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.

Kits-Mas Day 7 – Midnight Bubbly

The last day of the year is upon us! I think we can all agree that 2017 was a bit of a dumpster fire. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly glad to see the end of it!

When I was younger, I enjoyed going out on New Year’s Eve, but the older I get, the more content I am to stay inside in a nice fuzzy pair of pyjamas. We’re also still in the depths of a record-breaking cold snap here, as is the rest of Canada and the eastern United States, so going out to watch fireworks at midnight was just not remotely appealing to me. Instead, I thought it would be fun to run with a New Year’s theme for the mannequin tonight.

I thought this gold-accented men’s odori kimono would be the ideal place to start, since it’s so bold and flashy. I considered of all the trappings of a really fun party; sparkling champagne, glitter, fireworks, laughter. The next logical step seemed like this fun hanhaba obi I bought recently with stars on it. It’s a little dull next to the kimono, so I pulled out some gorgeous silver ribbon to use as an accent and a haneri. I still don’t quite have the hang of using a men’s kimono like this, as a woman’s outfit, but all I can do is practice, right?

While the obi still feels a bit subdued against the kimono, I do think this is a bubbly, sparkly, fun outfit that seems like a fitting end to the year.

I am utterly terrible at keeping resolutions, so rather than enumerate things I will inevitably not complete, I am just going to head into the new year with an open mind, an open heart, and a wealth of unbridled enthusiasm. I hope the coming year brings you all sorts of amazing things!

Items used in this coordination

Rebirth and Renewal

I have always tried to keep this blog apolitical. It’s a hobby, a place of beauty fun and a bit of a distraction from the “real” world. However, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that in the modern political climate, remaining detached is essentially an impossibility. This is not to say that I’m suddenly going to change the focus of things here, but I am having a harder and harder time keeping my mouth shut about the state of things. Syria, Brexit, Trump… we are living in a world that is increasingly on the defensive; cold and closed and unwelcoming.

So with that in mind, I needed a subtle reminder that there is always hope in the world, always a chance for rebirth and renewal. I bought this obi along with the hawk obi from my last coordination, and had intended to pair it with my leaf-green iromuji from the get-go. The obidome and obijime were bought at the same time, and seem like the perfect little complement. I’ve always had a soft spot for pearls, and they draw the eye to the silvery buds on the obi that otherwise blend in and nearly disappear. This felt like the perfect time to tie everything together.

The outfit feels as though it’s looking forward to Spring, but also looking forward in general. In a time when everything seems uncertain, at least we know the leaves and grass and first buds of the flowers will be back soon enough. It may not be much, but at least every time I see it I will be reminded that after every hideous, frozen, deathly winter there will inevitably come a spring when everything is reborn.

Items used in this coordination

Chidori Obidome

This adorable obidome was one of the awesome things in the last box of goodies Kansai_gal sent me. I love chidori, but I also love the amusing multi-faceted aspect of this particular piece.

Chidori is the Japanese term for plover (a type of small wading bird), and when it comes to kimono the term generally refers to depictions of this bird. The depictions can be realistic, or very stylised, much like the depiction of the silver bird on this particular piece.

However, due to the similarity in appearance, the Japanese name for the houndstooth pattern on the background is also referred to as chidori. So this particular piece is technically chidori-on-chidori! Isn’t that cute?

My biggest fans!

Wow, that title was lame and predictable, was it not? But still, it’s pretty perfect.

Kimono can get very very hot. One of the easiest and prettiest ways to deal with this is simply tucking a pretty and useful fan into your purse, sleeve, or obi. I only have a few, but they’re versatile 🙂

Two-sided dance fan


There is a long and sweet story behind this fan. The city I live in, Montreal, is one of the biggest ports in Canada, and the main entrance into the St. Lawrence seaway. Because of this, we get all kinds of strange boat traffic from all over the world. When I was very young, my parents and I were in the old port area and we came across a gentleman who happened to be a member of the Japanese Navy. His English and French skills were virtually non-existent, and he had gotten himself lost and could not find his way back to the port, or his ship. My father was working in aeronautics at the time and had a few dealings with people from Mitsubishi, and somehow had cobbled together enough to figure out what the poor gentleman was trying to say, so we happily led him back towards the port. His fellow officers were very grateful, and invited us onto the ship for sake (or in my severely underage case, juice).
This fan, along with a banner with the ship’s name, were given to my family as tokens of appreciation for the whole thing.

Stations of The Tokaido – Nihonbashi fan

Yet another item in my strange obsessive collection of Stations of the Tokaido motif items – my only fan, though!

Goldfish fan

Cute summery fan with kingyo (goldfish) motif.

White fan with silver flecks

This was included as a free gift with a couple of obi I bought.

Pink fan with flowers

Given to me as a gift quite a few years ago

Pink bunny fan

Adorable chubby bunnies. I had to have it, clearly.