fifty yards of silk

by Megan Kurashige


On Thursday, we drove to San Rafael to visit Dharma Trading Company, a strange little store in the North Bay that sells dyes, yarn, and bolts of plain, uncolored fabric. We bought a fifty-yard bolt of silk charmeuse, a soft, decadent-feeling textile that has one smooth, shiny side and one dull side. When washed in hot water, it loses its shine and acquires a sueded, elegant character.


We are making seven dresses for Love Songs. They’re being designed and constructed by Emily Kurashige, our mother, who happens to be an extraordinary seamstress with a particular knack for making beautiful dresses.

Shannon has been putting together a Pinterest board of costume ideas, if you would like to admire photographs of beautiful, mostly old dresses. And, you should definitely admire this video of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Swing Time.

Emily will be making a different dress for each of the women in the piece. She’ll wash the plain silk in hot water to shrink it, then cut out the pieces, construct the dresses, and dye each one a different color. Dharma has racks and racks of inks and dyes. They mostly have ridiculous names. We will be Sage Leaf, Antique Mauve, Oxblood, Peacock, Peach, Honey Mustard, and Persimmon. And, Kelvin, the lone man and the only one who already has his costume in hand, will be Mr. Gray Suit.