April 10, 2012

Recent Crafts, and Baby kimono

It's been a while since I was able to write on my blog. Here's some things I've been up to recently.

Randomly, I decided to try this old boy's kimono on my son, Bryan. I could only get a picture of him from behind. This is the Momotarou kimono I have displayed for Kodomo no Hi. This kimono is too damaged to wear, because the fabric is disintegrating, but when it was worn the damage was not seen. The arm length fits, but the sleeves are too long, they drag on the floor. I think it may be a kimono for hatsu-miyamairi, though I've never seen a noshime kimono, I imagine the sleeve might be open in the front, as that is the case with this kimono.
Either way, Bryan had fun playing with the sleeves!

Bryan likes wearing kimono, yay! My nieces want to go to the Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival this weekend, and they asked if they can wear yukata. I don't know if the weather will cooperate, but I decided to get my yukata collection ready just in case. As I was showing the yukata to my nieces, Bryan decided he wanted to play dress-up too. He got into the bin of yukata and put on his daddy's yukata all by himself.

He walked around the house for part of the day with daddy's yukata dragging behind him.

I did some sewing these last two weeks, in preparation for yukata season. I'm making some plastic mesh obi-ita for my nieces to use. This is an easy DIY kimono accessory you can make in an evening while watching TV shows. This one I cut to the shape as my other obi-ita, but the next few I will make just a solid rectangle the full length of the plastic mesh and then round the corners. I used the stiffest plastic mesh canvas I could find in the needlepoint section of my local craft store. It is Darica, 7 mesh, Ultra Stiff Plastic Canvas #33106, 12x18in (30.5x45.7cm). You can make 2 obi-ita from a 12x18in sheet of plastic canvas and one package of 4 yard bias tape. Simply cut it out to shape (about 5-6in x 9-12in, with rounded corners) and hand-sew double-fold bias tape around the cut edges, stitching through the holes in the canvas.

You can make an eri-shin the same was, with the same materials. The make an eri-shin, cut two 14x1.5in pieces of plastic canvas, and bond them together to make a 28in long piece - to do this you can "sew" the two pieces together, or bond with a glue that is appropriate for plastic. Then round the outside ends and sew the double-fold bias tape around the outside.

I also finished my apple green tsuke obi I wanted to go with this yukata. I didn't think to take photos of the process for writing a tutorial, but I can share some of my tips when I make obi. For the fabric on this one, I had a hard time finding the right color in polyester fabrics, and I wanted to keep the cost down so I used the cheapest thing I could find: satin! I didn't want the gaudy super-shiny look of satin, so I used the reverse side of the fabric. The reverse side looks like plain polyester fabric!
The stiffener core of the obi is a stiffener you can buy in the interfacing section of the fabric store, it is sold by the yard from a bolt just like regular fabric. I use the stiffest stuff I can find, called Peltex Extra Firm Sew-in for Crafts #70. I used the same stuff when I turned my peacock nagoya obi into a tsuke obi. The stiffener is *really* stiff, and that means the bow won't loose its shape, and I won't need to wear an obi-ita with it! Only down-side to the tsuke obi is that it looks like a tsuke obi, but it sits high on my back and I suppose that is sort of the look lately. If only I looked good with a puchi-heko obi on top - I tried, it isn't all that flattering on me.

The reverse side of the bow, the center part is roughly sewn, but it isn't seen when worn. The hook is made from a corner of a cheap wire hanger, the kind you get from the dry cleaners. The himo I used is temporary, until I can sew a better one (this one is just the sewn end cut off the end of bed sheets, so it has fraying) but the himo isn't seen either when worn.

That's it for now! Hope everyone gets to enjoy going to your local Sakura festivals, or at least see the blossoms before they fall. Many of the trees in my neighborhood have bloomed, so we went out to see them this last Easter weekend.
I hope the cherry blossoms in Seattle will still be in bloom this weekend during the festival (and I hope it is warm and dry!)


  1. Very functional, that plastic mesh canvas, I have never seen anything like it, in Denmark, its perfect : D
    What do you normally use it for???

  2. I see people use it to make needlepoint decorated crafts like coasters, tissue box covers, purses, and doll house furniture. When I was a child, I remember wanting to make a plastic canvas doll house for my Barbie dolls, like this blogger made: http://www.squidoo.com/plastic-canvas-doll-house-my-4-h-project-for-the-county-fair
    Looking at it now that I am an adult, I see that it is a lot of work for make something like that!

  3. You really have a good skill of sewing!! Apple green obi is your hand made!? Great!! How do you improve your sewing skill?? I'm not good at sewing at all^^; That is not good for a kimono lover...

  4. I would like to take a class to improve my sewing, I am not as skilled as I used top be. I learned how to sew in middle school, and I even taught the sewing class when I was in 8th grade, because the teacher left for health reasons and the replacement teacher didn't know how to sew!

  5. I use the same plastic mesh to make my eri-shin as well as an obi-ita.

    If you want to make your tsuke obi more convincing then you can fold a diagonal at the end which you see when you tie an obi properly. However life is too short to worry about such things.

  6. Yep! You can't tell in the photos, but the end is folded diagonally.