November 30, 2012

Current Project

I actually started this project before Thanksgiving, but put it aside out of lack of motivation. I decided that I want to resew a few of my kimono so that they fit me better. I started with a kasuri kimono that was given to me, which has always been too small for me to wear comfortably.

I've worn it once, last year:

I only wore it for pictures, so the fit didn't matter much, but I'd like to be able to wear it out around town comfortably. So I decided to take it apart. I knew that it had some tears in the fabric, such as a really bad one near the hem, but when taking it apart I found many more tears hidden in the seams. Some were hastily repaired by the previous owner (she told me this) but I didn't think there was so many tears!

There are long tears like this that were hidden inside the front sewn parts of both sleeves under the wrist openings.

Here is the repaired tear. Not bad!! I can still see where the tear was, but it is sturdy now and the hole is closed, and it will not be seen since it is right where the seam will be sewn. Some of the tears are in visible areas that will be seen on the outside of the kimono, but I am fine with that, since it is an old kimono, and a dark color so it won't be seen easily. I will be happy to have this be a functioning garment. I'm still only working on the sleeves right now. On the first sleeve I've repaired a total of 9 tears, and have 5 to repair on the other sleeve. I haven't even looked at the body of the kimono yet to see how bad the damage is!

And as always, whenever I have kimono around my son, he wants to wear it:
He wrapped himself up in the kasuri fabric and marched around the house like a prince. I need to find the motivation to sew a lined kimono/haori set for him. I'd really like to have one for New Years!
I have some wool for making a wool set for him, but I don't know how well black and red would look on a child, hmn. So much sewing to do!!

November 25, 2012

I'm still here!!

Hi, just a quick message to let everyone know I'm still here! I've been terribly busy lately. I had a temp job recently that had me working extremely long hours (7am to midnight, woo hoo!). That temp job is now finished, but now I am trying to play catch up on everything, as well as busy with holiday things. I hope to get back to kimono-related stuff soon, I have a kasuri kimono I need to finish repairing.

One new thing I can share, is a sewing box I made recently. A Victorian Needlebox, the kit is from Needleboxes Etc. Not really kimono-related, except that the cotton fabric I used looks like chiyogami paper.

The box opens up like petals, the walls of the box hold needles, or I can tuck sewing tools in the straps, like little scissors. There is a smaller box in the center to hold sewing notions, and the lid of the little box is a pin cushion.

The box cinches closed with a drawstring. I sewed fabric beads on the ends of the kumihimo drawstring to act as stoppers, so the ends of the drawstring don't slip out of the drawstring guides.

October 23, 2012

Etsy: Pink Koshihimo

I've added pink koshihimo to my Etsy shop.

Set of two koshihimo. There are 2 sets available. The pink cotton has a very small pattern. 

Measures 90 inches long, and 1 5/8 inch wide.

October 22, 2012

White Houmongi, and Obi Musubi Practice

I am slowly attempting to go through my wafuku collection and pick out pieces to sell, and separate items that I want to repair or resize. It is taking far longer than it should, because anytime I try to work on it, baby Bryan gets excited about kimono, wanting to go through them and try them on.

 I pulled this white houmongi out of storage. I bought this many many years ago, but have never worn it because it has a lot of stains. It is a shame, because I like the bold colors of the kiku and kanoko dots. When I first bought it, I originally planned to just use it for craft fabric to make purses or doll kimono, because I loved the pattern, but when I looked at it this week I feel like I want to attempt taking it apart and cleaning it so I can wear it, maybe for the next semi-formal event I go to. I suppose I will be doing a lot of research soon, I really don't want the dye to bleed on the white fabric.

The sleeves have the most staining and dirt. I feel so sad that it is so dirty, I would love to wear it. I always considered peony to be my favorite kimono motif, but this year I seem to be drawn to kiku motif, maybe because it reminds me of the kimono I wore to the most exciting kimono event I've been to, Kimono Jack Seattle.

Will I am still working up the courage to wash the kimono, I put it on a dressform to practice some obi musubi. I apologize for the poor lighting!

Bunko musubi.

There wasn't a name for this musubi in the book I used, and I'm not a fan of how it came out. Its basically an otaiko musubi, with "wings" underneath the drum. I don't think my fukuro obi has the right stiffness to pull off this musubi.

This musubi is called Kaei, 「花影」.
The shape is actually rather pretty, but it doesn't work well with the large pattern of the obi.

 Hana-kouken, 「花後見」, this musubi is very lovely! I want to try doing this musubi on myself!

Shopping Finds!

I love October! This is the best time of year to find cheap secondhand wafuku in my area - in the Halloween section of thrift and secondhand stores!

I've been really good about not going on my shopping spree I crave doing this time of year. Money is tight, so I've been avoiding thrift stores like a really strike diet (lol!). But I did get some cheap finds recently:

Two nagoya obi. Both are rather bad condition, but I couldn't resist at only $3. I don't see much damage on the parts that show, I think I can still wear them. The green one is summer weave.

New yukata for my little boy (still had original tags). This one is too big for him now, so it will last him a few years.

Fish and whales, in bright colors. It is fun and whimsical. I've managed to collect a good number of yukata for baby Bryan, but I have a hard time finding casual kimono items for boys. It seems there is mostly just shichi-go-san kimono and vintage baby kimono pieces on ebay and etsy, and I am so resistant to spending lots of money on kimono. So, I guess I need to get to work sewing little boy kimono items!! I just need motivation and inspiration...!

Dark blue seems to be the theme of the latest shopping trip. I found a sha kimono in the children's halloween costume section. Confession: I've never worn summer weave kimono before. I am still trying to find summer kimono pieces on a tight budget.

Small yabane stripes in the blue check pattern, and some silver thread. It is very muted and plain, but with the right obi I can probably liven up this kimono.

October 09, 2012

Etsy: Koshihimo

Poly-cotton blend, with rayon thread tassel ends. Measures 95 inches long, 1.5 inch wide.

October 08, 2012

Etsy Listing, Han'eri [sold]

I've listed a han'eri to my Etsy shop. [edit: sold]

The han'eri can be adjusted in length on either side when attaching to your juban, creating different looks. The example above is with the han'eri lined up evenly centered. The example below is with most of the length on the right lower lapel, showing more red and pink chrysanthemums. 

Red, pink, purple, grey, and black. Fabric is recycled kimono synthetic.

October 04, 2012

Obiage for sale

I have added off-white crinkle textured obiage to my Etsy shop.

Etsy listing is linked here. I have 3 available.

Measures 75x12in

First photo is closest to actual color. It is difficult for me to photograph items ^_^;  I don't have good lighting and my camera's flash is too harsh. Also, it doesn't help when your photography "assistant" is two years old! But, I do get some cute omake photos of my son trying to help stage product photos:
He felt the kinchaku needed something extra. Cute!

October 02, 2012

Kimono Life Etsy Shop

I've decided to delve into the adventure that is opening up an Etsy store! I actually opened up shop a while ago, listing only a few items. I almost gave up on it because it can be discouraging when items don't sell for a while. However, not too long ago I made a couple of sales in the span of a few days and my excitement peaked again, "hey, maybe Etsy isn't so bad!"

Here is the link for my Kimono Life Etsy shop. Only a handful of things for sale at the moment, but I've been on a crafting spree, so I hope to expand my inventory eventually. Some ideas of things I plan to make include: hadagi, nagajuban and nibushiki juban (two-part juban, which is basically a susoyoke and juban sleeves you attach to either a hadajuban or directly to your kimono. This is my favorite style of juban), collars, tabi, obiage and other accessories and jewelry. I will also sell off secondhand kimono items as well. I will do my best to update my blog when I add to my etsy shop.

Here are some items in my shop:

I love making kinchaku bags! I like to do the threaded cord drawstring holders as I feel it looks more "traditional", though it is more difficult than sewing fabric loops!

Smooth and semi-flexible basket bottom. I like this basket, as there aren't any hard pokey basket pieces sticking out.

I can also make simpler shaped susoyoke, but I wanted to make them in this traditional shape with the side panels. I didn't realize how long it takes to make susoyoke, as there is a lot of hand-sewing! I use cotton for the waist, and polyester or poly-cotton for the skirt. The polyester I use is very light and cool to the touch, I love the feel of it. The one pictured is a poly-cotton with an open weave. The open weave makes it comfortable because it breathes, yet still feels warm and comfortable to the touch.

I am always looking for more yukata, as there are a lot of summer festivals in the Seattle area. When I bough this one, it had an ohashori sewn it to make it short for a pre-teen girl, however I could see that the width looked like an adult size, and confirmed that when the label read "freesize, 163cm long". So I took the chance and bought it, thinking it would fit fine after I took out the ohashori stitching. However, the previous owner had in fact cut off the length to 142cm, so I can not wear it. So I want this one to go to a new home, as it would be perfect for someone's daughter. It is much wider than other pre-teen and older child yukata, because it was made from an adult sized yukata. It comfortably fits up to a 45in hip circumference. I took out the ohashori stitching and healed up the pin holes from the stitching, however I would be happy to sew in a ohashori and shoulder tucks for anyone who would like this yukata!

(sorry, this one sold already) 
Such a cute little mirror! I decided to part with it, as I prefer textile mirrors.

I have been making a lot of wallets since this weekend, and they've been going like hotcakes. I made several wallets using fabric of our local football team logo, and those disappeared in mere moments, they were very popular. I've also used vinyl pleather and denim for the outside fabric, but I like the look of the patterned cotton wallet. It is small and light, so it is perfect to carry in a kinchaku or small bag. The butterflies are very cute and girly, but I liked the fabric because of the very light dandelions in the background of the pattern. I will be making many more of these wallets!

Same fabric as the previous wallet. I like having a small pouch to put small items, like makeup. I added a little loop for attaching a cute accessory, such as a cell phone charm or key chain.

I have so many ideas in my head of things to make! I've definitely caught the crafting bug. I do plan on making kimono/yukata and obi, but for now I'm just going to put it out there as "by special request". Fabric is rather expensive, and I am always on the lookout for good deals, but I don't know how many completed garments I would be able to list, simply because of the cost to make.

For some examples of yukata I've made:

I don't think I blogged this yukata. I made this yukata a while ago, on consignment, for a Immortal Geisha member. It uses a very high quality yukata bolt. It is much easier and faster to sew using a kimono bolt fabric, but such bolts are difficult for me to obtain at decent prices. I do occasionally find western fabrics at decent prices, and my goal to to make some yukata that I can sell at a decent, affordable price.

I recently obtained this hunter green tartan cotton with a fun, dyed pattern at the bottom. I'd like to make this into a fun and unique yukata!

I also have a ton of this shiny blue polyester, I'm at a loss on what to do with it. I'm thinking a nagajuban, since it is rather funky and fun with the irregular spots. I think it might be too loud and shiny of a fabric to make into a iromuji kimono.

I'd love to hear other people's ideas on what would be good to make available on Etsy. I do see there is a distinct lack of hadagi, so that was my original plan as far as things to make. Accessories are fun to make, but there is a lot of variety out there. I'm rather random when it comes to crafting (easily distracted ^_^;) so I'll probably just make and list whatever I feel like making for the moment, and after a while I'll get a feel for what people like!

September 26, 2012

My son's last yukata of the year

Random yukata day! I told my son "let's get dressed so we can go play outside" and he ran and fetched his new yukata. I guess he's been wanting to wear it! We got this yukata set as a birthday gift from my friend Kaori. It is so cute, and the white looks really good on Bryan. The pattern is dragonflies and kabuto beetles. The heko obi is so light and fluffy, the fabric is very sheer nylon. The light aquamarine/seafoam color is perfect for warm summer days!

These pictures are from Sept. 17th, late in the summer, but Seattle has been unusually warm, so the temperature was great for wearing yukata.

Bryan really likes temari balls. Temari are typically girl's toys, but I see no reason why boys can't play with them too!

You can kind of see how sheer the obi is, it is more sheer than pantyhose! When he runs, his obi looks like a graceful goldfish swimming in the air.

Soon I hope to buy Bryan his first pair of geta, but his feet grow so fast at this age!