September 29, 2013

Shichi-go-san, Kimono sleeves

I have begun working on my son's kimono for Shichi-go-san! I have completed sewing the sleeves. Again, I took pictures of the progress. While I have done repairs and alterations to awase kimono, this is the first time I've completely made an awase kimono from scratch. I was concerned that it may be difficult to figure out with the lining, but the sleeves actually turned out really really well! I am pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as scary of an undertaking as feared. The only challenge I face is that I am using western fabrics that fray really badly, you will see in my pictures.

Again, this isn't much of a tutorial, but I did want to share how I did things, for any who are curious or planning to take on a similar challenge of sewing a kimono. It is a nitty-gritty description, not a full tutorial by any means. Typically, all of the markings of where to sew are done prior to sewing, using a special iron with a flat tip. I do have a Japanese iron that is used in silk flower making that has removable shaped tips which is perfect for this task, but it is in storage, so I opted for my usual method of measuring for each step and marking with pins. I will not be including measurements, sizes can vary greatly, and this is a child's kimono, so I encourage using an existing kimono for sizing reference. Okay, on to the progress photos!

1. Sode-guchi, 袖口
The sode-guchi is the wrist opening. I used a light weight polyester for the lining, since the kimono fabric is heavy. I didn't want to add too much weight. The material for the edge of the sode-guchi is a pale mustard crepe, a little longer than the intended sleeve opening. It is sewn on by hand along three sides.

Next, put the sleeve and lining pieces right sides together, and sew (I used sewing machine) the sode-guchi together, only as long as the desired sode-guchi length, backstitch the ends to secure the stitching.

Turn and press.

I love the contrast at the sleeves and hem, so I like to press with a decent amount of the lining showing.

Next, I tacked the ends of the sleeve opening together.
Fold the wrist opening, right sides together, and do a couple securing stitches in the two halves of kimono fabric, right where the end of the previous sewing ends.

Then do the same for the lining. Secure and cut the thread (unless you are sewing by hand, and plan to use the thread for the next steps).

2. Sode-shita, 袖下
Next, is sewing the front and bottom seams of the sleeves. The outer fabric and lining are sewn at the same time. To do this, the seam allowance directly below the tacked sode-guchi opening may need to be fussed with a little bit.

Sorry, blurry picture. Turn the lining out and lay it flat on top of outer half, both folding right sides together. The way it is turned now, you will have two shoulder folds, one each for outer and lining. I put temporary pins along the shoulder folds, to make sure everything stayed nice and even while I pinned the front and bottom raw edges. This is were the "fuss" part comes in - the seam allowance of one side of each lining and outer halves will be pulled back on itself directly below where the wrist opening is tacked, due to how it is folded over. It wasn't difficult for me to push as much of the seam allowance flat, and secured with a pin, but it may help to iron it if the fabric doesn't cooperate. So long as all 4 layers are sewn through, it will be okay. IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure to fold the second sleeve in the opposite direction, so that the two sleeves are mirrored. The difference may not be apparent, but when the sleeves are eventually attached to the kimono body, it is important which direction the seam allowances are pressed.

Like I said, my fabric frays A LOT! I marked my curve lightly with pencil, but you can also do your markings with a flat head iron (mine is in storage) or other marking method that doesn't leave marks. This is for personal use, so I don't mind using very light pencil.

Sew the front and bottom, minding the curve starting from the end of the stitching of the sode-guchi. I used sewing machine again for this step. Along the bottom seam, do not sew all the way to the end. Stop far enough from the end to leave room for folding in the hem of the back opening of the sleeves, and backstitch to secure those stitches (so if you fold under a 1 inch seam allowance for the back sleeve opening hem, stop at least 2 inches or more from the raw edge to accommodate the next step. Stopping halfway across the bottom seam should be a safe bet.). Then put together the remaining length of the bottom hems, lining and outer fabric separately, and sew the remaining length independently. I forgot to get a picture, but the best I can describe it is, the bottom seam will diverge, sort of like little legs, or the kanji for person, hito: 人, with lining and outer fabric being the two "legs".

Don't turn it right side out yet, but when you do, it'll look a little like this, minus the pins and turned under hem, as I was preparing for the next step in this picture.

Next, is the curve. Sew a couple of running stitches along the outside of the sewn curve, pull taught while forming over sleeve curve template (you can purchase one made of plastic, or use a cardboard cutout), and secure. Press all of the seam allowances over, 2mm past the sewing line. This will help form the kise - Kise is difficult to explain in English. If you look at a kimono, all of the seams are not pressed flat directly at the stitching, there is an extra amount of fold over, called kise. It is important as it hides the stitching and also reduces the amount of stress that is put on the stitching.

Turn everything right side out and give it a good press.

Inside of the sode-guchi. It looks really good! This is children's size, so the opening is really small.

3. Furi-guchi, 振り口
Only thing left to sew on the sleeves is the furi-guchi, the back opening. This is sewn by hand sewing.

Fold under and press the furi-guchi hems, pin and press well - I folded under the hem of the outside first, pinned and pressed just the outside, then I folded under the lining about 2mm more, pinned it to the outside and pressed lining and outside together. Mark the end of the furi-guchi, where the sleeve will eventually be attached to the body, with the last of the pins. Making sure both sides are even, sew the lining carefully. I tried to search for an explanation of the hand stitching used, but I'm not having much luck. There are tutorials of hand stitching used for kimono sewing, I will try to link to later, but the best I can describe at the moment is that you sew through the folded under seam allowance being careful to not sew through the outside layers. It does take practice! I like to begin sewing from the bottom seam and work my way up, one side at a time, that way the bottom doesn't risk coming out uneven.

Finished furi-guchi, pressed. At this point I carefully reached inside and trimmed up as much frayed threads as I could.

Two finished child kimono sleeves! My fabric is staying nicely pressed, but I will probably sew some basting threads along the seam and hems to make sure everything stays nice and flat.

Next I need to sew a kimono to attach them to! I will probably take a few days off before I start, as I'm recovering from a bad allergy attack I had yesterday (dust, I did some fall cleaning chores and ended up sneezing away my voice!). I'm impressed with how well it's turning out! I know I've always been intimidated to try sewing an awase kimono, but so far it is going great! I encourage my sewing friends to also try sewing awase kimono someday!

Brand New Zouri

For me, I think one of the bigger holes in my kimono collection are non-formal zouri. I have a few pairs of nice formal zouri, one pair of summer zouri, and a ton of geta of all types, but not really any zouri for less formal ensembles.

Now I found two new pairs of zouri in my local second hand shops! I kind of feel like I struck gold!

The blue pair only have minor scuffs from the surrounding knickknacks at the antique store I found them in. The hanao are really tight, and no wear on the bottoms, I don't believe either pair have been worn except perhaps indoors. The orange pair is slightly glittery, and is labeled Kinwashi-in (キンワシ印), a famous brand of zouri makers! I think I got a pretty good deal for nice quality zouri for only $10!

Finding zouri for me is a big deal! I'm sort of type of collector in this hobby, in that I rarely, if ever, buy things online. To my memory, the only kimono items I've ever bought online are my husband's and my wedding kimono sets, and a heko obi for my son. Everything else is stuff I've hunted for locally in secondhand shops or have been gifted to me, or handmade by myself. Kimono is an expensive hobby, so I am happy, and lucky, to be able to give a second life to secondhand items.

This is a good shopping season for kimono related items in secondhand shops, since Halloween is around the corner. Thrift stores and antique shops are putting out things that can be used for Halloween costumes, included cultural clothing and accessories. I have seen several yukata in the last few weeks, but have passed them up due to staining or size. I did pick up a new pair of geta, because they were also unworn condition and had cream colored hanao (red is sooo common!). I didn't think to check the size before I bought them, since any standard small size hakimono will fit me, but these turned out to be 25.5cm, and are way too big on my feet!

Large geta and zouri are difficult to find, so I was surprised. I know that not all areas have decent secondhand shops, but if you do, this may be a good time of year for going treasure hunting. Persistence is my advice, as most trips don't yield any treasures. Aside from the secondhand costume racks, yukata and kimono can sometimes be found with the bathrobes, and I've found many obi hanging with the table linens. Good luck, and happy treasure hunting!

September 20, 2013

Shichi-go-san, Completed Toddler Zouri!

I've finished making toddler sized zouri! They are not perfect - it is handmade, without the help of precision cutting machines, and glue is really tricky - but I am happy with how comfortable they turned out. And my son loves them, so I can look past the little flaws, because they do look pretty darn cute on his little feet.

I don't really have the time to do a detailed tutorial, but I did take pictures to share how I did it, for anyone who may be brave enough to attempt making zouri! Consider this a rough tutorial, I suppose. A warning though, it is a little difficult (a lot of work), but don't be discouraged! It took me about 3 days to make these. Also, these (probably) aren't made in an authentic way - I followed my own way of doing things, please feel free to do as you please to get the results that you hope to achieve!

First - Materials:
For the core material, I wanted to use something flexible that I can curve into the appropriate shape (curled upwards a bit at the toe) and knew that chipboard glued in layers would work great. I like chipboard, it is a very useful type of cardboard that I use use a lot. Poster board is very similar and would get the same result, you can find poster board in big sheets for less than $1 where ever you buy display boards for school projects - people also use poster board for garage sale signs and things like that. Since I am on a tight budget, most of my supplies I used are things I had laying around the house. I decided to recycle and use old chipboard food packaging! Its a good enough reason to save cereal boxes, haha! 

I had leftover black pleather from a Halloween costume my sister had made years ago, but I couldn't find it in storage, so I picked up a small amount for $1 and still have plenty leftover. You can use brocade fabric, laminated fabric, or what ever you like. For the sole, I couldn't find any thick leather or suede, so I got a small sample of impact absorbing foam from the upholstery supply store (ask if they have free samples). Sometimes people use it on the bottom of furniture to prevent scratching hardwood floors, but I wasn't too impressed with the foam - it looks and feels exactly like cheap craft foam from the children's craft section, so I think even that would be a good cheap option. The foam seems to not deteriorate badly when walked on, I've seen cheap sandals made of this stuff, probably about the same feel as the rubber soles on geta.

I also cut out some polyester quilt batting to pad the tops of the zouri, so that it would be extra soft on Bryan's little feet.

Glue chipboard pieces together:
I glued the cut pieces of chipboard, with the printed food packaging sides glued together - it would be awkward if one day the zouri eventually fall apart and the inside says "Friskies Cat Food"! I just used Tacky Glue for this step, as I didn't want to go out and buy expensive adhesives for little zouri that will likely only be worn a few times before his feet grow too big.
There are three layers for the type of zouri I did - the bottom, a heel piece (which is half the length), and a padded top piece. These zouri are only about 2cm tall at the heel when finished, so I used 6 layers for the bottom, 6 layers for the heel, and only 2 layers for the top. With the quilt batting added, all of the pieces equaled roughly the same thickness. I only have small office clips to hold the layers together while the glue dries, thicker core pieces will require larger clips or clamps.

The curved toe should be form in the chipboard during the gluing process before clamping everything together. It can be bent afterwards (and I did end up bending it more after this) but at this point it is easier as there is less resistance.

Cover core pieces in outer material:
On the bottom and middle heel piece, the material is only seen on the outer edge, so I cut thin strips of pleather, applied glue around the top and bottom edges (don't put glue on the outer edge that will be seen) and clamped it until the glue dried. For the top, I wrapped a rectangle of pleather over the padded chipboard, glued along the edges on the underside, and held it in place with sewing pins. Office clips or clamps would have left permanent dents in the material.
A quick note about glues - Always test your glues and adhesives before you use them. You can use the This to That website to help figure out what glues to use for your project, but the option it gave me ended up melting the pleather. I ended up using two types of tacky glues, Tacky Glue and Loctite for vinyl. Loctite also melted the pleather a little bit, but not too badly. The pleather has a polyester fabric backing, even though Loctite said it worked on fabric as well, it worked on the fabric backside about as well as spit and bubble gum. So for this step I used Tacky Glue as well, as it was the only thing I had on-hand that held the fabric side of the pleather firmly.

As I mentioned, I padded the top with quilt batting. This made it incredibly plush! But it also made it wrinkle a bit where the toe curls upward, but I could live with that since I knew it would be very comfortable - that's the mommy side of me making decisions!

Up until it was time to make the hanao straps, I still didn't know what fabric I wanted to use. I had a bit of black velvet I would use for the underside, and I ended up just settling on doing the top of the hanao with scraps of the same fabric I would do the kimono.

I sewed the two pieces together, inserted a strip of very stiff interfacing for structure, pinched the center together and sewed it in the center, then lightly stuffed the inside of the hanao (on the velvet side only) with poly-fill stuffing. The hanao are very soft and plush as well, again I was concerned with comfort!

I just used plain old craft string for the attaching strings. My son said they look like moths! I thought this was a very cute thing for him to say, as recently we had the opportunity to watch the metamorphosis cycle of a moth, so it was a happy memory.

I carefully cut holes in the underside of the top piece, but only cut slits in the pleather for the hanao to go through.

I guess I didn't take a picture, but I glued the heel piece to the base using Loctite glue and clamped it until dry using office clips - I mentioned earlier, Loctite does melt the pleather a little bit, so I had to be careful to not get it on the pleather that shows, but it was also the only adhesive I had that would hold pleather to pleather, so it is what I used for this step. Also not pictured, I added a bit of batting at the end of the heel piece, to soften that slope.
If you have a drill, it would probably work great to drill holes for the ends of the hanao to pass through. I couldn't use a drill since it would wake my son from his nap (my craft time) so I had to use an X-acto knife. It was hard work, I don't recommend it!

To glue the top on, I got the hanao situated how I liked it, passed the strings through the holes in the base, and hovered the top over the base while I carefully applied a layer of glue, then I carefully pressed them together. Again, I couldn't clamp the pieces together since it would dent the pleather, so I held it down as best as I could, and even stood on them. A tacky, fast setting glue is best for this purpose.

Next, I tied the hanao strings underneath. Moon Blossom of Kimono Tsuki has a good tutorial on how to do that. I will be honest, I was lazy and just glued the cords of the toe separator firmly under the top piece.

Then I glued the foam to the sole. The foam was tricky, as none of my glues would hold it, it was too porous. I ended up having to use a hot glue gun, after reading tips from cosplayers. It held well, but was messy, and I wish there wasn't so much glue that had seeped out. I may touch it up later, but for now I can live with it, since it is only an eyesore when viewed up close.

(this is prior to the glue setting completely. The glue dried clear)

The foam was also tricky to cut out, so I found it worked well to file the rounded edges with a nail file, to get rid of jagged cuts before gluing it down.

He found them after waking up from his nap. They got the Bryan Seal of Approval.

September 18, 2013

Shichi-go-san Plans and Musings

It is now Autumn, and my son is now three, which means I am beginning to prepare for his Shichi-go-san! It is something I've thought of for such a long time now, since he was born.

Shichi-go-san @ Tsubaki Grand Shrine

In Washington state, we are lucky to have one of the few official Japanese Shinto shrines in North America, Tsubaki Grand Shrine椿大神社. It is a stunning shrine located next to a creek and sacred waterfall (where they even do misogi shuho, even during winter!), and this beautiful location is also where my husband and I were married.

Shichi-go-san is November 15th, but usually observed on the nearest weekend. This year, we will go to Shichi-go-san Taisai at Tsubaki Grand Shrine on November 10th. The head priest performs a special ceremony, and the children receive an omamori luck amulet and chitose ame candy. Children and parents in the Seattle area seem very lucky to get to experience the happy memory of an authentic Shichi-go-san!

Since I am a lover of kimono, naturally my main thought is on what type of kimono is best! Nice kimono for a 3 year old boy is very difficult to find, and truthfully, money is very tight for us right now. I do love hakama sets for boys, and there are many that are smaller sized for 3 year old boys. However, tradition is that a boy first wears hakama at age 5 (hakamagi iwai), and girls first wear a stiff obi at age 7 (obioki), but that tradition isn't much observed any more. The tradition for 3 year olds is being allowed to grow their hair (kamioki). But those are old traditions, and I'm certainly not a person who follows traditions strictly. Nowadays parents choose what a child will wear, based on their own preferences, so they may have a memorable happy day.

Originally, hakama would have been my first choice, but now that Bryan is three, I am certain that hakama would be difficult and heavy for him to wear. I have heard of other families saying that their 3 year old had buckled from exhaustion after being dragged to the shrine and back home, or to the rental studios. In some areas of Japan it is common for a 3 year old boy to wear his noshime, omiyamairi kimono from when they were babies, paired with a hakama without haori, a jinbaori (example), or recently, a hifu coat. A suit or fine Western style clothes are also very common.

After much deliberating, my family has decided on doing a hifu type ensemble. After announcing this, I was met with some concern, as hifu coats are often thought of being girl's wear, I think there was concern that I would be dressing my son as a girl! It is a relatively new style, but hifu coats for boys have been around for several years now, and is gaining in popularity since at least 2008 (example, here).

In fact, when I first began window shopping for little boy's kimono ensembles, back when my son was born in 2010, hifu sets consisted of nearly half of the options for 3 year old boys on shopping sites, such as Rakuten, and the trend still remains. Before going into my own hifu ensemble plans, I'd like to share some examples, so hopefully no one will think I've gone crazy!

Many of these will be shared from Rakuten. This one advertises two sizes, 3-5 year old, and 5-7 year old. States "modern design", good for Shichi-go-san and New Years.

I am a fan of the kabuto design on this one. Another photograph of this one worn can be seen here. This one is very similar, but different design.

This one has sleeves and has an overcoat feeling with the toggle buttons. It has an informal feeling. Similar, this kimono seamstress has made a linen kimono & hifu set that also has a casual feel.

In general, boy's hifu sets tend to be more muted and boyish designed, but this one is more bold, yet still with boy designs reminiscent of vintage boy's kimono. You can see it worn by a cheerful boy, here. Another example of a hifu with a very bright vintage inspired pattern can be seen here, this one seems unique, it made me wonder if it was custom made!

This site has pictures of young boy's plain blue hifu coats worn with their noshime (omiyamairi) kimono for Shichi-go-san, since 2009.
As you can see, a hifu coat for a boy is not so uncommon! I do understand that we are accustomed to see hifu coats on girls, and that the style for boys is a relatively new thing. I too thought it was strange when I first learned about boy's hifu coats, but I've grown to like the look, as it makes me think of a comfortable young child rather than "girls only". I do have a friend who had chosen the hifu style for their son, and I am assured that hifu are in fact normal and acceptable for boys as well.

The way I see it, fashions change. Hakama used to be men's wear (aside from the aristocrat class), until the Meiji era when woman challenged that gender specific fashion after seeing the empress and her attendants wearing hakama under their uchikake kimono. Mantle coats (capes) used to be worn with kimono primarily by men, but these days it is a common winter kimono coat for women. When you think of these clothing items, adaptation towards gender neutrality for the sake of practicality and comfort is a positive step forward in fashion.

We made this decision based on several factors. My son's comfort being a big one. As much as Bryan enjoys putting on his yukata and playing in mommy's kimono stash, complicated and heavy items would make him lose his patience and he'd likely grow tired and impatient if his outfit needs to be "fussed" with. He might lose his patience and throw a tantrum. And the shrine is a long drive for us, I want him to be as comfortable as possible so that he can hopefully enjoy the trip up there.

Also a big factor, budget. Like I said before, money is very tight. If I could afford to buy even the cheapest secondhand boy's kimono, I would. There is a local Japanese antiques sale coming up in a couple of weeks, and if I did happen to find something I could use for $10, I would likely snatch it up, but anything more than that, I can not afford. So, I made the decision to MAKE his entire Shichi-go-san kimono set. I have material on hand, and I am crafty enough! But aside for financial reasons, I think the sentimental value of wanting to make my son's kimono is definitely my main factor. I am fairly crafty, but I do not have the material on hand to make a nice (non-flowery) hakama set at this time, so not only would a hifu set be the most comfortable, it is also the most practical.

That means I will be making a lined kimono, nagajuban (or hanjuban, I haven't decided), padded and embroidered hifu coat, tabi, and zouri. Please wish me luck!
Here are my materials. Shiny olive sayagata fabric for the kimono, pale mustard crepe for the hakkake lining (ivory white bolt in the background is for doura lining), black crepe for the hifu, cotton padding, large buttons, embroidery floss and gold thread (even kinkoma!) for embroidery. I will probably embroider a kabuto by copying a design on a similar boy's hifu, I'm not feeling too creative at the moment to draw an original design. I am currently working on the zouri now, using shiny black pleather. I would like to update when I can to show how the ensemble progresses, please look forward to it!

Also, I would like to mention, since this is a rather large project, I will have to temporarily stop taking special requests in my Etsy shop until after I've finished. I apologize for the inconvenience, I will once again take requests after November. Thank you!

September 08, 2013

Furisode Yukata

Have you heard of furisode yukata? Furisode yukata are not seen so often, but they are so cute and playful! It is a cotton yukata, but with the long swinging sleeves of a furisode.

This might seem a strange and perhaps non-traditional combination at first, but I have seen quite a few furisode yukata over the years. I think it is not so non-traditional after all! Shira of Kimono Daisuki has this lovely pink one, this sunflower one which I've seen many times on YJA and Rakuten and have loved for years, blue and purple one belonging to Japanese blogger OhSuka, here is one with bunnies!, and asanoha! Yukata with furisode sleeves is great for gorgeous flair, with having the comfort of being cotton for hot summer months!

Recently I was asked to make a furisode yukata for Torahime from the Immortal Geisha forums. She chose a really gorgeous black and blue cotton fabric with a striped floral and shippo tsunagi pattern. I wish my camera could take better photos!

The finished yukata

The inside seams are all hand sewn with no exposed edges, and handsewn hems.

I tried to get a decent picture of the fabric design, but my cellphone's camera is not so good, and I have terrible lighting (I do most of my sewing at night).

Most modern yukata are all machine sewn, but I don't much like the look of stitching around the hems and sleeve openings, so I do take the time to hand sew them with tiny little stitches. This is the sleeve opening, stitches are difficult to see.

I did a bachi collar, with the nape of collar sewn back 4cm and it has a nice stiffly starched core, so it is easy to get a deep shape.

And, I don't like to be wasteful with fabric, so I made a kinchaku with leftover fabric.

I was so happy to once again get to make a yukata for a fellow IG member! I hope she enjoys wearing her new furisode yukata!

Aki Matsuri

Yesterday, my son an I went to Aki Matsuri. Originally, I wasn't going to dress up in yukata, but I wanted to dress Bryan in his favorite dinosaur yukata, since he didn't get a chance to wear it this year. Then I had heard that kimono stylist Yu Ugawa of You & Yu Kimono Kitsuke Gakuin was going to be doing a kimono kitsuke demonstration, so I felt I had to at least attend that, and wear yukata. Since I've been on a roll making yukata and accessories (more on that later) I decided both Bryan and I would wear handmade yukata. I chose my vintage cotton katamigawari rose yukata.

The day before Aki Matsuri, I decided I would make a few small items from the leftover scraps of fabric from our yukatas. My rose yukata has a small matching purse, but I was going to be bringing a larger bamboo bag since I needed to carry juice and a spare diaper for my little guy. So, to continue my whole matching theme, I made a business card case and compact mirror using my leftover fabric. (I also made a koshihimo with the fabric, but didn't think to take a picture.)

Both are fabric covered chipboard, the compact mirror has a layer of padding, to give an extra cushiony protection.

The card case closes with a small magnet, and has two pockets. I didn't get a picture of the inside of the mirror (oops) but it is also lined in red. I think the little rose bud on the back of the mirror looks cute!

For using up the leftover fabric from Bryan's yukata, I decided I'd make him a tiny kinchaku. At first I thought "what does a toddler need to carry in a kinchaku?" Toy dinosaurs, of course!

Random cute tib-bit: Bryan calls the orange apatosaurus a "cookie" dinosaur, maybe because it has brown spots like chocolate chips. He then proceeds to pretend-eat it like Cookie Monster. Ah~ toddler imagination!

I used green canvas for the base. I also made the drawstrings short, so it is easy to carry without having to tie the strings.

On a completely non-kimono related note, I actually had lots of this dinosaur fabric leftover, and around the same time I made the yukata, I also made him a pair of pajamas, so this fabric has been used well!

I didn't realize it until the day before that both of us would be wearing cream colored yukatas with green obi. Normally I try to avoid similar colors, but we did hear comments from festival goers like "you two are well matched!" so I suppose it is okay!

Bryan hadn't worn his dinosaur yukata in a year, so I had to adjust the sewn ohashori a bit. I tried it on him the day before to measure how much to let out, and when I took it back off Bryan gave me the most pitiful look! He thought he was going to be able to play dress-up, poor guy was so disappointed he had to wait until the next day!

Playing on my rose theme, I made a couple rose kami kazari (hair accessories), one of which went on my obi. I thought about wearing red lipstick, but reaffirmed that lipstick does not suit my at all! So I did a glamorous dark green shade eye makeup and red nail polish instead. (WARNING! Shameless selfy!)

I think I found my new Facebook profile picture
As patient as Bryan is when getting him into his yukata, he just will not stand still for taking photographs.

The tied kazari himo probably distracts too much from the pearls dangling from the rose.

After this, our day was full of ups and downs. We missed a dance performance by the Kabuki Academy because we got stuck in traffic, twice, the car had no AC, and when we got there the key was stuck in the ignition and wouldn't come out. We ended up needing to jump the car after only a couple of hours at the festival, even though the battery is brand new. Thank goodness for kind strangers! I'll have to remember to not use my husband's car for future long road trips, I swear I have a curse with electronic and mechanical things! Bryan is in his "terrible threes" (terrible twos is a myth!) so he threw a few tantrums. I had hoped that his kinchaku full of toy dinosaurs would keep him occupied so we could watch the kimono kitsuke demonstration, but he threw a tantrum before it started, and I wasn't going to torture the small room of people with an inconsolable screaming toddler, so we left. I did snap some pictures of the 2 kimono that were on display in the demonstration room.

I recognized this furisode from a kimono fashion show that Yu Ugawa put on last year, you can see photos from the show here.

I did run into some familiar faces at the festival, people I know from my kimono group, and others that I have met at previous events. And lots of people dressed in beautiful kimono and yukata! I think Aki Matsuri is the most matsuri-feeling festival in my area.

We walked around a bit, but unfortunately didn't see the all of the exhibits. One of the main reasons we went to the festival was to meet up with my former zokei bonsai sensei to pick up a bonsai that I made many years ago. I had lent it to be shown at Aki Matsuri 7-8 years ago, but for too long I was too distracted or busy to get it back. I feel so bad that she kept it so long, she joked that she thought she'd have to sell it, haha!

My reunited camellia zokei bonsai! Zokei bonsai is fake bonsai, made with wire, clay, and rice paper. The flower petals are formed with a special iron that looks similar to a soldering iron with interchangeable shaped tips. The flowers are sometimes made with a special type of silk ribbon, this camellia is made of thin velvet. Ah~ I'd love to make more zokei bonsai soon, but I have too many hobbies!

He loved carrying his kinchaku. He was people watching the whole time, interested in the crowds, but intimidated by those dressed in mascot costumes.
Bryan is a kendama cheater

I ended up having to carry him much of the time, which caused me to become so disheveled and exhausted! Behind us is a mikoshi. A mikoshi procession is a big part of Aki Matsuri here. Unfortunately we missed it, but it is still beautiful to see it displayed.

There were many tempting things to buy at the festival, lots of kimono goods. Near the kimono kitsuke demonstration, they sold lots of brand new komon kimono and accessories, but I was a good girl and didn't spend money. Despite a few hiccups in our day, Aki Matsuri was still enjoyable, and I look forward to next year!