Sewing as Therapy? Obi and Collars…

Cherry fake collar:

Fake kimono collars again!

Lolita fake collar for a friend (see how this one is hemmed nicely as it is for someone else):

Fake kimono collars again!

Obi trial run – reversible – one side halloween pin ups and the other casino girls!

Handmade obi - oneside casino, one side Halloween!

Handmade obi - oneside casino, one side Halloween!

Now I have perfected my fake collar technique but this was a trial run with a ‘patchwork’ obi with old fabric with quilting wadding for the core. It is far too spongy however holds the otaiko really nicely. I plan to buy real obi shin from Rakuten next month to sew my ‘cath kidston’ obi now I have done a trial run.

I am considering replacing the quilted core on this obi once I have shin too as I made it with this in mind. The wadding will make great obi makura though so will be reused.

I will concentrate on obi for a while as I have many of the funkiest (to my mind) collars going and need to refocus efforts on a few kitch obi.


1. Reversible retro kitch obi
2. Cat Obi
3. Goth Obi/Red/White polkadot reversible

Nice cotton is SOO expensive and needing at LEAST 3.5m for an obi (I just do 4m as it is easier cutting wise) it means that each obi still costs around £50 to make and if I want to make it reversible £70. I will reuse the rest of the obi fabrics to make a few collars, obiage, susoyoke and hopefully if I can get to a photocopier and enlarge my pattern….tabi…

I blame Yumi Yamamoto for all this sewing madness and I need to get her first book in English as well. I doubt I will ever go down the kimono route. I am BAD at cutting so will be content in making accessories.

Three more haneri made and obi plans!

Right well I had a bit of a sewing flurry and prepared 3 han eri for my velcro fake collar system and once the madness is over (possibly the bank holiday in June) I will add the velcro and close off my collar obsession for a while.


Dogs and Dots, Super goth with skulls and stars and stripes 🙂

My next project is a bigger investment. A 3.5m fukuro obi in cotton fabric. I already have one of these and I love it. However, it’s time I made my own!

I have some fabric from Ikea ready and will buy obi shin from Rakuten in the right size and thickness all ready for ease.

One side will be retro blue rose print and the other side retro patchwork, which admittedly will take more time but if I like the patchwork look then it makes obi making cheaper and more random. I will have to be cleaver with the patchwork and tailor it to my waistline and where I put my favourite fabric and the cheaper ‘filler’ patches.


The obi might be a test of patience as I can’t whip up an obi like I whip up han eri!

You always need more accessories….

Obiage and Obijime are the life blood of an outfit but until you really delve into Kimono you don’t realise it. I mostly have bright accessories but I have been going through a pastel phase for obiage so now for obijime to match.

obijime (5)

obijime (4)

obijime (3)

obijime (2)

obijime (1)

Because I wear really bright colours all the time it is sometimes nice to contrast with softer colours!

Kimono Challenge 12 – Kitsuke Evolution…

The challenge questions are:

1. How did you discover and get into kimono?
2. Your dearest kimono item(s).
3. Your most used kimono item(s) (not counting jubans, datejimes etc.).
4. Your least used kimono item(s).
5. Your favourite coordination(s) so far.
6. What do you like and don’t like about kimono.
7. Kimono confessions. Did you know that…
8. Your dream kitsuke items (or at least items you really really want but can’t get for whatever reason).
9. Your biggest kimono fears.
10. Your biggest kimono inspiration:
11. Your kimono collection.
12. The evolution of your kitsuke.
13. Your special kimono memory.


My… is my kitsuke an eclectic mix or what?!

I started my kimono journey in life this:

Corset kitsuke

and I wore mostly yukata out clubbing…

Then I went to this:

Geisha hime

however..if I really tell the truth it started like this:

A hello kitty silk kimono I made while I was at uni!

and then this is a middle ground snap of when I started to take stuff more seriously…

Japan Matsuri 2010

Still a corset..but then I started to keep corsetry to clubbing and now dress like this:

Purple Kitsuke; KDJ

However I still like to dress up a little ‘theme’ like:

All dressed up and snow where to go!

My colours have always been bright, sometimes neon bright which is probably an hangover from my ‘cybergoth days’ and the love of all things eye bleedingly bright. Gothic influences have always run though my kitsuke but you will see rockabilly and kitch there too with details.


Origin of the challenge:

Blogs participating in the challenge:


Cultural Appropriation and Kimono

Do people really try to find racism/cultural appropriation where it is not? Am I confined to only wear ‘victorian’ style dresses and morris dancing outfits?

Having a blog always attracts nuisance and spam but when its about kimono you get woes of ‘cultural appropriation’. One discussion pointed me to a blog with passages like:

‘Viewing, enjoying, producing anime/manga is NOT cultural appropriation. BUT wearing a kimono could be.’

and also:

From my experience, Westerners are usually encouraged to try on and wear a kimono at festivals or other special events that celebrate Japanese culture. In this case, it is not cultural appropriation. The difference is due to two main points. First, the kimono is seen in its traditional form and worn correctly. Second, it is worn within an environment that is intended solely to celebrate Japanese culture. Someone from another cultural, even if participating, cannot appropriate it into his/her own.

Clearly this person has never heard of kimono-hime. This was a softer approach to the kimono-cultural appropriation argument, believe me other bloggers have accused us ‘non-Japanese’ kimono wearers of having some kind of sexual fetish.

To me kimono is fashion, wonderful fashion that needs time and appreciation. Do I feel I need to understand the deep cultural meaning of the garment to wear it? Do my jeans have a deep cultural meaning also? (In fact they do have a history but I am a land lover)

I probably do have a sizeable knowledge of kimono and the wearing of kimono. I know the rules so I can break them. I do have a warm fuzzing feeling in the back of my head as I plan to wear my thistle Ro kimono for an early summer lunch. I feel so ‘June/July’ with my thistle motif. If I wear my pinky cotton fukuro obi I will be very summer, even if the Rose motif says ‘April’.

However I feel that’s this kind of knowledge (and collection breadth, you need a lot of kimono and accessories to match each month!) should not be forced down the throats of new kimono wearers as well as the idea of cultural appropriation.

Kimono is wonderful, wear it, use it, incorporate it into your wardrobe and ‘western’ fashion sense. Steam punk it, goth it up, whatever suits you 🙂

Cultural appropriation is generally is applied ‘when the subject culture is a minority culture or somehow subordinate in social, political, economic, or military status to the appropriating culture.*‘ As Japan is pretty much a super power and not a minority group with respects to the UK. I feel I am safe, however some lump me into the white western tirade of sci-fi domination proportions which I am not sure actually exists. It doesn’t in my life, or in my kimono group. However, some will say I am not educated enough hence the catch 22 and we are back to square one.

Wear kimono, love kimono.

*content from Wikipedia.

Continuing kimono adventures of Baka-Hime…

Well I am still having fun and here are some snap shots of recent outfits:

Very Vintage -y Nagoya Obi

Wool kimono with very vintage Nagoya obi, both eBay purchases.

Shocking Orange Houmongi

Orange houmongi and accessories which were all from Ichiroya.

Meisen Kimono and Hakama Ensemble

Meisen kimono and hakama both from eBay, collar from Rakuten and obi from a friend.

I am giving some exposure to my hidden kimono collection before I really knew what was what.


Kyoto Geiko Hikizuri in Dusty Pink

Well I got her quite cheap (£60) but she is quite stained also even though the condition of the silk/kimono is almost perfect.

No rips or pulled threads noticed just it met with a sticky end with something dropped down it and slight red colouring where the obi goes.

Guess she wore it with a red obi!

Baka Hime In Kyoto Geiko Hikizuri

However photographed with flash and even in the flesh you don’t notice the stains over her majesty and beauty, and the obi covered the obi wear mark.

Baka Hime In Kyoto Geiko Hikizuri (2)

This is an otaiko variation, one which I hope to practise and be able to tie on myself successfully. I am currently only focusing on otaiko, a variation of, plump sparrow and bunko in my obi tying repertoire until I can do them blind folded! This is a soft maru obi.

There is no crest on this kimono so we can assume this was a casual kimono for less formal events and it is houmongi style. It might have even been reserved for meeting with other Geisha. It it hitoe so it is a spring/end of summer kimono but each square seems to have a different motif.

We have Chrysanthemums for the onset of autumn, maybe for an ‘indian summer’ feel? We have maple leaves and grasses which is also very autumn. However, we have pine also which is normally new year, bamboo leaves (autumn again) and what looks like sunflower (late summer)

However the pine is purple and fresh green so that could indicate late summer/onset of autumn. I am going for a September kimono classification 🙂

Ok she deserves more than my primark accessories but as I am just back from holiday and washing and putting stuff away I just used something at hand rather than getting out my stuff.

This is my second Geisha kimono, here is my first

I am currently focussing on Odori kimono and geisha kimono for my collection. I am not going down the maiko route even though I would love a darari obi and maiko hikizuri they would only be for love and display. I am too old to play at maiko but I do feel that Geisha kimono (especially this one) can be worn normally.

However, I need to replenish my yukata collection first with two new ones as two have now died the death. I have spotted 3 I like in my price range so will get one a month from June.

Fukura suzume with a very soft fukuro..looks more like ‘stitch’…

From Lilo and Stitch?

Well I wanted to try it on Baka-Hime but used a ‘too thin ‘n’ floppy’ casual fukuro. The shape is correct though, wings need a thicker obi to be more defined 🙂

If I finish my work on this bank holiday Monday I might give it another go with a better obi! 🙂

The adventures of Baka-Hime….

She went out last night with her boyfreind ‘Baka-Homme’ and donned by beautiful purple furisode:

Baka Hime Furisode (2)

and blue/gold fukuro obi which is currently my favourite none the less:

Baka Hime Furisode

and today she is out shopping:

Baka-Hime is off to the shops

Baka-hime is just going shopping

This Nagoya has leather detail.

Currently, these are my two obi styles (and a yukata bunko) that I know for myself off my heart. I normally need books for other variations however I know plump sparrow also without a book so I will try that on Ba-Hi soon when she goes out again….probably for a formal dinner party in my houmongi.

My New Kitsuke Friend Baka-Hime

Since we are dressing people left right and centre I thought I would get a practise dummy so I can perfect technique and try out new obi styles.

She was super cheap and I just so happened to come across her. So here she is in my never seen blue odori kimono:

Showing blue and a slight correction!

from the back:

From the back.

and with her random accessories found in my room: