Kimono in Torino

This is actually the third time I’ve posted about this event, so I feel like I’m repeating myself! (The post Trip to Torino on my weblog describes other aspects of it.) This post will be devoted to analyzing my kitsuke. I find that by going through it in writing helps bring things to light that I otherwise wouldn’t see, and having the possibility of public feedback means that others can point out whatever I’ve missed, and I feel motivated to do better next time.

This photo shows Neeta and I in kimono (I’m on the left). The most obvious thing for me is that my obi is a little too low and the front has some folds that shouldn’t be there. The folds are caused by my kohlin belt: I tried several times to get rid of them by pulling on my ohashori, but nothing helped. I was wondering what to do about this, since I don’t particularly like having to “cheat” with a kohlin belt, as helpful as it is. However, the only other way I know how to hold the collar together is with a koshihimo, and when your kimono is made of slippery satin-finished silk, the koshihimo only holds the outer collar and not the inner. Then I re-discovered this page, which gives a key clue not in any of my kitsuke books!
o Wearing a komon (Japanese)

This photo in particular shows the koshihimo being threaded through the armhole, just as would be done with a kohlin belt. Genius! It would hold the collar beneath, and thread around to also hold the front collar! There are also directions for wearing a houmongi that show the use of a kohlin belt (with attached datejime, it seems). I think another problem with my kohlin belt may have been that it’s adjusted too tightly – if I loosened it, fewer folds would appear from the pulling.

Good points: my collars look ok, though I think the juban collar could be set at a wider angle and higher up on my neck, and fixing my kohlin belt (or trying out the other koshihimo technique) would help set my kimono collar at a narrower angle, showing more han eri at the “point”. The ohashori looks good, I managed to sew up my juban sleeves so they’re just the right length, and the hem line is quite all right. I’m very happy that I managed to tie my obiage just right for the second time in a row!

Now for the otaiko musubi. I was very pleased with it:
o Double-fold otaiko musubi
Though you can’t see the tare, it’s the right length. I should have asked Alain to photograph me from the side too, to get a good look at the te and collar line. In any case, it looks nice – and I did it from memory, without a mirror! *happyjoy* The back of the kimono is wrinkle-free, which is a major success, the first time I’ve managed a “clean” back with such a satiny kimono. The photo was taken after walking around for nearly two hours, yet my han eri doesn’t show in the back, and the nape line is good! It’s a nice feeling to have succeeded in all these things that I’ve been working on for so long.

Which reminds me to say that kimono are comfortable! Two hours walking around but nothing shifted and it was quite cozy. I want to wear kimono much more often now!

In summary, kitsuke points to remember for next time:
o tie the obi higher
o use a koshihimo for the kimono collar or set the kohlin belt looser (I think I’ll try a koshihimo just to see if it works)
o keep paying attention to wrinkles

Regarding my otaiko musubi, I used a trick that I can’t remember if I figured out myself or if someone else posted a message about it… Rather than tying the musubime in the back, I did the following:
o wrapped the obi twice as if to tie the musubime in back, setting aside the right length tesaki
o clipped the front center of my obi with a clothespin
o carefully turned the obi so that the clothespin was at my center back, with tesaki and taresaki in front
o tied the musubime in front

That way I was able to see the musubime and angle the taresaki made at center back, plus check that the folds were well-done. The clothespin does two things: reminds you where the center front is (very important!) and holds the obi at the right tension while you’re tying the musubime. It worked really well: my arms weren’t tired from tying it in the back, and the taresaki angle was very clean. After that, I just moved the whole thing around again, clothespin to front center, and tied the musubi proper. VoilĂ !

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