Fudangi First Friday – Fall Forward

It’s the first Friday in September! It’s still feeling like the surface of the sun here in Montreal, but I couldn’t resist pulling out this wool piece. I got the obi from Kimono Yuki here during the Yatai food festival, and it seemed like the perfect piece to coordinate with the kimono.

Initially I was going to go with red accessories but I realised I’ve been doing a lot of matchy-matchy stuff and wanted to inject a pop of contrast and colour. I remembered this obijime I received from Kyoto Kimono as a thank-you gift for a project they were doing on Instagram a while back, so I thought now would be an ideal time to use it. To balance everything out I went with this ridiculously cute haneri with a blue base and red and black accents, so everything echoes at least one other part of the coordination.

I am sorry I missed Fudangi First Friday last month, it was just so hot and gross and miserable. Thankfully now that fall really is coming soon, things will eventually cool down and I’ll have no excuses. I also have a bunch of really cool reviews in the works, so be sure to keep an eye out for that.

Items used in this coordination

DIY Obi Remnant Purse

Eons ago, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, a bunch of my friends and I went in on a huge obi bundle and separated it amongst ourselves. Mixed in with all the obi was this piece of lovely karabana fabric. It had a few small pleats in one end, and I suspect someone had grand plans to turn it into a pre-tied obi. However. there was just barely enough to make the otaiko and nothing that would have worked for the waist part. So for the longest time, it just sat in my to-do pile, while I pondered and waffled and tried to figure out what I could do with it.

As you can clearly see, I finally found the time and inclination to turn it into a very unique purse. The obi remnant was just about the perfect size to make a roomy satchel with a flap closure. My initial plan was to simply sew the back to the front and make a sort of a thin clutch-style bag. I searched for hardware at a few places here in town but wasn’t finding anything I liked. My next plan was to order parts online, but I figured before I did that I would hit up my favourite local thrift store and see if there were any bags I could cannibalise for parts. I found this absolutely perfect beige suede bag with soft gold trim and hardware that just happened to be an exact match to the soft gold in the obi fabric. The bag was under five dollars, which wouldn’t even have been enough to cover the shipping for buying parts online. It was meant to be!

Instead of just sewing the sides shut, I inserted panels from the exterior of the purse. This not only makes my bag look much more finished, it also makes it nice and roomy inside. There was also a rusty orange lining that matched the orange flowers on the obi fabric, so I carefully picked the inside apart and used the inside pockets to give myself a little extra storage and organisation. I also pulled the snap closure off the thrifted purse and inserted it into the fabric, adding a small filigree metal piece and a fabric flower to reinforce the snap closure a bit. The last touch was gluing on some ribbon trim along the top edge of the purse interior, because the fabric is quite old and I was worried about it fraying from the strain.

I couldn’t be happier with how this purse turned out. It’s a great size, my Surface even fits snugly into it for travel. My only concern is that since the obi fabric is quite old, I’m worried about snagging or staining it. If it weren’t for that, I’d be using this bag every day, I think.

Tokai-Dos and Tokai-Don’ts

I’ve had this 53 Stations of the Tokaido tsukesage for a long time now. I’ve never worn it myself, but I did put it on my friend Frances one day. The obi, by comparison, was an absolute impulse purchase a few weeks ago – I was buying another item from the seller and this was only $10 so I couldn’t say no! Especially since it’s a lovely stylisation of Station 49 – Saka-no-shita, which is a station I don’t have on any items in my collection yet. For the price, its absolutely gorgeous. The bulk of the design is woven in, and then touches are pulled out with beautifully lush embroidery to add depth and texture. It’s a bit slippery to tie, but definitely not the most challenging obi I’ve had to work with.

Generally the rules of kitsuke say not to match the motif on your kimono to the motif on your obi, and to contrast the colour of one against the other. However, when I saw these two pieces next to each other, my mind drifted back to my first experiment in very monochrome and matchy outfits, and I wanted to give it another shot. Rules are an excellent starting point, but sometimes breaking them with forethought and intention can produce some amazing results.

I’ve always loved the peachy pink sunset accents on the kimono and decided to make them pop with the accessories. I feel like this resulted in an overall very calm and serene outfit with a bit of punch, and I love it!

I do apologise for the quality of the photos today; my camera was being difficult so I used my mobile phone camera. It worked, but it’s not ideal. However, I make no apologies for the utterly terrible word-play in the title.

Outfit of the Week: Pretty Poppies

I really should rename this feature to Outfit of the Whenever I Have Time, but I digress. You may or may not know this, but my mother’s name is Poppy. Because of this, we have a lot of poppy-themed stuff in our house, and for the longest time I had made it a goal of mine to find a kimono with poppies on it. When I found this one, I knew I had to have it. I love the slightly abstract, retro style of the dye-work. I actually did dress my mother in this once, but nobody managed to take photos, so I decided to put it on Tsukiko. I went with a simple red tsuke-obi to highlight the lovely red of the poppies, and a brown and green obijime to echo the khaki green in the hem. I also used a green haneri to reinforce that green accent. The obiage is actually a much darker, richer purple, closer to the eggplant colour of the kimono, but no matter what I tried, it photographed as this bright electric indigo. Oh well!

Outfit of the Week: Mystery Dragonflies!

While folding and organising some of my older kimono the other day, I came across something that threw me for a loop. I do not remember procuring this kimono in any way. I don’t know if I bought it, if it was a gift, something I rescued from a thrift store… I really have no idea. In my dozen-plus years of collecting, I can tell you where nearly every piece in my collection came from, down to things like tabi and haneri. To have forgotten an entire (lovely!) kimono is quite a feat, I think.

That being said, I’m not complaining! This is a gorgeous piece. It’s a casual summer piece, very lightweight. I’m not positive on the fabric but it feels like a linen blend of some sort. It might be cotton, but it’s definitely softer and more refined than a yukata. The collar is conveniently sewn down and there is a light lining in the bum area and across the shoulders for cleanliness and reinforcement. It’s a beautiful dove grey with dusty blue foliage and adorable little dragonflies. The era is a bit hard to pin-point; it feels like it could be quite old, or it could be more modern but made to look vintage.

I wanted to make the coordination very cool and comfortable-feeling, so I kept things simple with a hanhaba obi. I also learnt a valuable lesson – this particular obi, while one of my favourites, is a finicky little thing that refuses to hold tight. I managed to get the kai-no-kuchi musubi to stay in place with the help of an obijime, but would not be comfortable wearing it out of the house like this. At least I know for the future!