As you may have already noticed I have a very deep and longlasting love for japanese culture, which started when I was about ten years old and first saw the “Shogun”-miniseris on TV. Several years ago I’ve started not only to collect Kimono and Kimono-related stuff but also to make them by myself. Before I continue (and if you are not already familiar with the enormous bunch of special Wafuku-terms) I strongly recommend to open this Kimono Glossary in another tab.
This was the very first Kimono-Ensemble I’ve made. It must have been somewhen in 2006 or 2007… It was kind of an experiment, not only making literally all(!) parts you need for a proper Kitsuke by myself but also using exclusively non-japanese material. I found all the required fabrics in my storage. The Kimono is made from very fine black woollen muslin and is fully lined (awase), I’ve used the same wollen fabric for the Hakkake (hem lining) and white silk pongee for the back and sleeves lining. The Haori is made from another woollen fabric with a printed Tartan-pattern. I’ve had this in my stash for more tan ten years and no clute what to make from. Lining is again silk pongee, but here self-dyed in bright green for the back lining and pink for the sleeves. Haneri(Undercollar) and Obiage (sash) are made from a paisley-patterned indian silk, Obijime is a magenta-coloured cord. The Obi is sewn from lilac Bourette-silk. I’ve made it up as a Tsuke-Obi (pre-tied, ready-to-wear) with two different Musubi (knots) (Otaiko (not shown here, but you’ll see it in the next outfits) and a variation on Kai no Kuchi Musubi), because the material was a bit too soft and fragile to withstand the pull and tear when being actually tied. Not visible are all the undergarments (like the Juban, I perfer the two-piece version with a separate skirt und blouse-like upper) and dressing aides.
Dressing Kimono to a european body may be a bit of a problem. I say “a bit” because it’s doable, but you have to consider some points. First, Kimono are not one-size-garments. A custom-made (female) Kimono should be as long a the wearer is tall and as wide as the wingspan from fingertip to fingertip. Also the hip circumfence is considered, there it should not be much wider than said circumfence plus the distance from hipbone to hipbone to create a neat overlap. But why so long?? When tying it you have to deal with a lengthwise surplus of fabric around your waist. (I think, this dates from older times, when the Kimono was worn trailing behind you around the house, but was looped up with an extra sash when stepping out an the street. So, if you have a slender and straight figure, congrats, no problem. You just need to consider a certain-length-issue, as european women usually have proportionally longer limbs. If you are of the more curvaceous type it’s gonna be interresting. The length-adjusting fold (Ohashori)should usually create a three fingers wide tuck showing below the Obi. This is prone to make ugly creases and ruffles on a curvy figure. But I do not recommend the use of any padding aroung the waist, unless you actually plan to look like a huge barrel. Better live with the creases. The more you dress yourself the better you get a smoothing them out by using several lentghwise tucks. But there is another possibility – just tie it away so the surplus of fabric may vanish unter the Obi at all. This is also a probable method of dealing with too short (vintage) kimono. I’ve tied the Kimono for a taller and slightly slimmer person than it was originally made for. The mannekin is a european one, dating from the early 1960 (90-67-99 [cm]), I havent used any padding at all, just folded away the Ohashori.
(And, as you can see, you can even tie a Tsuke-Obi wrong, I’ve you haven’t had it in your hands for too long. *lough* Those little “ears” pointing to the armpits sould be over not under the Obiage. But you get the idea anyway …)