the vintage button on the Brown, Gold and Black Pleated Skirt. 

The finished Brown, Gold and Black Pleated Skirt. The t bar is made from a vintage print that features a random squiggle in black and gold on a cream background.  

The finished Brown, Gold and Black Pleated Skirt. The t bar is made from a vintage print that features a random squiggle in black and gold on a cream background.  

More styles will be added to the blog, and the shop online during the week. So stay tuned!  

Nicole's Custom Order Catsuit

Recently I created a custom made blue and white satin catsuit for Nicole. I have known Nicole for a while, and I know that she likes designs with a 70's influence, so once I found this gorgeous print I knew it would look fantastic as a catsuit on her!

 

 

The blue and white satin fabric has a very retro inspired print. 

The blue and white satin fabric has a very retro inspired print. 

With catsuits I find the fitting to be a bit tricky. Everyone's bodies, i.e. torso area, are completely different in length, and since a catsuit is an all-in-one style you must get the length perfect! 

This particular catsuit style is quite unique, since it is a wrap around style, with a low v neck, a tie around the waist, and a thigh high split! Long kimono style sleeves balance out the design nicely. I dreamed up this design when I was dancing away in a club in Sydney! And ever since, every time I wear my version of this design it makes me feel like dancing! 

The below photos show the catsuit pinned and unfinished. This is what it looked like after the first fitting:

 

The catsuit done to a stage after the first fitting. All the seams are unfinished at this stage. 

The catsuit done to a stage after the first fitting. All the seams are unfinished at this stage. 

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And here is Nicole all dressed up for her friends wedding!  

 

Nicole wearing her custom made Penelope Red catsuit!  

Nicole wearing her custom made Penelope Red catsuit!  

Nicole wearing the catsuit, and her friends, the Grooms.  

Nicole wearing the catsuit, and her friends, the Grooms.  

All I can say is, "Wow!!!" I think she looks absolutely amazing in the design, and I am sure she made a few heads turn... Which is totally what this catsuit is made for!!! 

A catalogue of the Penelope Red Jigsaw Skivvy design

Almost every time I create the Jigsaw Skivvy, I am making a one of a kind or one of a very limited few (usually up to three). This womens jersey knit top features a very unique geometric design on the front, that is cut into seven pieces and has contrasting fabrics and textures on these pieces. Below you can see some of the versions I have created with this style, and just how versatile and unique it can be just by changing the combination of fabrics. 

My regular customers have often said that one of my talents is how I mix colours and print combinations together, as well as how I cut a design up into sections or how I cut the fabric up to create something different each time. So the beauty about this Skivvy or turtleneck design is that it combines all of this! 

I started creating skivvies because I am always cold in winter! I tend to feel it mostly around my neck and shoulders and back, and I wanted to look fashionable, while still being warm and comfortable. Ever since having my little boy and being a mum I also wanted to have something that I could easily wear with jeans in the park, but then it would also look nice going out too.

 

A skivvy with a black jersey knit body and a contrasting design in red lace, red, blue and green paisley and a red jersey knit.

A skivvy with a black jersey knit body and a contrasting design in red lace, red, blue and green paisley and a red jersey knit.

A bright blue version of my Jigsaw Skivvy, with a bright blue jersey knit body, and a cream lace, and printed contrast.

A bright blue version of my Jigsaw Skivvy, with a bright blue jersey knit body, and a cream lace, and printed contrast.

Leanne wears a custom made bright red version of the Jigsaw Skivvy. 

Leanne wears a custom made bright red version of the Jigsaw Skivvy. 

Leanne wears a one of a kind Pink and printed Skivvy that I designed especially for her. I am thinking I might have to make something similar like this next winter! I am wearing a bright blue and pop art inspired version of the Jigsaw Skivvy. One more copy of this version is available. 

Leanne wears a one of a kind Pink and printed Skivvy that I designed especially for her. I am thinking I might have to make something similar like this next winter! I am wearing a bright blue and pop art inspired version of the Jigsaw Skivvy. One more copy of this version is available. 

I think the colours and prints on this version of the Jigsaw Skivvy are virtually perfect with each other! One of my favorites!  

I think the colours and prints on this version of the Jigsaw Skivvy are virtually perfect with each other! One of my favorites!  

A black, white and paisley Jigsaw Skivvy. In this design the black, white and purple is the main focus. There are still many other colours in the design, but the focus is on the three main colours. 

A black, white and paisley Jigsaw Skivvy. In this design the black, white and purple is the main focus. There are still many other colours in the design, but the focus is on the three main colours. 

A custom order again. The customer wanted some sparkle! So the black triangular piece has sequins on it!  

A custom order again. The customer wanted some sparkle! So the black triangular piece has sequins on it!  

A black jersey knit Skivvy blouse with contrasting colours and prints of Aqua, purple, white and pink. 

A black jersey knit Skivvy blouse with contrasting colours and prints of Aqua, purple, white and pink. 

I am wearing my own one of a kind version of this Skivvy design. I love how these colours and prints work so well together but yet are so different!  I am not a big fan of black, so if I make anything black for myself, it needs to have something with a bit of pizzazz! I think this fits the bill!

I am wearing my own one of a kind version of this Skivvy design. I love how these colours and prints work so well together but yet are so different!  I am not a big fan of black, so if I make anything black for myself, it needs to have something with a bit of pizzazz! I think this fits the bill!

Lorelle wears a Penelope Red Jigsaw Skivvy Turtleneck Top in a black jersey knit with contrasting fabrics in shades of red, orange, brown, black and white. 

Lorelle wears a Penelope Red Jigsaw Skivvy Turtleneck Top in a black jersey knit with contrasting fabrics in shades of red, orange, brown, black and white. 

The photos included are just a small selection of the variety available and what I could possibly create. If you would like your own custom made Jigsaw Skivvy, then please don't hesitate to contact me

A Catalogue of Penelope Red Kimonos

My Penelope Red cotton kimonos are still a big seller, years after I first made the pattern up. I created the pattern draping the fabric and creating the pleats on the dummy. It's the perfect adjustable, wear any where, with anything style. And it suits many different women from young to old, with many different body shapes. 

So here is a collection or a design catalogue of most of my handmade cotton kimonos I have created over the years... It's the perfect way to show you how versatile and how different this style can look when in a different print, or styled a certain way.

 

The Pink, Black and Orange Coral Kimono was the first copy of the Kimono style I ever created. I loved it so much that I knew I needed to make more! I kept one for myself and still wear it years later, since it is such a great, versatile style.

The Pink, Black and Orange Coral Kimono was the first copy of the Kimono style I ever created. I loved it so much that I knew I needed to make more! I kept one for myself and still wear it years later, since it is such a great, versatile style.

Kat wears the Kaleidoscope Kimono, handmade from a multi coloured and bright cotton print. This kimono is currently available in the Penelope Red online shop here; http://www.penelopered.com.au/shop/the-bright-multi-coloured-kaleidoscope-kimono

Kat wears the Kaleidoscope Kimono, handmade from a multi coloured and bright cotton print. This kimono is currently available in the Penelope Red online shop here; http://www.penelopered.com.au/shop/the-bright-multi-coloured-kaleidoscope-kimono

I love using vintage trims and braids on my designs. This black polished cotton kimono looks so special because of the vintage trim I used. It is a very unique design, since only three copies of this style were created.

I love using vintage trims and braids on my designs. This black polished cotton kimono looks so special because of the vintage trim I used. It is a very unique design, since only three copies of this style were created.

Penny wears the Hibiscus Kimono Dress. Yes, this kimono style I have extended the length and made it into a dress. This is a one of a kind design, custom made for Penny.

Penny wears the Hibiscus Kimono Dress. Yes, this kimono style I have extended the length and made it into a dress. This is a one of a kind design, custom made for Penny.

Penny wearing the Hibiscus Kimono Dress again. This dress features a vintage braid, a yellow and white vintage polka dot print, and the main fabric is a brightly coloured, large floral print. 

Penny wearing the Hibiscus Kimono Dress again. This dress features a vintage braid, a yellow and white vintage polka dot print, and the main fabric is a brightly coloured, large floral print. 

Leanne wears another one of a kind custom order kimono. Leanne wanted an evening version of the kimono, so we chose this vintage bright green silk.

Leanne wears another one of a kind custom order kimono. Leanne wanted an evening version of the kimono, so we chose this vintage bright green silk.

Here I am wearing the Coral Kimono in Melbourne, tucked into a pencil skirt. I always receive comments on this outfit!

Here I am wearing the Coral Kimono in Melbourne, tucked into a pencil skirt. I always receive comments on this outfit!

Another one of a kind, created from a vintage cotton print of flowers and birds, vintage braid, and vintage silk. One of my favourites!

Another one of a kind, created from a vintage cotton print of flowers and birds, vintage braid, and vintage silk. One of my favourites!

Black and White Kimono Dress, a one of a kind style, handmade from a vintage cotton.

Black and White Kimono Dress, a one of a kind style, handmade from a vintage cotton.

Kiran wears the Kaleidoscope Kimono again. 

Kiran wears the Kaleidoscope Kimono again. 

Candice is wearing the Hibiscus Kimono, a one of a kind design. 

Candice is wearing the Hibiscus Kimono, a one of a kind design. 

A Catalogue of my Penelope Red Bolero Jackets

I have decided to use my blog here to show you the wide range of Penelope Red bolero jacket versions. Really, the possibilities are endless with a little imagination and some fantastic fabrics! Whenever I am talking to a customer about a particular style, they often ask if I have any other options or versions, so this is the perfect way to show a catalogue of as many different styles as possible! 

 

Leanne wears a one of a kind Red and Blue Bolero and a one of a kind denim and printed mini skirt.

Leanne wears a one of a kind Red and Blue Bolero and a one of a kind denim and printed mini skirt.

Lorelle wears the Red, Black and White Bolero. This version is still available in a size 8 in the Penelope Red online shop here: http://www.penelopered.com.au/shop/red-black-and-white-bolero-jacket

Lorelle wears the Red, Black and White Bolero. This version is still available in a size 8 in the Penelope Red online shop here: http://www.penelopered.com.au/shop/red-black-and-white-bolero-jacket

This Red Bolero Jacket is one of the first bolero's I ever created, but it still looks beautiful to me. Its handmade from two vintage fabrics, and the high Chinese Collar and wrap around style is gorgeous!

This Red Bolero Jacket is one of the first bolero's I ever created, but it still looks beautiful to me. Its handmade from two vintage fabrics, and the high Chinese Collar and wrap around style is gorgeous!

The above Jade or Turquoised coloured bolero jacket in this photo has been handmade from a gorgeous bright vintage wool, and features oversized buttons on the front. I love this bolero with this printed jersey knit dress. Very vintage!  

The above Jade or Turquoised coloured bolero jacket in this photo has been handmade from a gorgeous bright vintage wool, and features oversized buttons on the front. I love this bolero with this printed jersey knit dress. Very vintage!

 

The Liberty Flowers Bolero was handmade from a Liberty of London wool print. I only ever made three copies of this design. It features beautiful vintage buttons, cute little welt button holes and silk lining.  

The Liberty Flowers Bolero was handmade from a Liberty of London wool print. I only ever made three copies of this design. It features beautiful vintage buttons, cute little welt button holes and silk lining.

 

Lucy wears a one of a kind bolero, handmade from a red wool, and a blue bird printed cotton.

Lucy wears a one of a kind bolero, handmade from a red wool, and a blue bird printed cotton.

I wear the Cherry Red Bolero and Leanne wears the Black, White and Orange Pyramid Bolero. I think this Pyramid Bolero is one of my most favorite bolero jackets I have made. It features a vintage wool print, and gorgeous vintage buttons.

I wear the Cherry Red Bolero and Leanne wears the Black, White and Orange Pyramid Bolero. I think this Pyramid Bolero is one of my most favorite bolero jackets I have made. It features a vintage wool print, and gorgeous vintage buttons.

The Osaka Citrus Bolero features a stunning cotton print. I have kept this design for myself... I couldn't help it!  

The Osaka Citrus Bolero features a stunning cotton print. I have kept this design for myself... I couldn't help it!  

Lorelle wears the Gothic Coffee Bolero with the Silver Drama Skirt. Leanne wears the black and gold Cleopatra Blouse and the black and gold Tulip Skirt.  

Lorelle wears the Gothic Coffee Bolero with the Silver Drama Skirt. Leanne wears the black and gold Cleopatra Blouse and the black and gold Tulip Skirt.  

Lucy wears the Pink and Plum Rosavar Bolero

Lucy wears the Pink and Plum Rosavar Bolero

This is a one of a kind bolero I created. It uses a unique boucle for the contrast, and very pretty silver vintage buttons. 

This is a one of a kind bolero I created. It uses a unique boucle for the contrast, and very pretty silver vintage buttons. 

The Venus Bolero is a very unique design! It features a vintage print of flowers and bright birds on a cream background, with a pale pink vintage pleated organza trimming the front and neckline. To me this bolero has a little Oriental influence, mixed with a European influence... All the things I love. 

The Venus Bolero is a very unique design! It features a vintage print of flowers and bright birds on a cream background, with a pale pink vintage pleated organza trimming the front and neckline. To me this bolero has a little Oriental influence, mixed with a European influence... All the things I love. 

And again the current version I have created, the Red, Black and White Bolero. I only ever created two copies of his style, and only the size 8 is available. You can find it in the Penelope Red online shop here:  http://www.penelopered.com.au/shop/red-black-and-white-bolero-jacket

And again the current version I have created, the Red, Black and White Bolero. I only ever created two copies of his style, and only the size 8 is available. You can find it in the Penelope Red online shop here:  http://www.penelopered.com.au/shop/red-black-and-white-bolero-jacket

As you can see, when you mix different fabrics and colours and textures, one version of these jackets can be completely different to the next.  

And this isn't even all of the versions I have made! I have created a lot more, but I was silly and didn't take photos!  

If you are interested in a custom made bolero or would like something special created just for you, then please contact me here:  

 http://www.penelopered.com.au/contact/

The new Bright Multi Coloured Kaleidoscope Kimono

My latest kimono style has been handmade using an amazing bright and multi Coloured digital print, that I like to call Kaleidoscope! So many colours and since there is a lot of pleating on the back of the kimono, it shows off the print and all the varying shades so beautifully. 

 

 

The back of the Kaleidoscope Kimono, and all of the pleats. 

The back of the Kaleidoscope Kimono, and all of the pleats. 

This kimono is handmade from a 100% cotton sateen, and is the perfect design to wear in spring and summer for so many occasions. I personally like to wear this style to the beach over the top of my swimmers- it keeps the sun off your skin while still staying cool - since it is a fine fabric and not tight so it lets the breeze flow.

The Kaleidoscope Kimono worn with my one of a kind skirt... All handmade by me. 

The Kaleidoscope Kimono worn with my one of a kind skirt... All handmade by me. 

I also like to dress the kimono up and wear it with a gorgeous pair of heels, and a hot skirt or pair of pants. When taking photos of the Kaleidoscope Kimono, I tried it with plainer pants like black pants or jeans... Then I tried it with my brighter red pants and my bright as can be skirt. Personally, I much rather it with the brighter items. It seems to be so much more fun!  

 

The Bright Kaleidoscope kimono worn here with black pants. 

The Bright Kaleidoscope kimono worn here with black pants. 

My Penelope Red women say one of the best parts about buying designs from me is that they know that not everyone will be walking down the street with the same thing on as them- since my designs are unique and always limited edition and I only make a small amount of each. The beauty about buying handmade fashion! For me I love that what I design and make lasts- it won't go out of fashion the minute the season is over... It won't fall apart the minute you wash it... And I love my choice in fabrics! 

Take a look at the Kaleidoscope Kimono in the shop online here: 

 http://www.penelopered.com.au/shop/the-bright-multi-coloured-kaleidoscope-kimono

The Kaleidoscope Kimono worn with the jade pleated skirt. 

The Kaleidoscope Kimono worn with the jade pleated skirt.