Sunday, October 11, 2015

the kosode project: results and recap

My finished kosode is both comfortable to wear and pleasing to my eye... I learned a lot while making this project, had a lot of fun, and received several compliments at the event on my Japansese garb...

The shibori, while requiring a time consuming amount of preparation, was probably the most satisfying new technique. I had been wanting to try stitched shibori for years now, and it did not disappoint, just looking at it makes my heart sing. I really want to do more with actual indigo dyeing, as there is nothing else that looks quite like it. Some shibori camp flags say... for summertime events... while not in context for my little Norse long tent, would look very splendid indeed!

The stenciling was not a new technique, but I really liked the subtle white on indigo effect. I did cut some of the stencil ties a bit too narrow, and had a few "stencil blowouts" where the ties snapped, and I had to be very careful indeed to get a clean paint job. I can probably repair the stencils carefully with some tape, because they are nice enough to reuse, so repair is worthwhile. My clever plan of aligning the designs to form a stripe worked really well, I will likely use that idea again.

Making the kosode was indeed, as Kateline said, fairly quick, once I had the panels attached together into yardage. Had I chosen to start with yardage, the whole project would have been the work of a weekend (even with hand finishing the edges) - the actual machine sewing took one long afternoon. I don't have much call for an entire wardrobe of Japanese robes, though perhaps a lightweight one for travel would be a good future project; the kosode folds up neatly and easily into a tidy rectangle that would be easy to pack. Hmmm, while I search my stash of fabric for some silk to line it with, keeping my eye open for some silk for a travel robe as well might be in order!

This is the whole kosode from the front...

... and a slightly truncated view from the back (really I do have hands!)

It was a great event and seeing all the folks who brought out or made Japanese clothing was really impressive. My pal Tullia wrote the winning entry in the haiku contest, which also had the requested theme to honor Tsukiko (who has enthusiastically shared her knowledge and skills with our group for many years):
Gracefully, she pours.
Tea, like knowledge, fills my cup
Under the full moon.



  1. What a beautiful garment, and you look beautiful wearing it Alison. I think its fantastic that you've made this for the special event but also that its useful afterwards at home - inspired!

  2. Your work in so many mediums is always extraordinary! I am so impressed with your designs, and that it is functional, as well as beautiful. Well done!

  3. That is an extraordinarily beautiful garment and it looks so good on you. Perfect for the special event and lovely to wear at home.

  4. Your glowing face and radiant smile in your gorgeous garment add a whole new dimension to your personality, in my opinion. Congratulations on a project diligently pursued and elegantly completed.

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  6. This is just stunning Alison. I can't believe how much work and skill has gone into it. The colour palette is so calming and harmonious and it looks really comfortable and stunning on. Well done - brilliant work.

  7. I love your kosode! Wonderful fabric that you made! It is an extraordinary garment!

  8. Well, of course you have hands! How could you make so much awesomeness without?

  9. Well, of course you have hands! How could you make so much awesomeness without?